I will be going to the Michigan vs Lil Brother game in October with my wife. I will be leaving the kids at home and will be spending 3 nights and 4 days in Ann Arbor with just the Mrs. She has never been to Michigan and this will be her first game at the Big House.. I really want to show her a good time and need some good advice on the places to eat, places that need to be seen, and the stuff that needs to be done while in Ann Arbor. Sorry for the generic post but just want to blow her socks off. The game alone will do it, but just want to check all the boxes that need to be checked while we are there. Thanks for everyones help in advance!
What to do while in Ann Arbor
Walking around Main St at night is really neat on a Friday before a football game. It appeals alot better to the adult crowd. If yall are up for chugging beers with frat boys you can go down South U. If theres an arts performance on campus those are always great. There should be a pep rally on campus the Friday before.
Or Zingerman's Roadhouse. Or both (that would be my vote).
For food? Blimpy Burger and Zingerman's are a must.
For bars? It's probably changed since I've been there but the Jug is a nice crowd if you want a college scene but still want to act your post-collegiate age. Ashley's if you're a beer connoisseur. Rick's if you're like me and often indulge your inner undergrad upon returning.
Other sites? I'd say definitely just stroll around the quad if it's nice out. Maybe grab a mason jar's worth of sangria at Dominick's and hang out outside and enjoy the day. Law quad is also a definite must see.
Damn it, now I'm longing.
In addition to the law quad - make sure to take her to the Law Reading Room (south side of the law quad). One of the most beautiful places on campus.
Caveat on Blimpy Burger: If you go on a football Saturday, be fully prepared to wait (literally!) an hour and a half in line for an ok hamburger prepared by a very, very angry woman who will yell at you at the slightest provocation. Blimpy Burger isn't bad, but it's just not worth it. Cottage Inn, Pizza House, BTB, Pizza Bob's, Mr. Spot's, and many others absolutely cursh Blimpy Burger for the time/money/unnecessary verbal abuse to food factor.
Have been featured on Diner's Drive-ins and Dives. Just sayin'.
She's not angry, she's really nice actually. Getting yelled at is part of the charm.
The yelling and the eccentricity are part of the Blimpy experience. So when you'e bringing in a Blimpy virgin you need to let them go first and make their mistakes. It's good for developing character or something like that.
Love it when someone:
a. starts using their phone
b. orders cheese first
c. gets yelled at for not paying attention
The best is when your with someone who's been there before, and then spends the whole time in line talking about how he's messed up in the past and won't do it again, and then does.
Or when they know you and just make fun of the newbs WITH you. haha...i go there way too often...
I've been to Blimpy Burger once in my life and left before I ordered. The ambiguously-female cook was so rude I couldn't possibly give them my business. I know I sound like an old blue hair but I was 19 at the time. I guess I'm just old-fashioned...
Gotta say that I agree. I fail to see the "charm" in having someone berate me & my friends for no reason. "Charm" is places like Pizza Bob's, where they'll sit & chat with you while you enjoy the best shake in Ann Arbor, not having someone get really, really mad because you said you wanted cheese at the wrong time.
God I hate that guy. And his wife is the sweetest person ever, go figure.
+1000 for Pizza Bobs. My Dad's favorite place when he was a student and my favorite place when I was a student. LEGACY.
UMMA (across from the Union and they have an amazing collection including some original Picassos), the Natural History Museum, and there's a few others. Maybe try to sneak in to see the trophies in Schembechler Hall?
If she's into shopping and you don't mind going with her, there are some nice vintage stores on State St. as well as other places (Bivouac, Pitaya, various M-themed stores, some stuff on Main)
If she likes beer- go to Ashley's.
1. Grab Chipatis for lunch at Pizza Bob's
2. Get Blimpy Burger
3. Main Street for a nice dinner. Personally, I recommend Palio.
4. Catch a music show at the ark or the blind pig.
5. If they're playing, go to a michigan hockey game.
6. Take her to a nice sunday brunch at the gandy dancer, or if you feel like rubbing elbows with the students, go for deep fried french toast sunday morning at angelo's
There are a ton of other things to do, these are just a few, but regardless of what you pick, you guys are gonna have a great time.
I'll second Palio and the Gandy Dancer.
