Friday, January 10, 2020


Whatever the reason for your Ann Arbor trip, Sunday brunch is a staple to any vacation or excursion to a new city. It’s a chance to treat yourself to eggs benedict and mimosas, as well as a chance to see the city and the locale from a new angle. There are plenty of places to enjoy Sunday brunch in Ann Arbor before you go back to your life, but here are just a few of our favorites:

Avalon Cafe and Kitchen

This quirky cafe is known for its bread with 100% organic flower, but when it comes to breakfast and lunch, they have just about everything you could want. Favorites like avocado toast, burgers, breakfast scrambles, omelets and more can all be found here. They have plenty of vegetarian and vegan options and they’re committed to their organic, fresh ingredients. They also have selections of wine and tap beer. Best of all, brunch lines are usually short, so you’ll be able to find an easy, laid back brunch here.

The Jefferson Market

The Jefferson Market is something of a hidden gem in the Old West Side ownership, but it’s been going strong since it opened twelve years ago in 2008. Like Avalon, they offer exclusively breakfast, lunch, and of course, weekend brunch. You can try a simple breakfast here or go for something spicier like huevos rancheros made with house-made chorizo. They have vegan options, too, such as tostones and avocado toast.

Zingerman’s Roadhouse

Zingerman’s is a famous Ann Arbor staple. What started as simply Zingerman’s Deli eventually expanded to be a characteristically diverse and entirely local food chain, including Zingerman’s Bakehouse, Zingerman’s Creamery, Zingerman’s Catering, and of course, Zingerman’s Roadhouse. The Roadhouse is known primarily for its barbecue, but their brunch selection is also quite popular, incorporating elements from Zingerman’s Bakehouse and other Zingerman’s businesses. Enjoy the coffee cake, house-made biscuits, or classics like eggs benedict or grits.

Gandy Dancer

You won’t be able to miss Gandy Dancer, located in the stunning historic Michigan Central Depot. But there’s more than just stunning architecture here. Gandy Dancer is well-loved for its seafood and pasta, but if you’re looking for a Sunday brunch that truly feels like a special occasion, you’ll want to check out their white cloth brunch from 10am to 2pm. Here you can enjoy artisan bread and pastries, salmon lox, Belgian waffles, and Martha’s Vineyard salad. This is the kind of brunch to which you’ll want to book a reservation beforehand.
Still, looking for a place to stay during your Ann Arbor vacation? University Inn Ann Arbor is conveniently located near the University of Michigan campus, near all the amenities you could need — shops, restaurants, hospitals, and more. And don’t forget, when you book direct with us, we can offer a 10% discount to students and parents visiting the University of Michigan campus or parents of athletes for both UM or Eastern Michigan University. Contact us today for more information.

Thursday, January 9, 2020


The exciting appeal of road trips is obvious. You have a long period of time in which your main priority is simply to explore, to experience things you might not be able to experience at home in your day to day life. With the right company and the right car tunes, a road trip can be a delightful adventure. But road trips can also have their moments of frustration, exhaustion, and confusion. How do you keep your cool on the less than ideal moments of your road trip? Here are a few of our survival tips.

Stock Up on Food
Sure you can stop at fast-food restaurants in the middle of a long drive, or even splurge on a sit-down restaurant if you have time. But the cost can add up, as can the effects on your health if you’re spending hours sitting and eating McDonald's. Sometimes it helps to pack sandwiches and other easy-to-eat food from home before you leave. That’s not to say you should leave out the indulgent junk food altogether. At your first gas station stop, stock up on chips, sodas, trail mix, and other munchies to keep you sated in between meals. Try to structure a time when you’d like to stop for each meal, as well, and stick to it as best you can.

How to Stay Awake

If you have friends with you, take shifts driving so that no one gets too tired behind the wheel. However you might be on a solo road trip, or you might be the only one in the group who can drive. What then? It helps to have entertainment that can keep you up, like upbeat car music or audiobooks that demand you actually pay attention to what’s being said. Snacks and drinks can also help to keep your energy up. Even if you’re the designated driver, talking to your friends can help you stay alert. And of course, it helps to have a good place to stay at the end of the night so you get plenty of sleep for the next day.

