University of Michigan Walking Tour, Ann Arbor

University of Michigan Walking Tour (Self Guided), Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor is a home to the sprawling University of Michigan – one of America’s best public educational institutions, attracting top students and faculty from all over the world.

Founded in 1817 in Detroit as the University of Michigania, 20 years before the territory became a state, this university is Michigan's oldest. The school was moved to Ann Arbor in 1837. Among its alumni there are eight heads of state or government, including President of the United States Gerald Ford.

The University of Michigan offers a rich tradition of academic excellence, unparalleled athletics, and a vibrant, diverse community. On top of that, its heritage comprises a wealth of cultural and science-focused institutions, such as the University of Michigan Museum of Art – displaying works from around the globe and spanning centuries; and the Museum of Natural History whose collections began as early as 1837.

Also on the U-M campus there are multiple architectural and historical sights, namely:

The Law Quadrangle – a Weymouth granite and Indiana limestone edifice, inspired by Oxford and Cambridge architecture; completed in 1933.

Ross School of Business – established since 1924; in its current location since 1948.

President's House – the official home of the President of the University of Michigan.

College of Literature, Science and the Arts – established in 1841 with just seven students and two teachers; nowadays the largest unit at U-M in terms of student enrollment.

Kelsey Museum of Archaeology – operational since 1928; houses a collection of more than 100,000 objects from Ancient Greece to Mesopotamia.

To acquaint yourself more fully with these and other landmarks of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, take this self-guided walking tour.
How it works: Download the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store to your mobile phone or tablet. The app turns your mobile device into a personal tour guide and its built-in GPS navigation functions guide you from one tour stop to next. The app works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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University of Michigan Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: University of Michigan Walking Tour
Guide Location: USA » Ann Arbor (See other walking tours in Ann Arbor)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 17
Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.6 Km or 2.2 Miles
Author: Sandra
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • The Law Quadrangle
  • Ross School of Business
  • President's House
  • University of Michigan Museum of Art
  • Michigan Union - University of Michigan
  • College of Literature, Science and the Arts
  • Kelsey Museum of Archaeology
  • Angell Hall
  • Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library
  • The Diag
  • Hill Auditorium
  • Burton Memorial Tower
  • Rackham Graduate School
  • Palmer Field
  • Central Campus Recreation Building
  • University of Michigan Museum of Natural History
  • School of Education
The Law Quadrangle

1) The Law Quadrangle (must see)

The Law Quadrangle was built for the University of Michigan by William W. Cook. Though he died before the project was completed, his plan for an area specifically built for law students lived on. With its official name being the Cook Law Quadrangle, the quad includes Hutchins Hall, a research building and two dormitories.

The buildings were completed in 1933. They were inspired by Oxford and Cambridge, which is reflected in their Tudor Gothic architectural style. The buildings were constructed using Weymouth granite and Indiana limestone.

The Law Quadrangle offers a lovely walk for any visitor to the University. The buildings remind tourists of old-world colleges, while the large trees provide ample shade. Visitors may wish to peek inside the buildings, but most are happy to walk throughout the quad in admiration.

William Cook received his law degree from the University of Michigan in 1882. He was an attorney and a prolific writer. At the time of his death, Cook was estimated to be worth about $20 million.

The Law Quadrangle and all of its buildings are located between Tappan Avenue and Monroe Street. It is within a quick walk of the South Quadrangle, the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology and the University of Michigan Museum of Art. A stroll up Tappan Avenue to University gives visitors a perfect view of the president's home as well. From there, tourists are only steps away from Michigan Union.

Why You Should Visit:
- To enjoy the Tudor Gothic architecture
- To see a meaningful part of University of Michigan history

Plan your walking tour with the Law Quadrangle as one of your first or last stops. It is a good place to take it easy at the beginning of a walk or rest after a fun day of exploration.
Ross School of Business

2) Ross School of Business

The Stephen M. Ross School of Business (Ross; formerly known as University of Michigan Business School) is a business school operated by the University of Michigan. It offers bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees, as well as an executive education program. Its Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA), Master of Business Administration (MBA), and Executive Education programs have been ranked among the top in the U.S. and the world. Ross also offers dual degrees with other University of Michigan colleges and schools. The Distinguished Leader Certificate is offered by the Executive Education program.