Get a collider at Rod's Diner too.
is playing in Bowling Green the weekend of the State football game. Seems early for a conference series, but BGSU's official site has it up, though Michigan's schedule is yet to be released (though off the top of my head I know the Non-conference includes 1 at New Hampshire and 2 home against Nebraska-Omaha), so I would think it's pretty reliable.
However, if you want to see a hockey game, since I'm sure you/your wife will be enamored with the Big House and crushing State after your taste in October, may I suggest visitng again 12/11/10 for The Big Chill? :-)
as overrated as The Earle....just sayin
Best "walk in the park" that I've ever had. Make sure you leave an hour or two on a nice day to do this, you won't regret it.
Best Vegetarian Indian food I have had outside of India. Buffet style good lunch option near State Street Theater which is always playing good movies.
the argus 1 building in the old west side vicinity has a really cool free museum featuring some old cameras and really rare paraphernalia of the like (the building used to be the factory for argus before sylvania, and eventually u-m, bought it). no one's heard about it but it's a neat place.
Thanks to everyone who posted! I really appreciate all the help and I am so excited to do this trip with my wife. She will finally experience "all" of the events that I have tried to explain but simply don't do justice. I have wrote notes on the following posts and will make plans accordingly! Thanks again to everyone and keep it coming!
i suggest ideas already offered like hitting up the arb eating some zingermans and or blimpy burger. in terms of bars, i would stay away from places like ricks and the jug. dominicks, ashleys, and the heidelburg are all much more fun and will be more the crowd you're trying to drink with. whatever you do,
just make sure you walk to the game down state street and hoover. if yoiu ask me, that is the one memory besides walking into the stadium for the first time that yoiu'll never forget.
Defintely walk to the game down State Street to Hoover. And plan to be at Revelli Hall (corner of Hoover and Division) about 75 minutes before the game. You can watch the band assemble and walk to the game with them. It's great fun.
I met my wife in Bolivia and we lived there for close to a year before coming back to California. I talked about Michigan enough that her whole family always rolled their eyes when I went on about it and called it MEECH-igan. 'Aye! Esso MEECH-igan otro vez!'
When I first brought her to AA, along with a mutual friend from Mexico, they were slack-jawed at everything listed above and had the time of their lives at the game and everything about it before and after. Tailgating, after-parties, etc. They still talk about it 7 years later.
When we were back there for X-mas in 2005/6 and I skipped a family/religious gig to catch the bowl game and was catching heat from my mother-in-law, my wife ran interference b/c by now she had become a huge fan and understood.
I had bribe someone to keep their internet cafe open late so I could follow the bowl game on a gametracker. That was a terrible, terrible game to 'watch' that way. Nebraska, ugh.
That all of your Bolivian relatives were Fielding Yost and Bob Ufer fans. Us, too. Must have given you lots to talk about.
take her over to the MDen and have her model some go blue gear for you!
Only good things will take place, and remember, it's great to be a Wolverine.
Those stilton fries are awesomely awesome in the awesomest way. The Belgian flight helps wash 'em down nicely.
A couple of others have mentioned this as well, but if you'd enjoy some classical music I'd second checking out the SchooI of Music calendar in addition to the UMS (http://www.music.umich.edu/performances_events/perf_events.php).
During the semester they have something going on almost every night, and almost always free. The students are excellent so don't be turned off by the idea of a student recital.
I know you're getting flooded with restaurant suggestions, but here are my top picks:
Good Time Charley's for classic college bar and burger experience (be sure to order the Count Twists appetizer).
Raja Rani has excellent Indian: http://bit.ly/9vE0yB
Cafe Habana is inexpensive but excellent Cuban: http://bit.ly/agROz4
Pacific Rim is definitely on the pricier side, but I think I had the best meal of my life there: http://bit.ly/1bJY7R
As for culture, The Ark is a great acoustic music club. The schedule for October isn't up yet, but if you like anything from Celtic to folk to jazz, it's worth checking out. www.theark.org
Finally, the U-M (fittingly) has one of the top two public university music programs in the country (Indiana is the other), so that schedule is definitely worth checking up on once fall rolls around. Take into special consideration anything in Hill Auditorium, which is a world-class venue. http://bit.ly/atYkyB
Raja Rani is garbage no one should ever go there
Agreed. Raja Rani is a disgrace to Indian food. Do not ever go there unless you enjoy eating curried turds. If you want good Indian food in Michigan, your best bet is to go to the Bloomfield Hills/Troy area.
