The downtown Ann Arbor area is full of vibrant arts organizations, businesses, and public art. This self-guided art tour will welcome you to the rich arts culture that the downtown area has to offer. We’ve highlighted the places we think students should know about and gave you some hints for fun things to spot along the way!
Regents' Plaza, behind LSA
Endover, aka The Cube, is a beloved piece of public art on Central Campus created by artist Tony Rosenthal in 1968. The unique element of this piece is that it can be turned on its axis, a fun pastime for students over the years.
Learn more about public art on campus here.
603 E. Liberty and 233 S. State
The Michigan Theater and State Theatre are historic theaters that both offer an exciting selection of arthouse films and favorite cult classics all year round. The Michigan Theater also hosts the Stamps Speaker Series and the Ann Arbor Film Festival, as well as serving as a live performance venue for a wide range of musicians. On top of playing all the best new films, the State Theatre is also known for its Late Night film series, annual screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and other fun events.
Student tickets are $8.50 and be sure to check out the Student Subscription, which provides students with four monthly tickets, discounted concessions, and more, for a flat monthly fee.
Can you spot... the fairy door?
E. Liberty St. (Next door to Taste Kitchen)
We’re pretty sure everyone who’s lived in Ann Arbor has at one point done a photo shoot in this iconic alley, which features an ever changing display of graffiti art. It's easy to see how it got its name!
Watch this video of a piece of artwork being made in the alley courtesy of Destination Ann Arbor.
201 S. Division St.
The Stamps Gallery is part of the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design and is free to visit! They host exhibitions, publications, and public programs that are lively, experimental, and inclusive. The gallery has a commitment to social justice and offers programs and events throughout the year for students from all majors to engage with the arts.
212 S. 4th Ave.
The Ann Arbor Comedy Showcase presents a wide range of comedy acts to appeal to all audiences. Many touring acts come through, and they also host open mics (Comedy Jamm).
124 E. Washington St.
Literati is an independent bookstore that is a fan favorite in Ann Arbor! They have great author readings, book clubs, and poetry nights. Be sure to check out all three floors, and when you’re in the basement you can leave a note on their typewriter!
Check out this video for a virtual tour
Can you spot... the Notes From A Public Typewriter mural?
219 S. Main St.
Vault of Midnight is your go-to location for all things comics! In addition to selling a wide array of geeky wares, they also host game nights and other fun events.
117 W. Liberty St.
The Ann Arbor Art Center has been around since 1909! Inside there is a retail shop for artists’ wares and galleries for artists’ exhibitions. They also offer arts workshops and classes - great to keep in mind if you’re around in the summer.
The Ann Arbor Art Center has also installed 12 murals in Downtown Ann Arbor! Click here to see the mural map and “meet” the artists.
Can you spot... the Aquarium Gallery? Hint: Success is just around the corner.
316 S. Main St.
The Ark is a beloved and intimate live music venue. It started as a church-run open dialogue, gathering, and event space in 1966 and now hosts lots of touring acts all year round and puts on the popular Folk Festival every year.
Corner of S. Main St. & E. William St.
Power Art! is a public art project. The goal was to wrap downtown traffic boxes with artwork created by Washtenaw County artists. To date, twenty five art installations have been done in Downtown Ann Arbor!
Check out all the Power Art! Installations
343 S. 5th Ave
The Ann Arbor District Library is an AMAZING resource for U-M students! There is no fee to join. Just bring your current photo ID and proof of your current local address and you’re in! AADL hosts lots of free, creative workshops and has an impressive amount of things you can check out that you’d never expect to be at a library!
Can you spot... the mural nearby? Hint: When you find it you’ll say, “What a glorious feeling, I’m happy again!”
208 S 1st St
The Blind Pig is Ann Arbor's historic music club located downtown! Showing an even mix of local talent and the occasional larger act, the Pig is still the hippest place in town and stands as a testament to the area's rich cultural heritage.
Click here to dig into the Blind Pig’s long history