Road Tripping: Michigan

By Joe Beale on July 18, 2013 at 11:30a
52 Comments
The whore of the north.

It's not Michigan week yet, not by a long shot. In fact, we actually have 44 days until football season even begins. But permit me the luxury of breaking out one of the oldest and most often repeated jokes that you typically hear during that week: Directions to Ann Arbor...north till you smell it, west till you step in it.

Even so, a trip to That School Up North for the annual tilt between the two traditional rivals can be the most enjoyable trip of the year, but only if the good guys win. If not, it's a pretty lousy trip, but we won't talk about that. Let's just assume that justice prevails and Brady Hoke is left with a sour scowl on his face at game's end

Ann Arbor, the home of the university that we despise, is part of the Detroit-Ann Arbor-Flint statistical area. The city proper is actually 35 miles west of Detroit, which means its close enough to partake in the money and culture of the bigger city while still acting superior to it. The university is known for it's research and for its large and loud alumni scattered across the country.

The city was founded by a couple of land speculators who supposedly named it after their wives, both of whom were named "Ann". The "Arbor" part referred to the ubiquitous presence of burr oak trees. Only 13 years after the founding, the University of Michigan moved there from Detroit. The city is now defined and dominated by the university.

Going up for the game from Columbus can easily be a day trip, as it is only about 3 hours to get there. But if you're planning a raucous celebration after the win, you might want to spend the night. In that case, there are a few interesting attractions in the area that you might want to check out.

DURING THE DAY

The university itself has a few notable attractions, one of which is the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library. Located in the North Campus area on Beal Avenue (close, but missing the silent "e"), the library has over 25,000 pages of documents relating to historical and political topics, much of it centered around the Cold War and Ford's political career. Ford is of course an alumnus of the university and a former football player. The library is only open weekdays, but at least the admission is free.

If you have children, or if you are the type that likes to get close to animals, you might enjoy the Domino's Petting Farm. This is a cheap way of entertaining the kiddies and also learning something about farm life if you're so inclined. It was originally part of Domino's Farms (the office park where the national HQ of Domino's Pizza is located) and owned by the giant pizza chain, but they eventually sold it and it now operates as an independent non-profit entity. At the same location, strange as it may seem, is the Ave Maria Fine Art Gallery, the largest art gallery in the state.

Speaking of art, if you're into public art displays, you may want to check out The Cube, The Wave Field, The Bookstore Mural, and Graffiti Alley. To get a feel for the campus before the game, walk across The Diag (and make a few disrespectful gestures toward the block "M" at the center), spend some time observing the bell tower, and check out the exhibits at the Natural History building. Architecture buffs will want to visit the Law School Quadrangle.

Without a doubt, the most worthwhile attraction in the area (in my mind anyway) is the Henry Ford Museum in nearby Dearborn (just west of Detroit). The museum is on one floor but it covers nine acres and the ceiling is 40 feet high. Inside you will find exhibits covering the gamut from automobiles to planes to anything ever invented in this country. The Greenfield Village on the same site takes you back in time to visit historical homes in a truly authentic setting.

History and good food combine in one location.Central Depot, home of the Gandy Dancer restaurant.

FOOD AND NIGHT LIFE

For those who are on a budget, there are lots of choices of where to eat. To enjoy a good breakfast, check out Angelo's for traditional American fare and Cafe Felix for French style choices. You could also explore Bagel Fragel (Reid?) for a unique take on the traditional starchy fare or Cafe Verde if you're into organic or vegan.

For lunch or dinner there are numerous choices. Zingerman's Deli is a popular choice, although it's a bit steep for those on a budget. But they are famous for their unique sandwiches. If you like German food, you'll have your choice between Metzger's and Heidelberg. For middle-eastern, try Jerusalem Garden or Pita Kabob Grill.

There are also some good choices for an upscale dinner. The Chop House serves up USDA prime cuts in a sophisticated setting. Roger Monk's has traditional American cuisine in an old historic mansion. Gratzi has contemporary Italian, while The Earle (not Bruce) has French and Italian for those of the more snobbish persuasion. The Gandy Dancer serves up seafood in an old train station called the Central Depot.

As for bars, like any college town it has its share. Michigan in general is known for microbrews and Ashley's, with their terrific beer selection, is a great place to try one. Another place with a great selection is Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales. The Habitat Lounge at Weber's Inn has live local bands 6 nights a week and features a relaxed atmosphere. Casey's Tavern is a "Cheers" style neighborhood bar with good food and drinks. If live music is all you need, you can't beat The Ark, known around the country for great acoustic performers.