The first business courses were offered at the University of Michigan in 1900. Economics Department Chairman Henry Carter Adams oversaw the expanding practical courses to prepare students for business careers. The idea for the school came from the economics department. In 1918, the university's College of Literature, Science, and the Arts began issuing a Certificate of Business Administration. In 1923, University President Marion LeRoy Burton hired Edmund Ezra Day to serve as the founding dean of a new business school.

The University of Michigan School of Business Administration was founded in 1924; it offered a two-year Master of Business Administration after three years of general studies. There were 14 faculty members, including one of the first women to be part of a business school. In 1925, the Bureau of Business Research was founded to facilitate and coordinate faculty research, and publish research monographs and case studies.

Upon its establishment in 1924, the business school was located in Tappan Hall, the oldest extant classroom building on campus. The original 1894 wing was designed by the Detroit firm Spier & Rohns, and the south wing was designed by Luckenbach / Ziegelman & Partners. The school moved to its current site in 1948.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
President's House

3) President's House

The President's House is the official home of the President of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The house is a three-story Italianate structure and is the oldest building on the University campus, and is one of the original four houses constructed for faculty when the University moved from Detroit to Ann Arbor. The house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970.

In 1840, the University of Michigan moved from its original location in Detroit to Ann Arbor. To house faculty members, four houses were constructed by builder Harpin Lum, costing a total of $26,900 (equivalent to $685,000 in 2019). The houses may have been designed by campus architect Alexander J. Davis Until 1852, the university was governed by a faculty committee, and there was no president.

In 1852 Henry Philip Tappan became the first President of the University and moved into this house, which was at the time vacant. Tappan was succeeded in 1863 by Erastus Otis Haven, who added a single-story kitchen to the house, as well as a third story. Haven was succeeded in 1871 by James Burrill Angell, who had made his acceptance of the post conditional on refurbishment of the President's House. During Angell's tenure, the President's House was substantially altered by adding a west wing containing a semi-circular library and more bedrooms.

Angell's successor, Harry Burns Hutchins, chose not to live in the house, and it remained vacant during Hutchins's tenure. When Marion LeRoy Burton was appointed in 1920, the President's House was thoroughly renovated at his request, adding a sun parlor with a sleeping porch and enclosing a rear porch to make a dining area.

Subsequent presidents did some renovation work on the interior, but exterior changes were confined to the addition of a small study and glassed-in plant room during Alexander Grant Ruthven's tenure, and a glassed-in porch and stone terrace during Harlan Hatcher's tenure. In 1970, what is now the Hatcher Graduate Library was constructed behind the house. The house was extensively renovated in the late 1980s.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
University of Michigan Museum of Art

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

The University of Michigan Museum of Art is one of the largest university art museums in the country. It holds over 20,000 works of art. The permanent collection in the museum includes pieces by Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet, Franz Kline and James McNeill Whistler, to name a few. It also features glasswork from Tiffany & Co.

The museum was built in 1909 as a war memorial for alumni who fought and died in the United States Civil War. It was designed by architectural firm Donaldson and Meier in the Neoclassical style. The museum features a large bronze door flanked by two columns, which is indicative of Neoclassical architecture.

Along with the works inside, the museum has a number of outdoor art pieces. Sculptures by Mark di Suvero, Charles Ginnever, Beverly Pepper, Lucas Samaras, Erwin Binder and Michele Oka Doner can all be seen without entering the building.

