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Master the Ann Arbor Art Fair - People browsing tents setup along Main St at Art Fair

Master the Ann Arbor Art Fair: Get Our Insider Tips

The 2023 Ann Arbor Art Fair runs from Thursday, July 20 to Saturday, July 22.

Are you attending the Ann Arbor Art Fair with Kids? Check out our Ann Arbor Art Fair with Kids Guide. Don’t miss our Printable Art Fair Scavenger Hunt.

Ann Arbor Art Fair 2023 Dates

The 2023 Ann Arbor Art Fair runs from Thursday, July 20 to Saturday, July 22. The Ann Arbor Art Fair Hours are:

  • Thursday, July 20 10am-9pm
  • Friday, July 21 10am-9pm
  • Saturday, July 22 10am-8pm

About the Ann Arbor Art Fair

The Ann Arbor Art Fair is the largest juried art fair in the country. It is the combination of three independently juried nonprofit art fairs spanning 30 city blocks in downtown Ann Arbor. The four Art Fairs are:

  • Ann Arbor Street Art Fair, the Original
  • Ann Arbor Summer Art Fair
  • State Street Art Fair

The Ann Arbor Art Fairs feature more than 1000 juried artists. These artists work in various media like painting, sculpture, mixed media, jewelry and more. They also offer art activities, art demonstrations, and live entertainment.

Fine arts are best found at the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair, the Original.


Events from our Sponsors

Nichols Arboretum Big Play Day June 23

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Mark you calendars for June 23!

AFC Ann Arbor Women's Team takes the field

AFC Ann Arbor (Women’s) Final Home Game vs Detroit City FC

AFC Ann Arbor Women's Season May 19-June 30


Where is Art Fair in Ann Arbor?

The Original Ann Arbor Street Art Fair is located on University of Michigan’s main campus. It is held on Ingalls Mall plus Washington St and North University adjacent to Ingalls Mall.

The Ann Arbor State Street Art Fair happens on State Street and adjacent blocks of North University, William, Maynard, and Liberty.

The Guild’s Ann Arbor Summer Art Fair takes place on both Main St and South University. On Main St, it includes adjacent blocks of Liberty. The South University section includes adjacent blocks of South State St, and East University,

“I’m ready to go to the fair now”

These were my daughter’s words at 2.5 as we left Art Fair. Earlier that summer we had attended the Milan Fair which had rides. She was expecting Art Fair to to be the same. She was having fun, so was not too disappointed.

So, the moral of my story is to make sure your kids know what to expect. If your kid is looking for the rides too, check out our list of Fairs and Carnivals with Rides.

Before Ann Arbor Art Fair

Attend the Townie Street Party

The Townie Street Party is a great way for locals to celebrate before Art Fair starts. It returns for 2023 with a move to all day Sunday instead of a Monday evening. The Townie Street Party kicks off with the Dart for Art race at 9:30a.

Ann Arbor Art Fair with Kids - Townie Party

Unfortunately, the Youth Art Fair that was a traditional highlight of the Townie Street Party is still on a break. It is planned to return in 2024 as a standalone event.

Activities at Ann Arbor Art Fair with Kids

There is typically plenty to do with kids at the Ann Arbor Art Fair. There is music and entertainment on several stages.

Art Activity Zone

The Ann Arbor Street Art Fair, The Original hosts an Art Activity Zone with free, family-friendly art projects. The Art Activity Zone is on Ingalls Mall. It will be open from 11a-6p each day.

2023 activities will be provided by:

  • Detroit Institute of Arts
  • Clayworks
  • University of Michigan Museum of Natural History
  • Creative Studio

Art Demo Zone

At the Art Demo Zone you can watch the creative process in action as artists demonstrate their methods to create art. The Art Demo Zone is located under the big Maple trees on N. University near Hill Auditorium.

