Summer is the perfect time for teenagers to enjoy their lives without having to worry about the burden of homework. With free time on their hands, teens have great opportunities to explore Ann Arbor and its events. Whether you want to get outside and enjoy the weather, or stay in and cool off, here are 14 activities to do in Ann Arbor with your friends and family this summer.
1. Enjoy the Ann Arbor Summer Festival
Who: All Ages
What: Family Attractions, Music, Entertainment, Food, Movies
Where: Power Center, Top of the Park, The Ann Arbor Club
When: June 5-July 4
Cost: Varies based on venue and type of activity
Website: Ann Arbor Summer Festival
The Ann Arbor Summer Festival is a month-long entertainment event in downtown Ann Arbor. At the different venues, you will be able to view different movies and concerts. Most of the events are free, while some concerts require you to purchase a ticket. The event features concerts in a wide variety of genres. There are also performances in the comedy, culinary, workshop, spoken word, and wellness areas. Food vendors will be located at Top of the Park for all to enjoy.
2. Run a 5K
Who: All Ages
What: Fitness, Food, Fun
Where: Corner of Liberty Rd. and Fourth Ave.
When: July 4
Website: Firecracker 5K and Mile Fun Run
The Firecracker 5K and Mile Fun Run are two of hundreds of 5Ks in Southeast Michigan. This 5K makes the 4th of July a very eventful day. First, runners or walkers will participate in a 3.1-mile journey through downtown Ann Arbor. Afterward, there will be a hotdog eating contest. After all, what is 4th of July without some good American food? At this point, people who want to participate in a shorter, “funner” run, can join in on the Mile Fun Run. Stick around at the end of the day to catch the 4th of July Parade. Visit Ann Arbor Running Company to find out about more local 5Ks you can take part in.
3. Attend The Ann Arbor Art Fair
Who: All Ages
What: Art, Entertainment, Food, Shopping
Where: Downtown near UofM Campus
When: July 19-22
Cost: Free Entrance, Parking $7-$15
Website: The Ann Arbor Art Fair
The Ann Arbor Art Fair is actually four fairs in one event; the State Street Art Fair, the South University Art Fair, The Ann Arbor Summer Art Fair, and the Ann Arbor Street Fair, The Original. This art fair is one of the largest and most popular of its kind in the nation, and it draws in artists and art lovers from all over the world. In addition to the original works of art, visitors can enjoy street performances, sidewalk sales, and food for every palate.
The Ann Arbor Street Fair, The Original is the oldest of the four fairs. It includes a Youth Art Fair, giving 4th-12th grade artists the opportunity to exhibit and sell their work, which may make it of particular interest for teens. There’s also music, dance and magic by local groups and professionals, street performers, street painting, and more.
4. Catch A Concert In the Park
Who: All Ages
What: Outdoor Fun, Entertainment, Music
Where: Burns Park next to the Park Shelter on the Corner of Wells and Baldwin Ave.
When: Sundays, July 29 – August 26, at 3 pm
Website: Concerts in the Park
The Concerts in Burns Park provide great entertainment and relaxation for music lovers. Upcoming performers include Gemini, Matt Watroba, Guy Louis, and Mustard’s Retreat. See the website for more details.
5. Go Kayaking or Canoeing
Who: These parks feature activities for all ages and dogs are welcome too!
(see websites for age restrictions for watercraft rentals).
What: Fitness, Outdoor Fun, Nature
Where: Argo Park Canoe Livery, Gallup Park Canoe Livery
When: Open daily after Memorial Day
Cost: Parks are free. Watercraft rentals are $10-$24
The Huron River offers beautiful scenery and fun activities throughout the summer. Enjoy the beauty of the river by taking advantage of several fun-on-the-water options:
The Argo Livery is located at the Argo Cascades and features canoe, one and two-person kayaks, five-person rafts, and stand-up paddleboard rentals. You can also rent a tube or bring your own, and float down the Argo Cascades, walk back to the top and repeat the fun! (Ages 8 years and older).
Gallup Park Canoe Livery also offers canoe, one and two-person kayaks, and stand-up paddle board rentals, as well as kid kayak, paddleboat, and rowboat rentals. Additionally, the Gallup Park Livery features playgrounds, Wi-Fi, ice cream, baked goods and coffee with riverside seating overlooking Huron River.
Both Liveries have nature areas, concessions, merchandise and river-themed programs, as well as access to boat launches, grills, fishing docks, trails, picnic areas, and restrooms.
6. Make a Better Community
Who: 11 – 17 years old
What: Community, Volunteer
Where: Ann Arbor YMCA’s Youth Volunteer Corps (YVC)
When: Open daily
Create social change and impact your community! The Ann Arbor YMCA’s YVC is a youth-driven volunteer program for young community activists who are interested in leading social change through challenging, rewarding and educational service learning projects. Expanding Horizons, YVC’s intensive summer program, provides teens (ages 11 – 17) the opportunity to engage in week-long blocks of service with community partners across Washtenaw County and Detroit. YVC is dedicated to serving the needs of the community and promoting a lifelong ethic of volunteerism and social justice.
