Ann Arbor is an American town that offers a whole lot more than quaint charm.
I officially began my summer vacation in this fantastic Michigan town that is less than an hour’s drive from Detroit. It’s a beautiful, green place with a thriving foodie scene, music, culture and gorgeous nature to explore. Although one could make it a day trip, I recommend staying at least a few days.
Main Street: Lively Restaurants, Bars and Shops
Even a simple stroll through the downtown district was engaging. Everywhere I went, people were relaxing and enjoying the lovely fresh air on outdoor patios with the scents of delicious food and the sounds of laughter filling the streets. Unbeknownst to me, Michigan has an excellent microbrewery scene and a growing wine region. As Ann Arbor is an exceptional foodie city, many of the downtown restaurants feature local brews, wine and gourmet – yet accessible – menus. The shopping is also great, with many unique boutiques run by local business owners. A comic book shop and a world bookstore with a tearoom were a couple of my favorites.
Having a drink at a pub in downtown Ann Arbor
Zingerman’s Deli: A Favorite of Many American Presidents
Zingerman’s Deli is a must. If you can choose only one place to eat, then check out one of the most fantastic delis I have come across. This locally owned deli is a short walk from Main Street, and its historic architecture is a delight. Try something new; the friendly staff is knowledgeable and happy to offer samples of the food. Even the cold-brewed coffee is amazing. I went back twice to stock up on coffee and a picnic lunch before continuing with the rest of my road trip.
Browsing delicious options at Zingerman’s Delicatessen in Ann Arbor
Nichols Arboretum and the Huron River
Ann Arbor is known as “Tree Town,” a statement that is absolutely true. A fantastic venue to check out is the Nichols Arboretum with 283 hectares of gardens and a natural preserve. I was lost in the lushness of the greenery and flowers. It’s an excellent way to have a hike or a leisurely walk and take in some nature. The beautiful Huron River runs through it, and water sports such as kayaking and canoeing are available.
Exploring Nichols Arboretum in Ann Arbor
The Lovely University of Michigan Campus and the ‘Big House’
Another way to enjoy the day is to pay a visit to the historic University of Michigan, where the extensive campus provides a perfect walk among impressive trees and beautiful modern and historic architecture. The Burton Memorial clock tower is also fantastic to see. The ringing music from its grand carillon can be heard throughout campus, which is a perfect place for a picnic, as it’s both peaceful and filled with activity.
No visit to Ann Arbor is complete without seeing the famous Michigan Stadium, more popularly known as “The Big House.” It’s the largest stadium in the USA and likely to be packed to the brim with more than 100,000 football fans Saturdays in the fall. Whether you are a sports fan or not, the energy of this massive venue is fantastic and an experience to behold. I was fortunate enough to have a tour and actually go onto the field. If you can make a game, get ready to be swept up into some serious team spirit and celebration.
The stately University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor