WAYNE STATE UNIVERSITY
Bureau of Urban Living
460 W. Canfield St., Detroit; 313-833-9336
Located on the ground floor of the Canfield Lofts in midtown Detroit, Bureau of Urban Living calls itself a "modern-day urban general store." Wayne State students and staff looking to garnish a new dorm room or apartment will find stylish decorum ranging from Detroit-themed decorations to modern housewares. Bureau of Urban Living is the perfect place for anyone trying to avoid a Target-decorated dwelling.
3420 Cass Ave., Detroit; 313-473-9238
The Burton Theatre brings independent films to the culturally charged Cass Corridor. The theater "aims to help Detroit rival Chicago and New York as a center for independent film." Wayne State students are among the theater's most frequent guests and receive a student discount when buying tickets for films ranging from foreign to just bizarre, such as The Room and Troll 2.
4145 Woodward Ave. Detroit; 313-831-2553
Union Street has been a favorite spot for Wayne State students and staff for years, but the bar and restaurant prides itself on being more than just a hot college spot. Union Street serves as a melting pot for Detroit social circles, attracting hip urbanites and suburban theater patrons alike. The bar offers 100 different bottled beers from around the world and prides itself on a collection of quality, affordable wines.
Wednesday Farmers Market
Cass Avenue north of Warren Avenue (in front of Prentis Hall)
Eating right is tough in college, but the Wayne State Farmers Market brings fresh, locally grown produce to the Wayne State community every Wednesday. Vendors at the market range from urban gardeners to southeastern Michigan farmers, but all merchants raise crops with a special focus on sustainability, making the market popular among the environmentally conscious. The market is also perfect for the college budget: In addition to low prices, the market started accepting Michigan bridge cards this year.
The Majestic Theatre / Majestic Café / Magic Stick/Garden Bowl / Sgt. Pepperoni's Pizza
4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-9700; majesticdetroit.com
What other college campus in the fine nation of ours is within stumbling distance of a world-renowned rock venue? What about a world-renowned rock venue that houses three separate performance spaces, a pizzeria, café and the oldest continually operating bowling lane in the country? One. Wayne State University. If we ever catch you saying, 'There's nothing to do in Detroit,' we're going to wrap you in back issues and throw you in the river. Upcoming shows include: Stereo Total, Matt & Kim, the Toadies, Best Coast, Holy Fuck, Foals and Klaxons.
The Willis Street Strip: Avalon International Breads, Goodwell's Natural Foods, Flo Boutique, Spiral Collective, Re:View Contemporary Gallery
Willis between Cass & Second avenues, Detroit
A couple of the freshest food spots in the D are sandwiched between a hip fashion boutique and a two gallant galleries. Yes, the Willis Street Strip is indeed one of the funkiest few hundred feet in the city. You gotta get down to get up, kids. Cass Avenue won't bite, unless you want it to.
Curl Up & Dye Hair Shop
4215 Cass Ave., Detroit; 313-833-5006; curlupanddyedetroit.com
You never know who you're going to run into at Curl Up & Dye, as this quaint yet punk full-service salon has become not only the most popular place to get a cut for Detroit's city-lovin' movers and shakers, but an accidental ground for networking too. The music is killer — be prepared to hear, like, five straight tracks of the new National record — and they serve coffee, tea and water to you liking. Come for the free condoms — stay for the haircut.
4206 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-831-1960; kimsproduce.com
As far as groceries on campus go, the dark and off-putting University Foods on Warren is "just OK" at best. The newly established Kim's Produce on the other hand not only boasts a perfect spot on Woodward, but its shelves are stacked with jars full of goodness as well as fresh produce, water in cartons, teas, salsas and other goody goods. Get fresh, sucka!
3611 Cass Ave., Detroit; 313-879-5073; thehubofdetroit.org
Is the hub a community service center or a bike shop? Kinda both actually. With a few years under its pedals, the Hub is a well-oiled machine that provides bikes, service and workshops for all in the community. As Detroit continues its trek toward two-wheel fanaticism, a stop at the Hub might indeed be in order. Remember to buy a lock — or two.
EASTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY
705 W. Cross St., Ypsilanti; 734-485-6720
Located next to Eastern Michigan University's central campus, Theo's is the oldest bar in Ypsilanti, and has been a favorite among the EMU community since it opened in 1980. In addition to great bar food and reasonable drink prices there are such nightly events as trivia and Latin Salsa Night. Theo's also caters to EMU's Greek scene with weekly Greek Nights and private fraternity and sorority events.
The Ugly Mug Café and Roastery
317 W. Cross Ave., Ypsilanti; 734-484-4684
The Ugly Mug takes its cup of joe very seriously. The shop employs an in-house coffee roaster who works obsessively to bring the best coffee to Ypsilanti by studying everything from the dry and wet aromas of different beans to the seasonality of coffee farms around the world. For students, the Ugly Mug is the perfect place to meet for some hardcore, caffeine-fueled study sessions.
23 N. Washington St., Ypsilanti; 734-485-4444; livesavoy.com
Piloted by the much-appreciated former Elbow Room manager Andy Garris, Savoy is Ypsi's newest and hippest music venue. Formerly the dance club called Club Divine, the space underwent a makeover last April and reopened as a live music hall, complete with new lighting and sound equipment. On Wednesdays, Savoy hosts a game night, and Thursdays are college night, but the real parties are on Friday and Saturday nights, with live local and national acts performing.
10 Cross St., Ypsilanti; 734-879-1201
Imagine a hybrid small-town coffee shop crossed with reality TV's American Chopper, and you kind of have Café Racer. Only café racer bikes are undoubtedly cooler than choppers. The shop services vintage and contemporary motorcycles, treating each one as a unique work of art. Even if you don't own a bike, it's worth visiting the café for a cup of local coffee and a chance to admire some tricked-out choppers. Just one of Depot Town's hidden gems.
Depot Town Tattoo
33 E. Cross St., Ypsilanti; 734-544-1297.
For many incoming freshmen, the initial college experience is all about exploring newfound independence from overly protective parents. What better way to do this than with some ink? The tattoo artists at Depot Town will translate any idea or image into a unique tattoo. You don't need an appointment at this shop, either. Walk-ins are welcome, so stop stalling and go get that tramp stamp daddy will be sure to hate. Also, it's a proven fact that if you get your own name tattooed on your body, you are ninety percent more likely to fail at life.
3rd Coast Compassion Center
19 N. Hamilton St., Ypsilanti; 734-487-5402
College can be a challenging place — physically, mentally and otherwise. There are myriad ways your family doctor would like to treat you for your ailments — most require big biz pharmaceutics. But if that sports injury left over from high school is haunting your bones and muscles, if that cafeteria food activates your GERD, or your neck hasn't felt right since your dorm room days, 3rd Coast Compassion Center is here to help with some serious medical relief in the form of quality cannabis.
720 Norris St., Ypsilanti; 734-480-2739; cornerbrewery.com
Love this li'l tidbit from their website: "The Corner is sort of like a reverse mullet — with the party in the front and business in the back." Too true! The brewery produces and bottles Arbor Brewing Company brand beers, and cycles through over 25 types of on-tap brews, from Bavarian Bliss Hefeweizen to Espresso Love Breakfast Stout to Red Snapper Amber Ale. On Sept. 17, the Corner will host an Oktoberfest celebration, a night of eating, drinking and Bavarian dancing. As for the microbrewery's menu, it's all about what goes best with brew: pizzas, burgers, brats and snacks.
515 E. Cross St., Ypsilanti; 734-483-7272; cityofypsilanti.com
This public park is an ideal place for walks, naps, stoned frisbee and public displays of affection — or semi-public displays if you remembered to bring a blanket. The 13.4-acre plot of land — located alongside the Huron River — is one of the few spots at which you can get a taste of real tranquility. Linking downtown Ypsi and Depot Town, the park hosts some of the city's biggest events throughout the year, including the Heritage Festival, ElvisFest and the Michigan Summer Beer Festival.
UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT MERCY
Titan Fit Zone
4001 W. McNichols Rd., Detroit; 313-993-3301; tinyurl.com/2dzanlf
The centerpiece of a complete renovation to the student center last year, the Titan Fit Zone is the perfect place to work off the Freshman 15 or just check out that hottie working the glutes on the elliptical. Everything you need to stay in shape is here, plus there are yoga classes and a few two 52-inch HD TVs for those who like to sweat it out to Jersey Shore.
4001 W. McNichols Rd., Detroit; 313-993-1150; tinyurl.com/274prmf
Two decades ago, Grounds Coffeehaus — or Rathskeller, as it was known at the time — was one of the most popular places on campus. In those days, the facility had a license to sell alcohol, and never seemed at a loss for customers. No longer a watering hole, Grounds remains the No. 1 spot to grab a cup o' joe before that dreaded 8:30 a.m. class or to satisfy a late-night caffeine fix before the doors shut at 2 a.m. It's open weekends, and often hosts poetry readings and other campus events.
Lord of the Rings Miniatures Club
If you can't get enough of Frodo and Sam, or miss seeing Aragorn whack the head off one of Sauron's minions, you are not alone. The LOTR Miniatures Club gets together every Saturday to re-create the legendary battles of Middle Earth in a fun and challenging strategy game. The club was 13 members strong as of last year, and is always looking for new players to help tip the scales in their miniature battle of good and evil. These nerds are your future bosses. Network, my precious.
18670 Livernois Ave., Detroit; 313-864-8899
China Wok offers UDM students the holy trinity of fast food: reasonable prices (less than $5 for most dishes), close proximity (you can drive there in the time it takes to cook the order) and Kwame-sized portions. The plates are stacked so high, the women's lacrosse team held a competition to see who could eat the most. Dubbed the "China Wok Challenge," some players claim its intensity and difficulty was comparable to mid-season workouts.
Phi Kappa Theta Fraternity house
16000 Fairfield St., Detroit
The incoming pledges of Phi Kappa Theta are all expected to learn the fraternity's motto, "Give, expecting nothing thereof." With a weekend party résumé including such titles as Under the Covers, ABC (Anything But Clothes) and the back-to-school WTFRU? (Who The Fuck Are You?) shindig, it's clear the brothers of Phi Kap have given plenty to the student body. Their house, located right across the street from UDM's Calihan Hall, is bustling come fall Friday nights.
4001 W. McNichols Rd., Detroit; 313-993-1616; udmdining.com
Although dining options inside the McNichols campus are slim, the Loft has you covered. This is the place to scarf down cheeseburgers and fries or grab an energy drink before your exam. The Loft (usually) has what you want. Philly cheese steaks and chicken strips seem to be the most popular items, but they do offer fresh wraps and salads, albeit pre-packaged, for the health-conscious co-ed.
4001 W. McNichols Rd., Detroit
Detroit Mercy doesn't exactly have the most tanning-friendly campus, but a patch of raised ground known as "The Hill" has been home to many a bikini-clad Titan when the weather perks up. It offers a place for girls (and dudes too) to grab some SPF-whatever and a book and forget about the rigors of academia for a little while. In the winter, it transforms into a battleground for inter-dorm hall snowball throwdowns.
288 E. Tienken St., Rochester Hills; 248-652-9550
Trying to get drunk on couch change? Designate a driver and head to RJ's, a friendly dive that offers first-class bar food, plus fresh pies from Sir Pizza next door. You'll never find a line out the door, but watch out, it's always packed for Red Wings games.
3224 Walton St., Rochester Hills; 248-375-2360; cariboucoffee.com
Caribou is one of the few spots within walking distance of campus where students can hang out, study and enjoy free Wi-Fi and local music. Bring your textbooks, because a correct answer to the daily trivia question will save you 10 cents.
Meadow Brook Hall & Gardens
Adams at Walton, Rochester; 248-364-6200; oakland.edu/mbh
Everyone in the Detroit area should visit the historic 110-room residence of Matilda Dodge Wilson at least once. Tours run year-round, featuring the sprawling gardens in the summer months and brightened by elaborate Christmas decorations through the holidays. Best of all, tours are free to OU students with identification.