If your intent is to catch a few UM fans drowning their sorrows after the loss, some of the places you may want to go after the game are Arbor Brewing Company, The Arena, The Brown Jug, or the 8 Ball Saloon under the Blind Pig. Or you could try any of the establishments in the previous paragraph. Whatever you do, make sure you rub it in with class. We are Buckeyes, after all. 

52 Comments

Comments

GODOFWARBUCKEYE's picture

This thread bloooowwwss!!! Screw tsun!! GO BUCKS!!!!!

"GIMMIE THAT BEAT FOOL!!! IT'S A FULL TIME JACK MOVE" Ice Cube jack for beats..

Jason Priestas's picture

This is the type of comment that leads to things like this.

cinserious's picture

Ann Arbor, the home of the university that we despise, is part of the Detroit-Ann Arbor-Flint statistical area. The city proper is actually 35 miles west of Detroit, which means its close enough to partake in the money and culture of the bigger city while still acting superior to it.

Money and culture in Detroit? Hah! USA Today just came out with a top ten  most dangerous cities in the America and those two grimy, nasty cities of Flint and Detroit came in one and two. Maybe they should come out with a top ten most whorish cities next.

"Get him a body bag, Yeah!"

Joe Beale's picture

Try to remember that I'm kind of the "old man" of the writing staff, and thus tend to take a longer view. While it is true that the city is high in crime and poverty, there was a time not too long ago when you could say the same about NYC. Still, there's plenty of money there, especially compared to Ann Arbor.

As for culture, ya listen to radio much? ;)  How about professional sports, of which that wretched city has three teams vs. only one for my humble hometown? Also, if you like casinos, Detroit's got three big ones. I understand it's not everyone's cup of tea (including me) but it does constitute a culture of sorts, and I'm certain there are plenty of AA residents who partake of it.

TraptnMI's picture

Joe , your mistaken in your comment  about Ann Arbor "north till you smell it, west till you step in it" That comment is what people of Michigan say about the city of Flint! not Ann Arbor. They refer to Flint as the "arm pit of their state." My wife is born and raised in MI. also an alumni of both UM and MSU masters. Just gettin it straight..... Thanks....

" It's real good whatcha done Anthony, real good ! "

Joe Beale's picture

First of all, the grammar nazi in me wants you to know that it's "you're mistaken" or "you are mistaken", not "your mistaken". Get it straight!

Second, I didn't invent the joke, I was just repeating it. I can personally witness to the truth of the statement that it is indeed one of the oldest and most often repeated of all the UM jokes. I know this because I'm old. Your issue (see what I did there?) is with whoever came up with the joke, not me. Good luck finding that guy; he probably passed into happy Buckeye land long ago.

One more thing, I find it quite amusing that the guys over on MGoBlog (along with at least one person here) are criticizing me for the geography of the joke (i.e. if you went straight north it would take you into Lake Erie) and the fact that it's not very original (um...I think I pretty much said that). There are apparently large portions of the humor-challenged that follow the boys in blue. 

rekrul's picture

PREACH!!!

Out Work, Out Think, Out Play!!!

TraptnMI's picture

Please forgive my grammatical error. You would think a boy from Worthington would know better ? Regardless Joey, you still have the wrong city...lol.
Have a good weekend...

" It's real good whatcha done Anthony, real good ! "

GODOFWARBUCKEYE's picture

The most whorish cities is a tie between lansing, benton harbor, or grand rapids..

"GIMMIE THAT BEAT FOOL!!! IT'S A FULL TIME JACK MOVE" Ice Cube jack for beats..

rekrul's picture

I can only see the comments on this article, the rest of the page looks like below.  Any Ideas?
 

 
Wait, NM, its my spam/malware blocker.  Always trying to protect me from garbage on the internet.  =P

Out Work, Out Think, Out Play!!!

Hovenaut's picture

I read this whilst in the bathroom.

Yep.

"Success - it's what you do with what you got" - Woody Hayes

rekrul's picture

Hopefully while you wiped your Michigan you did not get any Wolverine on your finger...

Out Work, Out Think, Out Play!!!

Hovenaut's picture

Years of meticulous practice.