7. Wander Ann Arbor’s Vast Gardens
Who: All Ages
What: Trail Walking, Outdoor Fun
Where: Matthaei Botanical Gardens (1800 N Dixboro Rd), Nichols Arboretum (1610 Washington Hts)
When: Both locations are open daily
Cost: Free (parking fees may apply)
Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum are two beautiful locations that everyone must visit. The Botanical Gardens features a conservatory, trails, artwork, a visitor center, a campus farm, and gardens full of lively and flourishing plants. Nichols Arboretum (AKA The Arb) has trails, specialty gardens, thematic areas, dispersed collections, culturally significant landscapes, natural areas, and active areas of ecosystem restoration research. Both locations also feature events for all of the nature lovers. Visit the website for events happening all summer, including Shakespeare in the Arb, in June.
8. Paint A Masterpiece
Who: Adults and Teens Over 13 Years of Age
What: Art, Entertainment
Where: Paint and Pour (5 S. Washington St. Ypsilanti)
When: June 3, June 10, June 17, June 21, June 22
Website: Paint and Pour
Grab a snack and a brush and follow along as Paint and Pour’s instructors walk you, step-by-step, through replicating that day’s featured painting. The studios offer classes specifically for adults and teens every Sunday. Each class features a different painting; one might be a robot while another might be a painting of a forest. You can see which painting is featured before you register. Check out their website to find the perfect class for you.
9. Discover Your Talents
What: Learning, Entertainment, Music, Photography
Where: 310 E. Washington, Ann Arbor
When: June 25-August 18
Website: The Neutral Zone Summer Programs
The Neutral Zone is a center that’s led by teenagers to encourage leadership through artistic mediums. The center offers a variety of programs to join during the summer season, such as Video Production 101 or Digital Photography. See The Neutral Zone website to learn more about these programs and the many others.
10. Learn How to be an Entrepreneur
Who: 14-18 year olds
What: Education, Entrepreneurship
Where: Washtenaw Community College
When: TBD (August, 2018)
Website: Bold Futures Facebook
Bold Futures is an event held at Washtenaw Community College for future entrepreneurs. At the one-day event, teens will have the opportunity to work with business owners to solve problems and learn about entrepreneurial mindsets. Lunch is included and teens will receive a free T-shirt on the day of the event. For more information about Bold Futures and how to register, call the Entrepreneurship Center at WCC: (734) 249-5880.
11. Hop on Over to AirTime
Who: Anyone over 18 months
What: Indoor Fun, Fitness
Where: 800 W. Eisenhower PKWY
When: Open Tuesday – Sunday
Cost: $14-$20 per person
Website: Airtime Trampoline & Game Park
Airtime is an indoor trampoline park that features events that get everyone excited about jumping. The business has open jump where anyone can jump for $14-$15. Even young children and families have the opportunity to jump together with the Junior Jam Events and the Fam Jam Events. Airtime also provides time slots for birthday parties and group outings to make sure everyone gets to join in on the jumping experience. The park features a vast amount of trampolines, basketball hoops, foam pits, and dodgeball.
12. Visit Museums
Who: All Ages
What: Art, Science, History
Where: Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum, University of Michigan Museum of Art
When: Hands-On is open daily, UMMA is open Tuesday – Sunday
Cost: Hands-On: $12.50 UMMA: Free
Website: Museums of Ann Arbor
On rainy days, there are many museums in the Ann Arbor area to visit, but these two are very popular. Both are located in downtown Ann Arbor.
Hands-On Museum is targeted towards children, so this museum is a great place to spend time with younger siblings.
The University of Michigan Museum of Art is a great place for teenagers to go with their friends and families. The museum features art from around the globe in the modern and contemporary art genres. In total, there are about 20,000 pieces of art for people to view and learn about.
13. Try Not to get Zapped
Who: Ages 5 & up
What: Entertainment, Indoor Fun, Games
Where: Zap Zone, 4177 Carpenter Road
When: Open Daily
Cost: Laser Tag: $8, Bumper Cars: $4, VR: $10
Website: Zap Zone
Zap Zone is an uber-popular hangout location for teens and their friends. The business features bumper cars, arcade games, VR experiences, and laser tag. The laser tag course is full of twists and turns where you must use to hide and dodge the laser shots from an opposing team. Be competitive and careful and you might just end up on the leaderboard! The bumper cars allow for you and your friends to have a friendly competition. During the VR experiences, events occur in 3D. For example, it might appear that you are on a roller coaster when in reality you are sitting at Zap Zone. Win tickets by playing the arcade games. With these tickets, you can buy awesome prizes ranging from candy to remote control cars.
14. Head to an Arcade
Who: All Ages
What: Games, Indoor Fun
Where: Pinball Pete’s, 1214 South University Ave, Ann Arbor
When: Open daily from 12pm-2am
Website: Pinball Pete’s
Pinball Pete’s is a local arcade that has provided entertainment for over 30 years. With approximately 10,000 square feet of games and entertainment, it’s a great place to hang out with friends when it’s raining or you want to escape the summer heat. The arcade features pinball machines, video games, pool tables, and air hockey. They also offer options to hold parties at the arcade.