Stay up late, stock up snacks and enjoy these movies on the big screen. Vivo - June 4th A…
Home to the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor is a college-town but it’s also a great place for families to live and visit.
Things to do
You can spend the day in the hands-on museum. Play with water, get your heart racing, climb on life-size objects and more. Admission is $12.50 for kids and adults. On Thursdays it’s $5 after 5, and babies 0-23 months are free.
Recently renovated, the Museum of Natural History is one of the oldest in the state and a lot of fun for kids of all ages because they are encouraged to learn first-hand by touching items in the exhibit. Admission to the museum is free.
Explore the gardens and walk the trails, then stop by the children’s garden to let your littles have fun in nature.
Ann Arbor’s parks are one of its best assets. Country Farm is great for toddlers and young kids because it has a great play-set at its entrance. There’s room for parents to watch and room elsewhere in the park to run, ride bikes and play.
This center has fantastic outdoor and indoor options for kids. The center has several areas—Raptor Enclosure, Critter House, and Black Pond Woods—to observe and interact with plants and animals.
Feed and pet farm animals, go on a tractor ride and have a picnic! There’s lots for littles (and bigs) to love at Domino’s Farms.
See a show at the historic Michigan Theater. From classic movies to live children’s performances the Michigan Theater offers great entertainment for the whole family.
Teach your kids to climb to new heights and spend a day at Planet Rock Climbing Gym for a family adventure.
Just a few blocks from the heart of downtown Ann Arbor you’ll find a walkable neighborhood with one-of-a kind stores offering personal service, and the charm of an earlier time. In addition to shopping, there’s a regular storytime with Mother Goose!
The U of M campus is integrated downtown and the 200 year old buildings are a site to see. You’ll also want to take a walk down the hill and to the BIG House.
Where to eat
There are a lot of restaurants in Ann Arbor to choose from, here are our favorite options for the family.
- Zingerman’s // No trip to Ann Arbor is complete without a stop at the Zingerman’s complex. There is a walk-up order restaurant where you’ll wait in line to order, then find a seat and THEY find you to deliver your order. If you don’t have time to sit down and eat, there’s also a grocery store, coffee house and sweet shop to grab something to go.
- The Original Cottage Inn Pizza // This is the chain’s first, somewhat historic, location. It’s a signature place to order pizza in Ann Arbor.
- Afternoon Delight // Super kid friendly, although on weekends expect to wait in a line to get seated (outdoor seating available when weather appropriate). Great breakfast and lunch options, and even frozen yogurt if you like! (Not open for dinner)
- Hunter House Hamburgers // Looking for a Detroit-style slider, coney dog or milkshake? Stop in! This restaurant is super kid-friendly with plenty of leg room and a menu they love. Vegetarian options for those who want them.
Ann Arbor is one of the most public transit friendly cities in Michigan. There is an Amtrak station and an active public bus system called TheRide; nevertheless, a car will get your further. There is both street parking and structure parking available downtown and in the outer edges of the city traditional parking lots. It’s a popular city and traffic can get congested – be sure to check the calendar in the fall and, unless you’re going to the game, avoid Ann Arbor when the Wolverines play at hom.e
Photo credit: Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum
About Kaitlyn Buss
Kaitlyn Buss Cobb is opinion editor at The Detroit News and contributes often to LittleGuide Detroit. She and her husband live in Royal Oak with their two little boys and three rowdy cats. Kaitlyn enjoys experimenting in the kitchen and playing in her garden in between managing naptimes.