City Orientation Walk, Ann Arbor (Self Guided)

Ann Arbor is a green "college town" that possesses a unique charm and atmosphere, and is pedestrian friendly as well. Abundance of historic and architectural landmarks in downtown Ann Arbor provide an unforgettable sightseeing experience. This self-guided tour lists beautiful and significant works of architecture built in different time periods, as well as the Nichols Arboretum recreation area operated by the University of Michigan.
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City Orientation Walk Map

Guide Name: City Orientation Walk
Guide Location: USA » Ann Arbor (See other walking tours in Ann Arbor)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 18
Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.7 km
Author: Caroline
1
University of Michigan Museum of Art

1) University of Michigan Museum of Art (must see)

The museum started out as part of the Alumni Memorial Hall of the University of Michigan in 1910. It is situated at the conjunction of South State Street and South University Avenue. The University of Michigan Museum of Art collection grew due to gifts, thoughtful purchases and integrations. Memorial Hall was restored in 2008 and a modern annex named after the Maxine and Stuart Frankel and the Frankel Family donators was added in 2009. The construction of the wing doubled the exhibition space for different collections and rotating exhibits. The Museum’s collections contain over 18,000 artworks. Today it offers African, American, Asian, European and Middle Eastern art collections, as well as a series focusing on global contemporary art of all media, as well as an enormous photo, print and drawing assemblage. Opening hours: Tuesday-Saturday: 11 am–5 pm, Sunday 12–5 pm, closed-Mondays;
2
Kelsey Museum of Archaeology

2) Kelsey Museum of Archaeology (must see)

The Kelsey Museum of Archaeology is another museum of the University of Michigan located on South State Street on the central campus of the University of Michigan. The museum foundation archaeological collection belonged to professor of Latin Francis W. Kelsey. It has resided in the Historic Newberry Hall built from 1888-1891. Kelsey Museum of Archaeology was started here in 1953. Today the museum collections are kept in the old Romanesque building and in the recently built William E. Upjohn Exhibit Wing that provides four times more space for exhibitions. Kelsey offers a great selection of about 100,000 antiquities from Greece, Rome, Coptic, Islamic, the ancient Near East and more, ranging from prehistoric through Medieval times.
Opening Hours: Tuesdays-Fridays: 9 am- 4 pm; Saturdays -Sundays: 1 pm- 4 pm.
3
Nickels Arcade

3) Nickels Arcade

Nickels Arcade is a covered shopping spot downtown along State Street. These European- style shopping arcades constructed between 1915 and 1918 were planned by architect Hermann Pipp. The building architecture refers to Beaux Arts Classic and Art Deco styles. The State Street and Maynard Street façades feature terra cotta ornamental details. Nickels Arcade is an 80m long glass roofed pedestrian gallery flanked with merchant units. Today the arcade accommodates a lot of individual stores, remains a historical masterpiece and is a listed landmark since 1987.
4
State Theater

4) State Theater

The State Theatre is an operational former movie palace. The theater's central location and distinctive green, yellow and red marquee have made it an icon of Ann Arbor's downtown.

The theater was designed by architect C. Howard Crane, who had also designed the Fox Theatre, and was built in 1942. The theater was owned and operated by the Butterfield Theater Company until the 1980s, when ownership was transferred to the George Kerasotes Corporation. In 1979, under GKC's ownership, the original theater design was "quaded," with the balcony made into its own separate floor and the screen divided in half to produce four individual screening spaces. Relics of the theater's history can also be seen in its carpeting. The theater has promoted an 'indie' aesthetic by showcasing ultra-low-budget films in very limited release, such as Who Killed the Electric Car? and Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
5
Michigan Theater

5) Michigan Theater

The Michigan Theater is a movie palace in Ann Arbor. It shows independent films, stage productions and musical concerts.

Designed by Detroit-based architect Maurice Finkel and built in 1928, the theater seats 1700 and features the theater's original 1927 Barton Theatre Pipe Organ, orchestra pit, stage, and elaborate architectural details. During a renovation in 1956, many of the original ornate designs were destroyed. After a period of low attendance, the theater was threatened with demolition in 1978, but members of the community and local organists helped raise funds to save and renovate the theater, returning it to its original design. The Barton Opus 245 theatre pipe organ was built for the Michigan Theater and installed in November 1927 shortly before the theater was opened. It is one of the few remaining organs which exists in its original location. The Michigan Theater is the current home of the annual Ann Arbor Film Festival, the Ann Arbor Symphony,and the Ann Arbor Concert Band, and has been named 2006 Outstanding Historic Theatre by the League of Historic American Theaters. The theater also hosts a series of children's stage productions entitled "Not Just For Kids" and a concert series entitled "The Legends of Rock & Roll."

