Have you ever been to Ann Arbor, Michigan, the city ACS has called home for almost 40 years? If not, you’re missing out! Despite its (relatively) small size, Ann Arbor has a lot to offer: a lively arts & culture scene, world-class food & drink, and natural beauty to boot. We’re sharing our local picks so that next time you’re in the area (soon, we hope!) you’ll know exactly where to go and what to do.
First, get your bearings. Ann Arbor comprises a few lovely neighborhoods, but most visitors spend their time downtown and in nearby Kerrytown. Downtown Ann Arbor’s Main Street has all the usual suspects - plenty of restaurants, bars, and shops to choose from - but it has character, too (case in point: the Violin Monster). So grab a seat at a restaurant or bar and keep your eyes peeled - you never know what or who you might see! Some of our favorite spots in the vicinity include Aventura (Spanish), Cafe Zola (European), Frita Batidos (Cuban), Jerusalem Garden (Middle Eastern), Logan (New American), Mani (Italian), Pacific Rim (Asian), and Ravens Club (American). For dessert, grab a homemade ice cream cone at Blank Slate Creamery.
Next, make your way over to Kerrytown, one of Ann Arbor’s historic districts. Follow the original brick roads, which were laid at the turn of the 20th century, to the beloved Farmers Market (open every Saturday, plus Wednesdays during the summer months) and a charming collection of shops. If you see a line wrapping around the block, chances are it’s for Zingerman’s Deli, one of Ann Arbor’s claims to fame. Zingerman’s was born in 1982 and has since expanded its foodie empire to include a coffee shop, bakery (both of which are very popular among ACS employees) and much more.
After all that eating (Zingerman’s sandwiches are HUGE), you may need some physical activity. That’s easy, since Ann Arbor is small and pleasant to walk through. As you make your way around town, you can’t miss the University of Michigan campus. It’s centered around the Diag, a tree-filled area surrounded by campus buildings, including a bell tower. You just might catch a glimpse of Ann Arbor’s other claim to fame: Michigan Stadium, better known as “The Big House,” home of the Michigan Wolverines. Even after a recent reduction in capacity, the Big House is still the largest stadium in the United States.
Continue east and you’ll arrive at Nichols Arboretum, a beautiful park divided by the iconic Huron River. The river flows into a sort of natural waterpark called Argo Cascades, where you can float or kayak through small (but fun!) rapids.
If you’re a culture vulture, don’t worry - Ann Arbor has arts & entertainment, too. To get your art fix, visit the University of Michigan’s art museum (UMMA) or the Ann Arbor Art Center, which has a large section dedicated to Motawi Tileworks. For live entertainment, look to one of Ann Arbor’s famous venues. The Blind Pig is known for hosting up-and-coming rock acts (Nirvana once said that the Blind Pig was their favorite place to perform) and the Ark is perfect for acoustic artists, while Hill Auditorium is the place to see classical, jazz, and world music.
You can’t leave Ann Arbor without experiencing the nightlife. After all, it is a college town - which means that you have plenty of options for imbibing. For a quintessential Michigan experience, be sure to try a local beer at Ashley’s or, if the weather is cooperating, Bill’s Beer Garden. Alternatively, you can go straight to the source and visit one of Ann Arbor’s breweries. Arbor Brewing Company, Grizzly Peak, and Wolverine State Brewing Co. are all great. Not into beer? Taste wine from Michigan’s Leelanau Peninsula at VinBar or fancy craft cocktails at The Last Word.
Well, that just about does it! We hope we’ve convinced you to make the trip to Ann Arbor. We love it here and we always look forward to sharing the love with others.