Ann Arbor, Michigan, is one of those destinations that truly has something for everyone.
With golfing, hiking, shopping, food, arts and culture and sports, you can easily spend a week in this picturesque and vibrant city and never get bored.
Home to the University of Michigan and the famous Michigan Stadium - the largest stadium in the United States - and the Wolverines, Ann Arbor has the amenities of a big city, but is loaded with small-town charm, friendly people and world-class attractions.
There are nature areas just outside your doorstep, so you can choose what kind of experience you want to have.
I experienced a bit of everything during my recent visit of Ann Arbor, and I enjoyed spending as much time outside as in, seeing and experiencing this visitor-friendly city.
The weather in the spring and summer is gorgeous in Ann Arbor, so I began my journey visiting the Argo Park canoe livery, just a short drive from downtown. Here I enjoyed a kayaking trip down the Huron River. The scenic views in the middle of the urban landscape are gorgeous and it made me think how ideal it would be to live in this park within a city.
Another outdoor spot I enjoyed was the Nichols Arboretum, a giant park that hosts all kinds of events throughout the year.
I was fortunate enough to see a theatre production that moved throughout the park. While it was a bit tedious to move my chair every 20 minutes, it was unlike any outdoor production I'd seen and there was no better backdrop than the natural landscape of this beautiful park.
As I do in all cities I visit, I had to see what the local museum had to offer.
If you enjoy world-class art of all genres, make sure you check out one of Ann Arbor's biggest cultural landmarks - the University of Michigan Museum of Art, or UMMA.
This impressive museum boasts permanent collections comprising more than 18,000 works of art and hosts exhibitions from all over the world. I easily spent an afternoon there and was impressed by the variety of their collections and grandeur of the building's architecture.
Ann Arbor is a great city to explore by foot and there is so much to see and do all within walking distance.
But since a girl has to eat, I thought I would check out Zingerman's Roadhouse, a place that is well-known and loved by locals.
They serve American fare, but the extensive menu is uniquely theirs and prepared using their own recipes.
Known for their barbecue selections, they also have everything from corn dogs to oysters and fancy salads to macaroni and cheese. I had a spinach and mushroom salad that was delicious and freshly prepared, and could see why they have a loyal following.
Whatever your taste, Ann Arbor boasts more than 250 places to eat so there is food to satisfy any palate. One of my personal favourites was Vinology, owned by a family who are as passionate about their wine as they are their food. They specialize in wine and food pairings, an art they have perfected over the years.
The atmosphere is casual with a sophisticated-loungy feel, and the menu is extensive and changes seasonally. From Italian to Indian and Vietnamese dishes, this place promises you a tasty meal and a large selection of wine to accompany it.
To walk off your meal, and if you enjoy shopping, downtown Ann Arbor has a variety of unique shops to peruse. I visited many boutiques, bought some cute summer gear and Wolverine paraphernalia at the Michigan University store.
If you want to venture a bit outside Ann Arbor, there are small towns nearby worth visiting.
Kerrytown is one of them, a local hot spot known for its farmers market and eclectic shops. Chefs from area restaurants shop at Kerrytown to celebrate the local farm-to-table tradition of this city.
Steps away is the indoor Kerrytown Market and Shops where you can find everything from specialty food vendors to decor shops. But make sure you take time to walk around this town as there are some great stores where you can find unique, one-of-a-kind items. One such shop is Heavenly Metal, an art gallery type place where you can find everything from artwork to apparel, jewelry and accessories, all locally made.
Chelsea is another must-visit. Filled with boutique-style shops and quaint eateries, I ended my trip with an evening of professional theatre. Since I review theatre in my other life, I had to check it out - and it was well worth it.
The Purple Rose Theatre Company put on a phenomenal show that rivalled any show I've seen. It was impressive and entertaining, and the perfect way to end my activity-filled, amazing trip to Ann Arbor.
Maria Tzavaras, a freelance writer for the past 12 years, took up travel writing a year ago. She likes learning about new people, places and cultures, which she accomplishing by visiting a far off country or someplace in her own city. Maria also does animal advocacy and rescue. If you have a suggestion for a travel story, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org