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Posted on Thu, Dec 20, 2012 : 9:18 a.m.

HuffPo lists 'favorite things' about Ann Arbor - What are yours?

By Bob Needham

Blind Pig.jpg

The Blind Pig

Melanie Maxwell |

The Huffington Post has just started a new series of its "favorite things" about various college towns, and first up to bat is Ann Arbor.

"In 2010, Forbes named the city named for its founders' wives one of the most livable cities in America," HuffPo writes in its intro. "Forbes' methodology was likely complicated, but we're almost certain several of our favorite things swayed judges even then."

Among the things making the cut on the list are the Blind Pig, the Fleetwood Diner, and canoeing on the Huron River.

Read the full Huffington Post item here.

What did the Huffington Post leave off the list that you'd include? Leave your thoughts in a comment below:

Bob Needham is director of entertainment content for Reach him at or 734-623-2541, and follow him on Twitter @bobneedham.



Fri, Dec 21, 2012 : 6:03 p.m.

I love our laissez-faire attitude towards vagrancy and the homeless here. I'm happy we work to make Ann Arbor one of the premier destinations in the Midwest for these folks. On a more positive note, I'm a big fan of Cafe Zola.


Fri, Dec 21, 2012 : 5:27 p.m.

After spending almost my entire adult life in New York City, I've recently moved back. I have to say that A2 has just about everything a big city has to offer, just on a smaller, more delightful scale. I think the people of A2 themselves should be on this list. Wonderful place to live. Happy holidays everyone.

harry b

Fri, Dec 21, 2012 : 3:01 p.m.

First let me say the Huffington Post sucks. Just report the news. They are so partisian they are a waste of time. Now we have that out of the way, I like the bike paths and even city riding.

Bhumsoo Kim

Fri, Dec 21, 2012 : 12:58 p.m.

I can't believe they don't include Zingerman's & Angelo's Others I like are Golf at Radrick Farms & University course Gallup Park Ann Arbor art fair


Fri, Dec 21, 2012 : 2:44 a.m.

1. Morgan & York 2. Top of the Park 3. UMMA, Kelsey, and Natural History Museums (tie) 4. Kerrytown (Farmers' Market, Monahan's, Sparrow) 5. Walking around downtown 6. FestiFools & Midnight Madness (tie) 7. August, when it feels like the population is about 212 8. Parks, parks, parks! 9. The feeling that, as great as the townspeople have it here, life in Ann Arbor can always get better.


Fri, Dec 21, 2012 : 1:46 a.m.

The original "Westside" from Summit to Brooks St. when it was mostly a African American neighborhood. The concerts at Gallup Park along the Huron River. The Hash Bash when you could light up. Dirolfs Market (Zingerman's) when they sold mustard, turnip and collar greens, so did Zingermans for a while when they first started and a reuben was $4. The Quality Bakery (Palio's). The Arb. The parks. The quality venues that brings international artist to our town yearly. The culturalism. The feeling of being connected through the various neighborhoods that when you finally got to high school you already knew a lot of the kids from the other "junior high schools". Low crime. Great education system where the public schools rival some communities private schools. Hill Auditorium. TOP. The fact that its in a valley. And the best for last, as I've lived in SF, D.C., and L.A., its the best place to raise a family.


Fri, Dec 21, 2012 : 1:08 a.m.

Saline. I hear it is a great place to raise a family.


Fri, Dec 21, 2012 : 12:53 a.m.

Hard to imagine that nobody has mentioned the Northside Grill or the Arb!!!!! Still, the thing I most love here is that there are so many different nationalities and cultures represented that, when you go to Gallup Park and sit in one spot, you can hear five different languages (at least) within five minutes... And, because A2 is such an international hub for brilliant academics from every place on earth, the rest of us get to have an eclectic, multi-layered, local culture where almost anything goes with art, music, food, politics and a level of patience and tolorance for differences that is pretty much unmatched in the Midwest and that lets us enjoy it all.

Catherine Arcure

Fri, Dec 21, 2012 : 12:51 a.m.

