Thursday, May 12, 2011

Spring is in the air: Your best bets for outdoor dining in downtown Ann Arbor

The weather in Michigan fluctuates on a nearly hourly basis, but it seems that Spring is finally here to stay. With the warmer weather and mild temperatures comes an interest in enjoying the milder climate as long as possible.

Outdoor dining is a perfect opportunity to enjoy the weather and the vibrancy of Ann Arbor. You can meet up with friends, entertain with no clean up or just enjoy a meal that someone else prepared in a bustling, energetic or bucolic setting, depending on where you dine.

Downtown Ann Arbor has nearly exploded with outdoor dining options. On Main Street, you’ll find excellent seafood and a lively atmosphere at Real Seafood Company; enjoy traditional Irish food and beer at Connor O’Neills bustling patio. Southwest flavors at Prickly Pear Southwest Cafe and Latin foods at Sabor Latino will take you south of this cooler climate and you can enjoy them while people watching or simply taking pleasure in a mild breeze and some sunshine.

If you’re in the mood for something a little more elegant and refined, sample the Italian fare at Gratzi. Rooftop dining at Palio gives you the opportunity to eat, drink and rise above it all. The wine bar Vinology also offers an atmospheric setting for sampling a flight of wines or some small plates, and even has a dedicated Kid’s Menu so you can bring the whole family.

Zingermans and Argiero’s in Depot Town offer a slightly more removed setting than those on Main Street. On Wednesdays and Saturdays you can find yourself browsing the Farmer’s Market before sitting down and trying a variety of sandwiches and salads in a bustling picnic-like space or having delicious pasta under a covered patio.

Near Central Campus, the State Street and East Liberty area offers tons of options for dining, from upscale fun at Bar Louie to simple pleasures like Jerusalem Gardens to sandwiches at COSI. Finish off your evening by enjoying ice cream at Ben & Jerry’s and Stucchi’s. There’s no end to what you can enjoy in this lush weather in Ann Arbor.

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