What to do while in Ann Arbor

Submitted by seanml11 on June 4th, 2010 at 11:26 PM

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!



June 4th, 2010 at 11:33 PM ^

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.

My name ... is Tim

June 4th, 2010 at 11:53 PM ^

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.

South Bend Wolverine

June 5th, 2010 at 2:17 AM ^

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.


June 5th, 2010 at 10:40 AM ^

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

South Bend Wolverine

June 5th, 2010 at 4:25 PM ^

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.


June 4th, 2010 at 11:55 PM ^

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.




June 4th, 2010 at 11:56 PM ^

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.


June 5th, 2010 at 12:25 AM ^

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?  :-)


June 5th, 2010 at 12:31 AM ^

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.


June 5th, 2010 at 12:44 AM ^

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!


June 5th, 2010 at 12:51 AM ^

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.


June 5th, 2010 at 1:07 AM ^

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.


June 5th, 2010 at 1:10 AM ^

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.


June 5th, 2010 at 1:34 PM ^

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.


June 5th, 2010 at 1:41 AM ^

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

Monocle Smile

June 5th, 2010 at 2:47 AM ^

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.


June 5th, 2010 at 6:08 AM ^

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?