"Success - it's what you do with what you got" - Woody Hayes

hodge's picture

Figured I'd add this, as well.  It's MGoBlog's guide to Ann Arbor, so before y'all give me grief, I've at least warned you.
I went to Grizzly Peak Brewpub when I was in town, and was pretty satisfied.  Nothing out of this world, but good nonetheless.  Really want to hit up Frita Batida next time, they had me at "chorizo burger."
Also in complete agreement about the Henry Ford Museum.  Fantastic place, they even have the bloodstained chair Lincoln was assassinated while sitting in.  Also whilst in Dearborn, check Buddy's Pizza, really good Michigan-style deep dish.  If you dig Domino's pan pizza or Jet's deep dish, you'll love this place.

BuckNutInAnnArbor's picture

Hodge, Frita Batidos is absolutely amazing!

"...but then again 'Michigan' and 'huge mistake' are synonymous so that shouldn't have been much of a surprise to anybody."  - Mark Titus

Jack Fu's picture

For deep dish in Dearborn (or downtown near Greektown Casino) I would recommend Pizza Papalis over Buddy's. Might be my favorite pizza on the planet.

babbski's picture

+1 for Frida Batidos's chorizo batida (burger). Mmmmm. The loaded plantains are also well worth eating.
We were up earlier this year and had a quality meal at Grange. A little on the pricey side, but it was damn good. And, as already mentioned, the Jolly Pumpkin is pretty cool.

BuckNutInAnnArbor's picture

As for the Food & Night Life...
The Heidelberg is fantastic, just on the outskirt of downtown so it's never too crowded and college kids rarely venture that way on Main St. Same goes for Casey's and Fraser's Pub.
Stay away from 8 Ball Saloon, nothing but extremely shady folks there. 
For food, go to Izzy's Hoagie Shop on Stadium or Dimo's Deli (right down the block).  Great sandwiches for a reasonable price.  

"...but then again 'Michigan' and 'huge mistake' are synonymous so that shouldn't have been much of a surprise to anybody."  - Mark Titus

BucksfanXC's picture

I always liked the 8-ball and the Blind Pig. Good venue for small shows and they have Old Style on tap.
Is Mr. Spots still down there? I always liked their subs.

“Any time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect.”  - Woody

OSUs12-OH's picture

I just threw up in my mouth when I saw that first picture with a word I don't say anymore (and never will).  Sorry to the ppl who disagree with Cin above but Flint and Detroit aren't what I'd call great places to raise a family.  Not sure where this is coming from with money and culture...it's not a culture I want to be a part of and many who live there agree.  It's a drug and gang infested area that will not change because all the "real legit$" is gone.  Hence the Car industry up there isn't what it used to be....nor is much else besides Upper P.  That's an area I actually don't mind going to see.  The rest is an ARMPIT...that smells too.

"I want a hungry team. I want a team that can't wait to get out there. I want an angry team! You're the Ohio State Buckeyes. You're an angry football team. You're a hungry football team and I'm proud to be your coach." UFM

MichiganBuckeye222's picture

Actually, METRO Detroit is a GREAT place to raise a family.  Great schools, you are never more than a couple of miles from a lake.  culture?  We have more theater seats per capita than any other market in the Midwest.  Museums?  We have more museums than you can shake a stick at....science, art, the Charles wright african american museum, greenfield village....Also we share a border with Canada, and there is always something to do.

Representing the Buckeyes in the Mitten State since 1987

spqr2008's picture

You'll never find a more wretched hive of scum and villany.

BME_Buckeye's picture

What does this have to do with taking a road trip to Michigan and recommendations there?

Look closely, because the closer you think you are, the less you will actually see.

 

RedStorm45's picture

"But permit me the luxury of breaking out one of the oldest and most often repeated jokes that you typically hear during that week: Directions to Ann Arbor...north till you smell it, west till you step in it."
 
Oh, are we walking across lake erie?

Scott's picture

Also, for those who enjoy public art, keep an eye out for fairy doors while you explore downtown.

Class of 2008

e135800's picture

I'm near Toledo and I  go there quite a bit actually.  Good food, music, and art. And the hash bash is the first Saturday in April.  I hate meatchicken as much as any tOSU fan but AA is actually a pretty nice laid back town. It doesn't make much sense to hate a town just because of a university.

hodge's picture

Agreed.  The city reminds me of a cross between Grandview (in Columbus) and Yellow Springs, but much larger.  Might not be particularly fond of their football team, but it's a damn cool city--I can't wait to go back.
Besides, the state of Michigan might make some of the best beer on Earth.

buckeyedude's picture

Frankenmuth Brewery. +1.

 
 

Scott's picture

Well said.

