'Tis the season! The holidays are in full effect, and we at Destination Ann Arbor would like to brighten your seasonal spirit with our staff picking out some of their favorite places to shop, holiday traditions, and their favorite picturesque areas to explore.  

outside at kindlefest

From taking a brisk walk downtown to enjoying the colorful lights illuminating the city, or enjoying warm cookies indoors, these are our favorite holiday picks to keep the season jolly. Browse our exciting staff picks below, and explore our website and click here for holiday seasonal activities.

Where do you like to shop around the Ann Arbor area during the holidays? 

inside of cherry republic

Christine - Social Media Manager 
Her pick: Rock Paper Scissors & Mindo Chocolate Makers 

“There are so many fantastic local retailers in the area. One of my favorites is Rock Paper Scissors. I purchased all my Christmas gifts there last year. Another great one is Mindo Chocolate Makers. I love that they make the chocolate right here in the county. They use cacao beans from farms in Ecuador and pay the farmers directly. So not only is the chocolate absolutely delicious, but I’m supporting local, ethically sourced, and produced yums.” 

Rachel - Destination Support Manager 
Her pick: Cherry Republic 

“My tried and true local favorite place for gifts has to be Cherry Republic. There is a delicious treat for everyone, and I always get myself some cherry sours!"

Looking to find the perfect gift? Click here to view our Ann Arbor Area Shopping Guide!       

What are your favorite holiday foods?

Manchester's christmas in the village hoilday cookies

Tim - Director of Research 
His pick: Cheesy potatoes and baked pineapple 

“I always love sides way more than the main dish. I'm a big cheesy potato and baked pineapple fan. Though, it isn't the holiday season if you haven't gained weight by spending time at the dessert table.” 

Katy - Human Resources Director 
Her pick: Lobster bisque and holiday cookies  

“I used to live on the East Coast, and at the time, lobster costs were very low, so we learned to enjoy it - Weber's Inn and LeDog LeSoup both have delicious lobster bisque! And various holiday cookies, especially snowball cookies. I don't do much baking myself, but I receive them as gifts from family and friends.” 

The Ann Arbor area is home to a number of fantastic restaurants! Click here to view restaurants and filter by flavor.

What are your favorite Holiday traditions? 

Chelsea hometown holiday santa claus

Rachel - Destination Support Manager 
Her pick: Spending time with family 

“My favorite holiday tradition is going to my brother's place bright and early Christmas morning to watch my nieces open their presents. The rest of our family lives further away, so it's nice to get into that Christmas morning spirit by being with "my girls!" 

Anna - Sales and Office Coordinator 
Her pick: viewing Christmas lights 

“My husband proposed to me at the Zoo Lights. So every year, we take our son and drive around the different neighborhoods to look at all the Christmas Lights on the houses.”   

Christine - Social Media Manager 
Her pick: Gift exchanges 

 “My family has a tradition of picking names for Christmas gifts. I love this because instead of getting something small for each person, I can focus on one amazing gift for one person in my family. It takes some of the stress off and allows me to enjoy the process and excitement of the giving season.” 

Find more excitement this season. Click here to explore Winter Fun in Ann Arbor.

Where are the best places to take pictures around the Ann Arbor area during the holiday season?  

nickels arcade holiday time

Katy - Human Resources Director 
Her pick: Border to Border Trail (Near Dexter, MI) 

“The Border-to-border Trail in Dexter, near the Main Street Bridge - especially with the snow falling - and the creek running - the stone train bridge is very picturesque and peaceful in the background.” 

Anna - Sales and Office Coordinator 
Her pick: Concordia University 

"I went to college at Concordia, so I love to have our family holiday photos taken there. They decorate the Manor Home nicely with lights and garland. It is the perfect backdrop for our Christmas card photos.”   

There are so many scenic spots for pics nearby! Click here to browse more picturesque places in Ann Arbor. 

artwork at kindlefest

Want to tell us about some of your favorite holiday spots and traditions in Washtenaw County? Feel free to comment below and let us know your favorite places to go, or even your favorite foods! Browse our website for more holiday ideas to end the year with a jolly smile.    


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