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Posted on Thu, Jul 21, 2011 : 12:41 p.m.

Good places to escape the heat

By Staff

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Art Fair goers use an umbrella and a cool drink to cope with the heat this afternoon. There are a number of good places available around the fair to stop into and cool off.

Melanie Maxwell |

It's always hot for the Ann Arbor Art Fair. But it's not always this hot. And today just might be the hottest day of the four.

Although a variety of strategies can help deal with the heat, a key part of enjoying the fair experience is simply taking a break, getting inside and cooling off. Don't worry, the art will still be there when you venture back out.

Although one of the official county cooling centers is adjacent to the fair, here are some alternatives — a few of our favorite places to stop for a while. Add your own suggestion in a comment at the end of this post:

University of Michigan Museum of Art, at the corner of South State Street and South University Avenue. Most people going to the fair have at least some level of interest in art, right? So why not take a detour over to the biggest permanent collection of art in the city? Admission is free (a $5 donation is suggested) and you could easily spend hours there. If that doesn't sound like your thing, there are lots of other museums and galleries in the area as well.

The Michigan Theater, 603 E. Liberty St. Ann Arbor's majestic movie palace makes a great place for an Art Fair break. The foyer is open to the public all day. Food and beverages are available, including grilled bratwurst sandwiches, hot dogs, popcorn, soft drinks, Bell's beers, wine and bottled water. In addition, at 1:30 each day a free concert takes place on the theater's historic pipe organ. And of course you can see a movie as well. Stop by the community space, on the ground floor at 301 E. Liberty St. (at Fifth Avenue). We have public computers, free wifi, and — best of all — you can watch the creation of the CommuniTree art project being done by Leslie Sobel.

Restaurants on non-Art Fair streets. Often, restaurants in the thick of the Art Fair throngs are very busy during fair days. On the other hand, restaurants just a block away are often not busy at all. For example, Washington Street, both east and west of Main, is one location with a number of first-rate places to cool off while enjoying a meal or a drink, and very likely no waiting.

Borders Books and Music. The flagship downtown store at 612 E. Liberty St. faces the end of its road as the entire company liquidates. This might be a good chance to pay your respects to the store, and maybe find a bargain or two as well.

For a complete weather forecast, visit the weather page.



Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 2:42 p.m.

Or you can take a 10 minute drive west of town, sit in air-conditioned splendor, and see THE WEDDING SINGER musical at the Dexter Center for the Performing arts this weekend, or JOSEPH...DREAMCOAT in Chelsea.....


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 1:49 a.m.

The Ann Arbor District Library (343 S. 5th Ave.) is also a great place to cool off, sit in a comfy chair, escape the crowds, check email, pick up a book/movie for later (if you live here), find a free book on the donation cart and use the bathroom. If you're visiting, the librarians will also be able to help you with directions or even recommendations for restaurants and sights to see.