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Ann Arbor/ Detroit Area Birthday Weekend

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My boyfriend and I are both new to the Ann Arbor area. His birthday is coming up in May and I would like to plan a weekend getaway involving a nice hotel, dinner, and drinks. Does anyone have suggestion for where to stay or eat? I have heard that Saugatuck is lovely; however, the 3 hr drive is more than I would like. Are there any towns 1hr-2hrs away from Ann Arbor that have great food and drinks (preferably a bar with a great beer selection)? I am also considering spending the weekend in Detroit and exploring the food there. I would love any suggestions!

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  1. Writing as a frequent visitor to this area from just inside the Ohio border...

    Can't speak for accommodations or attractions, but the Dark Horse Brewery/taproom is in Marshall, barely 40 miles to the west. Some of the best brewpub action you'll find outside of Ann Arbor (but not as far as Bell's or Founder's in Kalamazoo or Grand Rapids).

    Plenty of accommodations and attractions in Detroit....I can't go to a Tigers or Lions game without a visit to Slow's BBQ (again with a great beer list). Also the Cadieux Cafe on the lower east side is a gem if your boyfriend is into the whole Belgian beer thing....incredible Belgian food, too (mussels, et al). Michael Symon's Roast in downtown DTW (ignore the creepy post-apocalyptic 'does anyone live/work down here?' vibe) is also really, REALLY good.

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    1. re: kebyar

      I've never been to the Dark Horse Brewery(DHB) in Marshall, but I went to The Heidelberg restaurant (not great but at least tries to be German) in Ann Arbor, which served me DHB's DOUBLE Crooked Tree ale on tap (age sensitive fermentation), and it may have been the best beer I've ever tasted.

      The other recs from Kebyar also align with my experiences.
      CBarrett, are you thinking of staying in a Detroit casino hotel? A three hour drive ain't that long if you have a good car and some tunes, right?
      PS--how much do you want to spend per night on a hotel? 100, 200? Birmingham is romantically walkable, day and night if you can afford it.

    2. I would go to Kalamazoo and go to Bell's. It's an essential Michigan experience.The brewery has many Bell's beers that you can't get elsewhere, including a few real oddballs, and you can also buy them in the shop to go. Kalamazoo is a fairly small city, so there isn't a huge selection of gourmet restaurants, but there are several good places—Food Dance (one of the original local/fresh foods places in MI), Rasa Ria (Malay/Indonesian, not available in AA, cheap, hole in the wall), and a few higher-end places. The city has a nice small downtown with decent museums if it's rainy, or you can go over to the lake if the weather's nice.