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Driving through -- where to wander for an hour or two?

Madison, Wisconsin
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56 posts
14 reviews
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Driving through -- where to wander for an hour or two?

Thinking of stopping, rather than driving past, Ann Arbor for a break from driving back to Madison, Wisconsin. This would be for an hour or two tops. Not interested in touristy things. Is there a particularly authentic area that would be fun for window shopping some local stores (NOT chain stores) and maybe a light lunch/snack/coffee? Checking the boards it sounds like Kerrytown and Main Street might be good, but then there are folks who claim they are not what they are cracked up to be. Maybe a walk through campus? I dunno. Thoughts or advise? Thanks in advance.

Ann Arbor, MI
Destination Expert
for Michigan, Ann Arbor
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2,165 posts
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1. Re: Driving through -- where to wander for an hour or two?

Both the areas you identified are good for a few hours of browsing. Both have locally owned, unique stores. Main Street has a few more chain kinds of stores/restaurants than it used to, but it is all relative--it still does not have nearly as many as most towns. Kerrytown tends to have more upscale shops. Main Street has a mix of upscale and more ordinary shops.

I rarely have time to just browse anymore, but if I did I'd pick Main Street for Peaceable Kingdom, Cherry Republic (great samples), Crazy Wisdom Bookstore and tea shop, and Westside Bookstore (just off Main on Liberty). The boutiques of Kerrytown are very popular too, but not my "thing". If you go to Kerrytown, that's the location for Zingerman's Deli--the epicenter of foodie culture in Ann Arbor. It's worth browsing the deli, even if you don't buy anything.

If your stop is on Wednesday or Saturday I'd definitely recommend Kerrytown over Main Street because Farmer's Market will be happening. Just the market could take a few hours to look through.

An area of sort of funky campus shops and great Asian food (lots of different countries represented) is the South University area. It isn't far from the law quad which has lovely old buildings to browse.

Detroit, Michigan
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21 posts
4 reviews
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2. Re: Driving through -- where to wander for an hour or two?

In a general sense, the whole of Downtown Ann Arbor is full of unique and interesting shops and restaurants. You'll find the whole area from Main Street all the way to the University of Michigan Campus full of people and different establishments to window shop.

If you happen to be a photographer like me, you'll find Ann Arbor's downtown to be a great place for both architectural and street photography.

3. Re: Driving through -- where to wander for an hour or two?

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