So many wonderful people! And, of course, the University Musical Society and all it presents!

Linda Peck

Thu, Dec 20, 2012 : 10:29 p.m.

The lovely hills rising up from the Huron River giving topographical interest. I live on a moraine on the west side and it is lovely here. There is not much I don't like about Ann Arbor. I love all of the seasons, the friendly and sweet people, and educational opportunities. I could go on and on.

Julie Halpert

Thu, Dec 20, 2012 : 10:14 p.m.

Ann Arbor also appeals to retirees, which I discuss in this piece I wrote for The Wall Street Journal:


Thu, Dec 20, 2012 : 9:45 p.m.

Gallup Park Sledding at Huron Hills Leslie Park Golf Course Earthen Jar Collected Works PJ's Records Tree lined streets -- especially in the fall Reasonable access to art and culture Kerrytown and the Farmers Market And I'm sorry to sound mean -- I really do appreciate them -- but I love the month of May when the non-local students leave.


Thu, Dec 20, 2012 : 11:09 p.m.

+1 on the Huron Hills sledding (#8 is a better sled hill than golf hole), Leslie Park and the summer months.


Thu, Dec 20, 2012 : 8:35 p.m.

Sledding at Vet's Park was always a favorite. This year I see chainlink fencing at the very bottom of the more sledding so I will have to go with the A2 Art Fair.


Thu, Dec 20, 2012 : 9:14 p.m.

For sledding? I wouldn't recommend it. Too many people.

Lizzy Alfs

Thu, Dec 20, 2012 : 5:57 p.m.

One thing I really love about Ann Arbor is how -- even though the downtown area isn't huge -- it's made up of several very distinct areas. As a recent U-M grad and now a professional working downtown, I've seen the area in an entirely different light these past two years. The South U area, Kerrytown, Main Street, State Street -- they're all so unique and different.

Kyle Mattson

Thu, Dec 20, 2012 : 9:03 p.m.

Lizzy I completely agree. Not many other cities in the state offer similar diverse experiences in their central downtown areas and makes for an environment where just about anyone from Townies to students have a place to identify with.


Thu, Dec 20, 2012 : 5:39 p.m.

My favorite thing about Ann Arbor is that it's 7 miles west of where I live.....LOL....Still too close....


Fri, Dec 21, 2012 : 6:36 a.m.

Yes, we are surrounded by rural areas, as well as by towns such as Ypsilanti, Dexter, Saline, Chelsea, etc.. With Ann Arbor as the anchor of a wide geographic area, we have more businesses here for the entire area. The Farmers' Market at Kerrytown has more choices than markets I've visited outside large cities.


Thu, Dec 20, 2012 : 10:30 p.m.

east, not eat :-P


Thu, Dec 20, 2012 : 10:29 p.m.

7 miles eat? Sounds like the Ypsi area, nice in its own way. Just the right distance from the traffic and high takes, but close enough to visit easily

Kevin Ransom

Thu, Dec 20, 2012 : 5:04 p.m.

Yeah, I don't know how anyone could could leave The Ark, Encore Records and Zingerman's off of a list of Ann Arbor's coolest places.


Thu, Dec 20, 2012 : 6:44 p.m.

Kevin, maybe because these people aren't FROM Ann Arbor.

Kevin Ransom

Thu, Dec 20, 2012 : 5:06 p.m.

Or, as they dubbed it, "Favorite Things."

Jessica Webster

Thu, Dec 20, 2012 : 4:25 p.m.

My list: Public radio! (especially WEMU) Encore Recordings Morgan & York Main Street at Christmastime Washtenaw Dairy doughnuts Michigan Theater The Ark UMS Summer Festival and Top of the Park Turkey Reubens at Dimos Sledding at Vet's Park Nicola's Books All the great coffee, from Lab, Comet, Mighty Good, Roos Roast, Morgan & York and Zingerman's Coffee Treasure Mart Bike rides from Argo to Gallup Pickled tomatoes from Mani Saturday Farmers Market at Kerrytown Running at County Farm Park ...I could go on and on


Fri, Dec 21, 2012 : 2:32 p.m.

