Friday, December 6, 2019


Christmas will be here before you know it, and even sooner, Ann Arbor will soon start to glow with Christmas lights. While you can drive through the residential streets of Ann Arbor and see beautiful yard displays of Christmas lights, sometimes you want to see the big showings. Ann Arbor provides these, too, throughout the city. Here are a few places where you can find Christmas lights in Ann Arbor or in nearby areas.
Concordia University
While the University of Michigan may be the university that primarily drives people to Ann Arbor, the smaller Concordia University certainly knows how to do Christmas lights. They have a display every year, beginning December 4. You’ll find beautifully lit nativity scenes or Christmas light angels playing on trumpets. This year, enjoy the first Lighting of the Green. The students and faculty decorate ten Christmas trees and light them on the night of the 4th. There’s a vote for the best tree, and rumors that even Santa will make an appearance.
Downtown Ann Arbor
A drive through Downtown Ann Arbor may be enough to put you in the Christmas mood. While you probably won’t find elaborate displays here, the streets will be alive with Christmas-lit tree canopies and even some of the local businesses deck their offices out in Christmas lights. Take your time rounding the corners or even explore downtown by foot so you can take in the crisp early winter air and the twinkling Christmas lights at the same time.
Toledo Zoo Lights 2019
Technically, this one’s not in Ann Arbor but it starts in Ypsilanti. On December 6 at 5pm, gather at the student center of Eastern Michigan University to take a trip to the Toledo Zoo, about an hour away. The Lights Before Christmas event is spectacular, showing off light displays that are made to look like alligators, elephants, and more. This is also the perfect trip for students looking for a break from finals and getting ready to get into the Christmas spirit before winter break.
Wayne County Lightfest
In nearby Westland, you’ll find the largest light display in the Midwest. It runs from November 21 through December 31, covering five miles full of bright Christmas lights. When you want to stop to really take it in, you can visit Santa’s Shelter at Warrendale Park. There you’ll find refreshments and even an opportunity to take photos with the big man himself. The cost is $5 per vehicle, but you can also donate an unwrapped toy to waive the entrance fee.
Christmas is a beautiful season throughout Ann Arbor and even in nearby areas. Want to see it for yourself? First, find a place to stay. When you stay at the University Inn of Ann Arbor, you can find discounts for students and parents visiting the University of Michigan college campus, as well as for parents of UM or EMU student-athletes. However, these discounts are only available when you book with us directly. Contact us today to get started.

Thursday, December 5, 2019


Thinking of attending the University of Michigan at the start of the next fall? Maybe you have a student graduating high school who has their eyes set on UM? Even if you’re just briefly considering it, it’s a good idea to visit the campus to get a sense of what it has to offer to you or your child. Check out the facilities, the culture, and meet the professors to see if it’s the right fit for you.
When visiting the University of Michigan, it can sometimes seem like there’s so much to do you’ll never get to it all. While you may have to do some research on your own to fully plan your trip, here are a few Can't-miss stops.

The Diag

If you want to get a sense of the culture at the University of Michigan, check out the Diag. “The Diag,” short for the Diagonal Green, is at the center of campus in more ways than one. It’s a large open space at the center of the central campus, and it’s a favorite place for students to gather and socialize on a nice day. If the campus has an outdoor concert going on, a fundraiser, or other exciting events, chances are you can find them at the Diag. You’ll also find the large brass M at the center of campus — but make sure not to step on it. Local superstition has it that a student who steps on the M before taking their first bluebook exam will likely fail the exam.

The Law Quad

Interested in studying law? Maybe just a fan of gothic stone architecture? The law quad is one spot you’ll need to see. The stone arches and towering structures here look reminiscent of Hogwarts and give you the sense of having been transported to somewhere older and statelier. The library is more than just an architectural marvel — it’s also held as one of the world’s best law libraries. It brings in legal professionals from all over, adding expertise both within and without the pages. And coffee shops and restaurants nearby will ensure that you get the refreshments you need in between sight-seeing and studying.

