What to do in Ann Arbor, MI

Activities, attractions and tours
Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor Attractions

Ann Arbor—named in part for the stands of bur oaks dotting the banks of the Huron River—is both quintessential college town and major Michigan metropolis. Lively coffee shops and libraries lit by stained-glass windows keep the city in an intellectual frame of mind, while leading cultural institutions like the University of Michigan Museum of Art and the Ark lend a decidedly cosmopolitan feel. Whether you want to take in a show hosted by the University Musical Society or stroll Main Street in search of a savory sandwich, Tree Town offers something for everyone.

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What to do in Ann Arbor

Free Things to Do in Ann Arbor

An escape to Ann Arbor need not cost a fortune. You won't even need your wallet if you go to:

University of Michigan Museum of Art - Check to see if there are any major exhibits, displays or guided tours on at this popular museum.

Buhr Park - Treat the kids to a good time or let your own inner child run free — this place just screams fun.

University of Michigan - If you're an admirer of modern-style architecture, add this attraction to your to-do list.

Law Quadrangle - If you're planning to explore the history of the region through its landmarks, mark this one down on your travel itinerary.

Gerald R. Ford Library - Widely renowned among the locals, this site is worth dropping by.

Nichols Arboretum - Prepare a picnic and enjoy a relaxing walk around the trees and shrubs.

Areas & Neighborhoods in Ann Arbor

If the University of Michigan is responsible for imbuing Ann Arbor with its scholarly vibe, then Ann Arbor's neighborhoods are responsible for its Midwestern charm. From the family-run delis lining Main Street to the Old World feel of the Old West Side, a stroll through Ann Arbor's enclaves offer an illuminating look at a city shaped by millworkers, immigrants, and academics.

Main Street

A 45-minute drive lands you in the heart of Ann Arbor, where a bevy of mainstream and independent purveyors beckon—from nostalgic record shops to outdoorsy athletic purveyors and swanky farm-to-table restaurants.


As Main Street bleeds into Kerrytown, you’ll find Ann Street—the thoroughfare Bob Seger crooned about in his 1976 hit single "Mainstreet." Fresh-roasted coffee, handcrafted jewelry, and the Ann Arbor Farmers Market are all attractions that lure visitors to Kerrytown’s tree-lined streets.

Old West Side

Gothic cottages and charming colonials dominate the scenery in Ann Arbor's Old West Side, a residential neighborhood along the city's western edge. Seasonal events like the late-May or early-June Children's Festival and the Lurie Terrace Concert lend a community feel to this historically German locale.

Things to See in Ann Arbor

With its densely forested public parks and lanes canopied with oak and ash trees, Ann Arbor is a verdant gem. Once you've filled up on natural beauty, check out a live performance. Begin at the University Musical Society, one of the United States' oldest and most beloved performing arts centers, which hosts everything from live jazz to choral acts. Nearby, see American folk and new roots musicians take the stage inside The Ark's 400-seat theater. The Michigan Theater is also worth a visit, offering showings of independent films and symphony performances inside a fully-restored movie palace.

Sightseeing in Ann Arbor

Fed by the endless energy of active twenty-somethings and the lively waters of the Huron River, there's always something to do in Ann Arbor. For a look at the city's preeminent art collection, pay a visit to the University of Michigan Museum of Art, which focuses on European, Asian, African, and American artwork. Next, get a breath of fresh air at Nichols Arboretum—which students lovingly refer to as "the Arb"—or else head to the Argo Canoe Livery, where you can rent a canoe, kayak, raft, or tube for a ride down the Huron. If you plan to visit in the fall, reserve tickets well in advance to catch a game at the Big House—although Michigan Stadium happens to be the largest football stadium in the country, home games almost always sell out.

Things to Do in Ann Arbor with Kids

Few things beat hanging out as a family. Ann Arbor has a great selection of family friendly experiences that the whole gang will want to try:


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Frequently asked questions

What to do in Ann Arbor on a rainy day?
A SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium is a fantastic indoor activity if the weather forecast isn’t great.
What should I not miss in Ann Arbor?
You simply can’t go home without checking off the following list of sensational sights:

  • University of Michigan
  • Michigan Stadium
  • Ann Arbor Hands On Museum
  • University of Michigan Museum of Art

Are there cheap things to do in Ann Arbor?
What can you do in Ann Arbor for free?
You’ll barely have time to fetch your wallet out of your bag with so many free things to do:

  • University of Michigan
  • University of Michigan Museum of Art
  • Gerald R. Ford Library
  • Eastern Michigan University

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