These 20+ Things To Do in Ann Arbor Are Your Ultimate Guide To Exploring A Squared

Zingerman's Deli is a foodie's favorite thing to do in Ann Arbor.

Find Your Kind of Fun in Ann Arbor

Of all the amazing Michigan vacation destinations, Ann Arbor always ranks among the top cities to visit. 

Ann Arbor is most famously known as the home to the University of Michigan, whose campus’s beauty is enough to beckon even the biggest Sparty fan to come and see. But there are actually so many more things to do in in Ann Arbor outside of the UM campus.

From outdoor adventures to delicious local eats to iconic attractions – it’s all here waiting to be explored. 

Iconic Things to do in Ann Arbor

A Squared (A2), Tree Town, Wolverine Town. Whatever you call this city northwest of Detroit, it’s a place that holds entertainment for all ages and family types.

Whether you’re planning a visit alone, with friends, or with family, you’re gonna want to go ahead and save this list for your next trip to Ann Arbor. Whatever combo of activities you choose to do from this list, it’s sure to be a trip for the books!

These classic Ann Arbor attractions need to be on your must-see list. Read on to find out why these are some of the best things to do in Ann Arbor.

Shopping State Street in Ann Arbor is one of the favorite things to do in Ann Arbor

State Street District 

Located on the east side of downtown Ann Arbor, the State Street District is home to many of the spots on this list.

Highlighted among the street are museums, musical venues, restaurants, shops, and more.

State street is also host to several festivals and fairs throughout the year. Out of all the things to do in Ann Arbor, this destination is a great place to start if you’d rather not make a plan and just want to see where the wind takes you.

Nickels Arcade

326 S State St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Opened in 1917, Nickels Arcade is one of the most historic buildings in Ann Arbor. (And no, it’s not just full of arcade games that cost a nickel.) 

Originally built to house a wide range of vendors, the tradition is still ongoing. Today you’ll find antique shops, candy stores, clothing stores and more specialty stores that occupy the building.

It’s one of the most aesthetic things to do in Ann Arbor, so be ready to snap some pics for the IG.

Nickels Arcade  is one of the classic things to do in Ann Arbor

Burton Tower

230 N Ingalls St, Ann Arbor, MI 48109

If you’re anywhere near the UM campus it’s impossible to miss the 192-foot bell tower named after former University of Michigan president Marion Leroy Burton.

Completed in 1936, this tower is a marvel to behold – and to hear. Stay for thirty minutes and you’re guaranteed to hear a recital of the bells, and while you wait, take the elevator or stairs up to the bell chamber.

Burton Tower in Ann Arbor

Barton Hills 

The upscale historic neighborhood of Barton Hills will have the architecture junkies in your group jumping for joy.

Renowned architects and builders of the early 1900s created the neighborhood’s beautiful homes that are still standing today.

Even if you’re not into architecture, the views are gorgeous and the history is still very much alive.

Michigan Theatre

603 E Liberty St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

This historic auditorium built in 1927 sits right next to UM’s central campus.

Originally built for live theater and concerts, today you can still catch live shows and concerts as well as films and other events. It’s one of the popular things to do in Ann Arbor for locals and visitors alike.

“The Big House”

1201 S Main St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

The Big House is the nickname given to the University of Michigan’s football stadium because it is the largest stadium in the United States, and third largest in the world!

Get swept away to a world of Wolverines while cheering on the Maize and Blue.

Come back in the summer and take a tour of the stadium, which includes the opportunity to run out onto the field.

Empty University of Michigan Football Stadium, The Big House - facebook

UofM Wave Field

Located on University of Michigan’s North Campus, The Wave Field is a go-to spot for those seeking reflection, quiet, and relaxation.

At first glance this hilly stretch of grass may look like an optical illusion, but it’s actually an art piece by artist Maya Lin.

By carefully mapping out small hills of dirt, this landscape mimics waves and takes on different views as the sun moves around it throughout the day and the year.

This is a great spot to check out twice in one day just to see how the scenery changes.

University of Michigan Wave Field Ann Arbor - smugmug

Outdoor Things to do in Ann Arbor

The great outdoors are even greater in Ann Arbor. Check out this list to help you plan your outdoor adventure.

Matthaei Botanical Garden & Nichols Arboretum

Botanical Garden: 1800 N Dixboro Rd, Ann Arbor, MI 48105
Arboretum: 1610 Washington Heights, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

This free-admission local staple is beloved for its expansive grounds bursting with thousands of plant species. It’s a rare thing to find free things to do in Ann Arbor, making this stop quite the gem.

Over three miles of trails will have you hitting your daily steps goal, all while taking in the natural beauty of the gardens.

Not to be forgotten is the Children’s Garden, which is a hit for kids of all ages. 

Huron River Trail

The Huron River Trail is a popular spot for those who love kayaking, tubing, canoeing, and more.

Whether you’re feeling adventurous or needing a little relaxation on a lazy river, you’ll find it on the Huron River Trail.