Class of 2008

bukyze's picture

There's a reason we sing ' We don't give a damn about the WHOLE state of M!c#h!g@n '.  I personally think it makes perfect sense to hate AA.  Just thinking about actually being there gives me the heebie jeebies.

robert goulet's picture

Honestly, we in the B10 have some pretty good cities to road trip to.  If you can detach yourself from the universities & football programs, Madison & Ann Arbor are pretty cool cities to hang out in.  The area I stayed in the last time we were @ Minnesota was pretty nice too.  Plenty of bars, pubs, niche restaurants to choose from.  Naturally Columbus is still the best place to be IMO, but it just adds to the embarrassment of riches of trendy, cultural B10 college towns. <offer void in West Lafayette>

Iwearmocs's picture

My Fiance moved up there last year to do her residency at UM, and as much as I hate to say it, its actually a really nice town.  Way too much blue and yellow for my liking, but other then that its pretty fun.  I'd definitely recommend angelo's, grizzly peak (they have a stout thats amazing) Jolly Pumpkin (get the fries) and Zingerman's roadhouse (best mac and cheese ever)  Zingerman's deli (ran by the same people but in a different location) is good, but the lines are always really long and its a little overrated (Katzinger's is just as good IMO).  Whatever you do get some craft brews.  Founders and Bell's are two of my favorite breweries, and almost every restaurant in AA brew's their own releases.  Its incredible. The big house looks kinda ugly to me.  I admit I'm biased, but the 'Shoe from the outside looks incredible with the rotunda and all of its architecture, while Michigan's stadium is this huge squat brick structure. If you're going to go up for the game let me know, I'd love to grab a beer with some fellow buckeyes, and don't try to drive up the day of the game, b/c there is really only one exit into AA off of 23 and its a mess on gamedays.  It's even worse then Columbus which I didn't think was possible.

kcbrez's picture

Don't forget that when you buy anything that is taxed, a portion of your tax dollars support their state-funded institutions of higher education and any athletic programs they offer their students.

3G Blue's picture

Sorry to burst your bubble but UoM athletics (including intramural sports) is TOTALLY funded by the Athletic Department.  Tax dollars do go to provide students with a SUPERIOR education.

TSUN

kcbrez's picture

Hey, way to use your superior education. I said that the tax dollars support the universities. Without the universities, there wouldn't be athletic programs. Keep trying, kiddo.

Nicholas Jervey's picture

Knee-jerk hatred of Ann Arbor is lame; hate on the residents who punch each other out over literary arguments if need be. Those guys are the worst, and on good authority a Buckeye necklace wards off Ann Arbor residents like a garland of garlic wards off vampires.

An interesting bit of trivia picked up from parts unknown: the Zingerman's soda is made with cane sugar, and I've heard from at least two people that a good Columbus comparison to Zingerman's is Katzinger's Deli.

Ceci n'est pas une signature.

Jim's picture

Comparing Katzingers to Zingermans is farcical.  I am in Ann Arbor frequently and often eat at Zingermans. Their breads are rated as some of the best in the US. Katzingers is a joke by comparison, unfortunately, as I often go to Columbus. It is a Zingermans wannabe.
For breakfast in AA, try Afternoon Delight, although there is typically a wait, even on non-game weekends.  The place is a favorite of many folks who live in Ann Arbor.
Ann Arbor is one of the best college towns in America and home to an amazing academic institution.  Talking about Ann Arbor and Detroit or Flint in the same sentence suggests that you need a lesson in geography, just as no one would compare the two schools in terms of their academics.

BucksfanXC's picture

Ann Arbor is like Columbus in many ways as it is a sizable city interwoven with a large college campus. I know everyone who grew up with the mentality from Woody Hayes era of the "M" word is a cuss and everything deserves to be pissed/spit/vomited upon, etc. But you need to separate the city and in my mind the university from the sports teams. It's a nice little city with lots to offer and is beautiful in November.
Zingerman's isn't that pricey, but more than a fast food joint I'll admit. Worth it for handmade good food. If you are ever up there in September for whatever reason, another sport or something, it's Spanish month and they have out of this world paella every night.
Frita Banditos is where it is at for burgers. I had them cater some office lunches when I worked nearby.
Crazy Jim's Burger joint is to my knowledge still standing by going to be torn down soon (might already be but too lazy to open a tab to google it) and is going to relocate, but that is a greasy spoon type place that I gravitate towards. It was on several food shows.
Tios Mexican restuarant is great. Get the Chimi and thank me later.
Diner down on Liberty just south of Main, it's a big sliver trailer and it is great drunk food after stumbling out of the Grizzly Peak brewery or the 8-ball/Blind Pig.
They have a Hand-On museum in Ann Arbor that is fun for kids of all ages. Lots of sand, slimey things to squeeze and little puzzles to assemble etc. It's cheap and something for kids that is worth mentioning for ppl with little ones heading to the game.
 

