Downtown should be the beating heart of any city, and Ann Arbor is no exception. You can really see the character of Ann Arbor — quirky, local, and vibrant — when you take a stroll through downtown. But if you plan to spend a few days in town, you’ll probably want to do more than simply stroll through the downtown area or pass through it on your transit. If you plan to really dive in and be a part of it, here are a few things we recommend for downtown Ann Arbor:

Seek Out Fairy Doors

The fairy doors are embedded in local lore. You can find them all over Ann Arbor: tiny doors, often mimicking the larger doors of the establishments nearby. Sometimes you’ll find little offerings for the fair folk on the stoops, and you may even find one unofficial “goblin door.” You can find a tour map on the official website for the fairy doors of Ann Arbor, or you can try to find them uncharted, making something of an adventure out of it. This is a great activity if you have kids, but adults often enjoy the hunt, as well.

Wander Main Street

You’ll find brightly colored street murals, charming bookstores with a timeless feel like West Side Book Shop, and enjoy trendy restaurants throughout Main Street. Take your time strolling through — after all, as a visitor, you have time to take everything in. Stop in for a drink or lunch at a downtown pub, or for comic books at The Vault of Midnight. You may even see Main Street on the day of a street fair or a parade, when it really comes to life. Regardless of when you choose to explore Main Street, it will give you a clear picture of the personality of Ann Arbor.

Take a Food Tour

If you want a little more guidance in navigating downtown, sign up for a food tour. The Ann Arbor By the Sidewalk Food Tour is a three hour guided tour of downtown Ann Arbor and Kerrytown through the lens of the local cuisine. You’ll learn about more than the food: you’ll learn the history of downtown and fun facts about the downtown streets. But you’ll also have the chance to try foods that you won’t be able to find anywhere else. This is a food tour so exciting and comprehensive that often locals enjoy it as well as visitors.

When it comes to any vacation, location is key. That’s true not only of choosing what to do in Ann Arbor, but choosing where to stay. University Inn of Ann Arbor has an incredibly convenient location, near the college campus and all the amenities you could want or need. We offer a 10% discount to students and parents visiting the University of Michigan — and the surrounding city to see if it’s a good fit. We also offer discounts to parents of UM or Eastern Michigan University athletes when you book direct with us. Contact us today for more information.

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