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Four alcohol-free ways to have fun in Ann Arbor with friends

The intersection of S. 4th Ave and S. Washington St. Photo | Sarah M. Parlette

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – For those looking to step away from the growing craft beer and spirits scene, Ann Arbor offers various possibilities for alcohol-free fun.

While it can be hard to imagine not imbibing during dinner downtown or meeting up with friends for a bit of a boozy brunch on the weekends, here are four of our favorite ways to hang out in Ann Arbor that don’t involve a drink menu. 

Decode Ann Arbor 

4072 Packard Road

Can you help Minerva? Bring a team of friends as you try to bust out of an escape room and help (or hinder) AI Minerva to move beyond the confines of her motherboard. Designed for between three and 15 players, Decode Ann Arbor has two escape room setups for those who think they can beat the clock and escape in 60 minutes or less, as well as a scavenger hunt. 

Games are $28 per person and can be booked online. 

By the Sidewalk Food Tours

Various locations

Still want to explore the food scene in Ann Arbor but don’t want to be tempted by happy hour? Sign up for a tour with By the Sidewalk Food Tours. These walkable tours take walkers on guided food tours of the Kerrytown District and downtown Ann Arbor restaurants over the course of a few hours. 

Attendees get to try food and drink pairings from local favorites, as well as learn a bit about the growing gastronomy scene in Ann Arbor. Some of the tours may include alcohol tastings, so be sure to check with By the Sidewalk before booking your tour. Let the company know if you don't want to drink so that substitutions can be arranged. 

Tours vary in price from $45 to $55 per person. 


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University of Michigan Natural History Museum

1105 N. University Ave.

Spend a day with dinosaurs and other spooky skeletons at the Univerisity of Michigan Natural History Museum. Meet the mastodons or peep into the Fossil Prep Lab for free from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day of the week and until 8 p.m. on Thursdays. Newly renovated, the museum has many multimedia and interactive exhibits, as well as ticketed planetarium shows. Museumgoers can study specimens or look at research conducted by University of Michigan undergraduate and graduate students.

Admittance to the museum is free, but donations are welcome. Tickets to planetarium shows are $10.

The Treasure Mart

529 Detroit St.

Try a treasure hunt at The Treasure Mart. Since 1959, The Treasure Mart has been a collection of all things kitschy, knick-knacky and unique. Browse through 8,500 square feet of hand-me-downs, vintage bits and bobs, furniture and antiques. Find gag gifts or an eerie doll and get your hands on some fun dishware. (What’s one more mug?)

For a  more in-depth look at The Treasure Mart, read The Treasure Mart: Ann Arbor's resale destination since 1959

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