Ann Arbor Venues Spark Fun and Romance
Home to the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor is alive with a youthful spirit and has a heart for romance. Its diverse cultural offerings and quality outdoor recreational activities are the ideal setting for romantic adventures. You don’t have to be a college student to appreciate the many low-cost options. Have fun and save for the future at the same time.
Let Romance Flower
Stroll along sun-kissed paths and wander tropical plant collections at the University of Michigan’s Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Conservatory (1800 N. Dixboro Rd., Ann Arbor, MI). Spanning 300 acres, the facility is home to 30 display gardens, trails and natural areas. Love connections bloom amid the tranquil outdoor gardens exploding with life and color throughout the seasons. See an explosion of spring wildflowers. At the conservatory, fragrant magnolias and delicate orchids brighten winter days. Let responsibilities melt away as you reconnect to nature along the five natural area trails open year-round. Be sure to wear walking shoes and bring along bug spray. Entry is free, but a small parking fee is required.
Take in Big Screen Magic
Historic Michigan Theater (603 E. Liberty St., Ann Arbor, MI) is a date-night hub for indie film fans. More than 300,000 people attend movies, as well as plays, concerts and comedy shows at the venue each year. Built during the days of silent film, the elegant main auditorium glistens with genuine gold leaf trim. The century-old Barton pipe organ still entertains audiences before the curtains rise. The smaller screening room seats 200 for intimate viewing experiences. If you’re on a budget, plan to attend a discounted midnight show. Don’t feel bad about leaving the kids at home for a night at the theater. They can get in on the fun at the Not Just for Kids live family-friendly shows and film series.
Learn to Tango
Get out your dancing shoes and get ready to tango the night away. The University of Michigan Argentine Tango Club welcomes drop-ins to their weekly practice sessions and dances. While no formal instructions are offered, experienced dancers are glad to help newbies understand the basic movements. The oldest tango organization in Ann Arbor, the all-volunteer student dance organization opens events to the public. Non-members pay only a modest fee per session. Locations and practice times are subject to change, but tango dance parties are typically held weekends at the Michigan Union (530 State St., Ann Arbor, MI). The best shoes for getting your tango on are comfy and have a smooth sole.
Escape to a Quiet Island
Situated in the middle of the Huron River, Ann Arbor’s Island Park (1425 Island Dr., Ann Arbor, MI), with its sprawling shade trees, grassy open spaces and meandering paths, invites a romantic rendezvous. A favorite site for weddings, the Greek Revival shelter and scenic bridges also provide picturesque backdrops for capturing a romantic interlude. Claim a picnic table and grill, or throw down a blanket and open your picnic basket stuffed with goodies purchased from the town’s culinary artists. On balmy autumn days, the landscape is painted with fiery colors. It’s a wonderful way to share the surrounding beauty. Cozy up to your loved one for a romantic winter walk through the park blanketed in fresh snow. The island is open until 10 p.m., giving you the chance to watch the stars come out in every season. Access this little island gem from the parking lot on the isle’s north side.
Hop on a bicycle built for two and start adventuring. Campus Student Bike Shop (336 Maynard Ave., Ann Arbor, MI) rents tandems; be prepared to pay just a deposit and an hourly fee. Ann Arbor was twice designated a “Bicycle Friendly City” by the League of American Bicyclists. Its 79 miles of bike lanes provide safe routes for experiencing the sights and sounds of this trendy college town. Stop for a sandwich, a brew or to investigate a quaint shop. Hop on the 20-mile Huron River Greenway Border-to-Border Trail at Fuller Park for a distance ride. The marked recreational trail closely follows the Huron River, connecting several city parks and neighboring communities. Unleash your freewheeling spirits together and discover Ann Arbor with the sun at your back and the open road ahead.
- Washtenaw County: Border-to-Border Trail
- Campus Student Bike Shop: Services
- City of Ann Arbor: Island Park
- Michigan Argentine Tango Club: Home
- The Michigan Daily: Argentine Tango Club dances away the summer
- Michigan Theater: Home
- Tripadvisor: Matthaei Botanical Gardens
- Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum: Matthaei Botanical Gardens
- City of Ann Arbor: Biking
Sally Barber is a 20-year veteran of the publishing industry. A specialist in business, travel, sustainable tourism and the environment, she has written for Virgin Atlantic Airways, the "Detroit Free Press," "Great Lakes Seaway Review" and various websites. Barber is also the author of three books.