Here are four hacks Ann Arbor Art Fair insiders swear by

By Meredith Bruckner - Community News Producer

A group poses for a photo at the 59th Ann Arbor Art Fair on July 19, 2018. (Photo: Meredith Bruckner)

ANN ARBOR - The Ann Arbor Art Fair is a massive event that spans four days and 30 blocks in the downtown area.

With over 1,000 artists to see, and restaurants and shops to stop in along the way in the heat of summer, Art Fair can be ... a lot. Luckily, we caught up with some of the event's directors, who shared their best tips for doing Art Fair the right way.

Don't try and do it all in one day.

There is so much to see -- and so much excitement over potential finds -- that it can be tempting to see it all in one day. Don't. If you get halfway through the fair, you'll see what I mean. It's crowded, it's hot and it can seem neverending.

Credit: State Street Art Fair

Credit: State Street Art Fair

Experts suggest splitting it into two days and, if possible, mapping out your route ahead of time so you'll be sure not to miss anything (if you're someone who likes to see everything). If you want to get the first pick of artwork, go in the morning first thing when it opens. If you'd prefer to avoid the crowds, evenings are your best bet.

Here's a map of this year's event.


Wear comfortable shoes and be prepared for inclement weather.

Organizers say it's either really hot or pouring rain -- there's no middle ground during Art Fair! That's just mid-July in Michigan, and anyone who knows Michigan knows that the weather here is unpredictable. Just when you think you've got it figured out, it changes again.

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If rain is in the forecast, bring a compact umbrella or packable poncho that doesn't take up much room and is easy to carry. If you get caught in a downpour, you'll be thankful you came prepared. 

Visitors stroll through the rain at the 59th Ann Arbor Art Fair on July 20, 2018. (Photo: Meredith Bruckner)

Wearing good walking shoes is also a must. Your feet will thank you after you've spent hours walking and standing on pavement. Layer on sunscreen and bring a hat and/or sunglasses. Staying hydrated is also a big part of staying comfortable and maintaining energy.

Take a break to rest and refuel.

With so much to see and do, it can be tempting to try and see it all without any breaks. However, you'd be surprised how much getting lunch at one of Ann Arbor's award-winning eateries can make a difference -- besides delighting your tastebuds. Enjoying a meal in air conditioning can be the boost that you need.

Diners enjoy a meal at Gratzi on Main Street. (Photo: Destination Ann Arbor)

Make it a night out.

Whether you're looking for a new date night idea or want to have a nice evening with family or friends, seeing Art Fair in the evening is a great option. First of all, it will be cooler and -- generally -- less crowded. Second, having a nice dinner at a downtown restaurant and strolling by the booths, grabbing a drink at the beer tent and enjoying the live music stages is a nice way to enjoy the fair at a slower pace.

The fair closes at 9 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and at 6 p.m. on Sunday.

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