Being from the Buckeye State, am I allowed to say that I love Ann Arbor? I fell quickly for this quirky, quaint and diverse city during my recent day trip to the town that bleeds maize and blue. My boyfriend did a majority of the planning for this short adventure, so I had a blast learning about all the fun things to do in the city in real time (vs. my usual pre-trip research). Here’s how to spend a perfect day in Ann Arbor, MI!
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A Perfect Day in Ann Arbor, MI
I have a similar picture here from downtown Detroit. Love the Kelsey Montague #WhatLiftsYou street murals!
- Get acquainted with downtown Ann Arbor by putting on your walking shoes and weaving through the small business filled streets. Stop in as many bookstores as possible but don’t miss Literari Bookstore to grab your morning cuppa. As an FYI, it’s very hard to find free public parking in downtown Ann Arbor. We parked at both the metered street spots, as well as in parking garages.
- Grab a hearty breakfast sandwich at Zingerman’s Delicatessen to fuel up for your hike.
- Drive about 15 minutes outside downtown Ann Arbor to take a nature walk in Bird Hills Nature Area. Pro-tip: Don’t forget the bug spray if you’re like me and mosquitoes find you within .5 seconds of exiting the car.
- If you’re feeling like more nature, hop back in your car and drive about 15 more minutes to visit the Matthaei Botanical Gardens. Peruse the plants and feel at peace. FYI, admission is free but parking is not.
- Drive back to downtown Ann Arbor to enjoy a lively festival. Is there anything better than street food on a hot summer day? Buy me a lemonade and a grilled hot dog (or ribs) and let’s call it lunch. When we were there, not one but two festivals were happening downtown. Ann Arbor is definitely a festival city (❤), so be sure to check out what party they will be celebrating before you visit.
- Thirsty? Head to Bløm Meadworks for a mead tasting! Get the flight and relax in this trendy, modern facility.
- Eat at Aventura. Eat at Aventura. That’s not a typo. I meant to say it twice because I have strong opinions about this restaurant…all of which are good! This modern Spanish tapas eatery gave me nostalgic pangs for Sevilla, Spain where I studied abroad. Order the spicy patatas bravas with a fried egg on top, albóndigas de cordero, gambas al ajillo and the croquetas de jamon. Sit outside in their backyard patio and munch on deliciousness while you dream of a Spanish getaway.
- Walk off some of those calories by shopping at the downtown Ann Arbor boutiques. A few of my favorites that I visited included Paper Source and Cherry Republic. You might also consider taking a stroll throughout the University of Michigan campus grounds.
- Head to Ashley’s for cheap college drink specials and a lot of beer options! If you like sweeter beers, I’d recommend the fruity flight.
This Midwest city is easy to love and I (somewhat) envy the people that get to call this place home. If you’re looking to plan a last minute summer trip, head up north and create your own perfect day in Ann Arbor, MI.
Have you ever visited Ann Arbor? What was the best thing you ate, drank, or saw? Tell me in the comments below!
A special thank you to Brian for feeding my love of travel.
“Actually, the best gift you could have given her was a lifetime of adventures…” -Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland