Fans of the golden age of cinema simply must visit the restored 1928 Michigan Theatre, complete with working vintage pipe organ, which is played before screenings. Most offerings are independent and foreign films with occasional classic films sprinkled into the schedule. Musical and comedy acts also frequently perform at the theatre.
Ann Arbor takes pride in its local trees and woodlands and nowhere are they on better display than the Nichols Arboretum, a 123-acre hilly parkland on the river. Various North American ecosystems have been recreated here to house the large varieties of plants on display, from prairie to wetland to home garden. It’s an especially magical place to visit at night, when the hill affords a beautiful view down over the entire city.
Downtown and the university campus are dotted with interesting murals, sculptures, and other artistic surprises. The Alley Mural by the Liberty Square parking structure is a 5,000-square-foot mural commissioned by the city to brighten up a formerly derelict spot. On nice days, you can often find buskers performing in the alley. Fixtures like fire hydrants and power transformers throughout the downtown also got a makeover courtesy of the city’s artists and school kids – they’re now painted in bright colors and patterns. Keep your eyes down when walking through the central shopping districts for “fairy doors.” These tiny, brightly colored doors were built in the 1990s to allow fairies to enter local businesses.
The University of Michigan forms the heart of Ann Arbor, and Madonna’s erstwhile college has plenty of reasons for non-students to pay it a visit. The serene and beautiful campus is centred around two lovely public spaces: the “Diag” and the Law School Quad. Many locals consider the Law school quad, with its gothic-style architecture and tree-ringed gardens to be the most beautiful part of the city.
In the fall, the main even for most visitors is the weekly Wolverines football game. University of Michigan Stadium has a seating capacity of 109,901 – largest in the United States – and home games for the Wolverines always sell out. Michigan also has a long tradition in hockey, basketball, baseball, swimming, track, wrestling, and gymnastics.
While on campus, don’t miss out on the many quirky and interesting museums. Old museum standbys such as Natural History and Archaeology and a number of art galleries are supplemented by more unusual exhibits, such as the Sindecuse Museum of Dentistry and the Stearns Collection of Musical Instruments.