Cascades at Argo Park Offer Adventurous Things to do in Ann Arbor

A series of nine small rapids makes up this major attraction for visitors and locals alike.

Head to Argo Park Livery to rent canoes, rafts, and kayaks to ride on the Cascades. Other amenities include a fishing pier, boat launch, and restrooms.

CANVS street art

Ann Arbor is home to the largest juried art fair in the nation (more on that later), and as such the city is teeming with art!

Murals are everywhere you look and hiding around every corner. Download the CANVS app to help you find murals as you walk around the city.

Ann Arbor Art Fair

One of the most famous things to do in Ann Arbor in July is to take part in America’s largest juried art fair.

Three fairs make up this one event spanning three full days and thirty city blocks. Take in live music, art demonstrations like glass blowing and ceramics, and of course delicious food.

Ann Arbor Summer Festival

Lovers of the arts flock to this festival that takes place in June every year.

Visitors enjoy live music, theatre, outdoor movies, and delicious food over the three weeks the festival is held.

If you’re planning a trip to Ann Arbor in June, this festival will be hard to miss!


Because Kerrytown has been a part of Ann Arbor since the beginning, this corner of the city is brimming with history and beauty.

The buildings maintain their original charm while offering everything from well-established local eats (see Zingerman’s Deli below), to Farmers and Artisan Markets.

Fairy Doors

One of the most charming and unique things to do in Ann Arbor is to hunt for fairy doors.

All throughout the city are adorable little fairy doors, visible only to those who seek with their whole heart (or so the legend goes). This is a great way to see the city, both for the young and young at heart.

Museums and Culture

These museums and educational centers help give Ann Arbor its acclaim as a cultural epicenter. Stop by to learn something new; stay for the fun!

UofM Museum of Art

525 S State St, Ann Arbor, MI 48109

This museum has plenty to boast, even aside from its being open to the public and another one of the free things to do in Ann Arbor.

The art here spans a wide range of art styles, from photography to African art to modern/contemporary art. It’s a true wonder admission is free with so many different types of art to satisfy anyone who walks through the door.

UofM Museum of Natural History

1105 N University Ave, Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Count the stars in the planetarium, gaze in awe at towering dinosaur skeletons, and learn about molecular structure at University of Michigan Museum of Natural History. No matter your age, this museum is a fun stop for everyone.

Ann Arbor Hands On Museum

220 E Ann St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Let those curious little hands find a place to explore at the Ann Arbor Hands On Museum.

This STEAM-based museum gives visitors a chance to splash in a water table, learn morse code, understand how stop lights work, and even travel back in time. 

Leslie Science & Nature Center

1831 Traver Rd, Ann Arbor, MI 48105

This 23-acre natural area is free to the public and is the perfect place to go to explore Michigan’s woodland ecosystem. Get the group together for a refreshing hike along a mild trail, and you may even come across a woodland animal or two.

University of Michigan Law Library

801 Monroe St, Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Even if you’re not a law professional, this building is one to add to your list. Its beauty, both outside and inside, is unmatched in the area, and is a sight to behold.

In visiting the Law Library you’ll hit two beautiful spots in one as “The Quad” is the picturesque grassy area just outside the library. On a nice day you’ll want to stay a while, take a few pictures, and take in the view.

Where to Grab a Bite in Ann Arbor

However you choose to spend your Ann Arbor vacation, one thing’s for sure – you’ll need to eat. And boy, does Ann Arbor have you covered when it comes to food! You might even need to schedule two lunches a day.

Zingerman’s Delicatessen

422 Detroit St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

This local staple has been around since 1982 and has only grown in fame since then.

Boasting their own bakery and creamery, the sandwiches made with fresh bread and cheese and homemade sauces are *chefs kiss.*

This stop is on all the locals’ things to do in Ann Arbor lists. Everyone agrees – don’t leave without trying their coffee and pastries.

Krazy Jim’s Blimpy Burger

304 S Ashley St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Established in 1953, this Ann Arbor institution has taken the “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it” approach. Not much here has changed since their inception, and locals argue that’s for good reason. The food is exceptional and worth the hype. 

Detroit Street Filling Station

300 Detroit St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Don’t let the name fool you – it’s actually one of the delicious things to do in Ann Arbor, not Detroit.

Established in 1953, this Ann Arbor institution has taken the “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it” approach. Not much here has changed since their inception, and locals argue that’s for good reason. The food is exceptional and worth the hype. 

Fleetwood Diner

300 S Ashley St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Fleetwood Diner gives a classic diner vibe and is open 24 hours a day. The self-proclaimed happiest little diner in Michigan is a quintessential greasy spoon serving up American diner fare any time of day.

The Last Word

301 W Huron St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Looking for a little adventure to spice up your post-dinner evening? Step back into the roaring twenties by taking a trip to The Last Word, a speakeasy style bar with an expansive alcohol selection as well as a generous food menu. 

Your Adventure Awaits in Ann Arbor

Now that you’ve got the list of the best things to do in Ann Arbor, what kind of trip will you curate?

If you can’t fit everything into one trip, you may even find yourself planning your next one before you leave! 

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