Four and a half hours northeast of Chicago lies a little college town called Ann Arbor. Spilling with sex-hungry coeds, coffee haunts, mom-and-pop shops, and good food, it’s perfect for a weekend getaway. All you need is cruise control and a playlist.
“Mouthful of Diamonds,” by Phantogram
Zingerman’s is a household name. But you ain’t seen nothin’ until you’ve been to the brick-and-mortar deli. (Cue “Deli,” by Delorean.) Sandwich slingers slap together fresh, farm-raised combos like corned beef hash with homemade spicy ketchup, hot brisket and turkey on challah, and rosemary-crusted ham with house-made mozzarella. For dinner, mosey over to Eve, a Kerrytown favorite.
“Le Chat du Cafe des Artistes,” by Charlotte Gainsbourg
Chef Eve Aronoff is heavy into slow, seasonal food with a French twist. For another farm-to-table meal, hit up Grange Kitchen & Bar, where Brandon Johns cooks exquisite, spot-on dishes using local ingredients. (The cocktail list is a knockout, too.) Cafe Zola’s brunch includes authentic Brittany-style crepes both savory (tomato, basil, mozzarella) and sweet (cinnamon-scented cheese, cherry preserves) (Cue “Wide Eyes,” by Local Natives.)
“Cold War,” by The Morning Benders
Michigan is a brewing state. Tour and taste gut-busting taps like Espresso Love Breakfast Stout and Crye Baby Rye at Arbor Brewing Company. Stay for lunch: It serves made-from-scratch fare like IPA-marinated chicken and beer-battered cod sammies. Next head to Grizzly Peak, another of Ann Arbor’s ale producers. Watch the process street side, then head in to taste staples like Bear Paw Porter and Steelhead Red. Complete your drunken day at the Jolly Pumpkin, where you’ll taste the award-winning Oro de Calabaza and Bam Bière. (Cue “Serve Them Well,” by Swimming in Speakers.) Sit down for dinner at the adjoining cafe for a locally sourced meal.
“Brand New Shoes,” by She & Him
The best part about road trips? Everything is a carry-on. Stock up on LNA tees, Genetic Denim, Elizabeth and James, and more at YCI Clothing. Then pop over to Poshh for Madison Marcus, Gemma, Joe’s and James Jeans, and Alice + Olivia. Found is a veritable vintage haven, chockful of curios like handmade wool sheep, vintage mah-jongg game pieces, and typewriter-key earrings. (Cue “Rich Girl,” by The Bird and the Bee.)
“If You Can’t Sleep,” by She & Him
Where to rest your laurels: For Euro country charm, stay at the Bell Tower Hotel. Located steps from the University of Michigan campus and in walking distance of almost everything, it’s quaint and elegant. For kitsch, try the Burnt Toast Inn. Set in a 95-year-old house, it offers charming rooms, personal service, and excellent neighborhood recs. The Attic Suite occupies an entire floor — and comes with yoga mats to boot. The best part: Rooms start at $100. Keep it campy at Ann Arbor Bed & Breakfast. The nine-room inn offers a hearty breakfast (Zingerman’s breads included), themed spaces (Ocean View has a hot tub), and is steps away from the center of town.
Now drive “Home Again,” by Beach House.
Need more motivation to hit the road? We have thirteen reasons to trip it to St. Louis.
Photos: Andrew Ciscel / Flickr; Getty Images; Getty Images