7 Things to Experience at the Ann Arbor Art Fair

Spanning four exhilarating days, from Thursday, July 21 to Sunday, July 24, The Ann Arbor Art Fair is an art lover’s destination filled with original works of art, street performances, culinary treats and a variety of shops featuring sidewalk sales. Art enthusiasts by the hundreds of thousands will turn out to enhance or start their own collection — discovering a vibrant downtown full of world-class restaurants and eclectic shops.

Here are 7 things for you to experience while visiting the area during The Ann Arbor Art Fair:

1. The Art. Pure and Simple.

The Ann Arbor Art Fair features more than 1,000 competitively juried artists from all over the world, exhibiting incredible creative talents for others to appreciate and purchase. Throughout 30 city blocks, you’ll discover countless styles and materials including: painting, drawing, glass, sculpture, mixed media, jewelry, fiber and furniture.

2. The Food. Ann Arbor is a Food Town.

There are many reasons why Ann Arbor is known as one of the best food towns in the United States. Around the downtown and close to campus you will find more than 300 unique restaurants to choose from while exploring 30 blocks of the fair.

Zingerman's is as iconic as any restaurant in Ann Arbor

Photo Courtesy of Visit Ann Arbor

3. The Art Fair, After Hours.

New this year is that The Ann Arbor Art Fair will run through Sunday, so the fun continues after fair hours on Saturday. VisitAnnArbor.org invites you to stay after the fair closes on Saturday, July 23 and discover your Ann Arbor. Several local businesses will have drink and meal specials and there will be lots of music and entertainment to choose from. 

4. The Beer & Cocktails.

The Ann Arbor area is not only known for its exceptional foodie offerings, it’s a haven for wine lovers, craft beer aficionados and those who appreciate handcrafted spirits. Stick around after fair hours to appreciate the artistry of our local mixologists and brewers.

Ann Arbor has established itself as a food and beer mecca in Michigan

Photo Courtesy of Visit Ann Arbor

5. The Outdoors. 

Ann Arbor is also known as “Tree Town” for its numerous parks and verdant landscapes. In addition to enjoying the open-air Ann Arbor Art Fair, explore the urban oasis that surrounds it with a kayaking or canoe trip along the Huron River, a stroll through Nichols Arboretum, or star counting in the Big 400.

6. The Shops.

The Ann Arbor Art Fair is one of Michigan’s finest summer traditions, with infinite treasures at artist booths. You’ll also uncover great finds in Ann Arbor’s shops. From trendy boutiques to specialty bookstores — take home something from an artist and a local shop owner.

There's so much shopping to discover when visiting Ann Arbor

Photo Courtesy of Visit Ann Arbor

7. The City Itself.

Don’t just take our word for it! Ann Arbor took the #1 spot on the “Best College Cities and Towns in America” list; Esquire recently named Ann Arbor as a “U.S. Town Most Worthy of a Day Trip;” and Livability ranks Ann Arbor #8 on its “Top 100 Best Places to Live” list. Come check it out for yourself!

For more information, visit TheAnnArborArtFair.com or on Twitter @AnnArborArtFair. Start planning your trip today at VisitAnnArbor.org.

Global Flavors, Local Scene at
Ann Arbor Restaurant Week

Ann Arbor Restaurant Week begins this Sunday, January 12th and runs through January 17th. Today, Laura Berarducci from Visit Ann Arbor takes us on a culinary tour of  some of Ann Arbor’s finest global flavors. 

A lot of people are talking about starting diets now that the food-indulgent holiday season has passed. However, for this foodie, the real holiday is about to begin. I invite you to join me on a global culinary adventure — feel free to leave your passport at home.

Ann Arbor Restaurant Week kicks off Sunday, January 12 and lasts six delicious days. There are 55 amazing restaurants participating, all of them contributing in their own way to Ann Arbor’s designation of “Best Midwest Food Town.” One of the things that makes Ann Arbor such a remarkable culinary destination is the culturally-diverse options.

Before we pack our bags, here’s a quick over view of how it works. Each participating restaurant offers a prix fixe menu with lunches at $15 and dinners at $28. What’s even better is that many of these restaurants offer 2-for-1 deals! Check out the full list of restaurants and menus at www.annarborrestaurantweek.com and make your reservations early!

Destination: Spain
Restaurant: Aventura

Photo courtesy of Sarah Fennel Photography

This Spanish tapas restaurant and bar is the newest addition to Restaurant Week and the décor is as beautiful as the food is delicious. Head Chef Jules Botham has compiled a menu that is sure to showcase the authentic flavors which inspired owner Sava Lelcaj after a trip to Spain. The menu (dinner only) consists of five courses, including “pintxos” which are small appetizers served on bread secured with a toothpick.  One of my favorite elements of this prix fixe menu is the numerous options presented in each course. You could probably dine here every night during Restaurant Week and have an entirely different experience each time.

Destination: Central Europe (Poland, Hungary, and Austria)
Restaurant: Amadeus

When you walk into Amadeus, you immediately feel like you’ve been transported to a small European café. From the tin ceiling to the large windows looking out onto the city streets, the ambiance sets the stage for the meal you’re about to enjoy. In addition to offerings such as snitzel, placeki, and pierogi, the desserts are one of a kind. The options at Amadeus for Restaurant Week can fit a party of any size – offering 2-for-1 prices, prix fixe options with multiple courses, and even a Sunday Brunch.

Destination: Ethiopia
Restaurant: The Blue Nile

Photo courtesy of VisitAnnArbor.org

Possibly the most unique stop on this culinary excursion is the warm and friendly Blue Nile. However, be sure to leave your inhibitions behind as the etiquette in Ethiopia is to share food from a single plate without the use of cutlery. Instead, tear apart pieces of “injera” — Ethiopian bread with a spongy texture — and pick up the food by pinching it between your fingers. You’ll be provided a hot towel both before and after your meal, so you may as well dig in! While you’re there, be sure to warm up with a hot cup of Ethiopian tea.

Destination: India
Restaurant: Shalimar

I’ll be the first to admit that I can easily overindulge at an Indian buffet, so choosing from a prix fixe menu during Restaurant Week is a nice way to keep myself in line. Shalimar specializes in Northern Indian cuisine with a focus on tandoori and biryani dishes. Both the lunch and dinner menus offer a lot of options and variety; however, with a samosa appetizer on the lunch menu and a Masala Chai with dessert on the dinner menu, I’m going to have a very hard time choosing between the two.

Destination: Germany
Restaurant: Metzger’s

The Metzger family has been serving authentic German cuisine in the Ann Arbor area for more than 80 years. Now located on the west side of Ann Arbor, it is also one of the few restaurants on the list with easy parking. With the dinner pricing so reasonable, be sure to order a stein filled with a German beer from their rotating taps. You’ll definitely want to bring a friend with you since Metzger’s is one of the restaurants providing the 2-for-1 option for both lunch and dinner.

These five restaurants are just a few of the gastronomic gems Ann Arbor has to offer so please take a look at the full list of participating restaurants at www.annarborrestaurantweek.com and design your own adventure. Don’t forget to pack your appetite!

Laura Berarducci is the Director of Marketing for the Ann Arbor Area Convention and Visitors Bureau and has been an Ann Arbor resident for more than 30 years. She loves to plan walking food tours with out-of-town friends. For more information about Ann Arbor and its 300+ area restaurants, check out www.VisitAnnArbor.org