“The Big House”

Michigan Stadium, or “The Big House” is the largest stadium in the United States and the second-largest stadium in the world. It has an official seating capacity of 107,601, but in actuality, it’s held crowds of more than 115,000. Needless to say, it’s a sight to see. If you can catch a game at Michigan Stadium to get a sense of the energy, that’s ideal, but even without a game going on, simply seeing the enormity of the stadium can be both humbling and exciting.
Looking for a place to stay while you visit the University of Michigan? At University Inn of Ann Arbor, we’re conveniently located close to campus. We also offer a 10% discount for parents and students visiting the University of Michigan when you book with us directly. Contact us today to get started.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019


As the temperatures drop, we’re all looking for ways to create a sense of coziness. Sometimes that’s about more than staying warm. For many, autumn and early winter presents the early time to indulge their sweet tooth. There’s no risk of treats that melt in the heat and the right sweets can pair perfectly with a warm cup of cocoa or apple cider. When you’re visiting Ann Arbor, make sure to satisfy your need for sugar. Here are a few places you can go for your sweets and dessert fix in the area.
Located on University Avenue, Sweeting is the perfect stop for those visiting the University of Michigan college campus who want to stop for something sweet. They offer a variety of bubble teas and home-rolled ice cream as well as their own unique desserts. Consider their deep-fried ice cream, topped with sprinkles and a chocolate drizzle. Their menu has heavy Asian influences, such as fruit wrapped mochi, rice balls, and a wide variety of taro balls.
Simple Pleasures Baked Goods is the place to be for those who have a sweet tooth but also want (or need) to eat responsibly. Here you can find eggless dessert bars, gluten-free and vegan cakes and pies, and even sugarless muffins. In fact, the owner of Simple Pleasures was inspired by her brother’s own need for a sweets fix, which came into conflict with his vegetarian eating habits. She took to alternative baking that allows everyone to indulge, without having to feel guilty or potentially risking their health to do so.
A classic, laid back ice cream parlor serving scoops of homemade ice cream, Blank Slate Creamery is one stop that sweets lovers won’t want to miss. Their flavors change daily listed on their website as well as, of course, in-store. You can even order pints and quarts to take home. But if you’re looking for alternative options, don’t worry. Blank Slate offers several dairy-free flavors every day and even has gluten-free and vegan options.
Sometimes you want to go somewhere you can count on for a particular kind of sweet. When you see a name like Cupcake Station, you can rest confident that they know how to make really good cupcakes. At Cupcake Station, you can find fresh daily cupcakes in flavors with creative names like “What’s Up Doc,” “Bumpalicious,” and “Station’s Samoa.” They also offer cookies, caramel bars, and pudding — as well as cupcakes, for dog lovers!
Zingerman’s is famous as a local, wildly diverse food group. There’s the deli, the roadhouse, the coffee shop, but the one you’ll want to check out here is Zingerman’s Bakehouse. Here you’ll find cakes, cookies, pastries, and more that are uniquely and distinctly Ann Arborian. They even have their own cookbook!
Looking for a place to stay after you’ve indulged yourself in all the sweets you can eat? University Inn of Ann Arbor is conveniently located near the University of Michigan campus and offers discounts to students and parents visiting UM. Contact us today for more information.


Autumn is a wonderful time to be outdoors in Ann Arbor, with its bright fall colors and crisp autumn air, all the sweet scents and tastes. And now with December on its way, we can even look forward to the first snowfall. It’s no wonder that people in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti like to wander a little more slowly and really explore.
First Fridays Ypsilanti provides the perfect opportunity to do just that. While downtown Ypsilanti is always vibrant and charming, the first Friday of the month is something special. Shops offer free tastings and sometimes stay open a little later. The streets are filled with live music and local artwork. If you want a taste of the area, First Fridays in Ypsilanti is something you’ll need to check out.
A First Friday Walkthrough
First Fridays are self-explanatory. They happen on the first Friday of every month in downtown Ypsilanti. There is a wide range of local participating vendors who will line the streets with tables offering free tastings or samples of local art and culture. There’s no set schedule or order of stops you have to make. You guide yourself through all that First Fridays Ypsilanti has to offer.
You can find a map laying out all of the vendors for the particular Friday and all the tables and stops to find along the way. There’s live music throughout to keep you entertained for as long as you want to explore. But every First Friday is different, so even if you’ve been before, you’ll still find something new to explore the next time.
FFY Events To Come
First Fridays Ypsilanti is more than just the standard vendors. They also have unique events that make each month stand out from the last. Check their Facebook page for upcoming events to stay current. Often, they’ll list bands who might be performing or holiday-themed events. For instance, November kicked off with two Halloween themed events: All Hallows Illumination of Frog Island and Halloween Day of the Dead at Ziggy’s. All Hallows Illumination offered a beautiful display of festive jack-o-lanterns and a chance to dress up in Halloween costumes. Halloween was essentially a Halloween themed dance party, including a costume contest.
Need to catch up on work? Look for Plug and Play events, a coworking afternoon where you can use the back office to finish your work so you can enjoy yourself for the rest of the evening. In December, you can check out the tree lighting, watch holiday movies, or make crafts. Keep an eye out on the events page so that you don’t miss out on any exciting First Fridays Ypsilanti events.
Looking for a place to stay while you explore First Fridays Ypsilanti? University Inn of Ann Arbor is conveniently located near hospitals, universities, and just a short drive from Ypsilanti. And don’t forget, parents and students visiting the University of Michigan, as well as parents of UM or EMU athletes, are entitled to discounts when they book directly with us. Contact University Inn today for more information.
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Tuesday, November 5, 2019


