While not every town’s Main Street in the U.S. can be as cute as the Disney version, Ann Arbor’s South Main Street tends to live up to its Americana name.
Located in the heart of downtown Ann Arbor, this Michigan city’s main artery frequently receives accolades for being one of the best Main Streets in America. Acting as the commercial hub of Ann Arbor since it was laid out in 1824, Main Street teems with brewpubs, art galleries, delis, and of course, that quintessential charm only found on a Main Street. Strap on your walking shoes and find out why you need to spend some time on Ann Arbor’s Main Street!
If Ann Arbor’s Main Street didn’t bring you here, its action and events might have. Part of what makes for an iconic Main Street is the small town events featured throughout the year right on its pavement. Acting as the pulse of the town, Ann Arbor’s Main Street plays host to several events throughout the year, including the Ann Arbor Art Fairs. The over 50-year tradition takes place in July, bringing in artists and over 500,000 visitors. The event features four fairs in one with the Summer Art Fair taking place right on Main Street.
If you aren’t in town for the Ann Arbor Art Fairs, you might want to schedule your visit around Ann Arbor’s version of another decidedly American event, the car show. The Rolling Sculpture Car Show has been occupying parts of Main, Liberty, and Washington Streets in town for over 20 years. Visitors can expect to see more than 300 exotic, unique, classic and one of kind cars on display for the Ann Arbor event.
You’re sure to work up an appetite strolling Ann Arbor’s Main Street, and you’re in luck! There are tons of great things to eat along this busy road.
For a trip back in time, The Ravens Club on Main serves up innovative cocktails and notable dishes like buttermilk brined fried chicken with a homemade hot sauce and chicken liver mousse, all in a speakeasy inspired space. For Mexican fare along Main, you can head to Prickly Pear.
Fans of Michael Phelps might recognize the establishment for its buffalo meat enchiladas, which warranted a mention in the Olympic swimmer’s autobiography. Even if you don’t choose any of these spots, the street is full of local establishments—no chain restaurants here!—so you’re sure to find a great meal.
Arts and Entertainment
In Ann Arbor, Main Street is a mainstay for live music and artists. If you want to hear some tunes, check out The Ark. Founded in 1965, the intimate 400 seat club features live music over 300 nights a year, mostly of the folk and roots variety.
If visual art is more your style, check out the numerous art galleries that line Main Street. The WSG Gallery is a particularly popular one, featuring paintings, prints, sculptures, and more from regional artists.
Perhaps nothing says USA more than a nice, cool, crisp beer. On Main Street in Ann Arbor, breweries are an essential part of the city. Ann Arbor’s German roots, plus all its college students, have turned this town into a real beer hub.
Right on Main, you can cap off your tour of Ann Arbor’s heart with a stop at Jolly Pumpkin. Known as one of the first breweries in the country to specialize in sour beer, it sweetens the sour with a rooftop view of Main from its deck. Also nearby is Arbor Brewing Company, which opened in 1995 and proudly brags of being the first brewpub to set up in town. Cool!
Main Street in Ann Arbor is pretty exceptional as Main Streets go, am I right? Have you ever visited Main Street in Ann Arbor? What do you think of its Americana charm? Let us know in the comments!