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Getting Around Ann Arbor

Exploring Ann Arbor

Getting Around Ann Arbor

In general, Ann Arbor is a pedestrian-friendly town, especially once you’re downtown and on U-M’s campus. By offering a shuttle service from the Sheraton to downtown Ann Arbor, we’ve done our best to make the commute to the conference as easy as possible.

Should you drive to Ann Arbor or decide to rent a car, there is ample parking available at the Sheraton hotel. If you decide to stay at Residence Inn or The Graduate downtown, you will need to use valet parking. Please check with them about parking availability and rates. Parking on campus is an ongoing challenge, so we recommend that you avoid driving to campus. If you decide to drive and look for parking, it would be most convenient to use the Maynard Street Parking Structure.  

Sheraton to Michigan Union and Downtown

If you’re staying at the Sheraton, we're offering shuttle service each morning and evening, and there are a few different ways that you can make your way downtown if you’d like to do so outside the hours that we’re offering shuttle service.

Conference Shuttle Schedule

Look for a big blue University of Michigan bus with "Charter" written on its display. The shuttle will run between the Michigan Union Bus Stop on State Street, just north of South University, and the Sheraton Ann Arbor. The image below shows where the bus will be at the Sheraton (turn left when you walk out of the hotel and head past the grass triangle to the driveway).

Monday, October 23

7:45 am -- depart Sheraton, drop off at Union
8:15 am -- depart Sheraton, drop off at Union
8:45 am -- depart Sheraton, drop off at Union
9:15 am -- depart Sheraton, drop off at Union
9:45 am -- depart Sheraton, drop off at Union
6:30 pm -- depart Union, drop off at Sheraton
7:00 pm -- depart Union, drop off at Sheraton
7:30 pm -- depart Union, drop off at Sheraton
8:30 pm -- depart Union, drop off at Sheraton
Tuesday, October 24:
7:45 am -- depart Sheraton, drop off at Union
8:15 am -- depart Sheraton, drop off at Union
8:45 am -- depart Sheraton, drop off at Union
9:15 am -- depart Sheraton, drop off at Union
9:45 am -- depart Sheraton, drop off at Union
5:00 pm -- depart Union, drop off at Sheraton
5:15 pm -- depart Sheraton, drop off at Union
5:30 pm -- depart Union, drop off at Sheraton
5:45 pm -- depart Sheraton, drop off at Union
6:00 pm -- depart Union, drop off at Sheraton
6:15 pm -- depart Sheraton, drop off at Union
6:30 pm -- depart Union, drop off at Sheraton
6:45 pm -- depart Sheraton, drop off at Union
7:00 pm -- depart Union, drop off at Sheraton
7:15 pm -- depart Sheraton, drop off at Union
7:30 pm -- depart Union, drop off at Sheraton
7:45 pm -- depart Sheraton, drop off at Union
8:00 pm -- depart Union, drop off at Sheraton
8:15 pm -- depart Sheraton, drop off at Union
8:30 pm -- depart Union, drop off at Sheraton
Wednesday, October 25:
7:45 am -- depart Sheraton, drop off at Union
8:15 am -- depart Sheraton, drop off at Union
8:45 am -- depart Sheraton, drop off at Union
9:15 am -- depart Sheraton, drop off at Union
9:45 am -- depart Sheraton, drop off at Union
No shuttle offered. See Travel and Hotel page for ways of getting to the airport.

Public Transportation from Sheraton to Downtown (and Elsewhere)

The Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority, also known as TheRide or AAATA, is the bus service. 

Ann Arbor’s bus system offers reliable service that covers Ann Arbor and surrounding areas. Full fare is $1.50 each way. You will need exact change, but bus drivers also have the ability to give out change cards in amounts of $0.25 cents or more (not redeemable for cash). Learn more about bus fares.    

If you are staying at the Sheraton, there are a few ways to catch TheRide. We’ll provide some basic guidelines below, but please be sure to consult with the hotel staff should you decide to use TheRide. We also recommend using Google Maps or the Transit app (by Tapone Technology) to help navigate the system. TheRide’s homepage also has a handy trip planner and schedules and maps.

There’s a bus stop that’s a 3-minute walk from the Sheraton at the Wolverine Exit + Boardwalk. From here, you can catch Bus 62 with the head sign “Wolverine Tower” which goes down Boardwalk to Oakbrook Drive, and then down State St. and can stop in front of the Michigan Union where the conference is taking place. This route is highlighted in the image below in brown.