Play Games
While road trips can be exciting on the whole — you’re seeing exciting new things, stopping at exciting destinations, and headed towards an exciting goal — they can also lead to restlessness sometimes. This is especially true if you have kids. So ease some of the tension by playing car games. There are classics, such as “I spy” or the timely “going on a trip” game, the “Alphabet” game in which you attempt to spell out the alphabet using only road signs. If you’re traveling with people that you’re just getting to know, consider playing 21 questions to learn more about them. If you have some kind of common interest between you, consider making a game of that.

Find a Great Place to Stay For the Night
Whether you’re stopping in Ann Arbor or just passing through, you want to be sure to get a full eight hours of sleep in order to stay refreshed going forward. The key is to find a great place to stay for the night before you hit the road again. At The University Inn, we have excellent rooms and a convenient location near coffee shops, restaurants, hospitals, and The University of Michigan campus. If the goal of your road trip is to visit the college campus, we’re an ideal destination. We even offer 10% off to students and parents visiting the UM campus as well as discounts for parents of student-athletes for both UM and Eastern Michigan University. Contact us today to book your stay or learn more information.

Thursday, January 2, 2020


So you find yourself in Ann Arbor in December. Maybe you’re visiting friends, checking out the college campuses, or even watching a football or basketball game. Whatever the case may be, you may decide while you’re here that it’s an excellent time to shop for holiday gifts for loved ones back home — or even local loved ones. Where do you shop, and what do you buy for the different people in your life? Here are a few of our suggestions in this year’s holiday gift guide:

For Kids

Ann Arbor has some great toy stores, including The Learning Express and The Little Seedling both on Stadium Boulevard. These stores are the perfect place to find gifts that will delight small kids as well as educate them. Do you want to reinstate a family game night? Consider Astro Trash, a game that gives kids a space adventure while also teaching them environmental responsibility. The TimberTots Treehouse Playset is great for precocious and imaginative toddlers. At The Little Seedling, you can find adorable blanket friends for babies as well as gifts for bigger kids. Looking for something unique? In Ypsilanti at the Unicorn Feed and Supply, you can find quirky stickers that make great stocking stuffers for any age.

For Sports Fans

Have any sports fans on your list? Ann Arbor is a great place to find the perfect gift for them. In fact, in some ways, a trip to Ann Arbor could be the gift. You can tour Michigan Stadium — aka The Big House, the largest football stadium in the United States. Tickets to a basketball game or football game are also a great option here. If you can’t bring your Wolverines fan with you, check out The M Den for merch catered specifically to fans.

For Pets

Sometimes traveling can really make you miss your cats, dogs, rabbits, snakes, or whatever pet members of your family you might have. So why not get a Christmas gift for them while you’re in town? The Pet Emporium is a great, locally-owned pet store where you can find toys, treats, pet beds and plenty of cat and dog food. What about gifts for pet lovers? Consider adopting a pet from the Humane Society of Huron Valley — but only if you’re sure the gift recipient will truly want to keep them.

For Locals and Visitors

Are you visiting friends and family, or do you know someone who wants to visit Ann Arbor soon? Maybe you have a student getting ready to start college or go back to college at the University of Michigan or Eastern Michigan University? These people will have access to all of the stores where you might shop, and it could be more special to gift them with experience. A museum membership, such as the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum or the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History could be a great gift, as well as lessons in some areas that they might enjoy. Tickets to see a play or even season membership to The Michigan Theater is great for those who love the arts.
Looking for a place to stay while checking out Ann Arbor this holiday season? Contact University Inn today, conveniently located near the college campus, and of course, the stadium. Don’t forget, students visiting the college campus get 10% off if you book directly with us, as well as discounts for parents of UM or EMU student-athletes.


Maybe you’re visiting Ann Arbor for the university, maybe to cheer for the Wolverines in person, or maybe you’re on a business or personal trip to Ann Arbor. Whatever the case may you, you may find yourself wanting to take a tour of the city while you have downtime. One of the best ways to get to know a new city is to look at the history preserved there. Ann Arbor is a historic city with preserved historic architecture, homes, and other landmarks. If you’re interested in exploring the historic side of Ann Arbor, here are a few steps you’ll want to hit.

