Known as a beautiful college town, Ann Arbor is filled with a unique blend of cultural vibrancy, historic charm, and natural beauty. Beyond its renowned university atmosphere, the city offers a number of unique experiences. From exploring captivating parks to indulging in a diverse culinary scene, Ann Arbor boasts an array of activities beyond the ordinary. In this Redfin article, we’ll delve into 10 unique things to do in Ann Arbor, MI, inviting you to uncover the city’s hidden gems. So, whether you’re looking to rent an apartment in Ann Abor, MI, or rent a house in the area, get ready to embrace the exceptional character that sets it apart as a destination worth exploring.

1. Eat lunch at Antonio’s Coney Island

Dining at Antonio’s Coney Island promises a delectable experience featuring a diverse menu of authentic Honduran cuisine. 

“I love meeting friends for lunch at Antonio’s Coney Island in Ypsilanti, MI. Don’t be fooled by the name. They’re really a delicious Honduran restaurant. Nothing beats fried plantains in the morning,” shares Christina Violante of Collective Culture Health & Chiropractic.

2. Catch a game at the University of Michigan 

Visiting sports games in Ann Arbor is a thrilling experience, especially due to the University of Michigan’s passionate fan base. The university boasts a rich sports history, marked by a legacy of athletic excellence across football, basketball, and hockey. Most recently, the Wolverines won the College Football Playoff National Championship in 2023.

“Michigan Stadium, known as ‘The Big House,’ is one of the largest and most iconic sports venues in the country, offering an unforgettable experience with its massive crowds and electric atmosphere. Fans can also immerse themselves in the rich tradition and history of Michigan athletics, enjoy tailgating with locals, and witness top-tier collegiate sports,” shares Quad Education, a college admission consulting service. 

3. Kayak the Huron River

Kayaking the Huron River offers outdoor enthusiasts a scenic experience, allowing them to navigate the waterways and explore the natural beauty of the region while enjoying the tranquility of this popular water adventure.

“For those who enjoy outdoor activities, kayaking down the Huron River offers a serene yet invigorating experience,” says local Derek Coleman of  kurby.ai. “The river flows through the city, providing a unique perspective of Ann Arbor from the water. The Argo Park and Gallup Park livery services offer kayak, canoe, and paddleboard rentals, making it easy for everyone to enjoy the river, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced paddler.”

4. Discover the local art scene

Ann Arbor’s vibrant art scene captivates locals and visitors with its eclectic mix of galleries, street art, and cultural events.

There’s a fantastic public art scene in Ann Arbor,” says Amanda Lewan of Bamboo Detroit. “All around Downtown, you can explore and find beautiful murals, many created and funded by the A2AC public art project. Stroll around, and you’ll see a massive mural at 301 W Washington near the corner of First Street and Washington. Artist Taylor White created this mural, and has been listed as a top mural in Ann Arbor.”

“Murals are hiding in alleyways and on the side of buildings, fun-painted fire hydrants, sculptures in parks, and so much more. We also have galleries and museums, and even our downtown public library has art to borrow and galleries to explore,” adds Jenny from locally owned business Zingerman’s Deli.

5. Grab sweet treats at Yoon’s Bakery

Indulging in a meal at Yoon’s Bakery is a delightful experience, where patrons can savor a diverse array of freshly baked goods.

Christina Violante of Collective Culture Health remarks, “I love meeting friends for a mocha and red bean bun at Yoon’s Bakery. It’s so hard to get just a couple of treats. Everything is so fresh and yummy.” 

6. Learn science at the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum 

The Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum offers a diverse range of exhibits and activities that make science and technology accessible and enjoyable through hands-on exploration.

“My favorite thing to do with my kids is visit the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum,” remarks For the Love of Photography. “The museum stands out from other museums in the amount of practical science it allows kids to experience. One area that is unique is the home construction exhibit, it gives kids a behind-the-drywall look at how a house is made. Another great feature is for the toddlers, they have a massive dedicated space with an Amazon climbing tower and a really cool ball track.”

7. Venture through Nichols Arboretum

Featuring a diverse collection of plants, gardens, and scenic trails, the Nichols Arboretum showcases the beauty of this botanical haven in Ann Arbor.

Jarrett Timmons, owner and lead photographer of Alice Heart Photography, states, “Nature lovers will find solace in the lush beauty of Nichols Arboretum, also known as the ‘Arb.’ With its winding trails, tranquil river views, and diverse botanical collections, it’s the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and reconnect with the natural world.”

8. Go on a food tour 

Embarking on a food tour in Ann Arbor offers a unique experience, allowing visitors to savor the city’s diverse culinary scene. 

“Start your Ann Arbor day on State Street between Packard and Hill Streets for authentic Ann Arbor eats. The Chipati, a chopped salad nestled into a pita bowl, is a local invention and much-craved item for students and alumni — we think the signature tangy dressing is the key. Pick a slice up at Pizza Bob’s and head over to picnic in the beautiful Law Quad or the more bustling ‘diag’ for great people-watching for a picnic,” remarks award-winning photographer and Michigan native Jane Beiles.

9. Discover Fox Science Preserve

A former gravel pit, Fox Science Preserve offers a rare opportunity to explore the geology of the region. Ancient table-sized glacial boulders of granite, tillite, gneiss, and limestone are scattered around the base of the former pit. 

“One unique thing I love to do near Ann Arbor is hike at the Fox Science Preserve. It is a unique place to visit as it has been untouched for 40 years. There are giant boulders, rock piles, and fossils, and the atmosphere is unlike anywhere else you’d find in Ann Arbor,” raves wedding and lifestyle photographer Captured by Kaite.

10. Explore Gallup Park and the surrounding nature

Exploring Gallup Park and its surrounding nature provides a serene escape as visitors can stroll along scenic trails, paddle through peaceful waters, and immerse themselves in the lush greenery of the beautiful park.

“Our family loves spending the day at Gallup Park or tubing down the Argo Cascades,” shares local writer and photographer Searra Liggett. “Ann Arbor is a bike-friendly town where we enjoy parking at Argo and cycling downtown.”

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