Home to the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor wafts a scholarly, progressive vibe. Bookstores and free-trade coffee shops beckon by day, while theaters and folksy concert halls entertain at night. Gastronomes pilgrimage to the leafy little town just for Zingerman's, a freewheeling foodie empire with a deli, creamery, bakery and roadhouse.
On campus, the university's Museum of Art collects Asian ceramics, Tiffany glass and bold abstract works. Huge crowds amass during football season at the Big House, the stadium where the beloved U of M team plays and prompts widespread blue-and-yellow body painting. For a quieter scene, walking paths crisscross the Matthaei Botanical Gardens' 300 bloomin' acres.
Main Street is the heart of town, a mashup of boutiques, galleries, brewpubs and ethnic eats. Move toward campus along State Street, and thrift shops, piercing parlors and record stores pop up. The Ann Arbor Farmers Market anchors Kerrytown, a district of groovy, locally owned shops and eateries, including Zingerman's. And it's all easy to roam on foot.