University Inn Dining

You’re on vacation in Ann Arbor and want to check out the local food scene. It’s a beautiful night with mild temperatures, and the idea pops into your head of eating outside. Maybe it’s a date or a family meal, or maybe you just want to treat yourself. The question is where to go? With so many options, the answer will depend on what you’re craving on a particular night. Here are a few of our recommendations for great al fresco dining in Ann Arbor.

Bill’s Beer Garden

If you’re looking for a refreshing brew, tasty mixed drink, or glass of wine, Bill’s Beer Garden is perfect. This is a fully outdoor courtyard with a stand where you can order drinks. This isn’t a good place to go for a meal, as they primarily just serve drinks. However, you can order a pretzel or other tasty snacks to go along with your drink. Whatever you order, the atmosphere is laid back and open and the community is cheerful.

Jolly Pumpkin Cafe & Brewery

Missing fall? Looking for a place that has a spooky, Halloween vibe to it? Jolly Pumpkin is perfect, with taps topped with quirky pumpkin heads and warm, autumnal aesthetics. However, the rooftop patio is the perfect place to sit on a summer evening and enjoy your meal. They offer beers on tap and coffee, but they also offer full dinner, lunch, and brunch menus. There’s even a kids menu to ensure that they have something for everyone. You can order anything from a quinoa salad to a granite baked carnivore pizza here.


Sava’s is a great option if you’re looking for al fresco dining earlier in the day. With a variety of sweet and savory offerings, Sava’s is a popular Sunday brunch spot. It has two levels, offers private dining, and there’s a relaxing outdoor patio to enjoy your breakfast or brunch in the open air. But brunch isn’t all they do. They also offer fine dining lunch, dinner, and unique desserts like chocolate bomb or cheesecake baklava. They offer a kid’s menu, as well.


Gratzi in Ann Arbor will satisfy your need for some quirky charm. This restaurant retains much of the appearance of its former life — that of a classic movie house. The indoor appearance is lush and old Hollywood, but their outdoor patio facing Main Street is also a popular spot to eat. They’re an Italian eatery offering lunch, dinner, and happy hour, as well as Tuesday Flight Night. Like Sava’s, Gratzi has the option for private dining.


These are just a few options for al fresco dining in Ann Arbor. Once you start your gastronomic journey, you’ll find even more al fresco dining options in the city, all with unique atmospheres and fascinating views. The question is, where do you want to stay during this Ann Arbor vacation? University Inn offers a 10% discount to families and students visiting University of Michigan, as well as to families of athletes for both University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University. Contact us today for more information or to book your stay.

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