First Visit to AA in 30 years

Submitted by BoFan on July 21st, 2018 at 2:24 PM

I moved to California 30 years ago. I’ve always wanted to come back, visit campus and Ann Arbor, and see a game. Life, career, and family got in the way  

I’m bringing my 3 teenagers to visit for the first time one day this August.  No game unfortunately, but I’d like to make it memorable for them.  What are your top 1-3 things we should definitely do?  Is there someone at the school I should contact about a school tour?

I can’t think of a better group to ask.  Thank you in advance!


Shop Smart Sho…

July 21st, 2018 at 3:03 PM ^

If your kids play any sports you might see if that team is practicing/playing. I know a kid I coached went up for a visit in late August a few years ago and was able to stop by the Varsity Tennis Center and watch some of the women's practice.


July 21st, 2018 at 4:24 PM ^

Not sure when in august you plan on being there, but back in the day I can tell you from personal experience that we used to have hockey training camp start then.  I don't think we could be on the ice until September but that might have changed in the intervening centuries since I played college hockey.  We were not secretive at all about our workouts but maybe that has changed since the glaciers have receded from our state and electricity was invented....


July 21st, 2018 at 3:06 PM ^

Depending on how long you're here, think about taking them to some nm of the lakes/state parks that are just west of Ann Arbor, such as the Pinckney Recreation area, Brighton Lake, Kensington, Waterloo, or the Portage chain. They're all within 30 minutes of downtown and have great outdoor activities. It would be a nice change up from the city.


July 21st, 2018 at 3:13 PM ^

I would take a trip North to Traverse City, Mackinaw Island, the bridge, Soo Locks, and then travel west along the the Lake Superior shoreline.


July 21st, 2018 at 4:18 PM ^

I didn't make it to the Soo Locks until I took my kids back in 2015. My family had been to Mackinaw countless times in my childhood but for whatever reason we never made the extra 45 minute drive up there. It was really awesome. The town itself isn't the type of place you'd spend a week in, but it makes for a great day trip, or maybe a one night stay if you're doing a driving trip in the UP.


July 21st, 2018 at 3:16 PM ^

DEFINITELY do a tour.  It'll hit the big central campus spots and since so much has changed, I'm sure you'll learn quite a bit too!!!


July 21st, 2018 at 3:18 PM ^

And with 3 teens, I might skip the Arb, depending on how much time you have.  When exactly in August?  If they are into sports at all, find any team that has a home game, if possible, and attend it.

You could tube/kayak down the river; an easy way to knock out a half day and get off your feet.


July 21st, 2018 at 7:07 PM ^

kayak down the river is a good time, very nice that time of year and pretty cheap entertainment PURE MICHIGAN. I would suggest having THEM look at a map of campus and see what they want to do. We took our kids to Northwestern over spring break, they had areas they wanted to see and get familiar with the area. We let them guide the trip. It gave them ownership on the choices. We missed out on a campus tour and in some ways that was good, in others I feel like we missed out on the school mission/culture, etc. to each their own.


July 21st, 2018 at 3:27 PM ^

I would definitely take a walk around downtown as well as campus - they have changed rather a lot in those 30 years, to say the least, especially with all the new high rises going in. 

Check out some of the restaurants - there are some great ones that you'll only find here.

As someone mentioned, check out a Metropark if you want a little break from the city - Hudson Mills, Kensington, Lower Huron, and a few others are about 30 minutes from Ann Arbor. 

Definitely a homage to athletic campus as it is August - pick up a practice and take a stroll down by the stadium. 


July 21st, 2018 at 3:39 PM ^

The advice here will be good, but also take them to some of the places that you remember fondly/have meaning to you. It will be cool for them to get some of that personal history and cool for you to share the moments when you see what is the same and what has changed. 

Mix in some suggestions from here you know they’ll enjoy and voila, rough itinerary. 


July 21st, 2018 at 3:48 PM ^

order lunch in advance from Zingerman's and pick it up to go

eat on the steps of the grad

walking tour north out of the diag to rackham/mlb/michigan league over to the hospital/hill area through the arb out past whatever frats through south u to the law quad/b-school into the union and then down to yost/schembechler to the stadium up main street into downtown ann arbor

then have dinner and go see someone at the ark assuming it is someone they'd care about.


July 21st, 2018 at 6:12 PM ^

Right, if you want a Maize and Blue deli experience, go to Kroger, buy some Pepperidge Farm rye bread, best to get the kind that's dyed to make it look authentic, some Oscar Meyer corned beef, some canned sauerkraut, Kraft swiss cheese, and some Kraft thousand island dressing, and voila, a Maize and Blue Rueben.


July 21st, 2018 at 7:10 PM ^

I'll chime in as the contrarian and say neither is worth the hoopla. Maize and Blue was just expensive for a chunk of sandwich and zingerman's was nasty... nobody in our group enjoyed what they had to eat, seemed like they tried to hard to be 'remarkable' and instead of making a good sandwich it became some snoty hobsnobbery. pass.


