We loaded up our Chevy Traverse and packed the kids for a quick Michigan getaway this past February. Ann Arbor may scream “college town” but it is also a friendly and sophisticated city filled with plenty of activities for families to enjoy.
Michigan University definitely runs deep in Ann Arbor’s veins but there’s plenty to explore in the biggest little city in the middle. Whether you’re heading that way to drop off your college kid, or you’re looking for a quick getaway with young kids, we’ve got the Masalamommas scoop on how to enjoy this cultural hub where locals pride themselves on “living life different.”
On our most recent travels, the craft beer scene and the many museums truly impressed us.
If you’ve got kids joining you on your travels, they’ll want in on the action happening at the Hilton Garden Inn Ann Arbor. “A garden’s path can take you anywhere….” is a saying that transports you throughout the property.
From the moment you walk in through their doors, you’re guaranteed not only a blissful sleep, but a fun and cozy stay as well. Perks travelling families are sure to enjoy are complimentary Wi-Fi, self-serve morning coffee/tea/hot chocolate station, in-room microwave (popcorn anyone?) and a cool pool like no other!
While the parents lounge by the pool, the toddlers and teens can safely amuse themselves with the various activities in the pool. The hotel is a quick drive from the centre of the town and is right across from a mall. Masalamommas, click your shopping heels!
Cupcake Station: It’s hard to say no to this little spot where they even have plenty of mini options for the little ones. There’s no need to avoid the sugar rush!
Jolly Pumpkin: Craft beer lovers will have a hard time leaving this rustic brew pub. Knowledgeable staff and fine cuisine can easily keep you here all day if you’re not careful!
Aventura: If you’ve got a large group and fancy some tapas, this spot will bring everyone around the table and take your taste buds on a culinary journey through Spain. They also have a great bar to enjoy some craft cocktails and people watch if dinner isn’t really your thing.
Cardamom: If you’re craving some Indian food, this is where you want to be. Traditional and modern fusion dishes splatter the menu, including some popular Nepali dishes that will have you swinging by for more.
Frita Batidos: Looking for something out of the ordinary? How about some Cuban street food in a casual setting? Everyone’s a friend here as you gather around wooden communal tables to enjoy their boozy shakes and fresh Cuban dishes. Be sure to try their garlic fries!
Hands-on Museum: Housed in an old fire station, this children’s museum can not only entertain kids but also ignite the power of imagination. Interactive displays span four floors where you need not worry about grubby hands and delicate structures. Fit for kids of all ages 2 to 52!
University of Michigan Museums: From the Museum of Art to the Museum of Natural History and Planetarium, there’s plenty to explore on campus as a visitor. Roam the university as you peruse through the state’s largest collection of dinosaur skeletons and pop by the largest stadium in North America to soak in the culture spread throughout the campus.
Bluffs Nature Area: If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, the rugged trails here are perfect for mountain biking and hiking. Located close to the downtown core, it’s an easy way to stay healthy on your holiday.
Farmers’ Market: With summer on its way, get ready to nosh your way through Ann Arbor. Fresh produce, baked goods and ready-to-eat meals can be found here in Kerrytown. Most likely, you’ll be serenaded by a band or two during your visit.
Downtown Ann Arbor: A very walkable downtown means you can explore many culinary pursuits all within a few blocks. Swing by the Schakolad Chocolate Factory or Cherry Republic to stock up on gifts for those back home or pop by Zingerman’s for a boutique food experience like no other.
Ann Arbor has something for everyone. Whether you’re a craft beer lover, cherry aficionado, theatre goer or sports fanatic, you’ll feel at home.
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