12 Parks in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Last Updated on February 28, 2024 by Emily Johnson

Ann Arbor, Michigan is well-known for its vibrant culture, thriving innovation, and the beautiful University of Michigan campus. But besides being a college town, Ann Arbor also offers plenty of outdoor spaces and parks for residents and visitors to enjoy. From large community parks to more intimate neighbourhood greenspaces, Ann Arbor has a wonderful variety of parks.

Park NameDescription
Nichols ArboretumA large botanical garden and arboretum with diverse plant life and trails.
Gallup ParkFeatures trails, playgrounds, and a canoe livery along the Huron River.
Buhr ParkA community park with play areas, athletic fields, and a seasonal ice rink.
West ParkOffers nature areas, trails, and space for various recreational activities.
Fuller ParkA riverside park with beaches, trails, and picnic areas.
Veterans Memorial ParkAn urban space with memorials, open lawns, and event spaces.
Allmendinger ParkIncludes athletic fields, a playground, and a picnic pavilion.
County Farm ParkFeatures trails, a recreation area, and natural habitats.
Bandemer ParkA riverfront park with trails, fishing spots, and a canoe launch.
Leslie Park Golf CourseAn 18-hole golf course with beautiful landscapes and amenities.
Marshall ParkOffers meadows, wooded trails, and a playground.
Sunset Brooks ParkA community park with recreational facilities and open spaces.

Parks provide so many benefits for communities. They give kids and families a place to play and gather. They offer access to nature and open spaces right in the urban environment. Parks provide health benefits as places for exercise, recreation, and reflection. And they add beauty through landscaping, public art, and natural features. Ann Arbor understands the importance of parks and maintains over 150 parks spanning more than 3,000 acres. The parks range from small “pocket parks” to large recreation areas over 100 acres in size. No matter which Ann Arbor neighbourhood you’re in, there’s likely a nice park nearby.

Ann Arbor’s Amazing Parks

Here is an overview of 12 fantastic parks in Ann Arbor that highlight the diversity of outdoor spaces and the abundance of natural areas accessible within the city. From botanical gardens to canoe liveries, Ann Arbor’s parks have something for everyone to enjoy.

1.Nichols Arboretum

Name and Location: Nichols Arboretum

History and Significance: Nichols Arboretum, locally known as “The Arb”, is a 123-acre arboretum operated by the University of Michigan. Founded in 1907, it contains over 850 different woody plant species and several gardens, one of the most extensive collections in the Midwest.

What to Expect: Visitors can explore diverse trees and shrubs along over 8 miles of trails, including specialty gardens like the Peony Garden, Asian Collections, and Hosta Hillside. The Huron River and Geddes Pond also offer scenic natural areas great for relaxing, picnicking, or nature viewing.

Visitor Information: Open daily from sunrise to half hour after sunset. Main entrance off Washington Heights. Free admission. Metered street parking available nearby, additional free lot 1/2 mile south near hospital.

Located at 1610 Washington Heights, the Nichols Arboretum (known locally as “the Arb”) is a 123-acre botanical garden and arboretum operated by the University of Michigan. It features hiking trails winding through woodlands, meadows, and shrub & speciality gardens.

The Arb has a collection of over 2,000 plant taxa with diverse trees and flowering plants from around the world. It also encompasses the Huron River and provides scenic spots to view river wildlife.

The Nichols Arboretum is open year-round from dawn to dusk and offers free admission, making it a popular spot for walking, trail running, photo shoots, and quiet contemplation. The University of Michigan Matthaei Botanical Gardens is adjacent to Nichols Arboretum, constituting an even larger contiguous urban green space.

2.Gallup Park

Name and Location: Gallup Park

History and Significance: Situated along the Huron River, Ann Arbor’s Gallup Park has been a popular recreational spot since it was established in 1969 using funds donated by Dr. Gallup. Its scenic trails, kayak launches and children’s playscapes make it one of the area’s most loved community parks.

What to Expect: Visitors enjoy paddling or floating down the Huron, picnicking under the pavilion, using the playground and splash pad, hiking and biking the trails, and exploring the wooded riverbanks. Fishing is also popular here for trout, bass and bluegill.

Visitor Information: Open daily from 6am to 10pm. Located off Geddes Rd east of US-23. Parking available in nearby lots. Entry is free. Alcohol, smoking and pets are prohibited.

Situated along the Huron River, Gallup Park includes 69 acres of land featuring walking trails, playgrounds, canoe livery, fishing areas, picnic grounds and public artworks.

The focal point is “The Ark” designed by sculptor Dennis Oppenheim – a modern architectural boat structure with viewing platforms overlooking the river. Gallup Park also connects to the Border-to-Border Trail allowing walking and biking access to Bandemer Park upstream or connecting downstream to Fuller Park near the University of Michigan Hospital complex.

