Ann Arbor shopping © Scott Kashkin
The city of Ann Arbor in southeast Michigan, 45 miles (72km) west of Detroit and just north of the Ohio border, is home to the University of Michigan, one of the country's top universities. The city and surroundings have a great deal to offer visitors in the form of historic and cultural attractions. Ann Arbor's downtown area is extremely vibrant with never a dull moment, from live music shows to a plethora of libraries, galleries and museums, restaurants offering everything from romantic dinners to café society, some of the country's best bookstores, and often a street party.
Among the many museums of interest is the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum, housed in a 100-year-old firehouse, which features more than 250 interactive science and technology exhibits. There are numerous restored 19th-century houses and farms to visit for a taste of life in days of yore, and even an original old main street blacksmith shop still operating in the satellite town of Manchester. Museums in the area cover everything from geology to classic cars, early American manuscripts, dentistry and old fire-fighting equipment. On the university campus the Natural History Museum contains the state's largest collection of dinosaur fossils and a planetarium features a 360-degree domed screen offering weekend stargazing shows.