Bored in Ann Arbor: *How* does one find new things to do?
February 20, 2012 10:53 PM   Subscribe

Bored in Ann Arbor: *How* does one find new things to do?

So, I'm a medical student who lives in Ann Arbor ... and I'm bored. Like, super seriously ridiculously majorly bored. All I do is go to school/work, stay there for hours on end doing whatever they want me to do, and then get home anywhere between 6 and 9 and try to push myself to study, but usually end up failing. Sometimes, I say "fuck it" and play video games for hours on end, making my next day at work that much more miserable.

This isn't to say I don't like my work. I just ... need some additional stuff outside of med school to look forward to in life. I need stimulation outside of med school. I feel like if I had something interesting that I knew I'd be doing later this week or so, something to focus on and say to myself "Cool, I'll be doing X on Friday, nice", I wouldn't waste so much time on a day-to-day basis doing random, stupid shit.

But ... I don't know *how* to find things to do. I mean, this is Ann Arbor. There are supposed to be comedy clubs and music venues and museums and God knows what else to see and do here. I just don't know how people find things to do when they haven't grown up in the city that they're in. There has to be a website or something that lists this stuff?

So, HiveMind, this becomes a 2-part question:

1) What sources (websites especially) can I use to find events that are happening in Ann Arbor or surrounding cities, like Detroit (music, comedy shows, exhibitions, anything), but also museums/other locations that I might be interested in? Are there are specific websites that are good for each one of these things, or is there one website that consolidates a bunch of this information?

2) What *process* do you use in order to find said websites? I ask because if/when I move to a new city, I'd like to be able to find things to do without relying on MeFi (although I love you all).
posted by 254blocks to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (16 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I've gotten to see a few favorite bands by having Eventful notify me they're in the area. Do you think you'd be going to these things alone? Because one way to really make this happen would be to acquire a reputation among friends as someone who is always suggesting and/or game for interesting scheduled events. It wouldn't be long before they'd basically find things for you.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 11:14 PM on February 20, 2012

Doesn't the local newspaper have a weekend section listing events and things to do every week? Isn't there a free alternative weekly listing events and things to do every week? Do them.
posted by caclwmr4 at 11:15 PM on February 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

Check out the Events Calendar from the Ann Arbor Observer.

Another thing to consider is joining some kind of club focused on an activity you like--hiking, cycling, bowling, tennis, birdwatching, whatever--that has regular meetings or outings.
posted by brianogilvie at 1:05 AM on February 21, 2012 [2 favorites]

For a town that's as dominated by its university as AA is, one good source is the university events calendar. It'll list the shows at the various campus museums, lectures and, to name something I enjoyed when I was at UM, performances by the university symphony/orchestra/choir. As calcwmr4 suggested, local alt weeklies are often a good starting place to look for things, but Ann Arbor doesn't really do that well. The best SE Michigan thing might be the Detroit Metro Times, but don't expect it to work well locally. For music, I found that the best approach in AA was just to figure out the venues I was interested in (in my day, the Blind Pig, the Crofoot Ballroom/Pike Room in Pontiac, every once in a while the Ark, and the Elbow Room in Ypsi, but I know the last one is no longer there) and check their website calendars every so often. I found the venues in the first place by looking at sites like eventful or when trying to see particular bands I wanted to see.

The nice thing is that once you start making inroads on things you enjoy, they tend to help you find out about other, similar things. Look at ads, talk to people. Have fun!
posted by Schismatic at 1:38 AM on February 21, 2012

A lot of great musicians play the Ark

EMU sometimes has some neat stuff happening, often off the radar for AA folks.

If you're an outdoor/nature type, the Metroparks have regular events.

I agree that the Observer has a lot of info and is worth checking on a regular basis.

Ann Arbor Convention Bureau has an event calendar.

If you're wandering outside of the AA/Ypsi area, has an event calendar

List of things you're probably already aware of: Farmer's Market, Summer Art Fairs, stupid college sports stuff, canoeing the Huron River, Hell (near Pinckney), Pinckney Recreation Area, Huron River Chain of Lakes (also near Pinckney).

Have fun!
posted by HuronBob at 3:14 AM on February 21, 2012 [2 favorites]

Dude - you don't need more internet or websites or black holes to put your time in.

You need friends. Maybe you are sick of medical school folks or you have enough of those friends. But there are lots of other people in Ann Arbor just waiting for you. But how to find such friends?

Well you have lots of access to people from from the area (you go to a state university, surely 75% of the students at the university have some Michigan connection). And some will want to take you awesome places or do things with you that they may already know about or want to try out because you both indicated some interested. To meet these new fun people try looking at Michigan's intramural sports and games or volunteering or just get out and sit in a cafe or bar (someone will start talking to you). My point is it is hard for new friends to find you or even "find new things in Ann Arbor" by staying in your apartment.

But to answer question 1: websites: Current, Ann Arbor Observer as suggested by brianogilvie, Ann (what is left of the newspaper), and don't knock metafilter.