Currently announced Demos:

  • 1-4p Thursday-Saturday – Toledo Museum of Art “Baby Dragon” Portable Glassblowing
  • All Day Thursday-Saturday – The Potters Guild

Music & Entertainment

Each of the 3 Art Fairs will have their own stage with performances

Art Fair Music Schedule:

  • Stage on Main
    • Thursday
      • 6p Natalie Mae
      • 7:30-8:30p Sons of the Never Wrong
    • Friday
      • 11a-3p Elevate the Mic: Peformers Uniting for Social Progress with Prison Creative Arts Project
        • 11a Youth Arts Alliance & Staying Power
        • noon Voices of the Underheard with Laitr
        • 1p MI Citizens for Prison Reform
        • 2p AFSC Band
        • 3p In and On Our Own Terms
      • 6-7p K15
      • 7:30-8:30p Jeffrey Martin with Anna Tivel
    • Saturday – Amplify & Washtenaw Community College Stage Takeover
      • 11a Lauren Blackford
      • 11:30a Tailen Toliver
      • noon Entrepreneurship Center Lightning Round
      • 12:30p DJ Roxx
      • 2p Mekhi Mitchell and the WTMC Music Society
      • 2:30p Entrepreneurship Center Final Round
      • 3p Washtenaw Community College/Ypsilanti Youth Orchestra Jazz Ensemble
      • 4:30-5:30p Out Loud Chorus
      • 6-8p Brain Plasticity Ukulele Collective and Blueshouse
  • Ann Arbor Civic Theatre Stage – Maynard & William
  • Fountain Stage – Ingalls Mall (between E Washington and N. University)
    • Thursday
      • 11a Kathy Wieland & Lauren Crane
      • 1p Adam Labeaux
      • 2p WCC Artists
      • 3p Ceolsige
      • 4p Jim Smith & Dave Keeney
      • 5p Danny Kline
      • 6p Tim Monger with special guest Carol Catherine
      • 7p Kevin Brown Solo of Corn Daddy
    • Friday
      • 11a Rebecca Cameron
      • noon Angela Predhomme
      • 1p Young People’s Theatre Musical Theatre Show Choir
      • 2p John Lamb
      • 3p Warehouse Cloggers
      • 4p Michelle Held
      • 5p Rochelle Clark
      • 6p Billy King
    • Saturday
      • 11a Amy Grace
      • noon Lilly MacPhee
      • 1p Matt Truman Acoustic (of Matt Truman Ego Trip)
      • 2p Annie & Rod Capps
      • 3p Laura Russeau
      • 4p Indie Rock Royalty
      • 5p Shannon Lee Trio
      • 6p Phoebe Holmes (of Keynote Sisters)

Street Performers

Mr. B will be performing on his upright piano every day on North University. Various guest performers will also be joining him throughout Art Fair.

The Busker Lineup will be released before the art fair. Maybe we’ll see the Violin Monster.

Scavenger Hunt

Our Art Fair Scavenger Hunt will help kids stay engaged throughout Art Fair – as you wander from booth to booth. Print a copy for each of your children and have them find art featuring the pictures on the list.

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Art Fair Scavenger Hunt 2.19 MB 146 downloads

Scavenger Hunt for Ann Arbor Art Fair …

Chalk the Walk with David Zinn

Ann Arbor’s own David Zinn will be chalking the walk during Art Fair from 1-3p Thursday and Saturday with Friday as a rain date. Throughout the fair, there will be chalk available for guests to add their own creations. Chalk the Walk will be near the corner of 5th and Liberty in front of the post office.

Live Mural Painting

Keith Bynum, local artist and star of HGTV’s Bargain Block, will be transforming a storage container into a work of art. He will be painting a mural live during art fair. Stop by Liberty between Main & Ashley from 10a-noon on Friday to watch him paint. Or check out his booth at MN368.

Recharge Space

First Baptist Church of Ann Arbor will be providing a Recharge Space for families with young children. They will have

  • Gated shady playground
  • Popsicles & Water Refilling Station
  • Craft materiasl for Kids
  • All gender, accessible bathrooms with changing tables
  • 2 air conditioned lactation spaces
  • sensory room with low lights & mats
  • sunscreen & menstrual products
  • outlets, phone cords, & WiFi.

Their address is 517 E Washington, just 1 block north of the Art Fair.

Getting to Ann Arbor Art Fair with Kids

ArtFairRide

In the past, several readers recommended using the AAATA Art Fair Shuttles. The shuttles depart from both Briarwood Mall and Huron High School.

