Ann Arbor at a Glance
Location: Southeastern Michigan
Access: Detroit Metropolitan Airport, Interstate 94, U.S. Highway 23
Hotel Rooms: 5,015
Destination Ann Arbor
Ann Arbor Marriott Ypsilanti at Eagle Crest
Meeting Space: 20,000 square feet
Weber’s Boutique Hotel
Meeting Space: 9,117 square feet
The Kensington Hotel
Meeting Space: 10,000 square feet
Who’s Meeting in Ann Arbor
National Association of African Americans in Human Resources
United Association of Plumbers, Pipefitters and Steamfitters
National Training Institute for the Electrical Training Alliance
Home to the University of Michigan and just west of Detroit, Ann Arbor looks great from a variety of angles. The city’s flourishing dining, arts and cultural scenes offer nightlife and a full calendar of year-round events. Kayaking, canoeing and hiking are easily accessed on the picturesque Huron River, which flows throughout the area’s lush parks. Ann Arbor’s walkable Main Street has been ranked by Fodor’s Travel as one of the best in the nation, with charming local shops and eateries.
The University of Michigan’s influence reverberates throughout this vibrant city. A popular photography spot on campus, the Law Quadrangle was considered as a filming location for the Harry Potter films because of its Gothic architecture. Autumn weekends mean Michigan football, and thousands of Wolverine fans flock to Michigan Stadium, known as the Big House. Ranked as the nation’s largest stadium, it’s the world’s second-largest stadium after the May Day Stadium in North Korea.
With more than 300 restaurants, Ann Arbor is a hotbed for globally inspired cuisine, with such wide-ranging options as Ethiopian, Eastern European, Turkish and Thai. Locals, visitors and celebrities head to iconic Zingerman’s Deli, known for its Reuben, as well as its spin-off bakery, coffee and creamery businesses. Food tours wine and dine visitors while sharing tidbits of the city’s history and culture. The craft beer culture is vast and varied; downtown claims more than 10 microbreweries and distilleries.
Art and culture intermingle in Ann Arbor. Art museums and galleries include the University of Michigan Museum of Art and the Stamps Gallery. Street art embellishes downtown with larger-than-life murals that pop up on brick walls, electrical power boxes and manhole covers. Historic Hill Auditorium — home to many university events for the School of Music, Theatre and Dance — hosts visiting performers and speakers.
“One of Ann Arbor’s greatest draws are the unique venues where groups can hold events, and our smaller city is a welcoming, comfortable and very safe community,” said Patti Ingleson, national sales manager for Destination Ann Arbor. “Another plus: We’re 20 minutes from the Detroit Metro Airport, which has direct flights from many cities across the country.”
In neighboring Ypsilanti, approximately 20 minutes southeast of Ann Arbor, the restored Ypsilanti Freighthouse looks much as it did 137 years ago when it was part of the Michigan Central Railroad complex. This entire rail-side venue accommodates 170 seated with options for receptions and smaller groups.
Zingerman’s Cornman Farms, a working farm less than 15 minutes from downtown, offers a tent pavilion that overlooks the gardens and the climate-controlled 1837 Red Barn. Customized corporate retreats for 25 to 300 feature hands-on learning, educational seminars and group activities. Dining and reception options include the Loft and the beautifully restored farmhouse. Seasonal cuisine features organic, local ingredients harvested on-property and at neighboring farms.
Chic and modern, Zingerman’s Greyline accommodates groups of 40 to 200. Located inside the Residence Inn Downtown, the dining room seats up to 150 people and can host receptions for 200. Zingerman’s Catering serves as the venue’s exclusive caterer, and whenever possible, they use free-range meat and local produce from area farmers.
Team building, directed by the University of Michigan Recreational Sports Department, ranks as a favorite among groups. The Adventure Education Center at Radrick Property is home to the Adventure Leadership Team program. Its wooded 150-acre site features a 3,100-square-foot indoor meeting room and an outdoor picnic area. Visitors of all ability levels can participate in the half- or full-day Team Challenge, Team Tower and High Adventure programs.
Major Meeting Spaces
Nestled on the shores of Ford Lake and overlooking 135 acres of green space, the Ann Arbor Marriott Ypsilanti at Eagle Crest contains the city’s largest indoor-outdoor hotel event space. More than 40,000 square feet can include 30 breakout rooms and 17 event rooms. The hotel’s Eagle Crest Golf Club features an 18-hole championship course with a three-tiered driving range and short practice area overlooking Ford Lake.
In the heart of the University of Michigan campus, the Michigan League can host 500 or expand to the surrounding buildings to accommodate up to 1,500 attendees. The historic Michigan Union, where President John F. Kennedy once spoke, can accommodate 500 attendees; its current renovation will be complete by 2020. For a quintessentially Wolverine experience, the Jack Roth Stadium Club, in the Big House, can host an enclosed event for up to 500 people. Dinner and a tour of the stadium, locker room and field can be arranged.
“It’s an awesome feeling to be standing on the stadium turf,” said Ingleson. “I’ve seen groups from all over the world enjoying the event, even those who had no idea what the UM football stadium is all about.”
Historic Weber’s Boutique Hotel provides the Atrium Ballroom, which features natural lighting adjacent to its four-seasons pool, for up to 200 attendees and the Grand Ballroom, which accommodates up to 500 with catering supplied by Weber’s Restaurant. The recently renovated 200-room Kensington Hotel offers more than 10,000 square feet of flexible space, easy access to freeways and abundant parking.
After the Meeting
As an urban oasis, the Ann Arbor area is a four-season destination with golf, hiking, cross-country skiing and water activities. Providing some of the best canoeing and kayaking in southeastern Michigan, the 104-mile Huron River National Water Trail flows through quaint towns and river communities such as Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. Two city-run liveries — Argo Park Livery and Gallup Park Livery — offer rentals and work with groups.
Also for nature lovers, trails at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens and the Nichols Arboretum wind through the woodlands and gardens. A color-coded map highlights four routes within the garden’s 90-plus acres. For a paved hiking and biking path, the Gardens Trail connects with a network of trail systems throughout the area. Another 3.5 miles of trails crisscrosses the arboretum.
For entertainment, the University Musical Society hosts award-winning musicians and symphonies from around the globe, avant-garde performances, and renowned musical and theatrical groups. At the ornate Michigan Theater, constructed during the silent-film era, contemporary foreign, independent American and documentary films keep the art of movies alive. Right on Main Street, the Ark music club is known for its quality and breadth of programming.
Attendees can tap into their creative juices at the Ann Arbor Art Center. Classes and art parties host wine-glass painting, canvas-bag stamping, copper-plate embossing and stationary stamping.