- Lifestyle & Sports
- 06 Nov 14
Stomping grounds to the likes of Iggy Pop and Bob Seger, what Ann Arbor lacks in size it makes up for in character. Abbreviated as “A2” by the locals, the city is an artistic and educational hub teeming with pride.
Where is it?
While you could locate the quaint college town on a map, a resident will be more likely to trace directions on their hand. Ann Arbor is located in the Midwestern US in Michigan – fondly known as the “Mitten State”. Whether the nickname truly comes from its resemblance to the garment or from the serious need for mittens during the cold winter months, we’ll never know.
How do I get there?
Fly into Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, then take a taxi or rent a car to be in Ann Arbor in under half an hour.
What language do they speak?
Ann Arbor is an English-speaking city, though it’s not uncommon to overhear international University of Michigan students conversing in their mother tongues.
What is the local beer like?
Take yourself on a walking tour of Ann Arbor ales. Start at the Jolly Pumpkin, a local favorite for craft beers. Then find your way to Arbor Brewing Company for a pint before trying a beer from Grizzly Peak. Make your final destination Bill’s Beer Garden, a seasonal courtyard where you can sit outside and sample even more Michigan-made beer.
The greatest divide in American history (no, not the Civil War), is the pop vs. soda debate. In Michigan, “pop” is the moniker of choice for the fizzy drink.
What is transport like?
At under 80 square kilometers, the best parts of Ann Arbor can easily be seen on foot. Michigan is widely recognized as the center of the US automotive industry, however – so people do have quite an affinity for cars.
What is the food like?
No trip to Ann Arbor is complete without a stop at Zingerman’s Delicatessen. Order their house Reuben for a taste of what’s been named one of the “Best Sandwiches in America.”
With an extensive menu of quality, handpicked ingredients, it’s not just a sandwich shop, it’s an institution. Those with a sweet tooth will want to queue outside Cupcake Station to try one, or all, of the 24 flavors made fresh every day. For the indecisive, the monthly “Mystery Bump-a-Licious” cupcake is always a solid choice.
What’s the nightlife like?
In the grand tradition of the American college lifestyle, Ann Arbor is a party town. If you wander into student territory, you run the risk of finding yourself in a swarm of over-enthusiastic fraternity boys. Doesn’t sound so bad? Check Rick’s for an authentic varsity vibe. For cocktails outside the realm of extreme Wolverine pride, The Raven’s Club and The Last Word are your best bet. After a few drinks, check out The Ark or Blind Pig for a gig.
What are the touristy things to do?
“Hail! Hail! to Michigan/The champions of the West!” For the true Ann Arbor experience, don the colours maize and blue and watch a Wolverines [American] football game. The University of Michigan team’s all-time winning percentage is the best in college football history.
Any sports fanatic will go mad for a glimpse at “The Big House,” the largest stadium in the US, with a capacity of 109,000. Those less interested in football can spend the day at Kerrytown. Named after Ireland’s own County Kerry, it is an area of pristinely preserved buildings original to Ann Arbor which now house shops, restaurants and a farmer’s market.
When should i go?
Autumn. If not for the football, for the foliage. Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum are beautiful ways to enjoy Ann Arbor’s outdoors. For even more nature, bundle up and canoe down the Huron, just one of the four Great Lakes which Michigan borders. Also, cider, doughnuts and pumpkins are never too far away at this time of year.
If you can’t make it to Ann Arbor until spring, not to worry. Every March the city holds North America’s longest-running film festival. In the summer, Bank of Ann Arbor puts on Sonic Lunch, a series of free concerts at noon on Thursdays. There are also loads of museums to be seen, including the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum and the University of Michigan Museum of Art.
What should I bring home?
Books. Until recently, Ann Arbor was home to the flagship store of major retailer Borders. Though the chain closed its doors a few years back, the town still has a massive appreciation for literature. Bookstores are plentiful and the University library ranks in the top 10 largest libraries in the US. If, however, you’re not the reading type, pick up some U Mich. apparel to look like a real Ann Arborite on your own shores.