There are few things on this planet better than Ann Arbor on a football Saturday. We're still over a hundred days away from College Football, but there's no reason we can't celebrate a few of the things that make Ann Arbor so special when those wonderful fall weekends finally hit the calendar.
To start us off, here are Five Things, in no particular order, that make Ann Arbor one of my favorite places. I'm counting on you guys to come up with some of your favorites in the comments below.
Bells Pizza - Yeah, it's an eyesore, but at 3am it's the best pizza you've ever tasted. Ever since my freshman year at Michigan, Bell's has been my primary source of non-liquid calories when I'm on campus. (And no, I'm not 700 pounds, I'm rather fit - Ed.). Situated on the corner of Packard and State, Bells is that first real sign of student life as you drive up State street into the main campus. It's always packed. It's always good. It's always open until 4am. No trip back is complete without a large pepperoni!
I can actually hear you getting fatter. (via img.groundspeak.com)
South University Street - Whether its hosting the hemp laden Ann Arbor Arts Fair or simply gleaming in the sun on a warm fall afternoon, South U is one of those quintessential College streets. Just about every bar you went to in undergrad is there, the coffee house you went to when you needed to study, the T-shirt shop where you bought your 19th Grateful Dead shirt and a blacklight, Good Time Charley's, the Jug, Mitch's, Touchdowns, Rick's, etc... It's amazing how much actually went on in such a small space. What's even more amazing is that no matter how many times you go back to Ann Arbor you still walk down that street and remember all the those fun things you did (and sometimes things you'd like to forget). But when football season rolls around, it's as close to a time machine as you can get.
It's a Time Machine I tell you! (via aagallery.aadl.org)
The Union - The grand matron of the University campus. Covered in red brick and ivy, the Union was the place you showed your parents when they came to visit just so they'd think you really were at a college and not a disco with books. It's a striking building with a wonderful history, and is just about as picturesque a photo as you can take on campus. It's also one of the few structures on campus where athletics don't take place that will actually give Michigan alumni goosebumps as the walk toward it. There's something symbolic about it. Something indescribable that make you feel like you're coming home for the first time in a generation, even if you were just there last week.
The Golf Course - Every home saturday the Michigan golf course goes from pristine emerald elegance with rolling hills and ancient trees to something resembling a refugee camp as thousands upon thousands of people cram onto its fairways. And I wouldn't have it any other way. There's nothing quite like it. Everyone has their tailgate set up. The deep fryers are out. The ten foot grills are burning hot. Beanbag toss tournaments are being organized and kids are running around the fairways in 50 person games of two hand touch. The flat screens are set up and Gameday blares out of the speakers. They serve burgers, dogs, and lobster. Lobster? You heard right. It's a place where beer is the ultimate barter and everyone, even you, tOSU fans, is friends. On a pristine fall day, it's one of the most beautiful sites on the planet.
Good God. It's beautiful! (via www.umtailgate.com, of course!)
Grizzly Peak - Maize n Brew's preferred post game meal stop and watering hole. As a student I spent a considerable amount of time and money eating well, and drinking better, at the Peak. From the deep cherry and oak colors to the tasty home brews it's one of the warmest places in Ann Arbor. Especially after you've just frozen your nuts off at a rainy, late October home game. Nothing makes you feel better, or puts the wind back in your sails like a Grizzly Burger and a Porter.
I was usually two seats to the left of the taps. (via grizzlypeak.net)
Alright. So those are my initial five. What about you?