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Posted on Thu, May 31, 2012 : 1:20 p.m.

Ann Arbor named one of 20 best vacation spots in America

By Cindy Heflin

It doesn’t have the romantic seashore vistas of the Oregon Coast, or the majestic peaks of Glacier National Park, but there Ann Arbor is — on the same list with these storied vacation spots.

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The Ann Arbor Art Fair is the best reason to visit Ann Arbor in the summer, Frommer's said.

Ann Arbor, recently named the 5th happiest city in America, as well as the best place for singles and one of the best towns in America for recent college grads, has now made a list of 20 best vacation spots in the country. Frommer’s compiled the list and suggested that any of the destinations would make a good summer road trip.

Ann Arbor has some expected and perhaps unexpected company on the list. There’s the aforementioned lovely Oregon coastline as well as Big Sur in California and northern Vermont. Then there’s northeastern Ohio. Why is that there, you ask? For plenty of reasons, Frommer’s says.

There’s Ohio’s extensive park system, including many parks fronting Lake Erie, not to mention Cedar Point.

And how about Ann Arbor? What about our fair city qualifies it to rank with the likes of Boulder, Colo., and Big Sur, Calif.? The Kerrytown district for one thing. Frommer’s said it’s full of eclectic shops peddling high-quality goods and used bookstores.

The article also gives a nod to the farmers market. But it says perhaps the most compelling reason to visit Ann Arbor is the annual four-day July extravaganza known as the Ann Arbor Art Fair.



Fri, Jun 1, 2012 : 4:11 p.m.

Watch Frommer's business nosedive after the entry.

Larry Baird

Fri, Jun 1, 2012 : 2:08 p.m.

@bluehoo is correct, "All the complaints are missing the fact that the original Frommer's article is titled "Great American Road Trip" and identifies stops...". Maybe our city is not thought of as a traditional "vacation" location, but it is a great road trip destination for a wide variety of activities. In addition to the obvious attractions already mentioned, most people do not realize we have the state's largest canoe livery (Argo and Geddes combined) and soon to be whitewater rapids. The article should have included some economic stats from the visitors bureau in terms of number of annual in-state and out-state visitors and the economic impact of these visitors on the local economy.


Fri, Jun 1, 2012 : 12:47 p.m.

How much did the city pay for this?


Fri, Jun 1, 2012 : 12:46 p.m.

I guess boring people go on vacation too.


Fri, Jun 1, 2012 : 12:01 p.m.

All the complaints are missing the fact that the original Frommer's article is titled "Great American Road Trip" and identifies stops for that most American of vacations. In this context, AA listing as the 20th slot might make more sense. And Madison, WI made list ahead of AA. Course, the reporting could have noted the context and made this make more sense. We've had friends come here for summer vacation--stay on a nearby lake for the sun and beach and water and hit AA and other area attractions for entertainment. Course, they found most of their entertainment in Chelsea--only in AA once during the week.


Fri, Jun 1, 2012 : 11:40 a.m.

Before I moved to Ann Arbor, I used to come here for weekends frequently. I enjoyed visiting AA so much that I moved here. For an out of towner, Ann Arbor is a great place. Mathai Botantical Gardens, the Arb, the performances on and off of campus, great restaurants, Kerrytown, the Art Fair...


Fri, Jun 1, 2012 : 11:05 a.m.

Ann Arbor must have a troll working for the city whos job it is to submit A2 to all these lists (just like buying advertising, or getting a BBB symbol, etc) Sorry but a college town whos main draw is football saturdays and four overpriced, hot summer days in July is not a national draw, a fancy water sculpture doesn't make a difference. If this list was for best 20 places in SE Michigan I would understand it, but national? give me a break!


Fri, Jun 1, 2012 : 4:14 p.m.

Your reply is the best I've read. Makes sense!


Fri, Jun 1, 2012 : 2:24 p.m.

Isn't marketing wonderful?


Fri, Jun 1, 2012 : 11:03 a.m.

Next up - Ann Arbor makes the top 10 of places that are so insecure that they they go all atwitter every time they appear on some idiotic and virtually meaningless top 10 list.


Fri, Jun 1, 2012 : 2:38 a.m. gives too much credence and attention to these dumb lists that seem to come out weekly. Is Ann Arbor any worse if it fails to make a list? Is it any better if it does? "Top 20 vacation spots in America"? That alone should tell everyone these lists are completely stupid. Give it a rest. Enough of these idiotic lists.


Fri, Jun 1, 2012 : 2:17 a.m.

This is where the money that we don't use to employ police officers goes....... to paying off publishers.


Fri, Jun 1, 2012 : 2:15 a.m.

When I saw this headline, I knew it would bring out the Ann Arbor bashers . My idea of a vacation is swinging in a hammock in my Tree City backyard sipping a gin & tonic and listening to a tigers game.