Mmm, curried turds.
I'm definitely very green when it comes to Indian, and I just happened to enjoy a meal at Raja Rani recently. But I'll try whatever you say is better.
I think Madras Masala (on Maynard) is pretty good.
Grizzly Peak. Best drinks, best food, best atmosphere. No need to go elsewhere.
Zingerman's for lunch, Gandy Dancer or Gratzi if you feel fancy for dinner, the Heidelberg or Ann Arbor Brewing company if you want alcohol without breaking the bank.
Shows at the Blind Pig, the Ark, and BTB Cantina (yes, really) are usually pretty chill with decent to good music. This is kind of a shameless plug because my band does a lot of shows at the Pig. There will likely be a free or cheap classy concert at Hill Auditorium or elsewhere on campus. A walk in the Arb is always a classic.
Ann Arbor is one of the top ten cities in the nation to retire to (according to some TV show) because it's loaded with artsy things to do...free or cheap artsy things to do, mostly.
If you want "to blow her socks off" I think you'll have to put together an ensemble piece. (Though I'm sure she has her reasons for marrying you already.) The "one-off WOWs" that I can think of are:
* Football game and it's surroundings
* Arb (around Oct. 9 there should be some color)
* Grad steps looking up toward Rackham. Even more impressive if you can do a rail slide without breaking your neck or getting your board confiscated.
You haven't let on to your age, pocketbook, level of fitness, or tastes, so perhaps try to put something together from these:
* There is a local triathlon group that has periodic races around Hell. I am uncertain of schedule, but that may be fun.
* If you have bicycles available, it's not too hard to get out into a semi-rural area. Take a ride and then drop into Casey's. Or ride the trail along Gallup Park. There is (or there used to be) a little nature trail NE of Concordia. Then go to Dominick's.
* If you have a car, head out to one of the surrounding burgs for early season hayride.
* Tickled Fancy Burlesque. Dance at the Masons'. There's Roller Derby coming.
* Local brew pubs in Ann Arbor and Dexter. (Are there any in Ypsi?)
* Talk your way into a student party.
* I haven't seen mention yet, but Jerusalem Garden, Le Dog, Fleetwood, Earle, Village Corner, Shaman Drum, and Dawn Treader. Are the Moveable Feast and Escoffier still around? Knight's.
Darn. Now I want to drop by. Any more ideas?
Don't order their coleslaw. It's awful.
This is a cool spot and the beers are Large with a capital "blerhelkljdsfnggfffff I just had so much beer."
Shaman Drum is soon to become a burger joint, I hear.
You're making it sound like just because a restaurant is taking over for a bookstore that it's some shift in priorities or at least a knock on them. Shaman Drum had a crappy return policy and sold ridiculously overpriced coursebooks that you could buy off of Amazon or abebooks for 15-20% of the price you'd get it there. I'm surprised they stayed in business as long as they have.
I'm not really invested in it either I just wasn't a huge Shaman Drum fan so I'm not really sad to see them go. I can understand not necessarily wanting another chain though.
You were a student when Drake's closed. I don't think Steve's Lunch is around anymore, either. And we even started after the Pretzel Bell closed. I have cousins who still mourn that loss.
If they ever close Ashley's (perish the thought) I'm going on a beer strike.
My grandparents were just asking me and b/f if Pretzel Bell was still there.... they loved it back in the day
My grandma still talks about the Pretzel Bell....all the time.
Yeah, I totally get that.
Bruegger's is a seriously important part of my morning five days a week; I mean, the staff and I swap stories about our families and such. But that doesn't mean I don't think it's a huge bummer that Drake's isn't there anymore.
Yeah, I said Drake's. Yes, I AM that old.
Jerusalem Garden has my favorite falafel ever...better than any I've had in NYC or Israel. If you like that sort of thing, it makes a great cheap lunch.
Also, meaty hippy hash at Fleetwood is to-die-for. Hash browns haven't been the same since.
but even better username. It is the first one I've seen that actually made me LOL. Followed by an obligatory OMG.
is in Ypsi. It's related to The ABC. Its right around the corner from Depot Town and Sidetrack/Aubrees/Sticks.
take her to the place the ping-pong table from Forrest Gump was made!
This list is seriously making me want to head back for a weekend.
