Coming to Ann Arbor soon? Bored is the last thing you’ll be! There’s so much to do downtown, from shopping to sports to delicious dinners at great bars, cafes and restaurants. We’ve got our favorite activities, and we thought we’d share them with you! So here are our top 10 favourite activities for Ann Arbor.

1. Go Shopping In Style

Things to do in downtown ann arbor 14


This historic district knows how to mix the old with the new. it’s a vibrant cultural hotspot set in Ann Arbor’s iconic downton area, within beautiful old brick streets. Fashion, jewelry, art, decor and toys are just a few of the goods you can find here. The markets are filled with both new and upscale brands, and vintage thrift shops and antiques stores. There are also many locally-owned shops of fresh produce straight from the farm, and gourmet baked goods. Our favorite spots are the Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market and the Ann Arbor Artisans’ Market!

State Street

State street
Things to do in downtown ann arbor 15

Shops and cafes are the mainstays of State Street. It actually has a ladies’ night for bars and eateries to offer discounts! There are also art exhibitions here throughout the year. There’s also The MichiganTheater and State Theatre nearby, as well as Liberty Cinema for a day out at the pictures.

 2. Eat Out

Eat out
Things to do in downtown ann arbor 16

Beer Bars

What’s a downtown area without a thriving cuisine scene? Ann Arbor is known for its amazing bars, cafes and restaurants. There are beer bars like Hop Cat, which has a hundred beers on tap!  These include local, regional, and Belgian varieties. The bar is known for its ambience, decor and artwork, and of course, its food. We’d recommend their once-a-week five-beer, four-course dinner.

American Diners 

If you’re a fan of the classics, don’t worry! Ann Arbor does well at both traditional and trendy. There are downton diners that offer traditional American favorites like mac and cheese, barbecue, crab cakes, fried chicken and grits. They use locally sourced meat and produce, and get the best of breweries and wineries across the nation. 

Exotic Cuisine

And for the adventurous ones, there are options for Mediterranean, Mexican, Japanese and Turkish cuisines, to name only a few.

3. Go on a Food Tour

Things to do in downtown ann arbor 17

Beer Biking

Have you heard of beer biking? The activity is becoming more and more popular in Europe and Australia and now it’s here in Ann Arbor! There are companies that will take you on bar crawls on rented bikes and trolleys. 

Brewery Tour

There are some amazing breweries in the downtown area, such as Arbor Brewing Company, Grizzly Peak, Jolly Pumpkin and Blue Tractor, and you can walk to all of them in turn. Further out are Corner Brewery, Tap Room and Original Gravity, and if you want a longer trek, those are options too!

4. Check Out Unique Events and Live Performances

Festivals and fairs
Things to do in downtown ann arbor 18

Festivals and Fairs

Ann Arbor celebrates the things it loves with lots of different types of festivals. Sports, music, art, culture, theater, even seasons – you name it, we probably have a festival for it! There’s also the State Street Area Art Fair. It’s one of four fairs that take place in Ann Arbor every July. Multimedia works by hundreds of artists are featured there, and thousands of people come to visit.  

University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance 

Theatre dance
Things to do in downtown ann arbor 19

Want to see the next generation’s stars rehearse their craft? Then head to events put up by University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance! You can watch musicals by ensembles like orchestras, choirs, and chamber music and jazz groups, as well as operas, plays, and dance performances. They’re held at the Earl V. Moore building, Hill Auditorium and the Power Center for the Performing Arts. World-famous artists, from Rachmaninoff to the Grateful Dead, have performed here!

5. Catch a Game

Things to do in downtown ann arbor 20

University of Michigan Football Stadium

Why go anywhere else to watch a game when the largest college football stadium in North America, the University of Michigan Football Stadium, is in your backyard?! The stadium is often called the Big House by locals and it’s bustling with games and activity year-round. You can even go on a tour of the location, if you want.

Crisler Center

The Crisler Center arena is the home ground for the University’s men’s and women’s basketball teams and the women’s gymnastics team – so you know you’ll get to see some fantastic stunts in there!

6. Gain Some Knowledge

Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library

Gerald r. Ford presidential library
Things to do in downtown ann arbor 21

Got a big reader or a history buff in the family? The historical Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum might be just the thing for them. The library has important records about Gerald Ford, the 38th President of the United States – but it also has an extensive collection of memorabilia about events like the Cold War. What a walk down memory lane!

7. Take A Walk Amongst Nature

Matthaei Botanical Gardens & Nichols Arboretum

Matthaei botanical gardens nichols arboretum
Things to do in downtown ann arbor 22

This one’s for those who love hiking among gardens, trails and conservatories. At the Botanical Garden, you can see displays inspired by the Great Lakes, Bonsai cultivation and even Garfield! There’s a vast network of trails for trekking and birdwatching. Meanwhile, the peony garden at ‘the Arb’ is a popular hangout spot for locals. The area is also a protected habitat for lots of native plant species.

8. Paddle Down The Huron River

Paddle down the huron river
Things to do in downtown ann arbor 23

When in doubt, row it out! (That’s not a real saying, we just made it up because we love this activity so much.) Go kayaking, canoeing or paddleboarding on the Huron River. The calm water body is perfect for both beginners and experienced people. 

9. Add some whimsy to your life

Find The Fairy Doors

Find the fairy doors
Things to do in downtown ann arbor 24

Ever heard of Fairy Doors? Ann Arbor has dozens of them! They’re tiny doors that you can find in stores, cafes and other places throughout downtown Ann Arbor. It’s a great activity for both kids and those who are kids-at-heart!

Experience the Seasons

Experience the seasons
Things to do in downtown ann arbor 25

We know we’re biased, but we think that the best way to explore Ann Arbor is on foot during fall season. The foliage in and around the city is breathtaking in all their flaming glory in these months. We especially love visiting Gallup Park and Scio Woods Preserve. By the way, they aren’t too shabby in blossoming spring or icy winter, either!

10. Try an escape room

Ann Arbor Breakout Rooms

Ann arbor breakout rooms 1
Things to do in downtown ann arbor 26

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.

And those are our top 10 picks for things to do in downtown Ann Arbor! Which one is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!