5 Free Air-Conditioned Activities

With the extreme heat this week, indoor air-conditioned locations are definitely the best choice for family fun, especially if you don’t have air conditioning at home. But, many indoor locations such as indoor play places have an admission fee which can get expensive with the number of hot days that we’ve had this summer. 

I’ve put together a list of 5 Free Air-Conditioned Places to Visit.

Beat the Heat: 5 Free Air Conditioned Activities

1 – Visit the Library

We have a number of great libraries to visit in the Ann Arbor area – and all are air-conditioned. Not only do they offer books to check-out, they also offer story times, crafts, and more fun events. In addition to the Ann Arbor District Library, libraries in Ypsilanti and Dexter also offer free events for the public without needing to be a local resident.

Visiting AADL - Playing Chess Downtown


2 – Visit a Free Museum

The University of Michigan museums offer free admission (although they appreciate donations). There is the Museum of Natural History, Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, and and the Museum of Art. Update – a reader has corrected me that the Natural History Museum is only air conditioned in the planetarium.

Additionally, if you have a membership to the Ann Arbor Hands-on Museum each subsequent visit is free.

3 – Story & Craft at Local Stores

Be sure to check our event calendar for free events at local stores: Barnes & Noble, Bookbound, Literati, & Nicola’s all offer regular free story times as well as other events.


Barnes & Noble Trivia

4 – Go Window Shopping

You an always go window shopping at Briarwood Mall and visit the Mall Play Area if your children are small enough.

Briarwood Mall

Photo Courtesy of Briarwood Mall

5 – Play Date with a Friend

If you don’t have air conditioning, maybe arrange a playdate with a friend who does…just be sure to return the favor and host a playdate once the weather is more manageable.

Bonus – Nearly Free Indoor Activities

Movie theaters are always kept nice and cold. Quality 16 offers a Dollar Movie each weekday through August 12 at 10a. Rave offers a Dollar Movie on Tuesdays at 10a through August 9.

Several McDonalds in the area offer indoor play areas. The play areas are for customers, but an ice cream cone is a nice, affordable treat on a hot day. Indoor play areas are available at

  • 3001 Lohr Rd
  • 373 North Zeeb Rd
  • 5550 W Michigan Ave
  • 7847 E. Michigan Avenue, Saline
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Anna Mae

Anna Mae owns & operates Ann Arbor with Kids, a website dedicated to Family Activities in Ann Arbor. My husband and I moved to Ann Arbor in 2003 and our daughter joined the family in 2006.

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