Dynamite Dining and Shopping on Main Street
You’d be hard-pressed to find a more vibrant, exciting area of Ann Arbor than Main Street. Bursting at the seams with progressive restaurants, creative cocktail bars, unique meeting spaces, beloved music venues and boundary-breaking art galleries, the Main Street area is the beating heart of Ann Arbor’s dynamic downtown area.
Dynamic dining is possibly what most defines the Main Street area. You’ll find award-winning, top-notch fine dining - we love the steaks at The Chop House and the Asian-inspired menu at Pacific Rim - as well as internationally-inspired casual fare, like the unbeatable Cuban-inspired cuisine at Frita Batidos and fast-casual Greek food at Kouzina. Breakfast aficionados will love the healthful comfort food at Avalon Cafe & Kitchen and the crepes and waffles at Cafe Zola. Those in town for a Wolverine football game or other U-M event might enjoy the school spirit-filled atmosphere at the Pretzel Bell, and farm-to-table foodies will love Grange Kitchen & Bar, which is known for its unwavering commitment to local farmers.
The bar scene on Main Street is another great feature of the neighborhood. Check out the speakeasy-style underground hidden gem, The Last Word, for pre-prohibition-style cocktails and great food, or visit one of the state’s oldest microbreweries, Arbor Brewing Company. More of a wine drinker? The wine list at The Earle is second-to-none.
The shopping in the Main Street area is so fantastic that they host several annual events to celebrate the unique retailers in the district. You’ll find unique imported goods at shops like Ten Thousand Villages and The Himalayan Bazaar, as well as Detroit-made luxury items at Shinola. University of Michigan sports fans will find all the gear they need at the Main Street M Den, and athletes of all kinds will find several retailers like Moosejaw and Running Fit to meet their needs.
Bookstores, however, may be the most famous of the retailers in the Main Street area of Ann Arbor. Known for decades as a book-lover’s destination, Ann Arbor is home to a plethora of niche, unique, independent booksellers - many of which are located in the Main Street area. Check out Literati - a general bookstore with a modern, quirky flair that has attracted the attention of the media since it opened several years ago, and Vault of Midnight, a comic book store with LOTS more to offer than just comics. The West Side Book Shop has been around for ages and has that beloved bookstore look, feel, and smell. For holistic health, alternative spirituality and other unique topics, Crazy Wisdom is a must-visit - and they have a lovely tea room.
Events are held in the Main Street area regularly, especially in the warmer months. Don’t miss Taste of Ann Arbor for small bites from lots of local restaurants, as well as Ann Arbor Restaurant Week, when dozens of restaurants throughout the city offer discounted meals and special menus. Each July, wander down Main Street during the Rolling Sculpture Car Show for a look at the past and present in automotive awesomeness.