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

Ann Arbor Hands-On Science Museum 

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.

University of Michigan Museum of Natural History

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.

Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum

Explore the gardens and walk the trails, then stop by the children’s garden to let your littles have fun in nature.

Country Farm Park 

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. 

Leslie Science & Nature Center 

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.

Domino’s Farms Petting Farm

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.

Michigan Theater

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.  

Planet Rock

Teach your kids to climb to new heights and spend a day at Planet Rock Climbing Gym for a family adventure.

Kerrytown Market & Shops

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!

University of Michigan

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.

Other Details

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