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
6
Kempf House

6) Kempf House

This building known as Kempf House was designed by local master Arden Ballard and constructed in the middle of the 19th century in the heart of Ann Arbor. This Greek Revival Style House had been the residence of the Kempf family from 1888 to 1953. The structure features a portico entrance with four square columns supporting the triangular pediment. Now it’s a house-museum furnished with antique Victorian pieces and Kempf family belongings, as well as the city’s first grand piano of 1877. It was registered as a Historic Building in 1988.
7
Weinmann Block

7) Weinmann Block

This old picturesque building was constructed for Michael Weinmann and John Gall in the late 1860s in central Ann Arbor. The ground floor of the historic building originally housed the meat market and the upper floor was the family residence. Weinmann Block exterior comprises many remarkable details like arched window pediments, bracketed cornice, shuttered windows, triangular roof pediments and a roundel window. Another featured element was decorative pressed sheet metal imitating cast iron or stone pillars, and a carved decoration that was an innovation of the late 19th century.
8
First National Bank Building

8) First National Bank Building

First National Bank Building sits at the corner of South Main Street and West Liberty Street. It is the tallest high-rise of Ann Arbor, built in 1929. It is an example of Art Deco and Art Moderne architecture designed by native architects Paul Kasurin and Lynn Fry. It was constructed to accommodate Washtenaw County First Bank offices and retail units. The main constructional materials are steel and terra cotta. The main facades are finished with terra-cotta. It has a 10- storey corner tower and two wings of 5 storeys. The building is known also for its expensive, luxurious interior. First National Bank Building was registered as a Historic Building in 1982.
9
Kerrytown Concert House

9) Kerrytown Concert House

The Concert House constructed in the middle of the 19th century is situated in the historic Kerrytown District of the city. For many years this historic Victorian house served as a residence for Ann Arbor families. Kerrytown Concert House opened in 1984. It is an intimate concert hall with 110 seats that hosts local and nationally reputed acts. The House also provides space for the rotating art exhibits. There is a gorgeous Steinway grand piano prized by performers in the region and in Europe.
10
University of Michigan Credit Union Building

10) University of Michigan Credit Union Building (must see)

This historic building housed Ann Arbor News newspaper headquarters until 2009. Today the building belongs to the University of Michigan Credit Union. It is located on the corner of Huron and Division Streets. It’s an art deco, three-storey grand building completed in 1936, according to plans by famous regional architect Albert Kahn, the author of a number of Ann Arbor’s significant structures. Ann Arbor News is about 90,000 sq. ft. Its exterior of neutral brown with splashes of bright color features 19th century Art Deco reliefs created by Corrado Parducci, dedicated to the 13 human activities such as art, printing, sports, music and science. Its renovation was completed in 2006. It has a historic marker.
11
First Baptist Church of Ann Arbor

11) First Baptist Church of Ann Arbor

First Baptist Church of Ann Arbor is located on East Huron Street opposite a multistorey building of the University of Michigan. This English Gothic Revival church with a seating capacity of 750, was planned and constructed in 1880 by efforts of congregation members. The church interior features hammer beams and balconies on each side descending to the front altar. The building became the third location of First Baptist Church, founded in 1828; the church is still in use today.
12
First Unitarian Church

12) First Unitarian Church

This old-looking church sits at the corner of East Huron Street and North State Street in downtown Ann Arbor. First Unitarian Church was built in 1882 according to the project of Donaldson and Meier. The Richardsonian Romanesque structure is a bright example of this architectural style common throughout the eastern United States. It features ashlar walls, cross-gabled roof, massive corner tower with four turrets, arched openings and portico entrances. The building was purchased and reconstructed by Hobbs & Black architects in 1885, and has since remained in the same location. First Unitarian Church has been registered as a Historic Building since 1978.
13
First United Methodist Church

13) First United Methodist Church

First United Methodist Church is at the edge of the University of Michigan Central Campus on South State Street. This building was constructed at the site of the original Methodist church of the 1860s that burned at the beginning of the 20th century. Famous regional architect Albert Kahn designed the new building for the church in 1940. It’s a Gothic Revival structure featuring lancet openings and a great lancet window above the entrance, gabbled roof and stone walls in finished Indiana limestone.
14
Burton Memorial Tower

14) Burton Memorial Tower

The Burton Memorial Tower is a clock tower located on Central Campus at the University of Michigan. Housing a grand carillon, the tower was built in 1936 as a memorial for University President Marion Leroy Burton. The grand carillon, one of only 23 in the world, is the world’s fourth heaviest, containing 55 bells and weighing a total of 43 tons.

