Obviously when you’re visiting a college, the food is one of the most important parts of your experience. To me, it’s crucial to check out the best foods in town so that I know what to expect if I end up going there. In Ann Arbor and at University of Michigan, the options are diverse and exciting. A majority of my family (aunts, uncles, and my mom) all went to University of Michigan for college and have emphasized how amazing Ann Arbor is. And to me, it lived up to its expectations. 

When you’re visiting, you’ve got to cover the best and the basic necessities (ice cream, pizza, burgers, brunch, and more), and this is the perfect list for you. Check it out:  

1. Zingerman’s Delicatessen


Photo courtesy of @marisssalevey on Instagram

Get your sandwich fix here. Although it’s kind of expensive, it’s so worth it. And there are so many options to choose from. First, you choose from the extensive list of sandwiches (they have pork, fish, turkey, chicken, beef, corned beef, and vegetarian options) and then you choose your size and what you might want to add to it whether it’s veggies, a different kind of bread, sauce, cheese, or spreads. Zingerman’s is a great quick and easy lunch stop to fuel up despite the lines out the door. 

2. MANI Osteria


Photo courtesy of @jocelyneats on Instagram

Pizza is always the right call, especially on those future college late nights whether you’re studying, partying, or you just want pizza. MANI Osteria serves quality wood oven pizzas and handmade pasta as well as Italian-style soups and sides. But their pizzas are definitely the best part: they’re delicious, cheap, and huge (so you can either eat it all or split it.) What stands out to me is the balsamic burrata pizza, which sounds almost too good to be true. 

3. Blank Slate Creamery


Photo courtesy of @seaofchoi on Instagram

You can’t visit somewhere and not at least  go to one ice cream place. Also, you’ve gotta know how the ice cream is gonna be if you end up going to school here, because bad ice cream = not the right choice. In Ann Arbor, Blank Slate Creamery will fulfill those needs. They offer homemade waffle cones and bowls, sundaes, ice cream sandwiches, and more. And their flavors are everything you would want from a small business ice cream shop. My favorite is Wolverine Tracks, UMich-themed, which is ice cream made of handmade fudge mixed with peanut butter cups (it’s heavenly). Trust me, it’s a great treat after having to listen to people talk about college for what feels like forever.

4. Fred’s


Photo courtesy of @fredslol on Instagram

I always need a smoothie or an açaí bowl to balance out my eating and I need to know where I can get my hands on one. If you’re looking for all the trendy superfoods (açaí bowls, smoothies, and toasts) then Fred’s is where you should venture out to. Perfect for a quick morning stop before you go on a tour, you can choose from options like açaí bowls (my favorite) and avocado toast. They also have smoothies, juices, coffee, tea, and matcha lattes which will be perfect energy kicks if you end up at UMich. 

5. Frita Batidos


Photo courtesy of @seaofchoi on Instagram

Frita Batidos offers both Fritas (a take on Cuban burgers) and Batidos (tropical milkshakes) that are all interpretations of Cuban street food. The burgers are basically an amped up burger that you can get with a sunny side up egg on top (which definitely makes the experience). They’re served with shoestring fries and you can choose from chorizo, chicken, fish, beef, and black bean. Frita Batidos is basically your favorite burger place x1000 and you can’t not try it. It’s more than a burger pub, it’s the perfect stop for a quick bite before you walk around campus or explore Ann Arbor.

6. Sava’s


Photo courtesy of @sethgravelyn on Instagram

Sava’s is your all-around filling and classic American cuisine. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner and there isn’t something on the menu that you won’t know and love. Plus, everything is reasonably priced. My favorite meal is always brunch, and this menu fulfills all those brunch needs. They’ve got everything from sweet pancakes to savory huevos rancheros and avocado toast. For lunch and dinner, you can get the classic sandwiches, salads, and entree platters. Sava’s will fulfill your dining needs over your time touring Ann Arbor so relax, sit back, and enjoy the food.

University of Michigan is a very large school with a beautiful campus and access to everything you could ask for. Everyone I know who goes there and has gone there has loved it and the school exudes school spirit (with great school colors as well). Although it can get super cold, Ann Arbor fills all my city needs (for a person who has grown up in New York City all her life that can be kind of hard) and the food is a huge and important plus.