10 fun things to do in Ann Arbor for families, students, or locals

August 24, 2017 / Ann Arbor

Summer break is drawing to an end, but that doesn’t mean the fun is over. With back-to-school season just around the corner, Ann Arbor’s lively social scene is sure to thrive as anticipation for the new school year rises. To help you celebrate the start of the fall semester, we’ve put together this list of our favorite things to do in Ann Arbor.

What to do in Ann Arbor

1. Watch a Game at the Big House

The Big House, as UMich’s football stadium is commonly called, is one of the nation’s biggest sports treasures. With a seating capacity of 107,601, it ranks as the largest stadium in the world. Attending a game at the Big House on Saturday night is an Ann Arbor tradition. Football season kicks off on September 2.

Where: 1201 S Main St

2. The Ann Arbor Farmers Market

If you’re looking for some locally-sourced organic foods and farm produce, hit the Ann Arbor Farmers Market. More than 100 vendors and local business showcase their products there every week of the year. You can find anything at the Farmers Market: cheese, an assortment of baked goods, the best fruits and vegetables in the state, maple syrup, and so much more.

Where: 315 Detroit St

3. Go Boating on the Huron River

If you want an outdoor adventure, kayaking or canoeing on the Huron River is lovely this time of the year. The season for river trips ends on September 4, so make sure you don’t miss out on this incredible experience. You can hand-pick which river trip you want to take: Argo to Gallup, which lasts an hour and a half, or Barton to Gallup, which lasts two and a half hours. If kayaking or canoeing aren’t up your alley, water paddling and tubing options are also available.

Where: 3000 Fuller Rd or 1055 Longshore Dr

4. Explore the Nichols Arboretum

The Nichols Arboretum lies on top of sprawling valleys shaped by glacial topography and is home to an impressive amount of exotic and local plant species. If you prize natural beauty, feast your eyes with the breathtaking vistas of one of Michigan’s most splendorous greenery. You can make the best of your visit by going to the exhibits available at the Nichols Arboretum.

Where: 1610 Washington Heights

5. The University of Michigan Museum of Art

If you’re an art aficionado, you’re in luck. The University of Michigan Museum of Art is one of the biggest university art museums in the nation. Its collection boasts an estimated 19,000 works of art, featuring renowned artists such as Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet, and Kara Walker. Current exhibitions include Moving Image: Portraiture, In Focus: Sam Nhlengethwa, and Cosmogonic Tattoos.

Where: 525 S State St

6. Catch a Show at the Ann Arbor Comedy Showcase

In its 33 years of existence, the Ann Arbor Comedy Showcase has served the community as a haven for local talent. Their mission is to provide the very best live comedy entertainment while also promoting emerging performers. This cozy comedy club is the go-to place for truly hilarious live shows and open mic nights. Upcoming performances include Comedy Jamm, Andy Pitz, Jim McHugh, and Dave Landau, among others.

Where: 212 S 4th Ave

7. See a Concert at the Ark

The Ark is in a league of its own as far as live music venues go. They call themselves an “intimate atmosphere, ” and they mean it. With a seating capacity of a mere 400 people, you can be sure any concert you’ll attend will be magical. There’s no shortage of them, either: the Ark hosts performances  300 nights every year. The upcoming lineup includes the Mavericks, the Second City, Katie Lee, and Tom Russell, among others.

Where: 316 S Main St

8. Dexter Cider Mill & Sandhill Crane

The Dexter Cider Mill and the Sandhill Crane are both located a few miles outside of Ann Arbor, but we assure you, the car ride is well worth your time. The Dexter Cider Mill’s century-old apple cider craftsmanship is renowned in the community. If you want to sample their divine cider, made with an oak rack press, you’re just in time: the tasting season begins in late August. The Sandhill Crane is a family-owned vineyard, producing quality wines in small batches and showcasing the results in the Main Tasting Room. Whether you’re a seasoned wine connoisseur or a novice, the winery’s facilities and friendly staff will enchant you.

Where: 3685 Central St – Dexter, MI

9. Waterloo Recreation Area

There’s nowhere better to immerse in nature’s quiet tranquility than the Waterloo Recreational Park. The park is comprised of large campgrounds that are perfect for hiking, stretching out and picnicking, or even camping. There are plenty of lakes where you can go swimming or take a few hours, relax, and go fishing.

Where: 16345 McClure Rd – Chelsea, MI

10. The University of Michigan Museum of Natural History

UMich’s Museum of Natural History is a real treat if for science lovers and those seeking educational attractions that are both creative and interactive. The museum’s facilities contain exhibits and galleries focused on understanding the natural world, as well as a planetarium. We recommend seeing Hall of Evolution and the Michigan Wildlife Gallery, both of which are permanent exhibits, and the Bristle Mammoth Exhibit, which will be on display until the end of the year.

Where: Alexander G. Ruthven Museums Building – 1109 Geddes Ave


Whether you’re interested in outdoor programs or low-key outings, there is no shortage of options for you. Ann Arbor has a wide of variety of entertainment opportunities and attractions for you to make the best of your back-to-school time.