5 Fun Things To Do This Summer in Ann Arbor

By Natalie White on June 17, 2015

It’s the best time of year again—besides for maybe football season: summer in Ann Arbor. For the 40,000 some students that flock to Michigan’s campus every year just in time for it to start getting cold again, summer here is an urban legend. In fact, I’ve been told on multiple occasions by my friends from the south that they simply don’t believe that it is ever nice in this city. If you’re one of these doubters, I highly advise you spend some time in Ann Arbor for at least one summer during your four years of college, because summer in good ‘ole Ann rocks.

The great thing about Ann Arbor summers is that the most fun activities are things that can only be done in the summer months. To help you narrow down a few things to start with, here’s a list of 5 of the most popular activities from a true Annarborite.

1.    Go to the Arb

Nichols Arboretum is one of the most beautiful places in Ann Arbor. There are countless trails great for walking or running, big grassy fields that are frequented by ultimate frisbee players and sunbathers,  tons of access to the Huron River perfect for wading, and of course the famous peony garden where your next Instagram is waiting to be taken. On a sunny day during the summer, the Arb is full of people just soaking up the nature. The best part is it’s only a short walk or drive from campus. Full disclosure: don’t be ashamed if you get lost once or twice your first time there. Once my friend ran 9 miles because she couldn’t figure out where the entrance was…but at least she had a great view.


2. Kayak, Canoe, or Float Down the Huron River

It’s easy to rent kayaks and canoes at either the Argo Canoe Livery or the Gallup Canoe Livery (look on the website for exact prices). Enjoy a sunny day with your friends down the Huron River, and consider taking the fun to the next level by packing a cooler and turning the canoe trip into a “cabrewing” trip. Make sure to do this on an especially hot day and use the river as the perfect way to cool off. At the end of the day you’ll be a little tanner, a little more tired, and a lot happier.

Lon Horwedel, The Ann Arbor News  

3. Walk Around Downtown

During the winter months, a.k.a almost the entire year, people try to avoid going outside as much as possible. And with daily subzero temperatures, who can blame them? But Ann Arbor has too good of a downtown to not be appreciated, so use the good weather as an excuse to do just that. Whether you want to lounge in the Diag, shop on State St., stroll down Main St., or visit the farmer’s market in Kerrytown, there’s plenty to do and see. Walking around downtown is a great, easy way to see the city while also being active.


4. Go to Top of the Park

Every summer the Ann Arbor Summer Festival team puts on a variety of events that span the length of the summer. Set mostly on North U Ave. and South Ingalls Mall, Top of the Park encompasses the outdoor portion of the festival. Each night there are free performances featuring many local artists and celebrities, and tons of food booths from local restaurants. Top of the Park is a chill option for the evening and provides a great taste of true Ann Arbor culture. Not convinced yet? Every few days at the end of the night, they stream popular movies on a huge screen. So bring your blanket, some popcorn, and a cuddle buddy, and sit back and relax.


5. Eat

You don’t have to tell me twice, and I think that most people who live in Ann Arbor would agree. Not that you can’t enjoy the multitude of delicious options that the city has to offer during the winter, you can, but the experience of eating in Ann Arbor changes during the summer months. Most restaurants sport not only a delectable menu, but also an outdoor patio area, and although these areas are desolate for the colder months, during the summer most of them are packed to the brim. Definitely worth it. Additionally, there are some really awesome local spots that are open exclusively during the summer months: The Beer Garden and Dominick’s being just two examples. I promise anyone who has been will back me up on this, few things rival a nice afternoon drinking Dom’s sangria.



Like I mentioned before, this is just a beginners list and some of my own personal favorites, but I could probably go on forever. Look past the 9 months of unbearable winter and take a chance on the other three amazing months. And when you try some of these and realize that you might never want to leave Ann Arbor, I’ll do my best not to say “I told you so.”

I'm currently a junior at the University of Michigan. I love reading and writing and I have a passion for the color pink, although not in my wardrobe. "Be so good they can't ignore you." -Steve Martin

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