“Any time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect.”  - Woody

RedStorm45's picture

Sizable city?  Columbus is 8 times larger than AA.

BuckNutInAnnArbor's picture

Still waiting to find out where Crazy Jim is going to relocate to - these guys have it all, greasy sliders, deep fried veggies, and a sassy staff.
Tio's is quite overrated, Sabor Latino is infinitely better in my opinion. Taco Tuesday = $1 Tacos and Beers.
If you ever get a chance/have some down time, make your way into Ypsilanti and go to "Sidetracks", GQ named it one of the best burgers in the nation and the fried zucchini, pickles, mushrooms, sweet potatoes are all phenomenal. During happy hour all beers on tap are sold for $2.95 (32oz mugs and you have 30+ selections, mostly microbrews). Spent not enough time and money there during college. 
 

"...but then again 'Michigan' and 'huge mistake' are synonymous so that shouldn't have been much of a surprise to anybody."  - Mark Titus

Jim's picture

I would have to disagree.  Ann Arbor is the University of Michigan with about 500 university buildings set within the University's three campuses located within a small city and sprinkled around Ann Arbor.  OSU is a school in one part of a very large city.  You can't go to Ann Arbor without being completely aware of the presence of the university and the shadow it casts. You can go to the bulk of the areas which comprise Columbus with no clue that OSU even exists.

CentralFloridaBuckeye's picture

Good article Joe.  Thanks for pointing out where some of the better places to go eat, drink and visit are. 
Here is a question for anyone planning on going to the game.  I would like to get some tickets to the game against TTUN.  However, I'd like to be sure that I get a couple of tickets so that I am sitting in the Ohio State area.  Does anyone know what sections I should look for? 
Thanks a lot, Hopefully someone out there in Buckeye Nation can help me out. 

buckeyedude's picture

I can't believe you didn't even mention Brady Hoke's favorite restaurant:
Sum Ting Wong - Chinese Buffet across from Michigan Stadium! Get there before he does!
 
In all seriousness, when I was in grade school we took field trips to Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village, because we were only 1/2 from there up U.S. 23. They are two great places to visit if you enjoy history and are interested in automotive history. Henry Ford has the car that John F. Kennedy was assassinated in. A Lincoln Town Car, if my memory serves me.

 
 

cinserious's picture

Be sure to try the 'Wi-tu-lo-mein' and Ho-Li-Fook soup.

"Get him a body bag, Yeah!"

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

Fucking hate that stadium!!!  What idiot, guessing a scUM grad, designs a stadium where 90% of the seats are dug in the ground and you have to walk up 75 rows of stairs just to get to the one and only level you can take a piss or leave!  Not to mention you are forced to listen to that hideous band play the only song they are intellectually adept at learning to play in 4 years!

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

BME_Buckeye's picture

The Osborne Engineering Company of Cleveland and Bernard Green (Michigan alum) was responsible for the building and architecture of their stadium. Link.
The only reason I knew this was because this song by the Dead Schembechlers. While they may be offensive or entertainment to some, they are informative and based on fact in several songs. 

Look closely, because the closer you think you are, the less you will actually see.

 

babbski's picture

Pretty sure Osborn designed the renovations at Ohio Stadium too.

pjtobin's picture

It is a beautiful state. It truly is. Not counting the butthole, Ann Arbor. Just keep going north until the smell fades. 

Bury me in my away jersey, with my buckeye blanket. A diehard who died young. Rip dad. 

bukyze's picture

The city was founded by a couple of land speculators who supposedly named it after their wives, both of whom were named "Ann".

I'm guessing that they were both whores.
 
 
 

MassiveAttack's picture

Detroit files for bankruptcy, setting off battles with creditors, pensions, unions...
http://www.freep.com/article/20130718/NEWS01/307180107/
Now if you want to have a REALLY good time in the Detroit area, check out the "Gentleman's Clubs;" especially in Dearborn.  You will proclaim Chris Rock to be a liar.

BME_Buckeye's picture

I heard the game was in Ann Arbor this year, did they move it to Detroit?
 

Look closely, because the closer you think you are, the less you will actually see.