St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church

The splendid building that houses St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church was built in 1897, designed in the stately Richardsonian Romanesque style. However, the history of the church goes back as far as 1831, when Father Patrick O’Kelly arrived in Ann Arbor to minister to Irish settlers. St. Thomas is the third building that housed this congregation, beginning in a private residence, then with the building of a small church, and finally the structure you see today, built from local rough-cut granite. It seats as many as a thousand and is home to a statue of St. Thomas that former pastor, Father Command, ordered on his way to the Vatican.

Cobblestone Farm

Cobblestone Farm is a beautiful historic home first built-in 1845. It was shared by brothers Benajah and Heman Ticknor and their respective families. The barn on the property is three stories tall and made of oak that’s stood the test of time. It’s frequently a venue for weddings and special events now. The house has been made into a museum where you can learn more about life in Ann Arbor in the mid-nineteenth century as well as take tours.

Burton Memorial Tower

If you visit the University of Michigan campus or even drive past it, you’re hard-pressed to miss the Burton Memorial Tower. This is intentional. The imposing clocktower, made of the pale, elegant campanile, was built in 1935 at the request of the University of Michigan President, Marion Leroy Burton. The purpose was to honor the lives of the University of Michigan alumni who fought and died in World War I. Today, it serves as a memorial to Burton, as well, and many of the bright minds who have passed through the University of Michigan’s campus.

Graffiti Alley

Graffiti Alley may not have a long history, but it rounds out the historic tour of the city by showing you a piece of history in the making. It was originally painted in 1999 as an art piece called “Infinite Possibilities.” It was painted over not long after that, but today it’s a welcome place for graffiti artists to share their work. Imagine historians hundreds of years from now looking at the graffiti found here and get a glimpse of the diverse culture of Ann Arbor at the time.
Looking for a place to stay while you visit Ann Arbor? The University Inn currently offers 10% off to students and parents visiting the University of Michigan campus, as well as parents of UM or EMU student-athletes. Contact us today to book your stay.


University Inn is conveniently located near the University of Michigan campus, but that is not the only university in close range to us. Throughout the year, many of our guests come to visit nearby Eastern Michigan University, whether for a college sports event or to visit the campus itself. However, the tips to visit the EMU campus may vary somewhat from the tips to visit the UM campus. Here are some of our suggestions for potential EMU students traveling to check out the campus.

Plan Ahead

If your goal is to visit the college campus, your trip will likely be a short one. It might be overnight or it might be only a few days. You’ll want to pack as much into that experience as possible. After all, when you’re considering enrolling in EMU, you’re also considering moving to Ypsilanti and the Ann Arbor area. Do some research before you leave on the sites you’ll want to see, restaurants where you’ll want to eat, and spots beloved by locals. Organizing your travel plans will also mean less headache for you when the travel starts.

Check Out the Campus Tours

Eastern Michigan University offers a variety of campus tours. There are daily tours throughout the week, including a 90-minute walk around the campus and a chance to meet with the admission staff. Morning tours also include free lunch at the campus dining hall. Group tours also occur throughout the week but have to be requested online first for groups larger than 7 people. Are you a high achieving student or the parent of a high achieving student? You may want to check out the Honors Tour, showing the honors offerings available at EMU.

Consider Your Course of Study

Daily campus tours at EMU show off the student center, residence halls, and the Halle library to give you an idea of student life on campus. They’ll also allow you to walk through “other campus areas that interest you.” Here, you’ll want to keep in mind what you’d like to study when you attend EMU. You can visit relevant campuses and ask advisors questions to give you a clear idea of exactly what the school can offer you. Of course, oftentimes incoming freshmen don’t know exactly what they want to study, and that’s okay! You have time to figure that out in college. In that case, consider what interests you now, whether you think you’ll study it or not.

Visit Downtown Ypsilanti

While you’re here, visit downtown Ypsilanti. Ypsi is the quirky nearby neighbor to Ann Arbor, home to unique stores like Unicorn Feed and Supply, great local restaurants, museums, and plenty of niche shops that are sure to catch your interest. Depending on when you visit, you can catch a show at the Riverside Arts CenterYpsilanti Symphony Orchestra, or try something completely unique at the Ypsilanti Experimental Space. It may just be the culture of the town that sells you on EMU after all.
Don’t forget when searching for a place to stay: the University Inn offers 10% discounts to parents of student-athletes visiting Eastern Michigan University as well as the University of Michigan. Contact us today to book your stay!

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.