There’s another bus stop that’s about a 10-minute walk away at the Wolverine Tower. From this stop, you can catch Bus 6 with the head sign “Blake Transit Center” which will drive down Eisenhower Parkway to South Industrial then to State Street, where it will also drive by the Michigan Union. The route is highlighted below in purple.

Taxi Services in Ann Arbor

Exploring Ann Arbor

The conference will be hosted at the Michigan Union, which is located in the heart of Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan campus. Conference attendees will have easy access to a bustling and exciting downtown area with many interesting and fun things to do. Catch an indie film at the breathtaking and historic Michigan Theater, walk across the Diag for a quintessential University of Michigan experience, grab an award-winning cocktail at The Last Word, stock up on pecan blondies at the infamous Zingerman’s Deli, visit Nichols Arboretum to frolick with woodland creatures, or stop by The M Den for official U-M gear.

For more information about Ann Arbor and things to do in the area, check out the Visit Ann Arbor page. We've also compiled some favorite restaurants, bars, and coffee shops below.

$ = Under $10

$$ = $11-30

$$$ = $31-60

Dining Near the Sheraton

Local restaurants and chains have links to their websites below. (Most chains have gluten-free options.)

Restaurants very close to the hotel

Ask at the front desk for a pointer in the right direction.

  • Buffalo Wild Wings ($) - Sports-bar chain serving American food
  • Burger King ($) - Fast food
  • Seoul Garden Restaurant ($$) - Korean & Japanese food, plus sushi (Sunday open until 10:00pm)
  • Wendy's ($) - Fast food

Restaurants (10 to 15 minutes walking distance, or less)

These are all just on the opposite (West) side of State Street. Some are just north of the State Street intersection with Eisenhower Pkwy., so are closer to 15 minutes away.

  • Cottage Inn Pizza ($) - Local pizza chain also serving subs, wings, and salads (plus gluten-free options), with some seating plus takeout & delivery (Sunday open until midnight; North of Eisenhower Pkwy.)
  • Los Amigos ($$) - Local Mexican chain (Sunday open until 10:00pm)
  • Mediterrano ($$+) - Diverse Mediterranean food (plus gluten-free options) (Sunday open until 9:00pm; North of Eisenhower Pkwy.)
  • Olive Garden ($$) - Italian chain restaurant (North of Eisenhower Pkwy.)
  • Red Robin ($$) - Specialty burgers and shakes chain
  • Romano's Macaroni Grill ($$) - Casual Italian chain restaurant

Briarwood Mall Chain Restaurants & Fast Food

The Mall is about a 15- to 20-minute walk from the hotel. The Mall offers the usual suspects serving cinnamon rolls, smoothies, pretzels, etc., plus several easy-to-find chain restaurants around the perimeter. Just Google "Briarwood Restaurants" to see where they are..

  • Bravo Cucina Italiana ($$+) - Upscale casual Italian
  • California Pizza Kitchen ($$) - Pizza and pasta
  • Chipotle Mexican Grill ($) - Italian
  • Olga's Kitchen ($$) - American (inside the mall)
  • Panda Express ($) - Chinese
  • P.F. Chang's ($$+) - Upscale Chinese
  • Which Wich Superior Sandwiches ($) - Sandwiches (inside the mall)

Dining Downtown


  • Afternoon Delight ($$) - homemade style breakfast and lunch 

  • Avalon Cafe & Kitchen ($$) - Detroit-based bakery serving delicious fresh foods

  • Aventura ($$) - Spanish Tapas, cocktails, wines, & beer

  • Blue Nile ($$) - Ethiopian cuisine

  • Earthen Jar ($) - vegetarian/vegan Indian buffet

  • Frita Batidos ($$) - Cuban street food, tropical cocktails

  • Grange Kitchen & Bar ($$$) - local, sustainable upscale American, cocktails, wines, & beer

  • Isalita ($$) - inspired Mexican, cocktails, beer, wine

  • Jerusalem Garden ($$) - Middle Eastern cuisine

  • The Lunch Room ($$) - inspired vegan, cocktails, beer, wine

  • Mani Osteria & Bar ($$) - wood-oven pizza & Italian small plates, cocktails, wines, & beer

  • Miss Kim ($$) - Korean food with a modern twist, part of the Zingerman’s Community of Businesses

  • New York Pizza Depot (NYPD) ($) - NY style pizzas, pizza by the slice

  • Spencer ($$) - seasonal locavore fare served as small plates, curated wine and beer

  • Taste Kitchen ($$) - blend of French and New American with a Vietnamese influence, beer, wine, cocktails

  • Zingerman's Delicatessen ($$) - deli that offers generous deli sandwiches and a longtime market with specialty groceries (we are hosting our casual Wednesday evening gathering here)

Coffee Shops

Bars and Pubs

  • Ann Arbor Distilling Company ($$) - local distillery specializing in gin and vodka

  • Ashley’s ($$) - Irish pub, food, massive beer and scotch list

  • Bar at 327 Braun Court ($$) - townie hangout offering craft cocktails and snacks (near Zingerman’s)

  • The Beer Grotto ($$) - many taps and bottled beers to choose from

  • Bill’s Beer Garden ($) - beer garden located in the parking lot of Downtown Home & Garden after hours (cross through Downtown Home & Garden to grab a snack from Mark’s Carts!)

