Experience Ann Arbor
36 HOURS IN ANN ARBOR
Arrive @ 2PM and Check in at The Kensington Hotel on State Street
1) OLD-TIME SHOPPINGStart your weekend in Nickels Arcade, an elegant glass-covered atrium that opened in 1918 and still houses businesses dating back more than 80 years. Van Boven Clothing (326 South State Street; 734-665-7228), for instance, is a men’s clothier that has long catered to well-dressed fraternity boys. The intimate Comet Coffee (16 Nickels Arcade; 734-222-0579) brews coffee from Ethiopia to El Salvador one cup at a time. Then cross State Street to Moe’s Sport Shop (711 North University Avenue; 734- 668-6915;moesportshops.com) to suit up for tomorrow’s game. “U of M” apparel has been sold here since 1915, and you’ll find such items as T-shirts and temporary “M” face tattoos.
2) STUDENT SCENEThe Diag, as the open space on the central campus is called, is a leafy oasis intersected by sidewalks connecting academic buildings. Relax on a bench and take in the student scene, featuring everything from charity bucket drives to Ultimate Frisbee games. Just don’t step on the brass inlaid “M” in front of the Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library — lore has it that freshmen who step on it will earn an F on their first exam. Then visit the architecturally stunning Michigan Law School quadrangle (625 South State Street), which could easily stand in for Harry Potter’s Hogwarts, as could the library’s Reading Room with its vaulted ceilings, oak wainscoting and stained glass windows.
3) NEW NOSTALGIABetween the Law School and the Ross School of Business you’ll find Dominick’s (812 Monroe Street; 734-662-5414), which has been serving students and the area’s aging hippie population ever since the ’60s, when the town was at the forefront of the Vietnam War protest movement. Though its picnic tables and booths are increasingly filled with entrepreneurs and M.B.A. candidates, everyone seems to enjoy the sangria served in jam jars on the patio. But avoid the temptation to eat here; instead head to Mark’s Carts (markscartsannarbor.com) — a jumble of ethnic food carts in a cozy courtyard on Washington Street between First and Ashley Streets, where, on Friday evenings throughout the fall, you can eat paella ($8) or tangy Thai slaw ($3) while listening to jazz, folk and rock performers.
If you want to stay in head to Rel·ish, at the Kensington Hotel, where you can sample local flavors of drinks and food.
4) COOL CULTUREThe University Musical Society (ums.org) offers a range of dance, theater and musical productions performed at places that include the Hill Auditorium, with its superb acoustics and the small but elegant Lydia Mendelssohn Theater. But it is the Ark (316 South Main Street; 734-761-1818; theark.org), one of North America’s oldest nonprofit acoustic music clubs, that has developed an international reputation, not just for preserving American music (folk and bluegrass, in particular), but also for showcasing world music from Africa, the Caribbean and elsewhere. Tickets start at $10.
Day 2 @ 9AM (Decided to sleep in after a night out? Order In room dining for a more casual start to your day)
5) SUNNY SIDE UPBeat the crowds at Angelo’s (1100 Catherine; 734-761-8996;angelosa2.com), where thick slices of raisin toast ($2.35) are second only to the pumpkin pancakes ($6.99). Work off the calories with a brisk walk to the Farmers’ Market (315 Detroit Street; tel: 734-794-6255), with stalls stocked with local products, from fruit-flavored syrups (rhubarb, peach, cantaloupe, $8.99) to wooden bird houses ($20).
6) PATIENCE & PUMPERNICKELDon’t be put off by the line outside Zingerman’s deli (422 Detroit Street; 734-663-3354; zingermansdeli.com); waiting is part of the experience. The friendly servers hand out nibbles of fresh bread, cheese and brownies while you decide which of the 99 sandwiches you want (most popular: Zingerman’s Reuben on Jewish rye, $15.50). Or cross the street to Monahan’s Seafood Market (407 North Fifth Avenue; 734-662-5118;monahansseafood.com) for an oyster po’ boy ($8.95) and fresh chowder ($4.95).
7) FUN IN THE BIG HOUSEKickoff time varies between noon and 4 p.m., depending on the college football broadcast schedule. Don’t show up at the Big House, as the stadium is called, ticketless. Buying seats ($70) in advance is a must for most of the seven or eight home games a season; tickets are available through the university’s athletic site, mgoblue.com. Though alcohol is not allowed, there is plenty of spirit in the cheering of “Let’s Go Blue” and the tunes played by the Michigan Marching Band. When football season is over, there is ice hockey in the winter, softball in the spring, and some 20 other sports, from water polo to wrestling.
8) COCKTAIL CRAWLWhether Michigan has won or lost, students hit the bars. Avoid South University and State Street (student hubs) and head to the more civilized Ann Street (the place Bob Seger, who grew up in Ann Arbor, is actually singing about in the song “Mainstreet”). With dozens of night spots, it’s easy to find a martini or microbrew; one favorite is Palio (347 South Main: tel: 734-456-3463; paliorestaurant.com), where postgame parties erupt on the rooftop bar.
9) THE GLOBAL GOURMET- If it is ethnic food you crave, try Pacific Rim (114 West Liberty Street; 734-662-9303; pacificrimbykana.com) whose pan-Asian menu includes a delicate tuna tartare with taro chips, and pan-seared quinoa-crusted scallops (dinner with wine, $50). Head to Logan (115 West Washington Street; 734-327-2312; logan-restaurant.com) for Gruyère custard with caramelized onions and tomatoes or wild boar Bolognese (dinner with wine, $50). If you want a quick bite, Frita Batidos (117 West Washington Street; 734-761-2882; fritabatidos.com) serves Cuban specialties like fritas (spicy burgers of chorizo, black bean, white fish, beef or turkey on a soft brioche for $7 and $8), and batidos, fresh fruit shakes, with sweetened milk, crushed ice and the option of rum.
10) WILD AT DARKHoused in an old brewery, the Cavern Club (210 South First Street; 734-913-8890; cavernclubannarbor.com) attracts some of the biggest bands and D.J.’s from metro Detroit (when a band is performing, $5; $10 for 18 to 21). Or check out the Michigan Theater (603 East Liberty Street; 734-668-8463;michtheater.org). Opened in 1928 as a vaudeville and silent movie palace, it now offers live entertainment (the Ann Arbor Symphony performs here regularly), as well as independent films. Night owls will appreciate the Saturday midnight shows of cult classics like “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” at the nearby State Theater, an Art Deco cinema built in 1942 (233 South State Street; 734-761-8667; michtheater.org/state).
11) NOT JUST A NAMEAs the town’s name suggests, there are many trees, both native and exotic, here. You can see some of them at Nichols Arboretum (1610 Washington Heights; 734-647-8986; lsa.umich.edu/mbg), a 123-acre site with panoramic views and a path along the winding Huron River (open sunrise to sunset).
12) ECLECTIC BRUNCHCafé Zola (112 West Washington Street; 734-769-2020; cafezola.com) offers an eclectic menu that borrows from French, Italian and Turkish cuisines — like crepes, both savory and sweet, and Turkish eggs (with feta, spinach, tomato, olives and cucumber). Brunch, $20.
13) PAINTINGS, POTS AND MOREWith over 18,000 works of art (European, African, Asian, American and Middle Eastern), there is something for everyone at the University of Michigan Museum of Art (525 South State Street; 734-764-0395;umma.umich.edu). Those preferring ancient and medieval art should cross the street to the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology (No. 434; 734-764-9304;lsa.umich.edu/kelsey), with more than 100,000 Mediterranean and Middle Eastern objects.