Ypsilanti Travel Guide

Discover the best attractions, outdoor adventures, places to stay, foods to try, and travel tips in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Plan your itinerary with this comprehensive travel guide now!

Introduction to Ypsilanti

Ypsilanti is a charming city in Southeast Michigan, home to historic landmarks, natural wonders, and a thriving arts and culture scene. Just a short drive from Detroit, this friendly community is the perfect destination for travelers seeking new adventures, serene outdoor spaces, and fascinating museums.

Whether you’re interested in hiking, biking, food, history, art, or local culture, Ypsilanti has something for everyone. This comprehensive travel guide to Ypsilanti is designed to help you plan your itinerary and make the most of your trip to this vibrant city.

List of Places to Visit in Ypsilanti

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

  • Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum: This museum displays an impressive collection of vintage automobiles, including some of the most iconic models from the 20th century. You can also learn about the history of the automotive industry in the region and see interactive exhibits.
  • Michigan Firehouse Museum and Education Center: This museum is housed in a beautifully restored firehouse and offers interactive exhibits on the history of firefighting in the state. Visitors can also test their firefighting skills and explore historic artifacts.
  • Ypsilanti Historical Museum: Located in a former fire station, this museum showcases the city’s rich cultural heritage through a collection of photographs, documents, and artifacts.

Natural Attractions of Ypsilanti: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

  • Pease Auditorium Rooftop Garden: A hidden gem within Eastern Michigan University, the Pease Auditorium Rooftop Garden offers stunning views of the campus and surrounding neighborhood. The garden showcases a variety of plants and flowers, and is a serene retreat from the bustling city below.
  • Ford Lake Park: This beautiful park features a beach, fishing pier, boat launch, playground, and picnic areas. Visitors can take a refreshing swim, pedal a boat, or simply relax and enjoy the scenic views.
  • Waterloo Recreation Area: This vast park features over 20,000 acres of forest, lakes, and streams, making it a popular destination for hiking, fishing, hunting, and camping.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Ypsilanti

  • Border to Border Trail: This scenic trail connects Ypsilanti to nearby Ann Arbor and spans over 35 miles. The route takes you through parks, nature reserves, and scenic downtown areas, offering stunning views of the local landscapes.
  • Lake Erie Metropark: Located just outside of Ypsilanti, this park offers a variety of hiking and biking trails through forests, wetlands, and open meadows. Visitors can also enjoy fishing, boating, and birdwatching.
  • Hickory Woods Trail System: This network of trails offers a range of difficulty levels for both hiking and biking. The route takes you through a beautiful forested area, with unique rock formations, streams, and diverse wildlife.

Best Things to Do in Ypsilanti: Activities and Tours

  • Depot Town: This historic district features unique shops, coffee houses, and restaurants, all housed within beautifully restored buildings. Visitors can take a stroll along the river, browse antiques, or enjoy a craft beer.
  • Michigan Fun Tours: This local tour company offers a variety of guided tours, including pub crawls, historic tours, and ghost tours. Learn about the city’s history and culture while sampling some of its best food and drink.
  • Ypsilanti Symphony Orchestra: This local orchestra offers world-class performances of classical and contemporary music, featuring talented musicians and guest artists.

Week-Long Itinerary for Ypsilanti

Day 1: Explore Depot Town, visit local shops and eateries. Take a stroll through Riverside Park.

Day 2: Visit the Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum and the Michigan Firehouse Museum and Education Center. Have lunch at Ma Lou’s Fried Chicken.

Day 3: Take a day trip to Waterloo Recreation Area. Hike the Hickory Woods Trail System and have a picnic at the beach in Ford Lake Park.

Day 4: Rent bikes and ride the Border to Border Trail to Ann Arbor. Explore the University of Michigan campus and have lunch at Zingerman’s Deli.

Day 5: Visit the Ypsilanti Historical Museum. Attend a concert by the Ypsilanti Symphony Orchestra at the historic Michigan Theater.

Day 6: Take a guided food and drink tour with Michigan Fun Tours. Sample craft beer, wine, and local cuisine.

Day 7: Relax and unwind at Pease Auditorium Rooftop Garden.

Food and Drink Scene of Ypsilanti

Must-Try Dishes

  • Ma Lou’s Fried Chicken: This locally owned restaurant is famous for its mouth-watering fried chicken, served with a variety of tasty sides.
  • Beezy’s Cafe: This cozy cafe offers a variety of homemade soups, sandwiches, and baked goods, all made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients.
  • Sidetrack Bar and Grill: This popular eatery serves up some of the best burgers in the state, along with a wide selection of craft beers and cocktails.

