Exploring Ann Arbor with kids

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We visited Ann Arbor with our toddler and newborn and had a great weekend exploring as much as we could fit into the three day visit. Here’s our favourites in the hopes that it may help you come up with an activity plan for your Ann Arbor visit!

Where to Sleep

The Hilton Garden Inn is where we stayed and we’d most defiitely return! It isn’t in the downtown core but it was less than a 10 minute drive from everything we wanted to do. The main attraction here is their Cool Pool which is great for kids of all ages from toddler to teen. A shallow area with a whale and mushroom sprinkler meant that I could easily monitor the water activities without having to be in the water myself. Brilliant isn’t it? Every room also has a fridge and microwave which makes travelling with kids uber easy.

Where to Drink and Eat

Michigan is known for their craft beer scene and if the adults are looking to explore the brews on offer in Ann Arbor, they’ll be pleased to know that you can do so with kids in tow, easily! We visited numerous bars, cafes and restaurants and no one batted an eye. Many even had high chairs on offer and brought out kid friendly cups of milk.

Frita Batidos : Come here for some quick Cuban inspired street food. High chair and kids menu are available here despite it being a bit of a canteen setup.

Jolly Pumpkin : Knowledgable staff, high chairs and a baby change table are all on offer. Definitely one of our favourite spots for beer in Ann Arbor.

Ashley’s Ann Arbor : This rustic pub was very welcoming! Despite it being Saturday evening they found a spot for us at the back so we could park our stroller and our group of 6 adults and two babies were well looked after. The server gave bang on beer suggestions when it came to each of us and we were thankful since the menu was quite vast.

Arbor Brewing company : Fantastic array of sampler beers on offer and what I loved about them here is that they brought me some milk when the little one woke up from her nap all cranky! And the milk was in a paper cup which was brilliant! Again… plenty of stroller parking available by the table.

Aventura : Looking for a fancy tapas dinner spot with tots in tow? This is your place! We sampled many items from their menu and most of them ended up in our faves list.

Where to Play 

Hands-On Museum : With kids in tow you definitely want to pop by here for a quick visit as it’ll tire them out for the rest of the day and you can enjoy that pint of beer as they nap in the stroller! Lots to see, do and learn here for the very young to the very old! Housed in an old fire station there’s everything from a mini fire truck to a big bubble dome! You can read the full review here.

Schakolad Chocolate Factory : Everything was made right in front of your eyes here and they pride themselves in using a tried and true three-generation European style family recipe to hand craft each of their items. This unique Made Fresh on Premise concept yielded a fine variety of chocolate which were great as souvenirs for those back home. Get the hot chocolate or you’ll regret it.

Zingerman’s : You can’t visit Ann Arbor without a visit here. Sure you have to try some of their famous sandwiches but I say this spot is better for loading up on fab gifts for the foodies in your life.

Cherry Republic : Did you know that Michigan is known for their cherries? Neither did we! A stop at this boutique  will help you score the best gifts! Preserved cherries, chocolate chili cherries, cherry wine, cherry honey… oh the list goes on and on. Best part is that you get to sample EVERYTHING!

There’s plenty that we missed on this trip and always we were left saying we’ll be back! Highlights of places for our next visit include Domino’s Petting Farm, Colonial Lanes Shopping , The Great Lakes Zoological Society’s Conservation & Rescue Center, The University of Michigan’s Matthaei Botanical Gardens and the awesome Jungle Java. The Visit Ann Arbor site has plenty of other suggestions no matter who or why you’re visiting Ann Arbor!


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