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Thread: Ann Arbor

  1. #1
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    Default Ann Arbor

    DD and DH are heading to visit University of Michigan next week and have one night and one morning to explore Ann Arbor/get a feel for where the students hang out. Any recommendations for restaurants/coffee shops/etc. that will help them feel the overall vibe?


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  2. #2
    cmo is offline Gold level (500+ posts)
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    I will preface this info with a suggestion: All of this will make a lot more sense if you take a look at a campus/area map and trace a path. I'd suggest starting with a triangle-shaped walk: if you are starting at the Union (on State St), head up South University and wander through the law quad first, then keep going up to the intersection of East University. Then walk the diag (a wide pedestrian-only sidewalk) through main campus (look for an arch to walk through on a brick building on the corner, West Hall). Many main classroom buildings, and the undergraduate and graduate libraries, are located along the diag. Once you are back to State Street (you will see a Walgreens on the corner), you can turn left on State to head back to the Union. Depending on time available, there are many spin-off options: along the diag, you can wander through the Union and probably Angell/Mason Halls to get a feel for classroom and public spaces. The kinesiology building is also along the diag, and is a good example of a newly renovated classroom/lab/office facility. You can keep going on South University beyond East University for a few blocks to see student-friendly restaurants, bars, shops (Brown Jug, Pinball Pete's, Joe's Pizza, Good Time Charley's, etc.). On State Street, in the blocks surrounding the aforementioned Walgreens (State-Liberty-Maynard-William), the non-chain local places include the M Den for all kinds of U merchandise, Amer's deli, Red Hawk for a nicer meal, HopCat brewery & grill, Bivouac for outdoorsy clothing and gear, Bon Bon Bon candy shop in Nickel's Arcade (a charming old enclosed strip of shops between blocks). Unfortunately there is a lot of road and building construction in these areas currently, so navigate accordingly. Park & walk for sure.

    If there's time, head up to the hill dorms on Observatory, then head down Washington Heights past Markley dorm and the Ronald McDonald House to the Nichols Arboretum. It is a nice woodsy area with trails and river frontage, but the main reason I mention it is that just past this particular entrance, there is a beautiful peony garden that is in peak bloom in early-mid June. It is free, but hard to park there so walk from central campus, or park in the staff lot across from Markley after 5pm (there are a few metered spots on the street in front of Markley if it's before 5 and you're feeling lucky).

    The shorter spring session is still going on, so there will be some students around, but know that the energy/activity level will definitely be lower than during the main fall & winter terms.

    All of the above is the main campus area, and does not include most of the athletic facilities, or north campus, where the engineering and arts departments are located. If you'd like additional info on those, I'd be glad to provide!

  3. #3
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    Oh my goodness - this is super-helpful! Thank you very, very much!!


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  4. #4
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    I'm an Ann Arborite and cmo has covered most of the highlights. The peonies are at peak right now (I went on Saturday) so will probably have faded by next week, but the Arb is always nice to visit.
    Unfortunately, the 2 main campus commercial strips - State St. and S. University - are under massive construction right now - they are trying to get thngs to a good stopping point before Art Fair so it's all a big mess.
    I think the number one restaurant for students right now is Sweetgreens. Frita Batidos both shows you the downtown area (separate from campus, with more construction) and there are lots of students. To me, that's a great restaurant to get a feel for Ann Arbor.
    It is really frustrating to drive around town at the moment as several main roads are closed or down to one lane, but they try to cram it all in while the students are gone, so know that it's not representative of life here all the time.

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