The park was donated to Ann Arbor in 1969 by Eugene and Lucy Gallup to conserve natural land along the Huron River. Gallup Park offers wooded riverfront access in the city and still maintains much of its original wild forested ecosystem.

3.Buhr Park & Buhr Park Children’s Wet Meadow

Name and Location: Buhr Park & Buhr Park Children’s Wet Meadow

History and Significance: Situated near downtown Ann Arbor, Buhr Park’s scenic green space and active recreation facilities have made it a community hub since it opened in 1945. Its Children’s Wet Meadow added in 1994 provides a unique outdoor experience for kids to engage with nature.

What to Expect: Families enjoy Buhr Park’s play structures, ball fields, tennis courts and walking paths. The children’s area features small bridges, a spiral mound, fruit trees and log tunnels situated within a wetland habitat full of frogs, turtles and native plants to explore.

Visitor Information: Located between W. Stadium Blvd and Geddes Ave. Park hours 6am-10pm daily. The Children’s Wet Meadow is designed for ages 10 and under to use with adult supervision. No pets allowed. Free entry.

Buhr Park is a 78-acre community park operated by the City of Ann Arbor featuring children’s creative play areas, athletic fields & courts, picnic shelters, a wildlife wetlands area, and a seasonal ice rink.

Adjacent to Buhr Park is the Buhr Children’s Wet Meadow – a beautiful accessible urban wilderness park allowing children to connect with nature through creative play.

Accessible trails wind through restored native wet prairie where educational signs provide prompts for self-directed nature exploration. Buhr Park also hosts children’s programs like Safety Town. The Buhr Ice Arena operates a full-size indoor ice rink open year-round to the public for skating, youth/adult hockey leagues & lessons.

4.West Park

Name and Location: Buhr Park & Buhr Park Children’s Wet Meadow

History and Significance: Situated near downtown Ann Arbor, Buhr Park’s scenic green space and active recreation facilities have made it a community hub since it opened in 1945. Its Children’s Wet Meadow added in 1994 provides a unique outdoor experience for kids to engage with nature.

What to Expect: Families enjoy Buhr Park’s play structures, ball fields, tennis courts and walking paths. The children’s area features small bridges, a spiral mound, fruit trees and log tunnels situated within a wetland habitat full of frogs, turtles and native plants to explore.

Visitor Information: Located between W. Stadium Blvd and Geddes Ave. Park hours 6am-10pm daily. The Children’s Wet Meadow is designed for ages 10 and under to use with adult supervision. No pets allowed. Free entry.

West Park is a 64-acre park with a nature Area spanning over half the park acreage featuring wetlands, woodlands and pond ecosystems that support a diversity of plant and animal species. 2 miles of accessible trails open to hiking, biking and cross-country skiing wind through the scenic Nature Area.

West Park also includes picnic areas, a children’s playground, basketball and tennis courts, athletic fields, and an off-leash dog park.

Special events like Concerts in West Park and STEAM in the Park offer community programming in the park. The adjacent Mack Indoor Pool and Mack Barn Active Kids Space provide year-round recreation options accessible from West Park.

5.Fuller Park

Name and Location: Fuller Park

History and Significance: Presenting 150 acres of preserved natural areas and recreation facilities between Ann Arbor and DTW airport, Fuller Park has welcomed visitors to enjoy its trails, gardens and programs since the City purchased it in 1969.

What to Expect: Wooded nature trails loop around ponds and fields frequented by birds, turtles and small wildlife while connecting to gardens, playgrounds, picnic spots, ball fields, and discs golf areas offering visitors varied ways to explore and play.

Visitor Information: Located at 1903 Fuller Rd. Open 6am-10pm daily free of charge. Nature Center and Garden House also offer nature education programs. Pets allowed on-leash, smoking and alcohol prohibited.

Fuller Park is a prime destination along the Huron River waterfront to relax on sandy beaches, and enjoy riverside trails, picnic areas, playgrounds, and off-leash dog runs. Located at 1519 Fuller Road adjacent to the University of Michigan Hospital complex, Fuller Park spans 94 acres including 3,300 feet of Huron River frontage.

It features wooded natural areas, pond ecosystems, restored prairie, meadows, and a DTE Energy Canoe/Boat Launch providing access for river recreation. The shaded beach areas allow lazy summer days lounging and playing along Michigan’s famous waterway. And easy access from the B2B Trail allows walkers, runners and bikers to easily reach Fuller Park.

6.Veterans Memorial Park

Name and Location: Veterans Memorial Park

History and Significance: Opened on Memorial Day in 1948, Ann Arbor’s Veterans Memorial Park honors local armed forces members killed in service. Its memorial pillar engraved with 1,000 names serves as a solemn tribute recognizing their sacrifice.

