Weird Wonders of Ann Arbor: A Short Guide To An Odd Day

. April 18, 2018.

Those of you familiar with Lewis Carroll and his Adventures in Wonderland may recall the walrus. How obscure, the things he thought: “The time has come,” the walrus said, “to talk of many things: of shoes and ships, and sealing wax, of cabbages and kings.” This short guide to a day trip through town may just be equally as odd. Make Ann Arbor your own wonderland.

Ann Arbor’s ‘Fairy Doors’

In 2005, ‘fairy doors’ began appearing around town. Local artist Jonathan B. Wright, responsible for both public and private doors, has installed more than ten. Find them all!  To begin, head to Sweetwaters Coffee & Tea, 123 W. Washington St. You’ll find a sign there, requesting the fairies not be fed. They get lazy, of course. Head next to Ann Arbor District Library Downtown at 343 S. 5th Ave., and find the Fairytale and Folklore bookshelf. Don’t forget to look for occasional fairy gifts left behind, or leave some of your own for the fairies.

The sign outside Sweetwaters' fairy door.

The sign outside Sweetwaters’ fairy door. (Photo courtesy of

A semi-comprehensive list: Mott Hospital (1540 E. Hospital Dr.) | Found Gallery (415 N. 5th Ave.) | Peaceable Kingdom (210 S. Main St. – Shop closed, but the door is still there!) | Google Ann Arbor (2300 Traverwood Dr.) | The Ark (316 S. Main St.) | Jefferson Market & Cakery (609 W. Jefferson St.) | Nicola’s Books (2513 Jackson Ave.) | Michigan Theater (603 E. Liberty St.) | But there are more! And a rogue ‘goblin door’.

Wave Field

Photo by University of Michigan.

Photo by University of Michigan.

A work of organic genius, the Wave Field is located at 1320 Beal Ave., on the north side of UM’s campus. Artist Maya Lin has created a virtual ‘moving’ landscape.

Graffiti Alley

Photo courtesy of James Howe Photography .(

Photo courtesy of James Howe Photography .(

Located on E. Liberty St. in the Fashion District, Graffiti Alley can be a colorful and sensory experience, as music generally echos throughout, as well. Do make sure to go with the kids, though. No one wants to be in an alley alone. Some locals find the graffiti situation in town a bit problematic, but nonetheless, still a sight to see! Find the ‘gum sculpture’ for extra points. (Yuck!)

Computer and Video Game Archive at the University of Michigan

This University of Michigan Library archive (2281 Bonisteel Blvd.) is an absolute gamer’s dream. It’s a peculiar collection to house, but who’s complaining? Check out hours, use and reservation policies at their website, here. Children under 13 must be accompanied by an adult. Of course, students visiting the archive for research purposes receive priority; however, a simple phone call before you head over may just help you out.

If we’ve missed something odd, such as hidden public art, spooky places, or strange venues worth visiting, please send your suggestions to digitalmedia@adamsstreetpublishing. We may add it to the list.