Local Beverages

  • Unity Vibration: This local brewery specializes in kombucha and wildcrafted beers, made with organic ingredients, and aged in oak barrels.
  • Ypsi Alehouse: This popular brewery features a variety of specialty beers, inspired by local flavors and ingredients.
  • Red Rock Downtown Barbecue: This funky BBQ joint offers a unique assortment of signature cocktails, along with an extensive beer menu and tequila selection.

Where to Stay in Ypsilanti: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

  • Ann Arbor Marriott Ypsilanti at Eagle Crest: This upscale resort offers a golf course, indoor pool and spa, and comfortable guest rooms with beautiful views of the surrounding countryside.
  • Sonesta Select Detroit Metro Airport: Located just a short drive from Ypsilanti, this modern hotel offers spacious guest rooms, a fitness center, and a complimentary airport shuttle.
  • Ypsi Alehouse Hotel: This boutique hotel is located above the Ypsi Alehouse brewery and features uniquely decorated guest rooms with a rustic charm.

What to Buy in Ypsilanti: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

  • Blackstone Bookstore and Cultural Center: This independent bookstore offers a selection of books by local authors and on local history and culture.
  • Materials Unlimited: This antique and salvage shop specializes in architectural salvage, vintage lighting, and unique home decor.
  • Ypsilanti Food Co-op: This community-owned grocery store features a variety of organic and locally sourced products, including fresh produce, meats, and baked goods.

Local Culture and Customs of Ypsilanti

Ypsilanti has a rich cultural heritage, with a vibrant arts scene, a strong sense of community, and a commitment to sustainability. The city hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including art fairs, music festivals, and cultural celebrations. Visitors should be respectful of the local environment and follow the city’s recycling and waste reduction initiatives.

Best Time to Visit Ypsilanti

The best time to visit Ypsilanti is in the summer, when the weather is warm and sunny, and the city comes alive with festivals and outdoor events. Spring and fall offer pleasant weather and beautiful foliage, while winter can be cold and snowy but also magical, with holiday lights and indoor activities.

Do’s and Don’ts of Ypsilanti


  • Explore Depot Town, visit local shops and eateries
  • Take a guided food and drink tour with Michigan Fun Tours
  • Attend a concert by the Ypsilanti Symphony Orchestra
  • Follow the city’s recycling and waste reduction initiatives


  • Forget to bring comfortable shoes for exploring Ypsilanti’s hiking and biking trails
  • Assume that all restaurants and shops are open on Sundays
  • Litter or damage the local environment

Safety and Health

Safety in Ypsilanti

Ypsilanti is a safe city overall, but visitors should still exercise caution when traveling alone at night or in unfamiliar parts of town. Be sure to keep valuables secured and out of sight, and pay attention to your surroundings.

Health in Ypsilanti

Ypsilanti has several hospitals and medical clinics, including St. Joseph Mercy Hospital and IHA Urgent Care. Visitors should also be aware of the dangers of ticks and take precautions when spending time outdoors, as ticks in Michigan can carry Lyme disease.

Getting to Ypsilanti: Transportation Options and Logistics

Airports Near Ypsilanti

  • Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport: This major airport is located just 15 miles from Ypsilanti and offers direct flights to destinations across the United States and around the world.
  • Willow Run Airport: Located just outside of Ypsilanti, this regional airport offers charter flights and general aviation services.

Bus Stations Near Ypsilanti

  • Greyhound: This national bus service has a station in nearby Ann Arbor, with connections to cities across the country.
  • Ann Arbor Area Transit Authority: This local bus service offers routes throughout the region, including stops in Ypsilanti.

Other Options

  • Car Rental: Ypsilanti is easily accessible by car and offers a variety of rental car agencies.
  • Taxi and Rideshare Services: Uber and Lyft are available in the area, as well as several local taxi companies.

How to Get Around in Ypsilanti

Ypsilanti is a walkable and bike-friendly city, with many attractions within easy distance of each other. Visitors can also take advantage of the local bus and taxi services, as well as several car rental agencies.

Where to Go Next from Ypsilanti: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

  • Ann Arbor: Just a few miles from Ypsilanti, this vibrant college town features a variety of cultural attractions, art galleries, and outdoor spaces.
  • Detroit: This bustling city is just a short drive from Ypsilanti and offers world-class museums, music venues, and restaurants.
  • Lake Erie: This scenic lake is just a short drive from Ypsilanti and offers a variety of outdoor activities, including fishing, boating, and swimming.


Ypsilanti is a hidden gem in Southeast Michigan, with a rich cultural heritage, gorgeous natural surroundings, and a thriving arts and culture scene. Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures, fascinating museums, beautiful gardens, or delicious food and drink, Ypsilanti is the perfect destination for your next trip. Plan your itinerary with this comprehensive travel guide and discover all the best things to see, do, and experience in this charming city.