The museum is open Thursdays from 9 AM to 8 PM and Friday through Sunday from 9 AM to 5 PM. Admission to the University of Museum of Art is free.
Michigan Union - University of Michigan

5) Michigan Union - University of Michigan (must see)

The Michigan Union at the University of Michigan was completed in 1919. It was originally built to house an all-male student group of roughly 1,100 members. The first Michigan Union was in the former Thomas Cooley house. However, the growing population necessitated the home to be demolished so that the current building could be constructed. It was designed by architects Irving Kane Pond and Allen Bartlit Pond.

The continuous growth of the University of Michigan led to numerous renovations and additions over the years. The building was first expanded in 1936. Further expansions and renovations took place in 1938, 1955, 1994 and 2018. By 1968, all areas of the Michigan Union were considered co-ed.

The Michigan Union now offers a wide variety of services to students at the university. Along with meeting spaces, the union offers restaurants, shopping and student support services. There are also a number of administrative offices in the Michigan Union.

Those wishing to visit the University of Michigan campus will find some points of interest on the front steps of the building. President John F. Kennedy, then a candidate, spoke of his proposal for the Peace Corps on these steps, which is marked with a plaque. There are also two statues that represent the athlete and the scholar.
College of Literature, Science and the Arts

6) College of Literature, Science and the Arts

The University of Michigan College of Literature, Science, and the Arts (LSA) is the liberal arts and sciences school of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Established in 1841 with seven students and two teachers, the college is currently the largest unit at U-M in terms of student enrollment. It is located on the university's Central Campus. It is also home to the University of Michigan Honors Program. In March 2013 Helen Zell gave $50 million to LSA, the largest gift in LSA history, to support scholarships and stipends for Master's students in creative writing.

The College of Literature, Science, and the Arts was originally designated the Literary Department and was the core of the University of Michigan. From 1841 to 1874, the faculty elected a president that communicated with the regents about department needs. In 1875, Henry Simmons Frieze became the first of the deans of LSA.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Kelsey Museum of Archaeology

7) Kelsey Museum of Archaeology

The Kelsey Museum of Archaeology is located on the University of Michigan campus. The museum holds more than 100,000 ancient and medieval artifacts as part of its permanent collection. It also has special exhibits throughout the year and sponsors fieldwork and research.

The original Kelsey Museum of Archaeology building was constructed in 1888 and finished in 1891. It was designed in the Richardsonian Romanesque architectural style by architects Spier and Rohns. It was named after Francis Kelsey, a professor of Latin at the university. Kelsey collected artifacts throughout his life and even secured funding for excavations. He gifted these collections to the museum and continued doing so until his death in the early 20th century.

An addition was built in 2003, which added a much-needed wing to the museum. The William E. Upjohn Exhibit Wing added over 20,000 feet of space. This wing allowed the museum to display artifacts that had previously been hidden due to lack of room.

The museum is open Tuesday through Friday from 9 AM to 4 PM and weekends from 1 PM to 4 PM. It is closed on Mondays. Admission to the museum is free.
Angell Hall

8) Angell Hall

Angell Hall is an academic building at the University of Michigan. It was previously connected to the University Hall building, which was replaced by Mason Hall and Haven Hall. Angell Hall is named in honor of James Burrill Angell, who was the University's president from 1871 to 1909.

Construction began in 1920, and finished in 1924 at a cost of about $1 million. An addition opened in 1952 adding auditoriums, a classroom wing, and an office wing. The addition replaced old Haven Hall, which was destroyed by fire in 1950, the 1841 Mason Hall, and two other buildings.

The building's exterior, particularly the Doric columns, was intended to match that of campus other buildings at the time, including Hill Auditorium, Alumni Memorial Hall, and the Clements Library.

On the front facade, the carving reads, "Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged." The text is taken from the Ordinance of 1787.
Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library

9) Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library

The Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library is the largest and most historical of the libraries on the University of Michigan campus. It is the primary research library for students of humanities and social sciences. The library contains over 3.5 million volumes, more than 10,000 periodicals and culturally important maps, manuscripts and government documents.