Autumn is officially here, and with it, all the beautiful sights smell, and, of course, tastes. Since 2003, pumpkin spice has been perhaps the favorite flavor of fall, combining the rich spices of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and a little bit of pumpkin puree. And while you can find pumpkin spice in almost anything now, the most popular option remains the pumpkin spice latte. Is your mouth watering yet? Here’s where you can find pumpkin spice lattes in Ann Arbor:

Literati Coffee

You may recognize the name Literati from the well-loved local independent bookstore, Literati Bookstore. When you make your way through the bookstore — undoubtedly with arms full of books, you’ll find Literati coffee, a fully-fledged coffee shop that has a delicious seasonal menu. Among that menu is their *Literally* Pumpkin Spice Latte, made with their own house-made pumpkin syrup. Not only will you find pumpkin spice here, but you’ll find a pumpkin spice latte that can’t be found anywhere else — and you might even find the perfect read while you drink it.

The Common Cup

Come autumn, The Common Cup is filled with the tempting scents of hot apple cider, chai, cinnamon apple donuts, and pumpkin spice lattes. But The Common Cup is more than just a coffee shop. It’s an extension of the University Lutheran Chapel and committed to serving the community both in providing a space to meet and being environmentally responsible. They even offer 5% off when you bring your own coffee mug. This is a popular spot for college students to meet, given the convenient location. The walls are adorned with art from local artists.

Sweetwaters Coffee & Tea

Sweetwaters Coffee & Tea is a Ypsilanti coffee shop that has already become a franchise. They have a wide range of coffee, tea, espresso, and more options. That variety expands when autumn comes around and they start to offer their own pumpkin spice syrup. Blogger Cecilia Irene of A Large Cup of Tea and a Long Book declared Sweetwaters’ pumpkin spice latte to be her favorite, calling it “the perfect mix of sweet and savory.”

Bearclaw Coffee

Bearclaw Coffee is one of our personal favorites, our neighbors as well as a delicious place to enjoy a cup of coffee. They have a warm, rustic sort of ambiance as well as the “nation’s largest fleet of mobile coffee trucks,” so you may have seen them at local events. Bearclaw Coffee also offers a delicious autumn menu every fall, including pumpkin spice lattes and authentic Bearclaw Chai.
Starbucks may have created the pumpkin spice latte and popularized it, but they’re not the only place to go for your pumpkin spice fix in Ann Arbor. Don’t neglect the local coffee shops with their own unique takes on this delicious fall drink. Need a place to stay while exploring all the pumpkin spice goodness that Ann Arbor has to offer? Contact University Inn Ann Arbor today to book your stay or for more information.