From rock-climbing and rugby to Aiki Kai, medieval Japanese martial arts, to synchronized skating, OU's club sports roster has something to offer everyone looking for a low-stress way to get involved and keep fit. If group sports aren't your thing, visit the rec center or aquatics center to find a routine that's right for you.
The Hills Bar & Grille
6810 N. Rochester, Rochester Hills; 248-652-4455; thehillsbar.com
With one of the busiest happy hours in the area, the Hills offers drink deals every weekday from 3 to 6 p.m., featuring $3 mixed drinks, wine, and sangria, and $2.50 draft pints. Sunday brunch is served 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and features $5 Bloody Marys, plus killer egg specials served 8 to 10 a.m. — if you can drag your ass out of bed. Enjoy the outdoor patio if the sun is shining or the indoor mezzanine if it's not.
Inspired after reading about Oakland's green initiatives in this issue's "How Green is My Campus?" feature? Get involved in Sustaining Our Planet Earth (S.O.P.E.), a program led by students and University Housing to promote green living and habits among campus residents. You could even opt to live in a recently renovated eco-friendly dorm, 2 W. Vandenberg, featuring sustainable carpeting and water-saving appliances. E-mail Frank Moss at email@example.com for more info.
104 N. Adams St., Rochester Hills; 248-375-9451; villageofrochesterhills.com
The winding pathways of this Stepford-creepy shopping center contain a Gap, Banana Republic and J. Crew if you're shopping for back-to-school basics or business-appropriate job interview gear. You'll also find cheap eats at Baja Fresh and Kabob Grill, plus healthy groceries at Whole Foods. Capitalism!
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum
1800 N. Dixboro and 1600 Washington Heights, respectively, Ann Arbor; 734-647-7600; lsa.umich.edu/mbg
If the bustling Ann Arbor lifestyle suffocates your outdoorsy sensibility, you'll find some refuge at the botanical gardens and arboretum. Bring your binoculars for bird-watching and refer to the website to find out what's in bloom now. If you're pressed for time, find your own quiet corner for outdoor studying and just soak up the natural beauty.
The Detroit Partnership
4219 Michigan Union, 530 S. State St., Ann Arbor; 313-515-1888; thedp.org
In addition to the Semester in Detroit program, this student-run service-learning organization has been building relationships between U-M students and the city of Detroit for 10 years. Working with more than 30 schools, churches and nonprofits throughout the year, the DP consists of native Detroiters and students from out of town who are getting to know the local community by serving urban organizations. Combined opportunities for education and reflection make these experiences meaningful for students in Ann Arbor and partners in Detroit.
Ann Arbor Film Festival
308 1/2 S. State St., Suite 22, Ann Arbor; 734-995-5356; aafilmfest.org
The longest-running independent and experimental film festival in North America is now accepting admissions for the 49th annual Film Fest next spring. In the meantime, while you're working on your next masterpiece, join the AAFF for screenings at the Michigan Theater through September. Tickets are only $5 for students and members.
The Clothesline Student Laundry
402 Maynard St., Ann Arbor; 734-663-0041; theclotheslinelaundry.com
With plans starting at $200 per semester, the Clothesline's wash-dry-fold delivery service will save you hours at the Laundromat and countless quarters. You can also say goodbye to hauling your laundry around on the bus, because they pick up and drop off in convenient locations around campus and in dorms. Clothesline offers dry-cleaning and alterations at an additional cost, but the most significant benefit is getting smelly clothes off your floor and clean ones back into your closet without doing a single load.
215 S. State St., Ann Arbor; 734-327-4300; thegetup.com
The Getup has been U-M students' favorite destination for reasonably priced vintage apparel and accessories since it opened in 2005. It's independently owned and operated by collectors Paul and Kelly MacLeod, both fascinated by fashions of days gone by. Here you'll find an eclectic gathering of pre-1980s styles, which may include concert T's, immaculate Izod sweaters, turquoise cowboy boots, and any variety of retro-fabulous jewelry that floats your boat.
