We're excited winter is beginning here in Ann Arbor! There are plenty of cozy activities and exciting things to do around the University of Michigan campus when it’s chilly outside. Here are a few of our favorites: 

Catch a Flick 

Curl up in a chair with some popcorn and satisfy your inner film buff at the State Theatre and the Michigan Theater. Just steps away from the Diag, these historic cinema houses offer an eclectic mix of big blockbusters and smaller indie and art house films, and they regularly re-screen beloved classic films. Extra points for ambiance all around – there's just something magical about seeing a movie in a glamorous vintage theater. There are discounts for matinees, students, seniors, and members, and accessibility is a priority. 

State Theatre

Find Peace Amongst Plants 

If you find yourself longing for lush springtime greenery, head for the oasis at the Michigan Medicine Cardiovascular Center’s indoor healing garden. Relax and enjoy the serenity amongst the beautiful plants and listen to babbling waterfalls, perhaps with a good book.  

The conservatory at Matthaei Botanical Gardens is also open during the wintertime. Meander amongst the cacti and desert plants or sweat it out with the orchids, and you’ll soon forget there is even such a thing as snow. Admission is always free. 

Matthaei Botanical Gardens

Bone Up on History 

Travel through time and learn about the natural wonders around us as you peruse the world-class natural science collections at the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History. Those in the know make a point to catch a show in the Planetarium and Dome Theater, or to watch the researchers at work in the visible labs. Admission is free to all. 

U-M Museum of Natural History

Play a Mean Pinball 

Descend the stairs at Pinball Pete’s arcade and you’ll enter a world of wonder. With rows and rows of pinball machines as well as classic and new arcade and video games from Skee-Ball to Time Crisis, there are hours of fun to be had at this local campus staple. Play until you have a stack of tickets big enough for a teddy bear, or go for the pure pinball experience – Pinball Pete’s is a multicolor fun extravaganza that will banish the wintertime blues. A bonus – they're open late!

Sip a Toasty Beverage 

Across Ann Arbor there are plenty of cozy coffee and tea shops ready to warm you up with a delightful drink, and many of them are located near campus. We recommend a hot bevvy from RoosRoast, or pop into the petit Comet Coffee café inside of Nickels Arcade for a quick espresso on-the-go or a sumptuous warm drinking chocolate. 

RoosRoast liberty

Go Skating

Pretend you’re the Olympian of your dreams as you twirl around – or gingerly and slowly scoot – upon the ice during open skate at Yost Ice Arena. Concessions are available and skates can be rented, so make an afternoon of it on the rink. Make sure to watch out for that Zamboni! Not a skater? Catch a U-M Men’s Ice Hockey game and cheer on the Maize and Blue! 

Yost Ice arena

Crack a Book 

Not only are the U-M museums free and open to the public, but most libraries are as well! You’ll find books, maps, documents, and so much more throughout the many libraries across campus. The Special Collections Library within the Hatcher Graduate Library has some of the most unique and specialized materials you’re likely to find – among others, you can find the renowned collection of Papyrology, a James Beard commended collection of American Culinary history from the 16th century to today, a vast collection of Asian literature, and histories of astronomy, transportation, and medicine (and much more).

Be sure to visit the Computer and Video Game Archive in the Duderstadt Center, where you can play all sorts of computer and video games dating from the 1970’s to the present. Most libraries also maintain a regular calendar of special events that invite you to take a deeper dive into the treasures within. 

Ann Arbor is also home to the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library, where you can pass a few hours learning about United States History in the 1970's through the lens of the Gerald Ford Administration. Be sure to see their roatating special exhibits, and peek into President Ford's former local office.

Hatcher Library

Bring the Heat 

Cuddle up beside a roaring fireplace and pretend you’re a toasty, toasty marshmallow at the Trotter Multicultural Center. Be sure to call ahead to see if the fire is burning! If you’re looking for a more intense heat, swing by the RecSports buildings on Central Campus and North Campus and enjoy the saunas. Be sure to check out their many indoor recreation options, including racquetball, volleyball, and swimming, or head to the indoor track for a run! Try out Wheelchair Basketball, open to athletes of any ability. 



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