48 Hours: Ann Arbor, where visitors can explore Midwest’s ultimate college town

Posted October 16. 2017

By ANNALISE IRAOLA

Hidden away in Michigan, deep in the Midwest, lies not only the highest rated public university in America, but one of the best cities to live in. Ann Arbor, Mich., is home to more than 120,000 people, making it a small but lively city with plenty of places to explore, eat, and learn. The University of Michigan is located in Ann Arbor, making for an interesting mix of people when the university’s central campus and the city’s downtown streets overlap. The city is appealing to visit during any season, but the most scenic time is during the fall when the students are back and the leaves are changing. This environment encapsulates what it is to live in Ann Arbor.

FRIDAY

Ann Arbor, Mich., is located about 35 miles west of Detroit (Map courtesy of Google Maps).

12 p.m. – 2 p.m.
Lunch at Zingerman’s Delicatessen-

Located in the Kerrytown District, this famous deli has made a name for itself for serving quality, wholesome ingredients since 1982. The menu offers many options but the most well- known items are their made to order sandwiches, packed with artisan ingredients like hand sliced meat and cheese. The average cost of a meal at Zingerman’s Delicatessen will cost you anywhere between $15 to $30. It is a fast casual restaurant with no dress code and plenty of friendly faces to take your order and answer any questions you have.

2 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Stroll through Kerrytown Market & Shops.

Less than a five-minute walk from Zingerman’s in the historic Kerrytown District you will find Kerrytown Market & Shops. Home to 22 different markets and shops this area of Ann Arbor almost seems to move a little slower. Guests take their time as they wander from specialty shop to specialty shop. Home to shops like Hollander’s, which sells decorative papers and cards, to Ann Arbor Spice Merchants, which sells exotic spices and herbs from all around the world this market has something for everyone.

4 p.m. – 5 p.m.
University of Michigan Museum of Art

This museum is located on South Street in the heart of central campus. Stop there for a quick unguided tour of what the UMMA has to offer. This museum is free for guests, but donations are accepted. A museum features several collections of art including African, Asian, Western and more. Depending on the time of year, the exhibits are always changing. But, as one of the largest university art museums in the U.S., there is always plenty to see.

6 p.m.- 8 p.m.
Sava’s

After working up an appetite from all that walking, head down to Sava’s for an enjoyable dining experience. The menu offers a diverse selection from tofu hippie bowls to sirloin steaks, one of the most recognized choices on the menu is Sava’s Mac & Cheese made with smoked gouda and aged white cheddar, it’s sure to satisfy. Sava’s also makes a large selection of specialty cocktails and several non-alcoholic drinks like their lavender-infused lemonade. Choose indoor or outdoor seating for a dimly lit cozy dining experience or look out to face Ann Arbor’s well known State Street.

9 p.m.
Grab a drink at Ashley’s

Just a short walk south down State Street, you will find Ashley’s. This is a small, but usually packed, restaurant/bar that boasts a “world class selection of beer and ale.” This joint has been a part of Ann Arbor since 1983 and is one of the few bars that you get a good mix of college-aged and adult guests depending on the season and night. Here you can find a plethora of beer and whiskey or if you feel like window shopping pass by Nichol’s Arcade just a few storefronts away where you’ll find antique stores and quaint boutiques tucked away in a beautiful location. Although the stores will be closed by this time the arcade itself serves as a beautiful walkway worth strolling through.

SATURDAY

10 a.m.
Fleetwood Diner

Start off the day at true Ann Arbor classic known as the Fleetwood Diner. Housed in a dining car/trailer this hole-in-the-wall is a must visit. The prices are extremely affordable and the place never closes. It feeds all kinds of characters late into the night. The most famous dish Fleetwood is known for is the Hippie Hash. The website lists its ingredients as “homemade hash browns topped with grilled tomato, green pepper, onion, mushroom and broccoli topped with feta cheese-” served in a hearty portion for a small price. Although famous for it’s Hippie Hash, the menu has a wide selection of your typical diner breakfast options and more.

12 p.m.
The Big House

During the fall, you might not see many people around come noon on a Saturday. That’s because the city essentially shuts down when there’s a home football game. Once the game has started people either watch from their homes, bars — or at the Big House. The university is well known for its football program so if you’re in the mood to watch football you can purchase tickets online in advance. The University of Michigan’s stadium is affectionately known as the Big House. The stadium seats almost the entire population of the city, more than 109,000 people can attend making it the largest stadium in the United States.

2 p.m.
Law Quad/University of Michigan’s campus

After attending the university’s main attraction there are still many places to see. Walk through the University of Michigan’s central campus downtown and head to the Law Quad. The Gothic style buildings were beautifully designed, making them a common place for photographers and students to visit. The Quad is open 24 hours there might be students playing games like frisbee or catch, but it is a calming environment to walk through, or bring a blanket and enjoy the scenery as many students like do. Close by to the Quad are many other university buildings, all within walking distance.

