College Towns: Ann Arbor, Michigan

Learn more about Ann Arbor, Michigan – home of the University of Michigan.

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The Town: Ann Arbor, Michigan

Named for the beautiful forests throughout the city, Ann Arbor is home to nearly 115,000 people. Situated 35 miles west of Detroit in southeast Michigan, it enjoys a typical Midwestern climate: snowy winters, humid summers and mild autumns and springs. Locals will often refer to the town as “A2,” “A-squared” or “The Deuce.”

One of the most famous (or infamous) traditions on campus is the naked mile.

The School: The University of Michigan

The University of Michigan is one of the most prestigious academic institutions in the United States. Founded in 1817, the school was originally located in Detroit until it relocated to An Arbor in 1837. Three campuses (north, central, and south) are divided by the Huron River to make up the school’s layout. About 27,000 undergraduate and 12,000 graduate students are enrolled at UM.

In addition to being one of the best academic universities in the country, UM boasts one of the best football teams. The Wolverines are the all-time winningest college football program and won a national championship in 1997. Michigan Stadium, nicknamed “The Big House,” is the largest of its kind, with a capacity of more than 109,000 people … though crowds tend to reach numbers upward of 112,000 when the Wolverines play their archrivals, the Ohio State Buckeyes. The rivalry is considered to be one of best in college football, and one of the fiercest of any sport.

Many notable alumni have come from the school, including former President Gerald Ford, 26 Rhodes scholars and seven Nobel Prize winners.

What to Do

In the fall, football games take center stage. You can find the entire campus tailgating and celebrating what is usually a UM home win.

One of the most famous (or infamous) traditions on campus is the naked mile. Each spring at midnight of the last day of class, students gather and run a mile around campus sans clothing to celebrate the end of the school year and graduation for seniors.

If the weather is nice, you can always go for a stroll in the Nichols Arboretum, or “The Arb.” This 123-acre forested area is preserved so that Ann Arbor residents and U of M students can always be close to nature. After all, what would an arbor be without an arboretum?

Famous for its progressive student activism, there are more than 1,200 organizations available to students. In the ‘60s, the school gained national attention for students involved in the anti-war and civil rights movements. The population of Ann Arbor tends to be left-leaning to this day.

Where to Eat and Drink

For great food and a one-of-a-kind experience, stop by Krazy Jim’s Blimpy Burger, which has been featured on the Food Network. Make sure you read all of the ordering rules before you go, as they claim that “the only thing fresher than the beef is the attitude!” You’ll also want to check out Zingerman’s Deli, whose gourmet sandwiches are a must-have.

On the weekends, students tend to gather at one of Central Campus’ bars such as The Brown Jug, named for the trophy that the Wolverines play for against the University of Minnesota. For dinner and drinks, try the Arbor Brewing Company, which has a selection of fine microbrews on tap.

Did You Know?

The Gemini IV space mission was manned by an all UM crew, James A. McDivitt and Edward H. White ll.

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