Discover Ann Arbor
Ann Arbor: The Quintessential College Town!
Ann Arbor is a city of surprises. Home to world-class research facilities, technology and life sciences start-up firms, and highly regarded companies like Google and Domino’s Pizza, Ann Arbor has at its heart the University of Michigan, which draws individuals from all over the world to teach, attend class, work, and make their homes. The resulting range of perspectives contributes to the city’s reputation as an educational, cultural, social, and athletic center.
Ann Arbor is a city of contrasts. It’s small, yet cosmopolitan, with a rich variety of restaurants, museums, galleries, and cultural opportunities. It features independent boutiques as well as a shopping mall, national chains alongside local art galleries, and historic homes on brick-paved streets as well as cutting-edge architecture. There are more than 140 parks within city limits, bike paths along most major streets, and a variety of recreational facilities. From football games in the fall to the city’s renowned Art Fairs in the summer, there’s always something to do in Ann Arbor. And yet, although it offers the variety of a metropolis many times its size, this city of 114,000 residents (one third of which are students) manages to retain a small-town charm and sense of security.
The Main Street area - just a few blocks from Central Campus - is a great place to dine, shop, and stroll. Several blocks further to the north, you'll find the Kerrytown area of Ann Arbor. On Saturdays, Kerrytown is home to the Ann Arbor Farmers Market while the Kerrytown shops are open every day of the week and include everything from fish markets to flower sellers to designer clothing stores. Just around the corner you'll find Zingerman's Deli, Ann Arbor's New York-style deli that is famous nationwide and one of the most popular eateries in the city.
A wide array of cafes, bistros, restaurants, and pubs are sure to offer something to please everyone. Eat dinner at an elegant Italian restaurant, sample beer at one of Ann Arbor's microbreweries, or enjoy a cup of coffee as you sit outside and people watch; the options are endless. When you’re done having something wonderful to eat or drink, take in a lecture, presentation, show, dance performance, independent film, or concert (often organized by the University Musical Society). Ann Arbor has earned a national reputation for its excellence in the performing arts and, as a result, attract numerous national and international figures every year.
Such richness of arts, culture, and entertainment is hardly typical of towns this size, but it is an integral part of what makes Ann Arbor vital and attractive. Come see for yourself! Or, if you just can't wait, watch this incredible time-lapse video of Ann Arbor, created by a University of Michigan graduate student.
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Read about Ann Arbor’s history.
In 1823, a group of pioneers passed through a fur trading post known as Detroit and pushed on along the banks of the Huron River in search of a location for a new frontier community. Among the settlers was a Virginian named John Allen and fellow pioneer Elisha Rumsey. Some 40 miles west of Detroit, in the slopes that bounded the Huron River, the pioneers established their settlement. On February 12, 1824, they registered their claims in Detroit: Allen for 480 acres and Rumsey for 160, each paying the prescribed price of $1.25 per acre. By May of 1824, the name “Annarbour” had been chosen for the town.
A romantic legend exists that Ann Arbor was named for the wives of founders who were both called Ann who sat in a wild grape arbor built for them by their husbands. Here, it is said, they whiled away the warm afternoons sewing and exchanging gossip. The two Anns undoubtedly did spend many afternoons visiting together, but these gatherings could not have been the inspiration for the naming of the village, as the name Ann Arbor was chosen and recorded five months prior to the arrival of Ann Allen. It is charming and probable that the Ann in Ann Arbor honors the two wives; the Arbor, however, more than likely comes from the common 19th century usage of the word "arbour" used to describe a grove of trees or shady spot, of which Ann Arbor had many.