Like people have mentioned: Ashley's, Zingerman's and Dominick's.
I don't know if this has changed since I left, but I would avoid the Real Seafood Co. on Main St. I was always very disappointed with their mains, though the starters were nice enough.
I would also recommend heading out into the surrounding area, somewhere like Saline or Dexter for some "small town charm". Maybe find a cider mill while you're out in the country and have some warm cider and a donut.
Enjoy your weekend, no matter what you do.
There is NOTHING to do.
-from a Saline grad
Cider mill is definitely on the list. I would love to check out some of the smaller towns in the area as well. I am getting so excited for this trip!!!
Zingerman's: overpriced, but not overrated.
Maize & Blue Deli is good value, but not a superior sandwich.
It is the best pizza I have had in my life. I have introduced that establishment to no less than 20 people. All but one agreed with me that the food is amazing. The one who didn't was a female who was so thin that if she turned sideways, she became invisible. "It seems like too many calories" is what she told me. It's Chicago style pizza. It's supposed to make your arteries kinda cry a little.
It's on Maple just past Miller. Perfect location to pick-up and then hit the highways after the games.
all women enjoy shopping. Plan on spending some time at Briarwood. There is an MDen in the mall so you can pick up some good quality Michigan merchandise while you're there.
For the nightlife, I'd hit dinner at least once at Grizzly Peak. Up scale restaurant as well as a brewery. Ideal for couples.
as far as malls go... Somerset in Troy would realllly knock the socks off (if you like expensive window shopping or have the money to blow)
(I was going to object to the "all women enjoy shopping" generalization... then realized I barely have anecdotal evidence to support my case.)
However, I know that he isn't going to want to drive all over Michigan to go shopping. Briarwood may not be anything special, but it is still a mall.
She might enjoy the small shops on and around main street, but there is no gaurantee on what the weather will be in early October in Michigan.
Go Shag in the Stacks
If they're in a hurry. Or bashful.
Take her to Detroit. Get some deep-fried alligator at Fishbone's. Go across the street to the pastry shop and get fat.
Take her to Somerset in Troy. Prepare to have a high credit card bill.
Eat at Zingerman's in Ann Arbor. Tailgate on the golf course.
Go see a concert, whether it's at Hill Auditorium (highly recommended), the Blind Pig, or the Ark. If you're older, the Blind Pig might not be your crowd. It's a dingy bar, but they have a lot of great bands come through there. I've seen Modest Mouse, Death Cab for Cutie, Great Lakes Myth Society, Electric Six, Rogue Wave, and Pedro the Lion there, among others. I saw Andrew Bird at the Ark, which was pretty effing awesome, too.
Good call on Cafe Marie. We have gone there for years. The food is almost as good, but 1,000 times easier to get in the place. Hope it stays that way after your endorsement!
check out Middle Earth and some of the other shops along South U. Definitely head over to Ashley's for a brew or two...great list of beer to choose from. If you want to knock her socks off, and you don't mind spending a bit of cash, take her downtown to The Earle on Washington St. They have very good French and Italian cuisine.
Sweet! My wife and I are making our first trip to AA for the Big Chill. It looks like we have plenty to do. Any suggestions for tailgating or pre-game bars?
I can't believe I forgot about Afternoon Delight! Definitely a must while in town!
so double your Afternoon Delight
People frequently forget about the rest of Kerrytown that is not named Zingerman's. There are a ton of really cool shops owned by eccentric locals if you're into that sort of thing. It's a much different part of town than campus or Main Street.
is Earl of Sandwich still there on State St? I know it only came in a few years ago but sometimes places don't last that long. I wouldn't recommend going there for a one-weekend type trip I am just more curious as to whether or not it's still there.
that didn't last long at all.
If you do want to hit a cider mill and get some of the "small town feel," the mill in Dexter is the oldest continuously operated mill in Michigan and they have a wine tasting room for a winery near Jackson. Great place in Sept - October when the leaves are changing, right on the Huron River. http://www.dextercidermill.com/ and http://www.sandhillcranevineyards.com/
Oh, yeah - Dexter also has the #1 and #4 Belgian-style golden ales in the world... http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/24/dining/reviews/24wine.html
(Yes, I'm from Dexter and not AA, but it makes for a nice change on Sunday after the gameday on Saturday...)