  • Haymaker Public House ($$) - beer, cocktails, and inventive bar food

  • Hopcat ($$) - inventive bar food, massive beer list

  • Jolly Pumpkin ($$) - brewery that offers pub food and specializes in sour beers, but also serves cocktails, wine, and beer from North Peak Brewing Company

  • The Last Word ($$) - speakeasy style bar (unmarked from outside) offering craft cocktails and snacks

  • Old Town Tavern ($$) - a townie bar

  • The Raven's Club ($$) - speakeasy style bar offering small plates and old-fashioned cocktails

  • Red Hawk Bar & Grill ($$) - casual pub food, beer, wine, cocktails

Exploring Downtown After the Conference Ends

If you'd like to see what downtown (and a bit of campus) is like after the conference (before Zingerman's Deli dinner at 5:30pm), we are close to some of the main areas of interest. 

Here's an easy walking tour that will get you to Zingerman's Deli while seeing some Ann Arbor sights:

See a bit of the University of Michigan.

  • Just north of the Union, there's a plaza where you can see the "cube" (on our website header photo) that you can spin.
  • If you cross State Street, you have two classic sights:
    • Go between the Art Museum (where we had our Tuesday reception) and the next building north, you'll run into the graduate library. Just north of the library is the plaza that's the heart of the "Diag." 
    • Go south of the Art Museum, and visit the Law Quad, famous for its Gothic architecture and beautiful library.
  • From the Diag plaza, wander northwest diagonally (on the Diag) toward State Street until you get to the corner of North University and State St.

Walk north up State Street (left out of the front entrance of the Michigan Union if you skip the brief campus visit).

  • Keep going north on State Street and you'll pass the M-Den on the right side. This is where you can buy University of Michigan merchandise if someone demands it at home.
  • When you get to Liberty (which forms a T with State St) and the State Movie Theater, turn left (west).

Walk west on Liberty Street.

  • On the left, you'll pass David's Books, an excellent used book store.
  • On the right, you'll see the Michigan Theatre, an historic theater that shows independent films, musical performances, and special events. If you like that kind of thing, you might be able to peek inside.
  • A few blocks further, and after you pass 4th, you'll see Robot Supply & Repair, which is actually a "front" for 826 Michigan, which encourages school-aged kids to write confidently. It sells fun wind-up toys and other robot-themed stuff.
  • Next is Kilwin's Chocolates & Ice Cream, a Michigan chain that sells tasty sweets.
  • When you get to Main Street, turn left (south)

Walk south on Main Street.

  • Main Street has been characterized by local businesses and small chains, so it is very different from the mall experience.
  • Wander south and you'll pass some interesting shops. Turn around when you get to William St (the end of the block).
  • Return north on Main (you can cross Main and see a few shops, but it is mostly restaurants).
  • Take a 1-block detour (if you like) and see the Ann Arbor Art Center.
  • On the east (right) side, just north of Liberty is the Cherry Republic, which features all things cherry and Michigan. 
  • Just a bit further, and you'll pass Vault of Midnight, a fantastic store for "comic books & stuff."
  • Eventually, you'll get to Ann Street. Turn right (east) and walk one block to 4th, where you'll turn left (north again).

Walk north on 4th Ave.

  • More Ann Arbor local shops are along 4th. Continue past Catherine Street, and you'll see the Ann Arbor Farmer's Market on your right. It might have a few vendors closing up from their Wednesday market (ends at 3pm).
  • Just north of the Farmer's Market is the Kerrytown Market & Shops, a good place to browse if the weather is not nice. There are several floors of interesting shops (including a toy store called Mudpuddles, in case you have a kiddo back home expecting a surprise) in what used to be a factory.
  • On the other side of Kerrytown Market is 5th Ave., and Detroit Street angles off of 5th at the mid-block point (where Kerrytown and the Farmer's Market meet). Go up Detroit St. and you'll land at Zingerman's Deli!
Questions? Please feel free to email us at help@sciencegateways.org