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Weekend in Ann Arbor with a 2 year-old: suggestions?

Hi everyone,

Hubby, 2 year-old daughter and I will be visiting Ann Arbor from Toronto May 17-19. We have never been to AA before. Not sure where we will be staying yet, but we will have a car so we are mobile :)

What places must we visit? I've read about Zingermans, but what else must we check out?

We'll be visiting the Children's museum and the Henry Ford museum (which I realize is in Dearborn) - any lunch recommendations nearby?

Where can we go for good third wave coffee? I've read about Comet and Lab so far.

What are some good walking neighbourhoods in terms of food, atmosphere, etc.?

Hubby is dying to go to Costco when we're there - is there one in particular that's recommended?

Wherever we go needs to be child-friendly. We don't need a kids' menu since our daughter is thankfully not a picky eater, but we do need places that welcome families :) We are not big drinkers, looking for moderately priced places (around $75 for dinner would be fine, not including alcohol).

Thanks!

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  1. Hey, $75 for a dinner for two with one in tow isn't bad at all. That's very easy to work with. Might I make a suggestion, and have you combine a two-fer? I would think that your budget would allow for a family of three at Zingerman's Roadhouse, and while it's not the original location, you can still experience their quality at this location, and it's very kid-friendly, especially in terms of their food.

    Ann Arbor is pretty walkable all around downtown (less so when it's rainy, of course, but that's anywhere), and I think Kerrytown is quite a nice little neighborhood to stroll.

    If you're going to Dearborn, you must, simply *must* have some quality Middle Eastern fare. You can't find anything like it outside of the Middle East, because Dearborn has the highest concentration of Middle Eastern people in the entire *world*...outside of the Middle East, of course. If you want to keep things low budget, stick to sandwiches like shwarma or tawook, and do indulge in some garlic sauce, hummus, tabbouli, baba ghannooj, or others. I really like La Pita, but there are lots of other places in Dearborn that do things well, too.

    I'm not a coffee drinker, so I'll stay out of that arena.

    If you're into pinball, or even if you *think* you might be, Vintage Flipper World in Brighton (www.vfwpinball.com) is having a showcase that weekend on May 16-18 that is geared toward families. Brighton isn't far from Ann Arbor, and the place has 200 pinball machines from all eras, including some very rare and old, right up to the newest of the new. They're only open to the public very rarely, so this is kind of a rare opportunity.

    Apparently, the best Costco is in Bloomfield Hills, MI, since that's where the CEO of Costco is nested, from what I hear. They get a better grade of merchandise from time to time (cashmere sweaters, for example), they're in a ritzier/spendier neighborhood, and they actually tore a newish store down to build a bigger one, one that had the new model that the CEO was wanting. It's strange, but true. I personally don't find it to be any better or different than any other Costco, but I'm told that it is. Your mileage/kilometerage may vary. I don't think it's worth the trip, honestly, but it's your call.

    Hope any of that was helpful!

    1. Do not skip Zingerman's! ;)
      I'd suggest eating at the original location. Very casual and the sandwich's are great. Be sure to get some Cheese, Bread, Pate, Magic Brownies ( The list really is endless ) for a picnic or snacking. The Roadhouse is nice as well.
      A2 is not that large so there's not a bunch of neighborhoods to walk with different ethnic areas like Toronto. Don't over look Monahan's Seafood market or for dinner Haab's in Ypsi.
      While there is plenty of Middle Eastern-fare in Dearborn I see no need to leave The Henry Ford/Greenfield village to chase a meal. The food at the Village/Museum is very good, locally sourced and frankly far better than many area restaurants.
      I'm assuming you are already Costco members. If not you will not be able to shop (aside from Rx and alcohol) although you can get a day pass at the front desk. There are several Costco's in the greater Detroit area. I've been to all many times and there really is not a single unit that's consistently "better" than the others. In short there's no reason to drive around the city when there's a Costco (Pittsfield Twp) right on the edge of A2.
      If you are looking for other suggestions in the greater Detroit area I'd suggest a visit to the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores. The Tulips should be in full bloom when you are here.

      https://www.fordhouse.org/

      1. Downtown AA is sort of Saturday night date night territory for the entire metro Detroit area, and it's not terribly family oriented. I agree about Zingerman's (either location). Then walk it off on the Old West Side, just west of downtown—charming small Victorian houses built by German craftsmen in the late 19th century. End up at Washtenaw Dairy at the corner of Madison and First St., which is every kid's ice cream destination.

        If you walked from Zingerman's to the west side, you would pass Mighty Good Coffee on Main, also good, as are Comet and Lab.

        The local pizza chain is Greek-owned Cottage Inn, with a big rectangular pie that's reasonably good, and you could certainly take kids of all ages there. But you could do better in Toronto.

        Drive out to Chela's at Liberty and Maple for simple Mexican dishes, or La Fiesta Mexicana in Ypsilanti.

        Middle Eastern, yes, yes. Dearborn is best, but PIta Pita in Ypsilanti near AA is pretty good.

        Costco on the south side of Ann Arbor is new and probably as good as any other. You might also enjoy the Trader Joe's chain; there is one here.

        Enjoy!

        1. Are you planning on hitting Greenfield Village as well as the Henry Ford museum? I hope you do, if the weather is decent.

          And while there, I would suggest a drive by of Henry's house, Fairlane, which is literally across the street (Michigan Ave.) from the Museum/Village. It's not currently open for tours, but it would still be worth the 5 - 10 minutes it would take to drive over there and drive by the house... the road goes right in front of the home.

          For many years, the house was owned by the University of Michigan, but fairly recently it was transferred to the foundation that operates the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House. They are in process of eventually opening Fairlane Estate to the public once again.

          http://www.henryfordestate.org/#about

          Bob

          1. Take your daughter on the train ride at Greenfield Village. Eat Lebanese ice cream at Shaatila (cool locale too--indoor palm trees).
            When you go to Ann Arbor's Hands On Museum, you're 2 blocks from the best coffee: Might Good on Main St.
            Another kid-friendly thing is AA's Leslie Science Center--which as a toddler friendly Critter Room. And that gets you near a great Korean fried chicken place: Seoul Street.
            And then there's the Farmers Mkt (Saturday 7am-2 pm)--some reasonable snacking. Right by Zingermans Deli + Hands On + Mighty Good.