7 places in Ann Arbor where you actually get some work done

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ANN ARBOR – If you’re like me (and anyone else juggling their "gigs"), part of your time is spent remotely hustling whatever talent you have. For some it’s writing, graphic design, web design, remote sales, etc. Regardless of what you do, you probably do it through your laptop and you’re usually stuck at home. Most Wi-Fi-friendly cafes are full of people squawking on their phones or loudly conversing with friends about this and that. None of this is conducive to your productivity level.   

To get you out and about in our fabulous city, here are seven great places to work remotely without too many noisy distractions. 


Although Shinola is a beautifully designed store with lovely products, go downstairs! I repeat, go downstairs!  There is also beauty in the dimly lit basement which doubles as a cafe. The dark concrete and exposed brick walls, the almost complete silence (other than the hiss of the espresso machine, milk steamer and muzak) and the comfy seating make the basement of Shinola one of the best places to sit and focus. Hours can be spent drinking your beverage of choice, munching on pastries and actually getting some work done.

Songbird - West Side

Known for its really good food and mouth-watering pastries, both of the Songbird locations are typically good places to sit and work. That being said, go to the Jackson Road branch for times when you really need to get something done. The significantly smaller sibling to the Plymouth Mall branch, Songbird - West Side is typically full of people diligently working on their laptops or quietly discussing their school or work projects. 

RoosRoast - Rosewood

Treat yourself to some Lobster Butter Love coffee while stopping at the Rosewood Street RoosRoast. Deeply loved by Ann Arborites since its conception, this cafe is more than just a place to get your caffeine fix. The mix-matched seating and tables, as well as the funky decor, create a lively (but not too noisy) place to put down roots for an afternoon.  

Read: A chat with RoosRoast's John Roos

Crazy Wisdom tea room

Even though Crazy Wisdom has a super busy events schedule from book discussions to live music to drop-in tarot or psychic readings, the upstairs tea room does have its quieter times.  The occasional whir of the espresso machine or the splash of pouring tea breaks the sounds of laptop keys furiously clicking as tea-drinkers study, write and read. Sit along the wall or near the front window for a look over South Main Street while you work.


Most notably known for its awesome typewriter and author events, Literati also has a cute cafe above of the bookstore. So instead of going downstairs to look at all the books in the basement, head upstairs to the cafe area. A small espresso bar with selected pastries leads the way into an open room with tables lining the walls with big windows. Seating is limited and quickly filled but during the day one can find a good place work in the natural light that streams in through the windows. 

Mighty Good - Arbor Hills

Now, while all the Mighty Good locations are mighty good, many are preferential to the Arbor Hills location. A large bar wraps around a command center of espresso-pulling and coffee-pouring baristas. A generally quiet place, Mighty Good Arbor Hills offers delicious espresso and coffee based drinks as well as seating for two, four, and beyond. There is also an outdoor patio with seating for when you want to work outside, but also be connected to Wi-Fi.

Ann Arbor District Library

Everyone loves the library. It’s a fact. But did you know that on top of providing public Wi-Fi, each library branch has first-come-first-served study cubicles as well as rooms that can be reserved? The Pittsfield branch, Traverwood branch, and the third floor of the downtown branch are usually quiet and great places to get your productivity levels up. If you (like me) love a caffeine boost as you work, go to the Westgate branch, which houses a Sweetwaters Coffee & Tea and plenty of tables.