That's because M&Y is so overrated you need to include it twice.


Fri, Dec 21, 2012 : 2:45 a.m.

I like that M&Y makes your list twice!

Jessica Webster

Thu, Dec 20, 2012 : 5:24 p.m.

I've sledded at the Arb, too. I guess the hill at Vet's just reminds me more of sliding down "Killer Hill" as a kid at Cayuga Lake State Park.


Thu, Dec 20, 2012 : 4:39 p.m.

Sledding in the Arb is a lot better than Vets, try it sometime.

Jenn McKee

Thu, Dec 20, 2012 : 4:18 p.m.

Top of the Park and the Ann Arbor Summer Festival should definitely be on the list. And David Zinn's chalk drawings.


Thu, Dec 20, 2012 : 9:12 p.m.

Yay - David Zinn!! No kidding.

Blue Marker

Thu, Dec 20, 2012 : 4 p.m.

I remember back when Ann Arbor had actual parking meters with the two bulbs sticking out, one for each space. Someone would paint Mickey Mouse's' face minus the ears on the sidewalk. When the street lights came on the shadow of the parking meters would make Mickey's ears and complete the drawing. It's the little strange things like that that make Ann Arbor special to me. I'd also say the Brown Jug, (wife and I's first date), getting my projects started at Stadium Hardware and people watching on the Diag during Art Fair.

Roger Dodger

Fri, Dec 21, 2012 : 4:42 p.m.

The Brown Jug isn't what it used to be after the Peron's left.


Thu, Dec 20, 2012 : 3:47 p.m.

After spending the morning pondering this list I feel that not including briarwood mall in the "What makes a2 a great college town" was a gross over sight. Just think, one can get free perfume samples, buy a true mrs. Fields cookie, and eat at Olga's all in the same place. Now that is some cool college town stuff. Go blue!!


Thu, Dec 20, 2012 : 9:47 p.m.

Nice to see you have a sense of humor... (I hope that's what it is!)


Thu, Dec 20, 2012 : 8:59 p.m.

Are you serious?


Thu, Dec 20, 2012 : 8:40 p.m.

Briarwood needs to be razed to the ground

Top Cat

Thu, Dec 20, 2012 : 3:33 p.m.

The brewpubs and all the cranky people who post on who should be spending more time at these brewpubs.


Thu, Dec 20, 2012 : 6:21 p.m.

Yeah, because after a long day at work I enjoy nothing more than having a beer sandwiched between reactive polemicists. No thanks.


Thu, Dec 20, 2012 : 3:20 p.m.

They forgot to mention our public art!


Thu, Dec 20, 2012 : 3:03 p.m.

Anyone else tired of people NOT from our town telling us what's so great about OUR town?


Fri, Dec 21, 2012 : 3:08 a.m.

I've lived in several college towns over the past 40 years and I can tell you that Ann Arbor is highly overrated. And if all the Huf Post could boast about is the blind pig and canoeing it shows how limited is their experience.

Steven Murphy

Fri, Dec 21, 2012 : midnight

What a dumb and rude comment. So people not from Ann Arbor say nice things about the place, what exactly is so "tiring" about that? Maybe the town would be better off if you packed up and left, because I'd venture to say that most folks calling it "their" town welcome outsiders and appreciate them saying nice things about the place. That's just how classy people are.


Thu, Dec 20, 2012 : 6:40 p.m.

Billy, for what it's worth, I agree with you. these geniuses need to get up off their fat surpluses and actually VISIT here for at least a month before they start spouting off!


Thu, Dec 20, 2012 : 3:18 p.m.


Bob Needham

Thu, Dec 20, 2012 : 2:40 p.m.

For a college-oriented list this is pretty good ... My personal list would include a lot of what they've got here, plus the Michigan Theater, The Ark, the Farmers Market, Le Dog, Downtown Home & Garden, the park system, Hill Auditorium, Old Town ... and, yes, Zingerman's.