And to answer questions 2: using a computer ... a search engine is an easy start (google, yahoo, etc) and ask it whatever you want: pub quizzes in Ann Arbor, pig roasts in Ann Arbor, party with country music dancing in Ann Arbor, painting in Ann Arbor, psychics in Ann Arbor, etc. To use your get out and go skills, there are free papers in book stores and cafes, bulletin boards in supermarkets and on campus, and there is the university and city tourist office if you are so inclined.

Here is to better week nights and weekends.
posted by mutt.cyberspace at 5:10 AM on February 21, 2012 [2 favorites]

Guess it depends on your particular brand of boredom. Maybe some community ed stuff? WCC has a lot in their Lifelong Learning section. The libraries offer a lot of events, too - Ypsi has a book group called Books @ the Brewery, and AADL is forever winning awards for their programming. Might not be your first thought, but again, depends on what kind of bored you are.

Most of the professionals I know spend equal time in Detroit/Royal Oak/Ferndale etc. going to events - as previously mentioned, the Metro Times is your guide there.

The A2 Film Festival is coming up.

107one keeps an event calendar


You might appreciate Damn Arbor.
posted by hms71 at 6:10 AM on February 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you're into jazz and blues wemu has a calendar. There's a weekly celtic music session at Conor O'Neil's along with other music and activities.

Like to be active? Play indoor soccer at WideWorld Sports Center UM has a climbing wall at the central campus rec center and all sorts of organized and individual activities ranging from weight rooms to rugby.

If you're into politics and are a democrat look at the Ann Arbor Democrats.

Check out the Elks for live music and food. Breakfast at SELMA on Friday mornings is great fun.

We haven't had a meet-up in a few months since Jessamyn was in town - maybe it's time for another....
posted by leslies at 6:33 AM on February 21, 2012

nthing the Ann Arbor Observer. Free if you're a permanent resident, cheap otherwise. Also online. See also their annual City Guide. Also nthing Current.
posted by bentley at 6:37 AM on February 21, 2012 lists many events happening in and around Ann Arbor, many of which are free.
posted by Vorteks at 7:02 AM on February 21, 2012

In addition to one-off events that are fun, there are a things that happen on a regular basis: first of all if you can't join a team, just go to a Kickball game. The Vault of Midnight has board game nights which are super fun. Arbor Vitae is co-op apartment that some times has super awesome shows, it's above Wazoo Records. (To find out what's going on there you'll need to do some Facebook sleuthing.) If you're looking for a dance party head over to The Bang. A great annual music festival is Mitten Fest. If you want something close to home head over to Conor O'Neill's and play some pub trivia (Just ask to join a team!) Also, get out of Ann Arbor! Go to Detroit! If you don't have a car take the bus to Ypsilanti! And go outside! Michigan is beautiful and the famous Pickerel Lake is right nearby.
posted by FatRabbit at 7:24 AM on February 21, 2012

When I was bored, living in A2, I spent a LOT of time (and quarters) at Pinball Pete's. Oh, you want to get out of town for a bit? An hour's drive to Farmington Hills will get you to the even more frenetic Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum! The entrance is a bit hard to find, but there's an archway with the name of the place, just pass under that and it will be off to your right. It's in sort of a strip mall area. Have fun!
posted by kuppajava at 8:34 AM on February 21, 2012

Where I live, I've found Twitter to be excellent for following what's going on. In my case, following @WeLoveBath means I always have suggestions about what to do and what's nice. I didn't find anywhere similar with a brief search on Ann Arbor in Twitter, but there might be someone who's doing a similar thing.
posted by ambrosen at 10:08 AM on February 21, 2012

Hey, I'm you. No really, I am. I'm also in Ann Arbor, and I'm also often bored.

Solutions for me? Board game meetup groups (there's one in Ypsi every Wednesday, and the Ann Arbor Gaming group meets twice a month). The rock climbing gym nearby (Planet Rock) is decent. And their are campus groups for tons of different hobbies-- depending on the hobby they might involve older community members and not just undergrads.

But it's a work in progress; basically every time I move to a new place it takes 6-12 months for me to find a few groups I like and branch out from there. Having a stable of hobbies that are at least a little community oriented can help, but each new place will have a different idea of how to do any given hobby, and it might not match with yours. The solution to this is to start up groups of your own. If you like basketweaving but don't like how the current group in AA does it, well, start your own, and invite anyone who might be interested.

Also it might help to live with people, or alternatively get to know your neighbors. It's much easier to socialize when you don't have to actually go anywhere to do it.

Also yeah, what about that meetup idea? it was quite a while ago when we had the last one..
posted by nat at 10:14 AM on February 21, 2012

Meet-up proposed here.
posted by leslies at 11:27 AM on February 21, 2012

My sister lives in Ann Arbor and is always going to trivia night at the bars there. Nthing the alt weeklies.
posted by getawaysticks at 7:08 PM on February 22, 2012

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