Imagine this you’ve got a weekend coming up, and you’re out of things to do. Oh NO. That’s an unacceptable state of things while we’re around – especially in Ann Arbor! This versatile multicultural city has recreational opportunities in abundance. From museums to hiking trails, and music festivals to climbing gyms, we’ve got it all. 

So,  urban adventurers, unite! Here are our favorite things to do in Ann Arbor over a weekend.

1. Explore the outdoors

Explore the outdoors
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Opportunities for season-appropriate outdoor activities, such as kayaking, canoeing, stand-up paddle boarding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating, mountain biking trails, hiking trails and golf courses are sprinkled throughout the city of Ann Arbor. There are some unusual ones as well. We love Boober Tours and High Five Pedal Tours, which allow people to hire pedi bikes and go on tours of the city. You can also hire them for special occasions, like weddings, or as shuttles for football games or festivals – and you bet you’ll get a workout while traveling! Another favorite for us is the Ann Arbor Skatepark. The city-owned 30,000-square-foot world-class park is actually free for the public! It has kidney pools, a snake run, clover and flow bowls, and a rock ride. ​

Just outside and around the city are many nature reserves that have walking paths, such as Barton nature area, Bluffs Nature Area and Parker Mill Park, to name just two out of dozens. And you can end your day of outdoor adventure with a visit to The Petting Farm, where you’ll get to pet alpacas, cows, horses, barn cats and lots of other animals! 

2. Cultural hallmarks

Cultural hallmarks
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We feel like the acid test of a city is always the cultural scene, and Ann Arbor has a thriving one. There are so many museums on the University of Michigan campus alone, and even more centers of culture outside. 

One such center is the Jim Toy Community Center, bar, a beloved gathering place for the area’s LGBTQIA+ community and its allies. It hosts a lot of events such as drag queen bingo nights, book clubs and, of course, the pride march. And for the party side of things, it’s also where Michigan’s longest-running lgbtq night,  Necto Pride, is held! 

We also cannot recommend the African American Cultural & History Museum enough. It has many exhibits, events and tours that explore the history of the community with multimedia displays that include art, literature and music. And if you’re lucky enough to be in the city in spring, you could attend the Dance For Mother Earth Pow Wow. Native American communities from the Great Lakes area across both US and Canada gather here to celebrate the season. More than 1,000 singers, dancers, and artisans join in to perform for an audience of 12,000 or more. 

Some suggestions for the  book lovers – Ann Arbor is home to many libraries and bookstores. We pop by William L. Clements Library, Ann Arbor District Library, and the Literati Bookstore, all the time – and we’re naming only a couple here. Our favourite, though, is the Bentley Historical Library on the University of Michigan’s North Campus. It houses historical records of the entire city!

And to learn more about Ann Arbor, you can opt for the city tours, such as Around Town Tours, and Ann Arbor Architecture Tour. 

3. Captivating creatives

Captivating creatives
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On the topic of cultural scenes – Ann Arbor is a treasure trove of galleries, museums, theaters and concert halls. The Ann Arbor Art fair and the Ann Arbor Summer fair features local, national and international artists. The University of Michigan campus has a world-renowned art museum. There are also lots of options to make art, at places like  

Flipside Art Studio, Painting With A Twist, Usartquest, White Pine Studios, Motawi Tileworks and I.B. Remsen Pottery Studio. 

Music lovers can head to the Ann Arbor Opera theater, The Ark, Blue Llama Jazz Club and Academy Of Early Music to listen to classical and contemporary music. The Ann Arbor Folk Festival is also a wonderful place to listen to live performances.

And apart from the performances held at Power Centre for Performing Arts and various on-campus auditoriums by students of University of Michigan – that includes luminaries such as Lucy Liu!- there is the WCC College Theater.

4. Knicks and knacks

Knicks and knacks
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Downtown Ann Arbor is famous for its huge variety of shops,  selling everything from books to luxury apparel to gourmet cuisine. 

You could head to the Food Dixboro Farmers Market, Pittsfield Township Farmers Market, Slow Farm, Westside Farmers Market and White Lotus Farms for all your fresh produce and baked goods needs. There are lots of opportunities to experience some pampering, with massage therapy studios such as Spavia and RelaxStation. But our favorites are the thrift shops dotted around the city! They sell unique vintage and antique pieces. Thistle & Bess, Lost and Found Vintage, The Get Up Vintage and Rag Stock are just a couple of the options available. 

5. Sports

Sports
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The University of Michigan is at the heart of Ann Arbor’s culture. Arguably,  its greatest contributions are to the arts and sports! The area’s biggest football stadium is on its campus – often referred to as ‘The Big House.’ You can take a tour through the stadium, or catch a game there. There are community basketball centers you can go to play at. 

You could head to Wolverine Pickleball to join a community of players, or to Buhr Park Outdoor Ice Arena for a spot of skating.On the more eccentric side of things, there’s Axe Ventura, where you can learn how to throw an ax on target (!). 

6. Eat, play, have fun! 

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In Ann Arbor, we are in an area bustling with great cuisine from across the word. Our regular giants include restaurants that serve Lebanese and Mediterranean food, food from across Asia, and of course places that serve all the American classics. We also love Conor O’neill’s Irish Pub & Restaurant. And to get a taste of a little bit of everything across the historical districts of Ann Arbor, opt for Zingerman’s Food Tours. Our outstanding favorite is definitely Tiny Lions Lounge And Adoption Center! It’s a cat-feteria – a cafeteria with little felines wandering about! Not only do you get to eat delicious food, you also get to hang out with some four-legged friends.

7. Party city

Party city
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And we’re parting with you on a partying note! No matter what your age – there are options to let your hair down in Ann Arbor. For the adults, there are clubs and bars such as Live nightclub, Venue By 4m, Blue Karaoke, Club Above, Babs’ Underground and Lo-Fi. 

The kids-at-heart can go to Keystone Bar & Arcade, or join the kids at Nickels Arcade, Pinball Pete’s or Launch Ann Arbor. The latter has an extensive indoor play arena, with trampolines, climbing walls, rope nets and more.

And last but certainly not least, you could come visit us – at the Ann Arbor Breakout rooms! We specialize in fun, brilliant, clever, imaginative escape room experiences. 

What’s an escape room, you ask? Well, it’s a puzzle-based part scavenger hunt. You will be locked into a supervised room, in which you have to find clues, solve riddles and complete challenges to ‘break out’ or ‘escape’. The rooms can be both physical and virtual, and you can pick them based on theme, group size & experience level. Currently, we have 6 rooms – Zombie Roadhouse, Heart Of A Pirate, Ringmaster’s Den for both groups and one-on-one, Ghost Zone and Chamber Of Illusions- so there’s something for everyone! The games are fully Immersive and a host will guide you through them. 

It’s the perfect activity for the whole family.  You can book your slots here.

Those are our top picks for the perfect weekend in Ann Arbor! Let us know which one you liked best, and if there is something you love that we missed. 

And see you at Ann Arbor Breakout rooms soon!