Fri, Jun 1, 2012 : 1:36 a.m.

So this is why I am seeing so many people from Florida, Hawaii and Caribbean Islands in Ann Arbor huh?

Atlas Shrugged

Fri, Jun 1, 2012 : 1:12 a.m.

Oh my gosh, as most of the commenters have said or implied, and for their stated reasons. Ann Arbor is a top vacation spot? Well, its nice, but I wouldn't want to be from somewhere else and plunk down ANY spare change, let alone vacation savings, to come here. Oh, and the Art Fair. It's great for lots of folks, and great for the city. However, Art Fair is the time I try to avoid going downtown at all. Would rather have a root canal.


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 11:30 p.m.

I live in AA and I love it in the summer even while I avoid the art fair. People ask to rent houses near downtown for vacation purposes all the time. Perhaps the doubters here will realize that lots of people have tastes that are different from their own.


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 11:18 p.m.

I have to agree with most of the comments here. I really love living in A2, but when I think vacation I think of going to the mountains, oceans, or the really big cities not little ole Ann Arbor. If someone showed up saying they were vacationing here I'd point them to Traverse City and all points north.


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 11:15 p.m.

Must be April Fool's Day ! Junk shops and used bookstores make A2 great ? Lousy parking and jaywalkers is what I think of , I'll take Ypsilanti Depot area any time over A2. Good Day


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 9:51 p.m.

next thing to see kids on are list...."camp take noticed" then graffiti! yeah!!!!


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 9:33 p.m.

I do miss Ann Arbor but to drive from North Carolina for a vacation?Someone at Frommers drinks a bit too much.


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 9:01 p.m.

I did not think that the Mary Sue Coleman "Hall of Fame' and the AA 'Big Dig' would attract so much outside attention. Go figure!


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 8:52 p.m.

Oh drat! Now everyone in the country will be flocking to Ann Arbor for their vacation. L.O.L. I would bother consulting Frommer's about any vacations in the future. If Ann Arbor is their #20 in the country then they are so far off the wall that they do not count anymore!


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 8:52 p.m.

Meant to say I won't be consulting Frommer's.


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 8:17 p.m.

Is this a joke? So many other posters have said it as well as I ever could - as nice as this city is, it's not a top vacation spot.


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 7:35 p.m.

I avoid the art fair like the plague! Good city to live in but... Vacation? What! I'd rather go up North to Beach on the Great Lakes, go to Florida, New York, Chicago, L.A., Hawaii. Nobody comes here to vacation except visiting fans to watch their team lose in the Big House on a Fall Saturday like Ohio State fans had the pleasure of doing last year. Go Blue!

Madeleine Borthwick

Fri, Jun 1, 2012 : 6:35 p.m.

mohomed, I agree with you ten thousand percent re the "art fair"....I used to be an "art fair" enthusiast until i realized that it's always the same overpriced stuff. it's NOT art, and it's NOT fair!!!

Small Business Owner

Thu, May 31, 2012 : 7:18 p.m.

Wow. Lot's of people on this board unhappy with A2 making top 10/20 lists. I think it's great news that can only help in recruiting serious talent. I also happen to think this city offers a ton for it's size. I've lived here since graduate school, raising my 3 kids and couldn't be happier. Maybe the people making negative comments have a case of the grass being greener??


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 11:24 p.m.

SBO There is a HUGE difference between living here and Vacationing here! As for the grass being greener. Its just the 1st of June and the grass around here looks like its July. So the grass IS greener in many other places.


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 10:21 p.m.

Well, I have a case of having been to a few places and noticing that it's totally weird that anyone would put Ann Arbor in this list. Maybe the writer of the list was from here and is nostalgic. Look, I think there's nice stuff in Ann Arbor, but c'mon. I get it about the Art Fair, I think that's the biggest one in the country, but vacation spot? And I've been to other and smaller towns' Farmers markets; I don't see a single thing that makes A2's special or even different. In fact, other ones I've been to have been cleaner, better set up and easier to navigate. A2's Farmers Market is kind of shabby and thrown together-looking, actually.


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 7:56 p.m.

I don't know about greener grass but I know about rose colored sun glasses. No one is saying our town isn't nice or even neat, but to even be considered for much less make any top list (even by frommens whoever the heck they are) as a "Vacation Spot" is laughable as stated. Tell you what though. With comments like yours and forevers we might make the top SNOB List.


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 7:43 p.m.

I still live here and I think inclusion on this particular list is laughable. Would Ann Arbor be an OK vacation spot? Depending on one's interests, possibly. Top 20 best spots in America? C'mon.


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 7:33 p.m.

