In my previous two posts, I talked about the world class Ann Arbor, Michigan attractions that the University of Michigan has to offer. That includes the museums and natural areas. Thanks in a big part to the university’s huge presence, the city has a vibrant downtown that is filled with fun activities. Whether you decide to check out art galleries, attend a live music performance, play games like ping pong, or treat yourself to one of the many tasty sweets, you are bound to find something fun downtown.
Let’s start with the art galleries. There are at least two art galleries downtown for you to check out. The Ann Arbor Art Center is located on West Liberty Street just west of Main Street. This art gallery has been operating for over a century, having opened in 1909. That makes this art gallery one of the oldest and most respected community arts organizations in the US state of Michigan.
The art gallery is home to three rotating exhibition galleries that showcase artwork from local and regional artists. But, this isn’t all that the art gallery has to offer. There are fun hands-on classes available in its art education studios designed to help you hone your artistic talent in areas such as painting, drawing, and printmaking. Oh and also, there is a gallery shop where you can buy original artwork.
The WSG Gallery is located inside the same building as the first art gallery I just mentioned. This art gallery also focuses on artwork created by artists from the local area. There are different types of paintings showcased at the art gallery such as watercolor and landscape. There are also different kinds of sculptures housed inside the art gallery.
These include ceramic, assemblage, cast bronze, and art installation. In addition to the paintings and sculptures, other types of artwork showcased include paper arts, book arts, fiber, jewelry, art glass, drawings, photographs, and printmaking. WSG Gallery has been voted the best fine arts gallery in Ann Arbor in 2009, 2011, 2015, and 2016. So, you won’t want to miss it.
Live Music Performances
Live music performances are a common sight to behold in downtown Ann Arbor. Here are a few places where you can go and see them. First up is Blue LLama Jazz Club. It is located on South Main Street south of Liberty Street. The establishment has a blue-colored atmosphere overall. The live music performances there are focused on the jazz music genre.
This establishment offers some kind of combo where you can dine on a meal while watching a jazz performance. The performances are scheduled on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights every week with earlier schedules for brunch available on Saturdays and Sundays. Another place that feature live music performances is The Ark.
It is located next door from Blue LLama Jazz Club. This is a music club that has seating for up to four hundred people. The performances there cover the folk and roots music genres. They happen over three hundred nights per year.
Downtown Fun Games
Ann Arbor’s downtown is a great place for you to play a variety of fun games. If you are into ping pong, you will want to head to The Pretzel Bell. It is located at the intersection of Main and Liberty Street. The restaurant and bar has a University of Michigan vibe to it with decades of memorabilia of its sport teams filling the walls and cases. The ping pong tables are located in the basement of the restaurant and bar.
If you are into board games, the best place to go downtown for that is Blom Meadworks. It is located on South 4th Avenue just south of Huron Street. It houses a taproom with lots of board games for you to participate in, such as a quick party game and a strategy game that lasts for multiple hours. The establishment is renowned for its meads and ciders. So, you will want to try one out as you play.
For those of you seeking out a place downtown to play trivia, there are two places for you to do so. The first one is Conor O’Neill’s which is located on South Main Street south of Liberty Street. It is an Irish pub designed with imported wood and stone. Haymaker Public House is the other place for playing trivia. It is located at the intersection of Washington Street and 4th Avenue.
It is well known for being the best sports bar in Ann Arbor. They have live trivia shows for you to participate in.
Sweets of Downtown
Ready for some delicious sweets? Good, let’s get to a few great spots downtown for your tasting buds. Are you clamoring for ice cream? I have got someplace downtown for you to check out. It is called Blank Slate Creamery. It is located at the intersection of Liberty and 1st Streets. The ice cream can be order in many different forms such as cones, cups, shakes, sundaes, ice cream sandwiches, and ice cream cakes.
There are many flavors of ice cream at the creamery to choose from. Some example include salty caramel, cookies & cream, banana pudding, chocolate fudge brownie, garden mint chip, Madagascar vanilla, browned butter cookie dough, and roasted butter pecan. Another place for desserts is Le Bon Macaron which is located on South 4th Avenue between Washington and Liberty Streets.
It is a French themed bakery that is noted for its macarons. When you see them, they look like colorful burgers filled with buttercream. There are many flavors of macarons to choose from at the bakery. Some of them include strawberry swirl, cherry vanilla, chocolate peanut butter, white chocolate, chocolate banana, strawberry cheesecake, blueberry, and honey lavender.
All in all, there is a lot of fun to be had in downtown Ann Arbor. So, be sure to add downtown to your Ann Arbor, Michigan attractions checklist.
Ann Arbor Hotel
Should you need a place to stay at in Ann Arbor, I have got you covered here. Here is a hotel I would suggest for you.
Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Ann Arbor Univ. Mich Area
This hotel is located just north of the interchange of State Street and Interstate 94. It is only a short drive north to downtown via State Street. If you are hungry, the hotel houses a restaurant called Mallet’s Creek Bar & Grille. There is an indoor heated swimming pool and hot tub at the hotel. A fitness center is also available for your workouts.
All of the hotel’s rooms and suites come with WiFi, microwaves, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $94 to $179. You can go here to browse your booking options and/or check out some photos.
What are your thoughts? Are you planning anything fun to do downtown? Feel free to leave a comment below.