SIC Transit Cycles
1033 Broadway, Ann Arbor; 734-327-6900; sictransitcycles.com
If craftsmanship, individuality, and the joy of the ride are what you're looking for in a bicycle, check out offerings at SIC. These guys repair bikes of all shapes and sizes, restore vintage styles, and consult on build projects. Start your own project with a 1977 Schwinn Volare frame, or cruise around campus on a rebuilt Gitane Criterion, both currently for sale along with a smattering of eclectic offerings. SIC also buys used bicycles and gear all the time if you're saving up for your next project.
The Gallery Project
215 S. Fourth Ave., Ann Arbor; 734-997-7012; thegalleryproject.com
The Gallery Project selects nine themed exhibits each year. Past themes run the gamut from "Animal Farm" to "Minimal Maximum," or "My Private Utopia." The lines between curators and artists are blurred in the 2,000-square-foot space where the curators are requested to show their work alongside the artists they've selected. The large space allows for full immersive art experiences.
The Blind Pig & 8 Ball Saloon
208 S. First St., Ann Arbor; 734-996-8555; blindpigmusic.com
As far as dive bars and rock clubs go, this is A2's walloping one-two punch. The famed Pig has played and will continue to play home to some of the best acts coming through Michigan. The list of bands to play the Pig reads like a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction: Hendrix, Lennon, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Iggy and the MC5. Coming up are shows by the Hard Lessons, Secret Twins, School of Seven Bells, Pharoahe Monch, Ra Ra Riot and !!!. Downstairs, the 8 Ball Saloon has cheap drinks, $2 pool and low lighting. Hippies use side door.
Herb David Guitar Studio
302 E. Liberty, Ann Arbor; 734-665-8001; herbdavidguitarstudio.com
Rock stars know where the best music shops are, and if it's good enough for Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore or the White Stripes' Jack White, you can probably trust living legend Herb David. The shop has been around since the late '60s and if you're in need of a small tweak on your six-string, or just want to peruse some top of the line instruments, this is the place.
Bab's Underground Lounge
213 S. Ashley St., Ann Arbor; 734-997-0800; babsundergroundlounge.com
With its upscale speakeasy feel, Bab's Underground Lounge describes itself as one of the best-kept secrets in Ann Arbor. Along with a cigar bar and high-end martini and scotch selections, they also have pool tables and (had) the only film-strip photo booth in the city. If a Tuesday study break beckons, hit up a movie night special with free pool, $2 White Owl Blunts and a $4 40-ouncers of PBR, Old E or High Life. Keepin' it classy, Ann Arbor.
516 E. Liberty St., Ann Arbor; 734-994-5835; necto.com
If you're looking for dance party five days a week, Necto could be the spot for you. With two floors of grind space and four different theme nights — Factory Mondays bring industrial and synth, College Thursdays boast recession-friendly drinks, Pride Fridays play home to their infamously epic "Gay Night," and Saturday's Frequency night is Top 40 fun — you can bump your rump all week and sweat off all that Pizza House pie.
People's Food Coop
216 N. Fourth Ave., Ann Arbor; 734-994-9174; peoplesfood.coop
Born out of day trips to Detroit's Eastern Market in 1971, the People's Food Coop still maintains a commitment to locally grown, organic food and protection of the environment through sustainability. If you're looking to eat right and stay green, a food co-op can be an easy, cheap way to fill up on healthy, fresh and local food.
Vault of Midnight
219 S. Main St., Ann Arbor; 734-998-1413; vaultofmidnight.com
This famed Main Street comic book shop was recently awarded the Will Eisner Spirit of Comics Retailer Award at the 41st annual Comic-Con in San Diego. That's a big deal, fool! Anyone who's entered the Vault knows how transcendent an experience it can be. Comics, games, toys, statues, cards — they got it all. If you're looking to bulk up your Marvel or flirt with KidRobot, enter the Vault. If only textbooks were illustrated like this, eh?