Family Neighborhood Guide: Visiting Ann Arbor with Kids

Thinking of visiting Ann Arbor with kids? Get to know this vibrant community with our recommendations for places to eat, play, explore and shop.

If you’re seeking for a great family day trip, Ann Arbor should be on your list. Not only can you visit some of the many restaurants, bookstores, coffee shops and other unique stores, spring’s warmer temperatures make a walk around the University of Michigan campus or one of the many parks and trails in the area a great way to get much needed fresh air outside. Head there earlier in the day, have lunch, do a little exploring and be back home by dinner time.

We found a few places to help get you started on your visit.

How to get there:

Ann Arbor is located on the Huron River, about 35 miles west of Detroit. From Detroit, take I-96 W and M-14 W to North Main Street.

EAT

Cafe Zola

Where: 112 W. Washington St., Ann Arbor

A longtime Ann Arbor institution since 1996, featuring fresh omelets, crêpes, waffles, salads, sandwiches, appetizers, entrées and pastries. Enjoy a bite with a coffee, tea or wine for the grown-ups. The waffles and array of smoothies are favorites with the littles. Vegan and gluten-free options available.

Detroit Street Filling Station

Where: 300 Detroit St., Ann Arbor

Located where the Staebler Family Oil Company opened a filling station in 1925, this spot offers plant-based deliciousness for curbside pickup and delivery that will please the palates of your whole gang. The 100% vegan menu includes soup, chili, salads, sandwiches, wraps and other entrees.

Jerusalem Garden

Where: 314 E. Liberty St., Ann Arbor

A Middle Eastern eatery where you can have your fill of favorites like hummus, fattoush, shawarma and falafel just to name a few of the specialties on the menu. Save room for some baklava and Turkish coffee for dessert!

Seva

Where: 2541 Jackson Ave., Ann Arbor

After 41 years in downtown Ann Arbor, Seva has been in its current location since 2014 serving vegan and vegetarian fare – including a full kids menu. Hot tip: don’t miss the General Tso’s Cauliflower – you’ll be coming back for more!

Zingerman’s Deli

Where: 422 Detroit St., Ann Arbor

The extensive menu is full of sandwich options made with quality ingredients and generous portions. Be sure to order ahead online or by phone. After lunch, grab a coffee and some of their famous coffee cake at the Next Door Cafe.

RoosRoast

Where: 117 E Liberty St. and 1155 Rosewood St., Suite B, Ann Arbor

This artisanal coffee shop’s menu touts food items including burritos and sandwiches, along with specialty coffees. Visit its website to learn more about the beans they roast at the Rosewood location!

SHOP

Catching Fireflies

Where: 419 Detroit St., Ann Arbor

A whimsical gallery featuring independent artists and unique gifts for everyone. Shop their selection of goods online or visit one of their other two locations in Berkley or Rochester as well.

Kerrytown Market & Shops

Where: 407 N. 5th Ave., Ann Arbor

Located in Kerrytown’s historic market district, the Kerrytown Market & Shops offer a variety of fresh food, eateries, gourmet shops and other retail stores, including Mudpuddles toys. The adjacent Farmers Market is a must. The Sunday Artisan Market is open April through December.

Literati Bookstore

Where: 124 E. Washington St., Ann Arbor

An independent bookstore offering popular subscription services. Book lovers can peruse the selection and check out recommendations made by experienced booksellers. Visit their website for a list of virtually hosted author events that you can join from the comfort of home.

Mindo Chocolate Makers

Where: 206 N. 4th Ave., Ann Arbor

The Dexter-based chocolatier has a sister store in Mindo, Ecuador, and now a retail space in Ann Arbor! Visit their location in Dexter for a tour and chocolate making events (tickets available online).

Rock Paper Scissors

Where: 216 S. Main St., Ann Arbor

A fun, eclectic gift and greeting card shop. Try their Stamp and Send service where you can select a greeting card, provide the message for them to handwrite, address, stamp and mail to your recipient. Shop online and ship your gift or shop in store at their locations in Ann Arbor and Saline.

PLAY

Ann Arbor Art Center

Where: 117 W. Liberty St., Ann Arbor

In addition to an array of classes and workshops, the art center offers summer camps and art boxes that include all of the supplies and instructions needed to make an art project!

Ann Arbor Hands On Museum

Where: 220 E. Ann St., Ann Arbor

Hours of fun for children of all ages! The various exhibits include favorites like H2Oh!, the Preschool Gallery and Lyons Country Store. Advance tickets required. Annual family memberships available as well.

Domino’s Farms Petting Farm

Where: 3001 Earhart Road, Ann Arbor

A hands-on, interactive opportunity for families and groups to visit and see all of the animals housed at the farm.

Weber’s Boutique Hotel & Restaurant

Where: 3050 Jackson Road, Ann Arbor

The hotel features poolside hotel rooms and suites with balconies and spiral staircases or first floor walk out to the four seasons pool and recreation area. Onsite dining available at Weber’s Restaurant.

EXPLORE

Leslie Science and Nature Center

Where: 1831 Traver Road Ann Arbor

Learn through STEM activities and explore the natural world. The Birds of Prey and Raptor enclosures are a popular attraction. The center offers summer camps and programs for scouts, too!

Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum

Where: Matthaei Botanical Gardens, 1800 N. Dixboro Road, Ann Arbor; Nichols Arboretum, 1610 Washington Heights., Ann Arbor

The Botanical Gardens consist of the conservatory, display gardens such as the Gaffield Children’s Garden, Bonsai & Penjing Garden, Great Lakes Gardens, and many trails and natural areas. The arboretum is home to the Nichols Arboretum Peony Garden and several collections of historic or native plants. Both are free and open seven days a week.

U-M Museum of Art

Where: 412 Maynard St., Ann Arbor

One of the oldest and largest university art museums in the country, hosting special exhibitions and displaying works from the permanent collection that features world renowned artists. Admission is free and open to the public.

U-M Museum of Natural History

Where: Biological Sciences Building, 1105 N. University Ave., Ann Arbor

Learn about the story of our world through permanent and changing exhibitions that are interactive, hands-on and thought-provoking. Admission is free.


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