Things to Do in Ann Arbor
Light show at Hill Auditorium

Always Engaged

Explore your love of culture, arts, sports and food — in A2 there's something for everyone.

A Unique Place
People outside at a restaurant

Ann Arbor combines the energy and intellect of a college town with a big city's appetite for adventurous art, performances, culture, and food.

Whether you're interested in athletics, the arts, dining, music, the outdoors, or cool stuff to do with your kids, you'll find plenty to explore in Ann Arbor. People from all over the world come to make it their home!

Ann Arbor consistently finds itself on lists of the nation’s “top,” “great” and “best” places to live—cited for being everything from innovative, educated and digital to green, healthy and family friendly.

Start exploring your city with this 24 Hours in Ann Arbor guide and make sure to bookmark the Ann Arbor Observer City Guide for future reference. Watch Pure Michigan's One Day in Ann Arbor or their entire series about our beautiful state, and make sure to check out Visit Ann Arbor's YouTube channel for a variety of videos from around town. Don't forget to follow the local news on MLive.

Get to Know Ann Arbor

Big 10. Wolverines. Maize and Blue. Athletics at Michigan is about tradition, excitement, and the team, the team, the team.

Go from spectator to participant by joining an intramural team on campus or one of the rec leagues around town. Everyone can get in on the action with UMAISE - University of Michigan Adaptive & Inclusive Sports Experience and Michigan Adaptive Sports.

Go Blue!

Historically, Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan have been magnets for artists of every genre, enriching the lives of all who reside and visit. Halls, theaters, libraries and galleries of international renown attract performers from our own backyard and around the world. The University's Museum of Art is home to the state's second largest collection of art and regularly features traveling exhibitions.

Some ideas for satisfying your artistic side:

Bring your sense of adventure to the table when you visit Ann Arbor restaurants. Among the eclectic collection of restaurants you'll find cuisine ranging from Thai, Korean and Ethiopian, to continental, vegetarian and distinctly American.

When you prefer to dine in, there is a grocery store or specialty market to check off your shopping list. The Ann Arbor Farmers Market is open year-round on Saturdays and features more than 100 local vendors. Stop by the Maize and Blue Cupboard twice a month to pick up groceries at no charge. Keep an eye out for Ann Arbor Restaurant Week twice a year. Read a review of Ann Arbor’s food scene in The New York Times.

For more on places to explore, view our 24 Hours in Ann Arbor guide >

On or off campus, you are never too far away from a fresh-brewed cup. Ann Arbor is home to several locally owned java joints. Michigan Medicine and North Campus host many quick counter service coffee options, too.

See 5 coffee shops that are local favorites and get a map to visit each one.

Argus Farm Stop offers coffee drinks with locally sourced ingredients as part of its market, which connects shoppers directly to locally grown produce, meat, eggs, yogurt, and prepared foods.


Families can maximize their quality time with so many kid-friendly options in the city and surrounding areas. Explore the Ann Arbor area's many local parks and playgrounds, museums, festivals, libraries, sports events and more. Day trips to Detroit and Toledo to visit their zoos, spending an afternoon at a nearby orchard picking fruit or sipping cider, or kayaking on the Huron River make living here really fun.

Some must-see places for a family weekend:

Live music can be found almost any night of the week around town. The School of Music, Theatre & Dance hosts 900+ performances a year that are free and open to all students. The University Musical Society offers discounted tickets for students and curated playlists you can download.

If you like to perform, groups like the Life Sciences Orchestra and the Medical Arts Program Artists’ Guild are made up of members of the University of Michigan's medical and science community. Med students can join Auscultations for some a cappella fun.

Catch a live show at these local venues:

Unwind, let loose and/or be entertained till the wee hours. Many Ann Arbor restaurants feature a bar of their own where you can comfortably relax and enjoy cocktails on a date or with a group of friends.

Find a wide selection of bars and clubs, see what the local music scene has to offer and laugh along with your friends at a comedy show.

159 parks. 14 trails. One amazing river. Ann Arbor gives many good reasons to be outside in all four seasons.

Check out the conservatory at Matthaei Botanical Gardens and the big green space next door to Michigan Medicine, the Nichols Arboretum— known locally as the Arb and a popular place to visit in late spring, when hundreds of peonies bloom.


