My heart bleeds scarlet and gray.
I graduated from OSU, and then worked there for several years, inside a building with a perfect view of the ’Shoe. So it made me squirm in my seat with discomfort when we discussed writing a piece for the magazine on Ann Arbor getaways. Imagine my surprise when I found myself wandering the streets of our rival city on a clandestine mission for photographs, in a sea of maize and blue.
This November, Buckeyes will flood into the streets of Ann Arbor in preparation for the Big Game, where we’ll face off against the Wolverines on their home turf.
Much to my amazement, my trip to the state up north was surprisingly idyllic. Expecting a barren wasteland of sour-faced losers and actual wolverines, I found friendly people, a beautiful campus, and plenty of attractions to keep fans from both sides of the line entertained before and after the main event on November 25 at noon.
So if you’re planning on spending a weekend up in their neck of the north, here are some suggestions that will keep you right around campus, while letting you get away from the pressure of The Big Game, if you so choose.
Ann Arbor Farmer’s Market
Located close to the city hustle and bustle, the Ann Arbor Farmer’s Market is home to over 100 producer-only vendors. This means there is no middle man; you’re buying straight from the planters and makers. Despite the chilly northern winters, the market is open year-round. By the time late November rolls around, it’ll be up and running Wednesdays and Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Get up early before The Big Game for some local souvenirs and start your day off with more than a beer bong.
A classic local music venue with a reputation for putting on amazing shows, The Ark is like Ann Arbor’s version of our Newport. No it’s not better. I didn’t say that—you said that. The gigs and players lean folksy here, and the night of The Game, you can escape the street hordes by buying a ticket to see none other than actor Jeff Daniels play the night away onstage. Just don’t be the drunk guy that yells out Dumb and Dumber quotes from the back row.
This staple of the campus sits on a picturesque street corner. There’s a coffee shop right next door called, well… Zingerman’s Next Door. It would be a perfect spot to grab a sandwich and do your homework while you stare out the window and daydream about your future. But you don’t have any homework. And this is your future. Oh, boy… Don’t blame the folks at Zingerman’s, they just work here.
UM Museum of Natural History
This spot will be especially perfect if you’re visiting with kiddos in tow, but there ain’t no age limit on wonder. The museum has a massive collection, including mastodon skeletons, and live demonstrations like “exploring neuroscience” and dinosaur tours. The doors are open Monday through Saturday 9-5, and Sunday 12-5. This seems like a good way to decompress after the wild ride that’s going to be Saturday night.
To clarify, Frita is not the head chef here. The menus’ two staple items are the frita: a spicy chorizo burger with shoestring fries on top, and an egg bun. And the batido: A shake made with ice, fruit, and sweetened milk (and sometimes rum). The Cuban-inspired fusion menu at this spot, along with the colorful atmosphere, will be a surefire warm-up after braving the chilly November weather. And those cold northern glares.
Grizzly Peak Brewing Company
Stop what you’re doing and add this spot to your Ann Arbor itinerary. With eight different craft brews on tap daily, all of their award-winning hand-crafted beers are brewed on-site. Their mouth-watering menu runs the gut gamut from artisan pizza and specialty burgers to ribs, fresh mussels, and truffled mac n’ cheese. They even have a dog menu. Pups are welcome on the patio, and all the proceeds from dog snacks like salmon and rice, or ice cream with peanut butter sauce, go to the Humane Society of Huron Valley. You even get a little dog dish to take home. *ichigan might just be onto something.