With Halloween around the corner, even visitors of Ann Arbor may be looking for haunted houses to get their October spook fix. In Ann Arbor, you’ll find vibrant excitement for Halloween, including haunted house attractions both in the city and in the general area. New in town or just staying for a short time? Here are a few haunted houses in or near Ann Arbor that are worth the visit.
Strictly speaking, Brandywine Cemetery is not a haunted house. It’s an outdoor attraction, but it’s just as spooky and thrilling as any haunted house you might check out. The theme is a haunted graveyard, and there are more than just ghosts to be found. Here you’ll cross gargoyles, animatronics, and plenty of scary props. However, if you need to go a little light on the more horrific elements, this is an excellent choice for you. This haunted house leaves out the blood and guts, graphic depictions of murder, and anything else that might make you too squeamish. Instead, it focuses on the spookiness of the storytelling and chilling the senses.
Night Terrors has a number of haunted attractions: the asylum, the haunted barn, hay rides, the mineshaft, and even zombie paintball. It’s a full haunted thrill park located at Wiard’s Orchards in Ypsilanti. Night Terrors is so notoriously spooky that it’s been ranked in the top 31 haunted attractions throughout the whole of the United States. It’s an opportunity to get into the spooky season as well as a chance to just have fun. After all, how often do you get to shoot zombies with a paintball gun?
Located in nearby Pontiac, Erebus is a four-story haunted house themed as the lab of a mad scientist — but be careful, word has it he’s searching for more subjects to achieve his goal of making time travel a reality. Move through eerie portals and face the horrifying fates of subjects that came before. With terrifying screams as well as laughs, Erebus is well worth the half-hour drive for those in the mood for a haunted house.
In nearby Westland, you can find not just one but three haunted houses in one haunted attraction. The themes are vastly different to fit your tastes. There’s Descent, which features mines and caverns; The Coven, transporting you to an old New Orleans cemetery; and Rosecliff Hall, set in an old family manor. Each offers a different story, but all equally chilling and filled with monsters. Hush is known for its state of the art sets and their excellent actors, so you know you’re in for an experience.
Need somewhere to stay while checking out all these haunted attractions? Try University Inn of Ann Arbor. You may not find any ghosts here, but you will find us conveniently located near the university as well as several shops, restaurants, and hospitals. Contact us today to book your stay and get ready to check out the haunted houses nearby.

Monday, November 4, 2019


Home to the University of Michigan, Michigan Stadium, and nearby Eastern Michigan University, college sports have always been a point of excitement in Ann Arbor. As the air turns crisp and the green grass is trimmed, football season comes into view, and with its fans from all over the country. No college sport is more beloved in Ann Arbor, and for good reason. So if you’re planning to visit, either to support a student-athlete or just to see a great game, here’s our guide to football season in Ann Arbor:
The Teams
If you’re watching a game at Michigan Stadium, there’s a good chance you’re here to cheer on the Michigan Wolverines. The Wolverines are the home team of the University of Michigan, playing in the East Division of the Big Ten Conference. Their season began on August 31, with a game against the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders which they won. A preseason poll by slated the Wolverines to win the Big Ten Championship game for the current season.
If, however, you’re visiting Rynearson Stadium, you’ll find the Eastern Michigan Eagles, who compete in the Division I Football Superbowl Subdivision, as well as the Mid-American Conference. Their season also started August 31 when they won a game against the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers.
The Stadiums
Michigan Stadium is often called “The Big House” for good reason. With an official capacity of 107,601, it’s the largest football stadium in the United States and the second-largest in the world — with the largest being Rungrado 1st of May Stadium in Pyongyang, North Korea. Despite the official capacity, the Big House has in fact hosted crowds of more than 115,000 at points. In addition to hosting football games, The Big House is used to host the University of Michigan graduations. Rynearson Stadium in Ypsilanti holds crowds of about 30,200 and has hosted games since 1969. It’s named for a decorated former coach at Eastern Michigan University, Elton J. Rynearson, who coached for 26 seasons.
The Etiquette
“Etiquette” and “football” aren’t often used in the same sentence. After all, a football game is a rowdy occasion, with screaming, exuberant fans and emotions running high. But if you haven’t attended a game before, there are a few things you want to keep in mind. While it’s great and encouraged to jump out of your seat and cheer at the big moments like an epic touchdown, or even the disappointments, you do want to make sure to sit back down. No one wants to sit behind a fan who stands for most of the game. Check the weather to dress appropriately for the game — you’ll probably be outside for a while. Drink responsibly and don’t chest bump strangers whose boundaries you don’t know. Finally, if yelling at the ref is something you need to do for your own sake, it’s up to you but keep in mind — the refs don’t care, and shouting at them won’t change their decision.
Looking for a place to stay as a college football fan? University Inn of Ann Arbor offers discounts for team sports parents of both the University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University as well as a 10% discount to college-bound students and parents visiting the University of Michigan when you book ahead of time. Contact us today for more information.