What to Expect: This small downtown park centered around a stone memorial pillar provides a place for quiet reflection and commemoration. Visitors will notice memorial wreaths and flowers left to honor fallen soldiers. Park benches offer a spot to pause and contemplate service and sacrifice.

Visitor Information: Located at the corner of Main St and Ann St in downtown Ann Arbor. Open daily with no entry fee. As the site of Memorial Day and Veterans Day events, visiting on or around those holidays offers a chance to join commemorations.

Veterans Memorial Park is located in the heart of downtown Ann Arbor at the intersection of Main Street and Huron Street across from the Ann Arbor District Library main branch. Known locally as Liberty Plaza or the Ann Arbor Civic Center Park, the acre park honors military veterans by taking bronze sculptures and commemorate plaque displays.

The urban park offers open lawns, stone plaza decks, park benches and public access Services in a central location. Palazzo Italian restaurant has a rooftop bar overlooking the small but popular downtown park.

Annual events like the Ann Arbor Summer Festival mainstage concerts bring big crowds to Veterans Memorial Park. But even on an average day, you’ll see locals gathering to relax, read, meet up with friends or eat lunch together in this busy downtown oasis.

7.Allmendinger Park

Name and Location: Allmendinger Park

History and Significance: Nestled in a quiet Ann Arbor neighborhood, this petite community park has welcomed area families to enjoy its play areas and green space since it was established in 1952 using land donated by local owners.

What to Expect: Allmendinger Park spans just over an acre but packs a lot into its small footprint. Families with young children frequent its playground and spray park to keep cool on hot days. Grass and shade trees offer space for picnics, reading, or kicking a ball around.

Visitor Information: Located between W Liberty St and S Main St. Open daily from 6am-10pm. Free admission. On-street parking available on surrounding local roads. Bathrooms and water fountains on site.

Allmendinger Park is a picturesque 24-acre community park in northeast Ann Arbor featuring athletic fields & courts, playground, picnic pavilion, walking paths through open meadows, and a sledding hill for wintertime fun.

Nestled in a residential neighborhood, Allmendinger Park provides lots of amenities for youth recreation and pick-up sports in its open field areas. Mature trees offer shady spots to spread out a blanket or set up lawn chairs for a family & friend gathering.

Allmendinger Park hosts events like Movies in the Park throughout the warmer months. And the sledging hill sees lots of action in winter following a nice snowfall in Ann Arbor when kids flock to get their sled on!

8.County Farm Park

Name and Location: County Farm Park

History and Significance: Washtenaw County’s original poorhouse and farm occupied this land until the 1960s before the site transitioned into a public space for passive recreation as County Farm Park, keeping a few historic buildings as reminders of its past.

What to Expect: Most visitors come to walk the extensive trails through prairie, wetland, meadow and pine forest habitats which provide opportunities to spot birds and small wildlife. Interpretive signage and abandoned structures impart some history while visitors wander the natural landscape.

Visitor Information: Located at 2230 Platt Rd, Ann Arbor. Over 500 acres open daily 8am-30 minutes after sunset. Leashed pets and bikes allowed on trails. Free entry and parking available in multiple lots onsite.

Washtenaw County’s County Farm Park offers a regional recreation area and beloved rustic forest retreat within Ann Arbor city limits. The park covers 225 acres of rolling terrain including prairie, savanna and woodland ecosystems with 4 miles of multi-use trails that accommodate hiking, trail running, mountain biking and cross country skiing.

Two accessing points with parking are located at Platt Road and Jennings Road. County Farm Park is home to the Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission which also hosts nature education programs at the on-site Meri Lou Murray Recreation Center.

Special permit-only events like 5K obstacle races also occur annually. Otherwise County Farm Park is open year-round for passive recreation like birdwatching, wildflower walks, nature photography, camping, and just getting away into the countryside without leaving Ann Arbor!

9.Bandemer Park

Name and Location: Bandemer Park

History and Significance: Acquired by Ann Arbor in the 1920s, Bandemer Park spans 100 acres along the Huron River providing picnicking facilities, athletic fields and nature trails that have offered community recreation for nearly a century.

What to Expect: Visitors swim, boat or fish in the Huron River bordering the park. Trails through woods and meadows create scenic running routes. Open grassy areas host community events and pickup sports games. There is also a disc golf course and children’s play area onsite.

Visitor Information: Located off Broadway St between Plymouth Rd and Barton Dr. Park hours 6am-10pm daily. Alcohol prohibited. Pets must be leashed. Parking available in nearby municipal lots. Entry is free.

Bandemer Park rests along the Huron River on the north side of Ann Arbor spanning 40 acres of peaceful wooded ecosystems connected to Ann Arbor’s Border-to-Border Trail network allowing easy access for walkers and bikers.

