South University Area
As home to the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor has often been described as a quintessential Midwestern university town, and although our community has also evolved into a vibrant tech hub with an eclectic culinary scene and world-class arts & culture, it’s also easy to see the classic collegiate roots of the city. If you want to explore this piece of Ann Arbor’s identity, there’s no better part of downtown to wander through than the South University area.
Hogwarts in Ann Arbor? Just about! The Law Quad on the corner of South University Avenue and South State Street was purportedly in the running as a filming location for the Harry Potter movies - and it’s easy to see why. This stunning, historic part of campus was constructed in the 1920s and 1930s and features Tudor Gothic architecture. Home to one of the world’s best law libraries, this gorgeous campus space is a popular spot for picnics, photography, and general admiration for its beauty and magnificence.
Probably influenced at least in part by the dynamic, international population of students, faculty, and staff at the University of Michigan, the dining scene in the South University area is interesting and adventurous. From Vietnamese to Middle Eastern, and Japanese to Italian, you’ll find authentic, delectable dishes from around the world in this campus area district. Pro tip: save room for a cookie or brownie at Insomnia Cookies (open until 3 a.m.!)
Near where South University Avenue and Washtenaw Avenue come together, you’ll find “The Rock”, a huge boulder that is often painted and repainted by students from various organizations and clubs. In that same area, you can wonder up at the historic, impressive houses occupied by sororities and other student groups. Stop by the Common Cup Cafe, a non-profit coffee shop, to see some local art and immerse yourself in the student lifestyle.