July 21st, 2018 at 7:10 PM ^

I'll chime in as the contrarian and say neither is worth the hoopla. Maize and Blue was just expensive for a chunk of sandwich and zingerman's was nasty... nobody in our group enjoyed what they had to eat, seemed like they tried to hard to be 'remarkable' and instead of making a good sandwich it became some snoty hobsnobbery. pass.


July 21st, 2018 at 3:50 PM ^

If you have time I highly recommend touring the stadium and maybe visit Schembechler Hall.  Here's a link for tours:


True Blue Grit

July 21st, 2018 at 3:55 PM ^

Definitely a campus tour.  Lunch at Pizza House.  Drive around the athletic campus (MUCH has changed in last 30 years).  Law Quad is a must now that they've finished redoing all the sidewalks inside the quad.  No tours of the Union - it's closed for a major renovation/upgrade for the next year and a half.  Dinner at one of the downtown restaurants or Gandy Dancer.  A spin around the North Campus would be good - again MUCH has changed up there.  I agree also with a stroll through the Arb, weather permitting.  Have fun!


July 21st, 2018 at 4:26 PM ^

Take a ride up through Barton Hills then up the river to Hudson Mills- and on NW through Dexter and up to Hell-I went to Pinckney High :) (Show then that hell is no place to fear.) Hike the recreation are...swim at Silver Lake...


July 21st, 2018 at 4:46 PM ^

What part of CA? Where you live now will help define what will be interesting/unique about Ann Arbor relative to what you would call home. Palo Alto is a lot different than, say, Barstow.

scanner blue

July 21st, 2018 at 5:08 PM ^

UM soccer starts up mid August. Nice stadium and $6 GA admission. Womens 8-11, 8-16, 8-19, 8-23. Mens 8-18, 8-24. The men almost one the B1G last year and the women were good early til the injury bug hit.

Perkis-Size Me

July 21st, 2018 at 6:22 PM ^

If you call the admissions office or visit the website, I’m sure you can get yourself on a tour. As far as what to do, if you only have time to go to Ann Arbor and not upstate or any surrounding areas (I’d honestly rather take them up to Traverse/Petoskey area if you have the time):

-Walk around Central Campus, show them the Diag and the Law Quad.

-Walk over to Kerrytown and grab lunch at Zingermann’s. 

-Walk the sandwiches off in the Arb.

-Unless you can get an actual tour of the Big House, I personally don’t think it’s worth walking all the way down there since everything is gated off anyway.



July 21st, 2018 at 8:38 PM ^

1. Walk the arb or go visit the botanical gardens on dixboro. 

2. BTB

3. Ashley's 

If you have time Hopcat, Jolly Pumpkin, HOMES Brewery, Wolverine State Brewing, Salt Springs Brewing  (Saline), Founders (Grand Rapids), Bell's Eccentric Cafe (KZoo), Short's (Bellaire), Oddside (Grand Haven), Speciation Artisan Ales (Comstock Park). 

4th phase

July 21st, 2018 at 10:11 PM ^

If you lived in a dorm on North make them ride the bus. 

If your kids are in highschool and thinking about applying to Michigan, email a professor in a department they are interested in. Depending what they like, the professor might be able to show them some interesting stuff.

Arb lover

July 21st, 2018 at 10:35 PM ^

Are any of your children possible four stars? Asking for a friend.

In all seriousness, your teens would probably like:

1) tubing down the rapids

2) brunch at the gandy dancer

3) big house

4) walking the arb

5) BTB or whatever they are into for fast food.

6) birds of prey at Leslie science center

Most teens would like all those A2 specific activities. Plenty of other great ideas but maybe more personality specific. 



July 21st, 2018 at 11:43 PM ^

Thanks for all the great ideas and comments so far. I’ll say:

Definately Zingerman’s over all. I lived down the street.  It was new then. The only challenge is I have to eat gluten free and my kids are vegan.  Don’t ask but its all for the right reasons. 

Definatly the campus appointment and tour. I assume that will hit all the key spots.  The Diag, the Law Quad and many more   

Definatly need to walk into the Big House. You use to be able to just walk in. Do they still allow that?

Not sure about North Campus.  The engineering school moved up there when I was on campus.  Is it still purgatory?

The river kayaking sounds interesting  l

They are more academic than athletic   

They've been to other parts of Michigan  Just not Ann Arbor   

Very into music  

What is Drakes?



July 22nd, 2018 at 7:48 AM ^


Diag ans Law Quad walk through

Michigan Union, play some pool upstairs

Stadium, especially if you can get inside

Nichols arboretum

Angelo's for breakfast/lunch


July 22nd, 2018 at 12:29 PM ^

Things have changed in the past 30 years.  Especially downtown and on North Campus.   The whole town/campus has become a lot ritzier.  If your family has specialized dining requirements you'll probably have an easy time finding establishments  that cater to your needs.