The building itself was completed in 1920. It was built on the grounds of the old library, which was incorporated into what was then called the General Library. The building was designed by Albert Kahn who used the Harvard campus as his inspiration.

The first floor entrance, which is now called the North Lobby, was decorated in Pompeian medallions designed by Ulysses Ricci. The symbols incorporated into the motifs include the staff of Aesclepius, a pegasus and a Greek mask. These figures are said to symbolize healing, poetry, music and drama.

Visitors to the University of Michigan campus must make an appointment to enter the stacks of the Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library. Appointments may be made Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 5 PM.
The Diag

10) The Diag

The Diag is an open green space in the center of the University of Michigan campus. The name comes from the diagonal sidewalks that run through the green. These sidewalks are used by students to get to buildings on campus like the Shapiro Undergraduate Library, the Hatcher Graduate Library, West Hall, Tisch Hall and Randall Lab.

The Diag is one of the busiest places on the campus. Along with the numerous students who use the Diag to get from building to building, it is also often used for special events. On any given day, one can find a concert, demonstration or fundraiser taking place on the green. It is also a popular place for picnicking.

One of the most distinctive features of the green is a brass M, called the Michigan M, that is in the very center. Students take great pains to avoid stepping on the M as it is said that any student who steps on it will fail their first bluebook exam.
Hill Auditorium

11) Hill Auditorium

Hill Auditorium is a performance venue at the University of Michigan. It is known as the largest of its type on the campus. It was designed by Albert Kahn and Associates with a capacity to seat more than 4,000 people.

Hill Auditorium was named for Arthur Hill, former regent of the university. Upon his death, he left a gift to the school to create this performance space. It opened in 1913. It was known for its size as well as its acoustics. Kahn worked with Hugh Tallant to design a megaphone-shaped hall that would allow patrons in every seat to hear performances with ease.

The auditorium is a popular place for touring performances. Symphonies, orchestras and recording artists like Elton John and the Grateful Dead have all played at the Hill Auditorium. In addition, the auditorium is home to the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra, the University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra, the University of Michiga Philharmonia Orchestra and many others.
Burton Memorial Tower

12) Burton Memorial Tower

The Burton Memorial Tower is a clock tower located on Central Campus of 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 was 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.

The carillon is played for half hour on weekdays at noon. The public may visit the tenth floor observation deck during and after the recitals to view the carillon. Visiting the tower is a fun activity for both adults and children. You can walk among the bells when they are playing. Be prepared to cover your ears. The observation desk also offers a panoramic view of the university campus and the city Ann Arbor.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Rackham Graduate School

13) Rackham Graduate School

Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies is a community of Ph.D, master's, and certificate program students at the University of Michigan. Funded in 1935 by an endowment from Mary Rackham, widow of one of the original stockholders in the Ford Motor Company, the Rackham Graduate School is housed in the Rackham Education Memorial Building.

This symmetrical five-story edifice of Indiana limestone was constructed in 1938. The building features rectangular forms and a stepped structure. There are figures above the windows and on balconies and prominent wings. The Auditorium is considered the ideal hall for chamber music.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Palmer Field

14) Palmer Field

Palmer Field is an outdoor exercise and recreation area at the University of Michigan. Unlike some of the indoor facilities at the university, Palmer Field is open to non-students who make the appropriate reservations.

Many visitors to the campus simply enjoy observing Palmer Field's massive green space. The field has eight illuminated tennis courts, a soccer and frisbee area, a basketball court and a 1/4 mile track.

This area is much more than a sports and recreation spot. Palmer Field is historically significant because it was the field acquired to provide access to athletics for female students. The field was originally purchased by the Women's League in 1908. They named it after Senator Thomas Palmer to thank him for his financial contribution for the purchase.

