I have a confession. Despite my undying love for the beautiful state of Michigan, I have never been a fan of the University of Michigan. In fact, I had never even been to Ann Arbor until last weekend. But, to my misfortune, I have a couple intelligent, yet foolish, friends who study there and who convinced me to come see their surprisingly endearing college town.
You can’t escape the wolverines
I thought it would be fitting to start by talking about the University of Michigan because it literally defines the entire town. Many of the buildings are quite historical and jaw-droopingly beautiful. My favorite building was the Law Library, located in the Law Quad because it reminded me of Hogwarts.
Walking around the campus made my college seem like a high school. Even the dining halls had food that I actually enjoyed eating. They even had fresh plums, which immediately won me over. However, I did not venture near the football stadium, it was an incredibly busy game day, but I would recommend exploring the campus if you are ever in the city.
This week I was encouraged to use a video in my blog and, after watching the cutest child run around this magnificent piece of art, I thought, what better video to use than a video of the “Cube” located next to the Union. However, my plan doesn’t support videos so here is a picture and a promise that the cube actually spins!
Big cities mean more museums
One of the perks of being a college student is the cheaper (or even nonexistent) museum rates. Ann Arbor has a plethora of museums for you to explore. I first visited the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History, which was a cute, small museum that’s excellent for kids.
But my favorite museum in Ann Arbor was the University of Michigan Museum of Art. A variation of half floors and vast, cultural exhibits present art that everyone would enjoy. Even the building itself is beautiful; it’s definitely worth checking out.
It’s easy to forget the city life
When I hear the phrase ‘big city’, I immediately cringe at the idea of being so far away from nature. A pleasant aspect of Ann Arbor is that there are plenty of parks to seek refuge in from the craziness of the town.
Matthaei Botanical Gardens
The Matthaei Botanical Gardens are similar to the Fredrick Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids. There are indoor and outdoor gardens that include a koi pond and a children’s garden. Unlike the Fredrick Meijer Gardens, the admission is free. In addition, they were hosting a cute plant sale at the time I attended.
I absolutely loved Gallup Park. It’s almost random how perfectly it sits in the middle of the city. With lots of walking required, I was able to walk over and around a river, under and over bridges, and explore miniature islands. You can even rent a kayak and paddle down the river or even play at two different parks.
U of M also has a beautiful park that goes deep into the woods. You can’t even hear the cars from the busy streets that surround the park as you take in the scenery. I would highly suggest hiking there anytime of the year.
Downtown Ann Arbor can be overwhelming, so I found that a good way to explore (other than getting lost) was by searching for “Fairy Doors“. If you’re into geocaching, you’ll love discovering the tiny Fairy Doors on the sides (or insides) of local businesses. It’s a unique scavenger hunt that’s healthy for the community.
Of course there’s other things to do downtown, an exploration you’ll have to discover for yourself.
College kids are always hungry
Traveling can be expensive, therefore, it’s always nice to discover cheap places to eat high quality food. Krazy Jim’s Blimpy Burger is every college student’s perfect restaurant. Although there are specific ordering directions, customers can watch their food cook before their eyes. It’s cheap, quick, and of good quality: every college kid’s dream.
Let the record show that I still prefer Spartans over Wolverines. However, all in all, Ann Arbor (and UofM) was definitely not as bad as I thought.