Ann Arbor really isn’t part of Michigan; it’s a state of mind: a pretentious, eccentric, self-involved state of mind. Soaring property values have scared away most of the really cool and funky folks who made the city interesting originally. If you’re looking for them, check out nearby Ypsilanti especially Depot Town and environs.
But if you find yourself in A2, you’ve got some options:
Eating: Try the “hippy hash” at the Fleetwood Diner. Sit inside so you can overheard the conversations between the waitstaff and the cook which are always a blast. And grab a pint of “Sacred Cow” I.P.A. at the Arbor Brewing Company (the beer is exceptional but AVOID the food.) For lunch hit the hippest food stall in town at “Le Dog” (They have lobster bisque on Fridays.) If it’s Wednesday or Thursday night, check out the Laith Al-Saadi trio at Good Night Gracie’s or one of the cool acts that play the Blind Pig just down the street.
Free Fun: If you’ve got kids or a perverse attraction for the overly cute, stroll around downtown Main Street and try to spot the “fairy doors.” Check out urban-fairies.com if you really want more info but trust me, you really probably don’t. The University Art Museum is not bad for its size and the University’s Natural History Museum is also fun. Commune with nature at the Arboretum or for that matter in the Cemetary that’s nearby. Friday nights there’s usually a free Japanese movie over at Lorch Hall.
Shopping: Saturday mornings check out the three-story second-hand paradise that is the Kiwannis Sale or the Farmer’s Market over in Kerrytown area. And check out The Vault of Midnight which is a pretty nice comic shop that oddly enough is NOT open until midnight.
Hundreds of thousands of people come for the Ann Arbor Art Fair in July but the real fun happens a couple weeks earlier during the “Top of the Park” festival where there are bands, and movies and beer and dancing in a family friendly outdoor atmostphere.
None of these things on its own really qualifies as a reason to go out of your way for a visit but if you’re hitching your way between Detroit and Chicago, well Ann Arbor is a nice a stop as any.over 6 years ago