The monument was constructed in 1935 and finished in 1936. It stands at 10 floors. It is located at the University of Michigan campus, and is used for housing education offices. The High-rise tower was designed in an interesting mixture of Art Deco and art moderne architectural styles, constructed with a reinforced concrete shell faced with limestone over a plan 42 feet square.

The Burton Memorial Tower was designed by Albert Kahn, who also designed Clements Library, Angell Hall, and Hill Auditorium for the University of Michigan. After University of Michigan Regent Sarah Goddard Power committed suicide by jumping to her death from the eighth floor of Burton Tower in 1987, the structure was sightly modified, such as the addition of stops to prevent windows from opening more than a few inches.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
15
Biomedical Science Research Building

15) Biomedical Science Research Building

Biomedical Science Research Building is situated on the northern edge of the University of Michigan’s central campus. This is a modern six-storey laboratory building of about 500,000 sq. ft. completed in 2006. The impressive research building, a research and teaching facility, employs high-end technologies both for structure and equipment. The most attractive feature of this complex structure is its central atrium that serves as a connecting transition. The structure has skin of terra cotta, glass and metal and a curtain wall of double-layer glass. It allows effective usage of daylight, reduces radiant heat and creates a memorable image for the building. There is a 300-seat auditorium completed in the south elevation. This futuristic auditorium of ellipsoid shape serves for academic use and performances.
16
Detroit Observatory

16) Detroit Observatory

Detroit Observatory is located in northeast downtown Ann Arbor at the intersection of East Ann and Observatory Streets. This Greek Revival building is the work of Richard Harrison Bull. Built in 1854, it’s the oldest observatory in the country that holds the very first large telescope, 1857, constructed in the US. This extraordinary telescope, that is the third largest, was developed by Henry Fitz, a New York locksmith. A comprehensive restoration of the Detroit Observatory was done in 1999. It was registered as a Historic Building in 1973.
17
Observatory Lodge

17) Observatory Lodge

Observatory Lodge that is part of the School of Kinesiology is situated on the east edge of the University Central Campus on the corner of Observatory Street and Washington Heights. The building was constructed in 1930. This eye-catching Tudor Revival-style building features turrets, oriel windows, timber-framing, a slate roof, copper gutters and downspouts, and stained-glass windows. Since its construction, Observatory Lodge has been used as an apartment building; it was purchased by the University of Michigan in 1966. In 2007 a comprehensive reconstruction of the building that enhanced the building's historic character was completed.
18
Nichols Arboretum

18) Nichols Arboretum (must see)

Nichols Arboretum is directed by the University of Michigan. Hundreds of acres of Arboretum extend a few blocks east from University Central Campus. The arboretum and Matthaei Botanical Gardens were founded at the beginning of the century. Most of the vegetation was planted in the 1920s -1930s. A house at the entrance of the park, James Reader Center, is the administrative office of the Nichols Arboretum. There are acres and acres of grass and trees and flowers flanked with the Huron River on the north side. The park features wooded areas and lawns, varying terrain, pine forest and open green spots. It is also known for its unique peony garden. The Arboretum is regarded a the best recreation venue in Ann Arbor that is open daily with no admission charge.

Walking Tours in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Create Your Own Walk in Ann Arbor

Create Your Own Walk in Ann Arbor

Creating your own self-guided walk in Ann Arbor is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Ann Arbor's Historic Buildings

Ann Arbor's Historic Buildings

The city was founded in the 1820s and centered on the University of Michigan, established here in 1837. Hundreds of splendid buildings made up Ann Arbor’s skyline, many of which are included in the National Register. The university campus was registered as Historic District in 1978. It makes the strolls around this "college town" exciting and enlightening. This self-guided walk...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 km
Museums and Art Galleries in Ann Arbor

Museums and Art Galleries in Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor is a place where the arts are flourishing. It generously offers its stages, museums and galleries for citizens and tourists. Take this self-guided art and science stroll around museums and galleries located throughout the downtown area. Visiting the glorious University of Michigan Museum of Art, Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, or amusing Ann Arbor Art Center Exhibition Gallery, and others...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.5 km
Ann Arbor Nightlife

Ann Arbor Nightlife

Ann Arbor has always been a cultural oasis offering a perfect selection of nightlife venues driven by the musical and artistic culture. Many popular musicians have called Ann Arbor home. Visitors can choose from the hottest local clubs and bars as well as the prettiest hole-in-the-wall spots. This self-guided walk includes fabulous music venues, pubs, bars and a Comedy Show.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.9 km

Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Ann Arbor for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Ann Arbor has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Taking Care of Your Feet


To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Ann Arbor, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device


Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.