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We hope this guide will help make your Ann Arbor visit more pleasant. For further questions please contact your company manager or your UMS artist contact. Please check out arborweb.com and visitannarbor.org for up-to-the-moment restaurant, bar, and club information.
Can tradition build the future?
At UMS, we believe it can. We’re in our 135th season, and we continue to combine traditional performances with contemporary artists for a blend that is unlike anything available in the Midwest. UMS grew from a group of local university and townspeople who gathered together for the study of Handel’s Messiah. Led by Professor Henry Simmons Frieze and conducted by Professor Calvin Cady, the group assumed the name The Choral Union. Many Choral Union members also belonged to the University, and the University Musical Society was established in December 1880.
Since that first season, UMS has expanded greatly and now presents the very best from the full spectrum of the performing arts – internationally renowned recitalists and orchestras, dance and chamber ensembles, jazz and world music performers, and opera and theater. Through educational endeavors, commissioning of new works, youth programs, artist residencies, and other collaborative projects, UMS has maintained its reputation for quality, artistic distinction, and innovation.
Learn more about UMS, including our hour-long documentary about our history in Ann Arbor’s legendary Hill Auditorium.
Learn more about our venues.
University of Michigan campuses are smoke-free environments, both indoors and outdoors. A smoke-free environment is an important element to creating and maintaining a culture of health at the university.
We ask that you not smoke on any campus grounds or in university buildings or facilities. Smoking is allowed inside personal vehicles and on sidewalks along major thoroughfares, but not on walkways leading to university buildings. Thank you for helping to maintain our smoke-free environment while on campus. Your cooperation is appreciated.
About Ann Arbor
Many present-day residents are still confused about the origin of the name Ann Arbor, which land speculators Virginian John Allen and New Yorker Elisha Walker Rumsey chose for the village in 1824. A persistent myth would persuade us that their wives, a leisured pair, whiled away the warm afternoons sewing and exchanging gossip in the shelter of a wild grape arbor built for them by indulgent husbands. It is a very romantic legend, to be sure.
There is usually some truth at the heart of every myth, and this one is no exception. The brave wilderness settlement was indeed named for the two wives. If the first half of the name is not in dispute, what then of the gossiping in the wild grape arbor? Allen and Rumsey arrived in February, and we know that by May 25, only three months later, the name “Ann Arbor” was recorded at the office of the Registrar of Deeds in Detroit. Spring weather in these parts is notoriously bad for gossiping in arbors. Furthermore, there was not much yet to gossip about; the husbands were too busy plotting their village and selling lots to spend time building anything frivolous. Lastly, Ann Allen didn’t arrive until October, five months after Ann Arbor was named. The Latin word for tree is, of course, “Arbor,” and it is entirely fitting that its trees, which have ever been a source of pride to local citizens, should have inspired our city’s very name.
State Street Area
(located on the west side of the U-M campus, “State Street Area” informally describes the downtown district within E. William, Thayer, E. Huron, and Fifth Avenue)
This area connects the University of Michigan campus with the rest of Ann Arbor’s downtown. The State Street Area is the “entertainment capital” of Ann Arbor with most of the City’s large performance venues as well as two movie theaters screening current films (State Theater, 233 S. State at E. Liberty and the Michigan Theater at 603 E. Liberty), and museums including the Kelsey Museum of Ancient Archaeology, the Exhibit Museum of Natural History, and the University of Michigan Museum of Art. Here you will find a great mix of clothing, books, and other shops.
Main Street Area
(only a few blocks west from the U-M campus—an easy, comfortable walk down E. Liberty Street.)
Lovely trees and flower beds line Main Street, making it a delightful place to stroll or perhaps sit outside at one of the area’s many sidewalk cafes. The “restaurant capital” of Ann Arbor, Main Street is also considered by locals to be the heart of the downtown. Recommended destinations include such restaurants as Gratzi (Italian), Real Seafood Co. (fresh seafood), Pacific Rim (Pan-Asian), the Earle (continental cuisine), and Vinology (wine bar with wine-friendly menu); galleries such as Selo/Shevel Gallery and the Ann Arbor Art Center; as well as many small shops and retail stores.
(about 7 blocks north/west from the U-M central campus, just take Huron west, right turn at Fourth Avenue, and walk 2 blocks)
The focal point of this area is the Kerrytown shops, an eclectic collection of about 30 shops and restaurants housed in a trio of beautifully-restored factory and warehouse buildings, reminiscent of the Cannery Building in San Francisco. Within the complex you will find fresh produce, gourmet foods and wine, services (e.g. travel agency, beauty salon, florist), and numerous clothing and home furnishing stores. One block east of the shops is Ann Arbor’s most famous restaurant— Zingerman’s Deli, a dining and shopping experience not to be missed. If you have the time on Saturday mornings, be sure to stop in at the Farmer’s Market (located beside the Kerrytown shops) for fresh produce, flowers, and crafts.
Briarwood Mall Area
(about 2.3 miles south of the U-M central campus, down S. State St.)
With the Briarwood Mall at it’s heart, the Briarwood Mall Area has much to offer. Briarwood is a one-level mall featuring over 120 of the best stores including Macy’s, jcpenney, Von Maur, Sears, Apple, Coach, LOFT, Sephora, Brighton Collectibles, L’Occitane, and Victoria’s Secret offering the latest fasions, gifts, electronics, entertainment, and dining options. While it is easier to travel by bus or car on this side of campus, there is plenty of exploring to do at either the mall or at the Concord Center Shops. Or eat at a familiar chain restaurant along this side of State St. Many places offer late dining options for when you need a quick bite to eat.