Palmer Field is open throughout the year from dawn until dusk. Those wishing to view Palmer Field should be sure not to confuse the field with Palmer Commons, which is located across Washtenaw Avenue from the field.
Central Campus Recreation Building

15) Central Campus Recreation Building

The Central Campus Recreation Building is a recreational facility designed for students of the University of Michigan. Built in 1976, the facility offers a number of services for students who wish to take part in recreation or be physically fit.

Students of the university will find three basketball courts, two volleyball courts, a running track and a six-lane swimming pool. They also have access to free weights and fitness rooms that offer classes throughout the day.

The Central Campus Recreation Building is located on the corner of Washtenaw Avenue and Geddes Road. It is south of Palmer Field and a short distance from the Nichols Arboretum. The facility is only steps away from the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History.

The building is open most days from 7 AM through 9 PM.
University of Michigan Museum of Natural History

16) University of Michigan Museum of Natural History

The University of Michigan Museum of Natural History is a natural history museum in Ann Arbor. It is a unit of the university's College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. The museum has 22,000 square feet of exhibit space in a building that it shares with three research museums (Anthropology, Zoology, Paleontology).

The natural history collections began in 1837, and the current building, the Alexander Ruthven Museums Building, dates to 1928. The public exhibit museum was founded in 1956, and today has more than 100,000 visitors annually.

The museum has four major permanent exhibits:

- The Hall of Evolution on the second floor displays exhibits on evolution and prehistoric life, including fossils, models, and dioramas of dinosaurs, ancient whales, mastodons, and other organisms. It is the largest collection on prehistoric life in Michigan.

- The Michigan Wildlife Gallery on the third floor displays exhibits on birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, plants, and fungi native to the Great Lakes. There are taxidermy specimens, exhibits on habitats, and displays about regional environmental problems. A mastodon trackway, the largest on display in the world, is part of this exhibit.

- The Anthropology Displays feature exhibits on anthropology, and include artifacts from human cultures around the world.

- The Geology Displays on the fourth floor feature a collection of the several rocks and minerals.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
School of Education

17) School of Education

The University of Michigan School of Education is the education school of the University of Michigan and is located in Ann Arbor. The School of Education offers undergraduate, master's, and doctoral degrees. In 2011, U.S. News & World Report (USN&WR) ranked the school 9th overall. Within the school, specific programs ranked among USNWR's top-ten in six other areas: elementary education, secondary education, educational psychology (the Combined Program in Education and Psychology), higher education (the Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education), curriculum/instruction, and educational policy.

The School of Education can be traced to the first charter of the University of Michigania, approved by the territorial government in 1817, which initially gave the university control over the state's entire system of public instruction. Although this arrangement was changed, the links between the university and the state's schools were firmly established.

In the spring of 1879, the Regents of the university created the Chair of the Science and Art of Teaching, the first full-time, permanent professorial chair in any American college or university devoted exclusively to the preparation of teachers. This regental act recognized the fact that many university students would become teachers and school administrators and that without instruction in education they would not be prepared for their work.

John Dewey spent the years 1884–1894 at the University of Michigan and while not directly involved in the education program he left his imprint on the university and was instrumental in launching the State of Michigan school accreditation program.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.

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 Historical Buildings

Ann Arbor's Historical Buildings

Founded in the 1820s and centered on the University of Michigan, the city of Ann Arbor boasts hundreds of splendid buildings, many of which are included in the National Register. The U-M campus itself was registered as Historic District in 1978.

The abundance of down-home charm, especially in the historic district, is richly complemented by plethora of time-tested architectural landmarks in...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 Km or 1.7 Miles
Ann Arbor Introduction Walking Tour

Ann Arbor Introduction Walking Tour

A western exurb of Detroit, the charming green college town of Ann Arbor possesses a unique charm and down-home atmosphere – a combination of big-city amenities and a small-town vibe.

It started off as a small strip of land registered in 1825 as "Annarbour", named after the wives of its co-founders, both called Ann, and the stands of bur oak trees. Following the move of the...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.0 Km or 1.9 Miles