While Ann Arbor always has something great going on, it’s also located in a convenient spot to make a quick getaway possible.

In less than an hour, you can be in downtown Detroit with all of its professional sports and entertainment venues, or at a terminal in the international airport — just a quick 35-minute drive or ride from Ann Arbor.

Within hours, you can explore a sandy beach along the more than 3,000 miles of state shoreline, take in the majestic scenery of the Upper Peninsula, or explore metro gems like Chicago or Toronto.

30 minutes or less from Ann Arbor: Ypsilanti, Chelsea, Dexter, Manchester, Saline

Short drive (half day or less): Detroit, Chicago, Northern Michigan, Toronto

Explore the Pure Michigan Travel Planner.

Autumn in Ann Arbor is a popular time of year, which is no surprise for a place nicknamed “Tree Town.” Not to mention a certain event that attracts 100,000+ people to the Big House a few Saturdays during this season.

Fall Activities

  • Ann Arbor Marathon - The streets of Ann Arbor are turned over to the fleet feet of residents and visitors, starting at The Big House, then along the Huron River, and crossing the finish line on Main Street.
  • Canoe on the Huron River - The canoe liveries in Gallup Park and Argo Nature Area are open April through October.
  • Hike a trail in any of the splendid parks nearby. In addition to the Arb and other local parks, hikers enjoy convenient access to the 36-mile Waterloo Pinckney Trail just west of the city.
  • Browse the Ann Arbor Farmers Market in Kerrytown. Fall brings an abundance of locally grown (and made) goodies to the most popular produce place in the city, like crisp Michigan apples and sweet organic raspberries.
  • Visit the Dexter Cider Mill - One of many cider mills open seasonally, natural cider is pressed from locally grown apples here and offered with an abundance of fresh-baked treats.

For those who have never encountered a Michigan winter before, the move can bring up many questions about what life is like when the weather turns colder. Winter in Ann Arbor offers plenty of fun activities to keep you busy, indoors or out.

Winter Activities

From first thaw to full bloom, this season brings some of the most anticipated events of the year.

Spring Activities

  • Ann Arbor Film Festival - The longest running event of its kind, this festival brings a world of cinema to the screens of the Michigan Theater every March.
  • Festifools - An Ann Arbor original creation, this event kicks off the city’s outdoor festival season with a parade of larger-than-life, community-constructed puppets.
  • Earth Day Festival - Free annual event coordinated by local environmental groups and held at Leslie Science & Nature Center.
  • Dance for Mother Earth Powwow - Presented every March hosted by the University of Michigan Native American Student Association with assistance from the Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives and the EMU Native American Student Organization.

The pace of life slows in summer in Ann Arbor as days grow long and the city empties out. It's a time to savor gelato downtown on a quiet night, or grab a group of friends for one of the annual festivals that bring art and vibrancy to the season.

Summer Activities

  • Ann Arbor Book Festival - Held downtown each May, this festival celebrates the written word and highlights the city’s commitment to literacy.
  • Ann Arbor Summer Festival - Beginning in June every year, this three-week event is an exhilarating celebration of performing arts, outdoor entertainment and community spirit.
  • Ann Arbor Art Fair - In July, the streets of downtown Ann Arbor fill with artists and visitors from across the country to attend this nationally recognized event.
  • Outdoor fun - Golfing, hiking, horseback riding, swimming in lakes or neighborhood pools, fishing, or playing at the park — it’s all here!
  • African American Downtown Festival - Celebrated annually in Ann Arbor’s Historic Black Business District, this family-friendly event features live music and a variety of food vendors.
  • Sonic Lunch - Sponsored by Bank of Ann Arbor, this free summer outdoor concert series takes place at the corner of Liberty and Division in downtown Ann Arbor every Thursday at lunchtime.
  • Ann Arbor Pride - Formerly OUTFest, this weekend event is hosted by the Jim Toy Community Center.


I knew that my transition to Ann Arbor was complete when I found a community to be part of outside of the university. Yes, there are wonderful connections to be made on campus, but there is also a big world outside. Being part of something outside of science and outside of the University can help you un-tunnel your vision."

PhD student