University Health Service

You might want to do some exploring this winter. Getting out can provide novelty and help reduce “cabin fever.”

Admittedly, exploration this winter is a bit harder than usual due to COVID, but you can still do it while wearing masks and social distancing.

Worried you'll be miserable if you go out? According to How to Retain Your Heat and Stay Upbeat While Socializing in Winter, you could adopt the Friluftsliv mentalitywhich means "free, outdoor life" in Norwegian, where they apparently say, "There is no such thing as bad weather. It's only if you have bad clothes."  So bundle up and also learn how to prevent and respond to frostbite and hypothermia -- see Tips for Low Temps.


Walking has lots of benefits including:

Outdoor walks on or near campus and FREE! 

  • Central Campus walking tour and video -- there’s always more to discover on campus
  • U-M Nichols Arboretum (AKA the Arb):
  • U-M Matthaei Botanical Gardens offers lots of trails to explore. It's located about 6 miles from central campus. Buses do not travel to the U-M Botanical Gardens at this time. The Conservatory building is not open now. 
  • Fairy Doors - Kids in particular will enjoy discovering the homes of these tiny legendary creatures, mostly located downtown.
  • Self-guided architectural tour with accompanying audio tour highlights interesting structures in Ann Arbor, mostly located downtown. 

Outdoor walks in Ann Arbor city parks near campus - There is no cost for walking in these parks.

You may want to drive by car or travel by U-M Blue Bus or Ann Arbor city busIf you are planning a bus trip, please be sure to consider the weather and holiday schedule changes. For the most current information:  

Ann Arbor city park walks:

Driving trips

In Washtenaw County, MI: 

Belleville, MI is located about 20 minutes east of Ann Arbor by car. 

  • Visit the Yankee Air Museum to learn about the Willow Run Bomber Plant, which Henry Ford built from an auto manufacturing plant. At the time it was the world’s largest aircraft plant. The museum is open Saturdays and Sundays. Purchase tickets in advance. You can watch a video about this important location in Michigan’s history. Detroit is located about an hour east by car. This city with a rich history is experiencing a renaissance. 

Detroit, MI is located about an hour east of Ann Arbor by car.

Bloomfield Hills, MI is about 45 minutes northeast of Ann Arbor by car:

Dearborn, MI is located about 45 minutes east of Ann Arbor by car. It’s the hometown of Henry Ford, who was a formidable inventor and industrialist who built the Ford automobile company and much more. The city also has the largest proportion of Arab Americans in the US. Learn Why You Should Visit Dearborn.

Toledo, Ohio is about an hour south of Ann Arbor by car.  

  • The Toledo Institute of Art including the Glass Pavillion, which traces the history of glass and displays pieces from antiquity through current famous glass artists. The museum will reopen on Wed, Dec 16, and admission is free. 

Muskegon, MI is located about 2.5 hours west of Ann Arbor by car, on Lake Michigan. 

Throughout Michigan, State Parks offer winter activities. Pinckney State Park and Lake Island State Park in Brighton are both within 30-40 minutes from campus by car. State parks charge entry fees, although sometimes not in winter.


University Musical Society (UMS) virtual performances are free.

Detroit Experience Factory offers free virtual tours (register in advance):

  • Jan 10: A brief history of urban planning in Detroit
  • Jan 16: Detroit in Context: Assets, History and Challenges

Famous museums are offering virutal tours, including museums in Europe, Brazil, Mexico City, and the US. You can get a "private tour" and see priceless artwork, without the crowds! 

This Getting to Know Ann Arbor video by Rackham Graduate School can help you discover that there’s a lot more to this place than you may know. Not everything mentioned in this video is available, but they should be available not if but WHEN the pandemic comes to an end. 

See also Winter Survival Tips.

Happy exploring!