Both offer:

  • Parking free
  • Round-trip $5
  • Shuttle stops:
    • Briarwood: Main Street at William and on State Street near South University
    • Huron High School: Fletcher and Washington & South University at Forest
  • Buses return to both parking locations from either shuttle bus stops
  • Thursday – Friday, 9am – 10pm
  • Saturday – 9am – 9pm

Parking in Downtown Ann Arbor

The downtown Ann Arbor parking garages and lots are open during Art Fair. Instead of charging by the hour, they charge a flat fee. It is $18 per day or $9 after 5 p.m.

We have used my husband’s UM blue pass to park in Blue Lots when attending Art Fair. If you are planning to use a UM Parking Pass, make sure that the lot is accessible with Art Fair closures.

You can also park a bit further away and walk to town. Be sure to observe any parking laws – length of stay, appropriate clearance at driveways and intersections, etc.

Art-Go-Round

May Mobility will be providing shuttle service around the perimeter of Art Fair with their autonomous vehicles.. They will have multiple Lexus RX 450h shuttles and one wheelchair accessible vehicle operating. There will always be an operator as a backup to the autonomous system.

There are 6 stops:

  • E Madison St Near State
  • Thompson near E William
  • Ashley near E William
  • E Washington near State
  • Fletcher near E Washington
  • Forest near S. University

We only recommend the Art-Go-Round shuttle if your child does not need a car seat or booster seat.

Where to Stay

Are you visiting Ann Arbor for Art Fair? Be sure to check out these hotel listings:

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What to Bring to Ann Arbor Art Fair with Kids

Water was the number one recommendation of what to bring from A2withKids readers. Art Fair week is typically hot with thunderstorms. Make sure to stay hydrated.

We also suggest a bag for any purchases or art activities your child creates. However, we don’t suggest a large backpack as you navigate through booths and crowds.

If your child is not up for walking long distances, a stroller or wagon is a good option. With crowds, the stroller may be easier to maneuver than a wagon.

Umbrellas and ponchos can be helpful (and are another good reason to bring a bag) if storms are in the forecast. After all thunderstorms seem to be a part of every Art Fair.

What to Wear

It is also important to dress properly for Art Fair. You will be outside, so dress for the weather. Lightweight fabrics are a good choice. Rain always seems to be a threat at Art Fair, so quick drying clothes (and footwear) is a good bet.

Visiting Art Fair requires a lot of walking. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes.

Other Tips for Ann Arbor Art Fair with Kids

Food

Make a plan for food. Bring snacks (a reader suggests protein snacks). Or, take a break at one of the food courts set up around Art Fair. Better yet, consider both options.

There are a number of good restaurants in the Art Fair district – some of which will offer food stands. Check out our reviews of restaurants near Art Fair:

Bathrooms

Bathrooms can be difficult thing to find during Art Fair. If you take a break at a restaurant, library or museum, make sure to use the restroom. UM buildings are mostly open on Thursday and Friday during the day with some also open on Saturday.

Make it an Adventure

A reader advises, don’t expect to see everything. Make the whole trip an adventure. There’s taking the bus, trying a new food, and visiting the Art Activity Zone.

Take a Break

My last suggestions is to take a break! Especially on a hot day, it gives everyone a chance to cool off and recharge. It also gives an escape from the crowds at Art Fair.

Stop for lunch at a local restaurant (see our reviews above). Visit the Downtown Branch of the Ann Arbor District Library. We also recommend visiting one of the museums downtown:

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2 thoughts on “Master the Ann Arbor Art Fair: Get Our Insider Tips”

  1. I second the readers who said use the UM bathrooms. All of the libraries are open so you could stop at the UGLi (Undergrad library) or the Grad library. We usually stop at the UM building near Ulrich’s, too, to use the restroom.

    For parking, I recommend meters if you are only going to be there a few hours, specifically the ones on Hill near East Quad … if you get there early enough, there are usually a few left.

    I’m missing Art Fair this year and I’m a bit bummed about it! I have time on Sat. but not really enough to drive to A2 and back.

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