Operated by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Bandemer Park offers hiking trails, fishing spots, canoe launch and picnic areas for visitors to enjoy natural riverfront scenery and recreation.

Connecting trails join Bandemer Park to Barton Nature Area and Huron River corridor parklands. Annual projects help restore native wildflower fields and improve ecosystems like removing invasive species and replanting native wetland plants. Bandemer Park’s scenic trails and river access provide wonderful nature immersion without extensive travel beyond the Ann Arbor city limits.

10.Leslie Park Golf Course

Name and Location: Leslie Park Golf Course

History and Significance: Designed by renowned course architects Tom Bendelow and Donald Ross, Leslie Park Golf Course has delivered pristine greens and challenging play to Ann Arbor community members and University of Michigan golfers since opening over 95 years ago.

What to Expect: This par-70 course offers traditional golfing along tree-lined fairways and fast greens. The front nine play easier for beginners while the back nine offer added length and challenge even for experienced golfers. The classic course design calls for accurate, strategic ball-striking.

Visitor Information: Located at 2175 Traver Rd. Open 7am-dusk seasonally. Green fees apply. Electric cart rentals available. Pro shop sells equipment and Leslie Park Grill offers casual dining with a view of #18.

For those who love spending time on the links, Leslie Park Golf Course is Ann Arbor’s beautiful municipal course spanning 127 acres in the northeast section of the city. Designed in 1963 by nationally renowned golf course architect William Newcomb, the 18-hole, par 72 course measures 6588 yards from the back tees with scenic views and challenging play for all levels.

The clubhouse was recently renovated and Leslie Park operates a full-service Pro Shop plus snack bar and beverage cart services. Additional amenities like a practice putting green, chipping range and lessons make Leslie Park very popular with local golfers.

The parkland-style layout integrating wooded areas and water features makes playing at Leslie Park Golf Course feel like an escape from the city into a fun nature retreat.

11.Marshall Park

Name and Location: Marshall Park

History and Significance: Developed in the 1960s, this mini neighborhood park straddling Ann Arbor and Pittsfield Township provides close-to-home recreation that’s been cherished by surrounding residents for over 50 years.

What to Expect: Families make frequent use of Marshall Park’s playground, basketball court, ball fields, open grassy areas and picnic tables. The park offers a safe, easily accessible place for community members to gather for active play or quiet relaxation under the trees just steps from home.

Visitor Information: Located between Oakbrook Dr and Kendall Dr. Open daily 6am-10pm. Entry is free. Street parking available on Oakbrook Dr orPerspective Ct. Bathrooms near playground area.

Located adjacent to Ann Arbor’s Traver Creek on the city’s north side, Marshall Park spans 10 acres of rolling meadows and wooded walking trails perfect for birdwatching. Operated by Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission, Marshall Park connects to County Farm Park allowing easy access to the larger regional park while also providing some neighborhood park amenities.

Features include a picnic area, portable restroom, small sledging hill, playground structure for kids built to resemble a Heritage Coast Train engine, and an accessible loop trail with a pedestrian bridge over the creek. Friends of County Farm Park citizen group helps maintain and advocate for Marshall Park which offers a nice nature getaway for northside Ann Arbor residents.

12.Sunset Brooks Park

Name and Location: Sunset Brooks Park

History and Significance: Dedicated in 2008 after the City acquired surplus school property, Sunset Brooks Park transformed former athletic fields into a 13-acre community park supporting active recreation from fitness to sport facilities.

What to Expect: Locals frequent the park to use its athletic amenities like lighted tennis courts, baseball and softball diamonds, batting cages, and an inline hockey rink set within open green space. Sweeping views of the sunset after evening games give the park its name.

Visitor Information: Located at 1515 Dhu Varren Rd. Open daily 6am-10pm. Free admission. Parking available roadside or in on-site lots. Bathrooms near athletic fields and playground. Smoking and alcohol prohibited.

Sunset Brooks Park is an 11-acre community park located within a residential neighbourhood on the southwest side of Ann Arbor. Managed by the City of Ann Arbor Parks Department, amenities include a playground, basketball court, picnic tables, walking paths, prairie, a sledging hill and open field areas useful for flying kites, model aeroplanes or other play & recreation. Mature trees offer pleasant shaded relaxation spots.

And community events like summer youth theatre performances entertain visitors with free shows. The park’s central location provides an easy getaway for neighbourhood families to hang out allowing kids to meet up for outdoor play in both structured playground settings or use imagination in big grassy field spaces.

Exploring Ann Arbor Parks

This sampling shows the diversity and abundance of excellent parks and recreation options within Ann Arbor city limits. Whether you seek manicured fields and courts at popular community parks, or wilder adventure immersed in quiet wooded walking trails and natural ecosystems, Ann Arbor offers an amazing variety of beautiful outdoor public park spaces waiting to be explored!

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