3 p.m.
Pizza House

Whether planning on a late lunch or early dinner Ann Arbor’s Pizza House is one place you don’t want to miss. On game day, it is Ann Arbor’s No. 1 destination aside from the Big House and seats 500 guests. Located just a few blocks away from the Law Quad, this restaurant is one of the staples of Ann Arbor. Pizza House caters to all of your pizza needs, but its specialty is Chicago deep dish. Open from 10:30 a.m. until 4 a.m. this family-owned restaurant caters to the late night needs of both townies and students alike and is sure to make a return customer out of visitors.

4 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Nichol’s Arboretum

After lunch just a 15-minute walk away lies a hidden oasis. Known as the Arb for short this sprawling landscape is one of Ann Arbor’s most beautiful natural areas. The Arb is open from sunrise until sunset, and features a peony garden during season. Nature enthusiasts and visitors will enjoy the many trails and paths that wind through and around Nichol’s Arboretum. If visiting in the fall, the changing leaves and crisp air will create the perfect scenic walk.

6 p.m.
Aventura

For dinner and drinks, Aventura is one of the city’s best places to do both. Known for their modern Spanish tapas this is the perfect place to go with a group or in a pair. The small plates are perfect for sharing and the ambiance makes it a great place to go on a date or with friends. Voted one of the best restaurants in the Midwest by Condé Nast Traveler this is a unique spot to dine. Make a reservation on Opentable or simply walk in and enjoy.

8 p.m.
South Main Street/South University

Walk down main street after and grab a dessert at one of the many local restaurants that line the street, like Gratzi, Palio’s, or the Black Pearl. There are plenty of local stores to check out as well such as the Cherry Republic that sells all things cherry, or the Shinola store that sells watches and other handmade items all made in Detroit. If you feel like having another drink around students later or grabbing a quick casual bite to eat, South University has plenty of options that line the avenue. There are several franchise restaurants and college bars such as Rick’s, Cantina and the Blue Leprechaun so this area will be swarmed with college-age students.

SUNDAY

11 a.m.
Cafe Zola

One of the best places to grab brunch in the city is Cafe Zola. This restaurant has everything from sweet crepes to savory omelets, have a glass of their freshly squeezed orange juice or maybe indulge in one of the many breakfast cocktails on the menu. Influenced by many cultures the menu has French, Italian, Mediterranean- and some Turkish Cuisine.

 

If You Go

Location: Ann Arbor, Mich.

Restaurants

  • Zingerman’s Delicatessen— 422 Detroit St., Ann Arbor, Mich., 48104, hours: 7 a.m. – 10 p.m. everyday.
  • Kerrytown Market and Shops— 407 N. 5th Ave., Ann Arbor, Mich. 48104
  • University of Michigan Museum of Art— Tuesday through Saturday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Sunday 12–5 p.m. 525 South State St.
  • Sava’s- 216 S. State St., Ann Arbor, Mich. 48104
  • Ashley’s- 338 S. State St., Ann Arbor, Mich. 48104
  • Fleetwood Diner- 300 S Ashley St, Ann Arbor, Mich. 48104

Sights to See

  • Michigan Stadium— 1201 S. Main St., Ann Arbor, Mich. 48104
  • Law Quadrangle— 625 S. State St., Ann Arbor, Mich. 48109
  • Pizza House— 618 Church St., Ann Arbor, Mich. 48104
  • Nichols Arb— 1610 Washington Heights, Ann Arbor, Mich. 48104
  • Aventura— 216 E. Washington St., Ann Arbor, Mich., S Main St, Ann Arbor Mich.,
    S. University Avenue, Ann Arbor, Mich.

Other Information

  • Hours: Hours of operation vary by day and location, most restaurants are open late.
  • Cost: Admission is free for every attraction except the Big House, which you will need to purchase tickets for and can do so by visiting Michigan Athletic’s Website at http://www.mgoblue.com/sports/2017/6/16/tickets-fbl-index-html.aspx
  • Parking: On Sundays in Ann Arbor, all parking is free unless specified by sign. Nearly all street-parking in is metered, so carry quarters if you plan on parking on the street. Ann Arbor has many large and easy to find parking structures that take both cash and card. To find which one is closest visit this site for rates and hours http://rpsa2.com/Location-and-Rates
  • Lodging: If looking to stay right in the heart of downtown for an antique feel visit the Bell Tower Hotel. If you want to keep that same location but are looking for a more modern stay the Residence Inn by Marriott is also nearby. Most of the lodging in the area is a short drive from downtown and can be reached within 15 minutes.
    For more information: go to https://www.visitannarbor.org/play