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Home » Discover Rackham » Explore Michigan: Spring Fever in Southeast Michigan
A map of Michigan, highlighting Ann Arbor, Clare, Detroit and Holland, MI.

Places to visit.

Winter is over! I know, it's a bold statement in Michigan, but I'm going to make it. As much as I love winter (and I don't mean that sarcastically), there's nothing better than a Michigan spring. The grass is greener, the flowers are in bloom, the birds are chirping, the days are longer, the temperature is warmer, and the air is fresher. I've spent most of my life in Southeast Michigan and, in my opinion, the best way to experience spring in this area is to get outside. So, in this Explore Michigan post, I will highlight my favorite spring outings in and around Southeast Michigan (with a few additions if you have time for a road trip).

Grab some drinks at Dominick's
Why not start right here in Ann Arbor? Now that spring break is over, one of Ann Arbor's most cherished institutions, Dominick's, is once again open for business. Dominick's has a large patio that is perfect for having a few drinks with your friends while spending time outside.

Go for a walk around campus
It sounds like such a simple thing, but I often enjoy the short break from research to get outdoors and enjoy the sights. In the spring it's perhaps even more rewarding to go for a walk after being cooped up indoors during the winter. I relish the sight of the first few flowers in bloom along the woods and all the green that pops up over the season.

Daffodils blooming amid dead leaves.

Daffodils!

Have a barbeque
Spring is all about taking advantage of those warm days that take us by surprise and immediately lighten our mood. So, if you walk outside and find that you aren't instantly chilled, call up your friends, take the evening off, and have a barbeque.

Celebrate April 25th
What is April 25th you ask? Only the best holiday that you haven't been celebrating. If you've ever thought that there is too long of a break between St. Patrick's Day and Memorial Day then this holiday is for you. Also, it's no surprise that April 25th conveniently coincides with the end of the semester. The traditions of April 25th are very flexible, so long as you get together with friends and take a day off from your hectic lives to celebrate together.

Go to a sports game in Detroit
For the last few years, Detroit has been advertising “April in the D,” which is a campaign to get people downtown for one of the sports games going on this time of year. April is an especially great time to catch a game because the Tigers have just begun their baseball season and the Red Wings and Pistons are ending their seasons with potential playoff runs in their respective sports of hockey and basketball.

Go morel mushroom hunting
Don't like mushrooms? Neither do I, but I love morels. And, lucky for us, the very expensive mushrooms grow wild in Michigan. Although the ideal climate for morels is northern lower Michigan, you may find them closer to home. Every May I go morel hunting at my family's cabin near Clare, MI, which is a couple of hour's drive Northwest of Ann Arbor. There is a debate as to where the best place to find morels is. However, if you do find one, you can be pretty sure that others are nearby. Peak season for morels is generally mid-May, but tends to vary based on the weather. Given the warm winter we had, my guess is that morels will begin to spring up in early May this year. If you're adventurous, Boyne City hosts the Annual Morel Festival May 12-15 this year.

A word of caution before going morel mushroom hunting – there is a poisonous false morel mushroom out there so make sure to do some research before taking to the woods and make sure you know what you're eating.

Morel mushrooms growning.

Morel mushrooms.

Check out the Holland Tulip Festival
I featured Holland, MI in my Explore Michigan post last summer, but I wanted to return to it briefly because it is THE spring destination in Michigan. Holland is home to the annual Tulip Time Festival, where Windmill Island Gardens comes alive with rows upon rows of tulips. It is truly a spectacular sight to see and I encourage anyone to make it a point to make the trip at least one time while you live in Michigan. This year the festival takes place May 7-14. The drive from Ann Arbor is about 2.5 hours so make sure to plan ahead.

Windmill and tulips in Holland, MI.

Tulip Time Festival.

As the semester and school year draw to a close, make some time to get outside and enjoy the season. Spring is the season of rebirth, and it couldn’t be more evident than in a place like Southeast Michigan. The barren tundra that encompassed the landscape during winter is giving way to a lush green countryside. So grab a light jacket and head outdoors!

Flowering tree on North Campus.

Flowering tree on North Campus.

Rackham Graduate School will be closed for the Thanksgiving holiday at 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 21. We will return at 8:00 a.m. on Monday, November 26. During the holiday, there will be no processing of application materials and no updates to your Wolverine Access account. After we reopen, there will be a delay in processing application materials. Thank you for your patience as we process the high volume of materials.