Living in A2 and vacationing in A2 are two different things. I was going to make some comments that took exception to the article's findings, but I didn't want to get blasted for insulting A2. But, it seems almost everybody is confused by the rating and disagreeing with it


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 7:30 p.m.

ignore them. A significant portion of the comments on this site are nothing but trolls from the surrounding towns. They hate on Ann Arbor all the time, yet rely on the city for employment and any semblance of culture in the Midwest.


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 7:02 p.m.

*rolleyes* Yeah right.


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 6:58 p.m.

seems like a real "apples and oranges' list.....ann arbor and baxter state park/ big sur as remotely comparable?? puhleeze! ( all are fine but in utterly different ways).

Top Cat

Thu, May 31, 2012 : 6:55 p.m.

Nothing about camping at Jackson Road and Wagner ?


Fri, Jun 1, 2012 : 3:40 p.m.

Maybe that is why Ann Arbor got top destination spot?


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 11:19 p.m.

good one Top Cat, you are hilarious ! Good Day


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 9:08 p.m.

Better hurry, the camp close early this year.

Unusual Suspect

Thu, May 31, 2012 : 8:53 p.m.


Craig Lounsbury

Thu, May 31, 2012 : 7:55 p.m.



Thu, May 31, 2012 : 6:50 p.m.

I love strolling in Ann Arbor in the summer and visiting the various fairs. That said, I just got back from Traverse City...definitely tops Ann Arbor.


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 6:12 p.m.

Why didn't they list 'Hotel Embassy' as the place to stay?

Madeleine Borthwick

Fri, Jun 1, 2012 : 6:30 p.m.

Why, indeed?! it's sooooooo eclectic! you even get to share ONE BATHROOM with everyone else on your floor. and you get to keep the little mints on your pillows whether you stay for a night or an hour.....

Silly Sally

Fri, Jun 1, 2012 : 12:03 a.m.

Who actually would stay there? Maybe it is plush inside, just maybe, just as maybe pigs fly or George W Bush can speak well or Barack Obama can speak wihout a teleprompter. Just maybe.


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 6:10 p.m.

Anyone else see all these "Ann Arbor on Top (fill in the blank here) List" articles as suspect? Sounds to me as if there's some buying of tourism dollars. There are some good eateries. A few worthwhile main street shops. A few good music venues. And...well, that's about it. Nothing that is worth more than a days stop on the way to someplace else.


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 6:07 p.m.

Huh, Ann Arbor, really? Somebody needs to get out more!


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 5:58 p.m.

I love Ann Arbor as much as the next person but this is totally absurd. I can think of 20 places in Michigan alone - not to mention the rest of the country - that top Ann Arbor. What is so special about Ann Arbor as a vacation destination? Nightlife can be wild but not in a good way. Typically, it's mundane. There is some fine dining, but I'd rank Detroit, Birmingham, and maybe even Royal Oak higher. There are no major natural attractions - the Huron River Valley is pretty but nothing spectacular. The surrounding countryside is farmland or concrete. Ann Arbor is a great place to live if you are young, single, and trying to get an education. It's a decent place to raise a family. It's a great place if you are homeless! But a top vacation spot? Fail.

Rork Kuick

Fri, Jun 1, 2012 : 1:46 p.m.

"The surrounding countryside is farmland or concrete." I have traveled extensively in Washtenaw county for 35 years, and strongly disagree. You'll have to get out of town, and out of the car though. If I include eastern Jackson county, the state rec areas alone are over 30,000 acres. How many of them do you know? There are places with old trees that are fantastic - better than almost any place up north, and getting more valuable every year. It's a bit of a secret perhaps. Botany lovers travel hundreds of miles just to visit Park Lyndon. Ever been on sphagnum bog? Know what fens look like? We have about 20 different kinds of wetlands. We have plants that are the envy of the world (2 kinds of Liatris, trillium, showy and yellow ladies slipper, and on and on), more species than anywhere except Florida. Bow hunters and shroom hunters come here. It's not cause of farmland or concrete. I do agree that seeing the river (not near Ann Arbor though) is the most iconic thing to do. There are baldies and osprey out there. I've been many places. This isn't the Frank Church, but I feel lucky for what we have.


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 9:52 p.m.

its not great place to be homeless .....its great place to lose your home :)

Unusual Suspect

Thu, May 31, 2012 : 5:57 p.m.

Now this one doesn't make sense. It's nice, yes, but top 20? And before somewhere on the water? I think it's a stretch.


Fri, Jun 1, 2012 : 11:53 a.m.

It sure doesn't count as "top 20 in America" water. Don't be so defensive.


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 7:28 p.m.

the Huron River doesn't count as water?


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 5:41 p.m.

You got to be kidding? Two seasons July4th and winter.


Fri, Jun 1, 2012 : 3:39 p.m.

I totally agree. I think they are talking about Art Fair as well. This is not the best vacation spot in all of Michigan. Lake Michigan is. Or Tawas.