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If the thought of visiting Michigan has ever crossed your mind, now is the time to go to Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. Ann Arbor is hosting its annual pride celebration, called OutFest, on August 5-7. This is a chance to experience Ann Arbor’s small but thriving gay community and also gives you an excuse to see some of the other things this fun little city has to offer. Here are 10 things to see and do while you are there. For our complete article on this surprisingly fun and gay-friendly area as well as hundreds of other destinations around the globe, subscribe to ManAboutWorld.
1. Aut Bar is the only gay bar in Ann Arbor that is gay every night of the week, with Saturday being the best option for those looking to get their drink on. The second floor becomes the venue for their “Turn it Aut” club night.
2. Live Nightclub hosts Candy Bar on Thursday nights, where the mostly college age crowd is welcomed by DJ Selina Style and her wife Luna, who dubs herself the unofficial hostess of the party. The first Thursday of every month is Drag Wars, an amateur drag contest hosted by drag queen Deja Dellataro.
3. Necto Nightclub hosts its Pride Night every Friday night, and is by far the biggest gay dance party for miles around. Set in a huge warehouse-like venue, there are several levels and various rooms to explore and dance, with many different types of music available for all tastes. There is even an outdoor patio to hang out during the great Michigan summers.
4. Common Language Bookstore is one of the last dedicated LGBT bookstores left in the United States, and is located adjacent to the Aut Bar in the “Queer Quad.” Two floors of all types of gay literature from fiction to family friendly can be found here.
5. The Ypsi Water Tower is a must-see for visitors to Ypsilanti, if only for the photo op. Named winner of the title of the World’s Most Phallic Building in 2003 by Cabinet Magazine, there is no way to resist a picture next to what was built in 1890 as a water tower but has now become Ypsi’s most notable structure and the town’s reluctant claim to fame.
6. The Fleetwood Diner is the best place to begin (or end) the day, as this hip little place is open 24 hours and a stone’s throw away from the gay nightlife in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. Breakfast is available around the clock, but we would be remiss if we didn’t recommend the Hippie Hash, the diner’s own version of hash browns topped with vegetables and feta cheese.
7. Zingerman’s Delicatessen is another staple in Ann Arbor that is a must for visitors. Famously featured in the movie The Five Year Engagement, this is a great place to stop in for a hot sandwich or a big hunk of artisan cheese. Zingerman’s is a name that is common in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, with other places like Zingerman’s Roadhouse also worth a visit while touring the city.
8. Kaleidoscope Books and Collectibles is more than just a shop—it’s an experience. Packed floor to ceiling with old and rare books, sheet music, games and hundreds of other things you didn’t even know you wanted, it’s easy to get lost in (or buried under) all of the items in this store. Don’t leave here without checking out the basement, but…don’t go in alone.
9. The Rocket, located in Ypsilanti is a fun and quirky shop that specializes in candy and collectibles, with everything from Hillary Clinton action figures to Batman lunchboxes. One of several gay-owned businesses in the area, you will be hard-pressed to find another shop that has more charm or character.
10. A2 Vintage is located right up the street from The Rocket in Ypsi, and is owned by a friendly lesbian couple—Kelly and Anne Callison—who have a self-professed love of “upcycling,” or rescuing old and vintage items and repurposing them. It is definitely worth a stop in here for a look around, as well as a chat with the owners.
Michael Verdirame, Man About World | August 2, 2016
A native New Yorker, Michael Verdirame has been fortunate to grow up in the best city in the world for a lover of travel — a place where you can meet people from all over the world before getting on a plane to meet people from all over the world. He attended the University of Miami where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in both Communications and Theatre. It was while in college that he studied abroad in London, where his love of travel was born and his life was forever changed. He has since traveled to every continent (except Antarctica — one day!), and recently earned a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies from the CUNY Graduate Center.
Michael feeds his travel addiction by working as a flight attendant for a major airline, clocking in over 1,000 hours on over 300 flights every year. During his free time he loves to read (about travel — what else?) and spend time with his three adorable nieces.