People know Ann Arbor,
Michigan as home to one of the highest-ranked universities in the country: the University of Michigan. Dubbed a "college town," Ann Arbor also houses families and is considered by many a desirable place to live for its safety, accessibility, and vibrant arts and culture scene.
On a map, you can find Ann Arbor directly to the left of Detroit. Ann Arbor is located approximately 45 miles away and is a direct shot one Interstate 94.
Restaurants & Nightlife
Northeast Ann Arbor features restaurants as diverse as its university population. While you can find many restaurants grouped together on Main Street in Downtown Ann Arbor,
restaurants located in Northeast Ann Arbor are scattered about.
Housed in what was once a train station, the Gandy Dancer, on Depot Street, offers fine dining in a unique atmosphere. The Gandy Dancer is one of several Kruse and Muer restaurants, a small Michigan chain of restaurants known for quality seafood and high standards. Go there for a special occasion, like a birthday dinner or college graduation, and order the dynamite diver scallops with crab and basil oil to start or, if you want something lighter, try their famous Martha's Vineyard Salad. Dressed with a zingy raspberry vinaigrette and sprinkled with blue cheese, pine nuts and red onions, this salad will make your taste buds explode. Be sure to save room for dessert too because their key lime pie is out of this world.
For breakfast, get in line early at Angelo's Restaurant, located on Glen Avenue and Catherine Street. This wildly popular Ann Arbor institution draws people in with its Eggs Benedict. Angelo's creates the breakfast classic using their house-made bread rather than the traditional English muffin. Restaurant regulars crave the bread alone.
Because it is a college town, the nightlife is quite vibrant. Most of the action occurs on central campus rather than Northeast Ann Arbor. However, the two areas are very close to one another. Visit the Hill Auditorium to enjoy live music performances and mingle with students and city residents alike.
If you're in the mood for dancing, the downtown area has a few dance clubs. Necto Nightclub was recently voted best nightclub in Michigan and locals enjoy going to this club for its nightly themes. For a great glass of beer, head over to Ashley's on State Street and select from an extensive menu of international beers as well as some local microbrews.
History & Culture
Ann Arbor was founded in 1824. Just a little over a decade later, in 1837, the University of Michigan moved from Detroit to this new city. Ann Arbor took an active role in the civil rights movement of the 60s and 70s and earned a reputation for being a liberal city, which it still maintains to this day.
On campus, you will find the Museum of Natural History, the Museum of Art, the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, the Kempf House Museum and the Stearns Collection of Musical Instruments. Off campus, you will find the Hands-On Museum and the Washtenaw County Historical Museum.
Every year, Ann Arbor's streets transform into the Ann Arbor Art Fair, consistently rated as one of the top fairs in the country. If you're in the city in July, stop by and be one of the nearly half a million people who attend this annual event.
Common ways to explore Ann Arbor include driving, bicycling, riding a campus or city bus or walking. Many people choose to drive but you can just as easily bus or ride your bike, if you're a cyclist. Campus buses provide extensive service throughout the whole university campus and are free to ride.
The Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority (AAATA) services the entire city, rather than just the university campus. The bus line is very affordable. Students ride free and AAATA offers reduced rates for many groups of people, including seniors, children and certain employees. Additionally, AAATA offers monthly passes for regular riders. Even if you aren't a student,
though, or don't qualify for a discount, bus fare for a single trip costs only $1.50, with a 90-minute transfer period.
You will have a difficult time hailing a cab so call ahead for one if you must. Uber is available, though, which might be a more cost-efficient option for you, should you need a ride somewhere.
Parking garages, street parking, lots and meters exist all over the city so you will have no problem finding parking. On college game days, parking can be tricky but if you're relentless, you will find parking.
Ann Arbor is close to M-14, I-24 and US-23, which makes it easy to get to. Either US-23 or M-14 are the most logical roads to take into the northeastern part of the city if you're coming from elsewhere.
Walking is quite easy on central campus but the farther north in the city you travel, the more things become spread out. Northeastern Ann Arbor offers many safe and scenic areas for walking but as you get closer to the busy expressways that run into the highly trafficked Washtenaw Road in the northern part of the city, you will want to drive or bus.
You can bike around Ann Arbor easily in the designated bike lanes. The city actively promotes the activity and is constantly making infrastructure improvements and offering resources for cyclists.
Cost of living in Ann Arbor is more than Detroit, at approximately $1,100 per month.
You would not want to ride a bus from Detroit to Ann Arbor because, even though it is doable, it takes three times as long as a car ride, requires multiple transfers and has no ticket prices available online.
A pint of beer in Ann Arbor costs between $4 and $7. Gas in Ann Arbor costs approximately the same as the current national average.
Northeast Ann Arbor contains far fewer shops than the downtown area, which is chock-full of boutiques and specialty stores. However, on Frank Lloyd Wright Drive, tucked away in the rural landscape of Northeast Ann Arbor, you will find Ave Maria Fine Art Gallery. The gallery occupies a unique space, housed inside the Domino's Farms Business Complex. Ave Maria showcases more than 200 works, ranging in price from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. Even if you're not in the market for fine art, this gallery is definitely worth scoping out.
Kroger and Whole Foods Market are the two main grocery stores that service this area. On Sundays, though, you can drop by the Ann Arbor Farmers Market, located near Downtown Ann Arbor, for a taste of fresh, local produce. Be sure and check out the Kerrytown shops after the market too. With unique stores like Hollander's and Found (Vintage, Artisan, and Eco-Funky), you are in for a treat.
Ann Arbor residents are fortunate to be very near numerous spectacular parks.
Nichols Arboretum, located on Washington Heights due east of campus, wows locals with its wide assortment of trees and varied vegetation, in general. Often referred to simply as "The Arb," Nichols Arboretum occupies 123 acres of lush greenery, including an especially impressive Peony Garden. These cool-climate flowers impress visitors at The Arb's annual springtime Peony Festival. Park entrance is free.
Very nearby, on Fuller Road, you will find Fuller Park. This park is excellent for children and families because it contains a large pool as well as several play structures. Children three and under enter the pool for free and those over pay $4 or $5, depending on age. The Fuller Park Pool also offers swimming lessons and water aerobic classes.
If you're feeling active, Gallup Park, located on 69 acres on Gallup Park Road, is a great place to canoe or kayak, given the park's close proximity to the Huron River. At Gallup Park, you can also get in a run or walk leisurely along the many paved sidewalks. Dogs are welcome.