Let’s face it-you can only go on so many dinner and movie dates before you want to do something new with your sweetheart. Thankfully, Ann Arbor offers many date alternatives to the same old routine. From highbrow theater to goofy sports, Ann Arbor’s got it all and it’s time you and your date checked it out.
After all that eating and sitting in the dark together, you and your date should appreciate a romp outside. The Arboretum is a vast green space owned, preserved, and cultivated by the University of Michigan. Hiking trails take you through steep hills or over a prairie grassland planted by graduate students. Scenic spots by the Huron River and open areas of the park make excellent picnic locations. Take your dog, take a kite, or take a Frisbee if you and your date are feeling playful. Occasionally, theater students perform Shakespeare in one of the expansive clearings.
The Arboretum is the most beautiful place in Ann Arbor, and you and your date can literally spend hours there. The best part is that it’s all free. The main entrance to the Arboretum is located at 1610 Washington Heights.
Pinball Pete’s is an arcade with a little bit of everything, located in the heart of downtown Ann Arbor at 1214 South University. A date at this popular place might inspire flirtatious competition with it’s pool and air hockey tables, or riotous competition on the old fashioned Atari arcade boxes or sit-down driving games. You can also blow stuff up and shoot at people together, which always makes for a quality bonding experience.
The Improv Inferno is Ann Arbor’s newest and coolest comedy club. They typically run several shows a night, from improv tournaments to troupe showcases. The Improv Inferno also features several audience participation games, so it’s worth checking their schedule online to pick the show you want to see. Cover is either five or ten dollars, and the club has a full bar and attentive wait staff. A word to the wise-the material usually gets pretty crude and sexual, so don’t bring a date who gets easily offended. Find them in downtown Ann Arbor at 309 South Main Street.
The Performance Network
The Performance Network is Ann Arbor’s professional theater company, and their shows always get great reviews. They perform everything from the classics to contemporary comedies, so check their schedule to find something you want to see. Ticket prices are pretty high, usually about $25 each. They do offer student and senior discounts, but if tickets are still outside your budget, they offer first-come, first-serve dress rehearsal seats on the night before a play debuts for donations. The dress rehearsals might as well be opening nights, because the quality of the performance is always phenomenal. The Performance Network is located at120 East Huron Street.
The Mosh Pit Theater uses the venue when the Performance Network isn’t playing, so they might be worth a look as well. Shows start late (usually around 11:00 p.m.), but ticket prices are only $10. They show much more experimental pieces, and fans of non-traditional theater should love their avant-garde performances.
Disc Golf at Brown Park
Although college kids and hippies consider disc golf a serious sport, you’re really just taking turns throwing a Frisbee. Real disc golf players use specially made discs for different “shots” (putter discs, driver discs, etc.) like in golf, but you can just use any old Frisbee. The disc golf course at Brown Park has 18 “holes,” which are really chain-link buckets on metal poles. Whether you take disc golf seriously or not, Brown Park is a great place to toss the old Frisbee around and get some fresh air. When disc golf gets boring, the park also has nature trails that go through natural marshland. The first hole of the disc golf course is at the end of Birch Hollow Drive (off Stone School Road). Be advised, though, the disc golf course at Brown Park will be under construction and may be closed from May 1, through July 2007.