Whether your game is on the field, in the water, on the ice or at the arena, Ann Arbor, Mich., has a hospitable venue for your group and a community full of accommodations, attractions and entertainment that deliver for events large and small.
Ann Arbor, 20 minutes from Detroit Metro International Airport, is home to the main campus of the University of Michigan, enjoys more than 300 restaurants and 5,000 hotel rooms, and is home to more than 100 arts and entertainment venues from jazz and blues clubs to fine art museums to keep teams and fans engaged.
The area, which includes neighboring Ypsilanti, has hosted sporting events from the 2019 Supra Boats Pro Wakeboard Tour on the 958-acre Ford Lake to the AAU Track and Field Junior Olympics, held 2017 at Eastern Michigan University in neighboring Ypsilanti, attracting 12,000 athletes and fans.
Here are several of the area’s top venues:
Ann Arbor Ice Cube
Groups find three distinct ice sheets and at the “Cube.” The Stadium (1,100 viewing seats) and Varsity rinks are NHL regulation-sized and the Olympic Rink is an international, Olympics sized surface. Long the region’s premier ice facility, the Cube is a complete with locker rooms, pro-shop, fitness center, café, arcade and vending. In April of 2020, the Cube plays host to the under-18 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championships, one of the largest events in the sport.
University of Michigan – Intramural Sports Building (IMSB)
Constructed in the early 1900’s and recently fully-renovated, IMSB is the oldest building on campus dedicated solely to recreation.
A classic field-house feel, the facility oozes history and is just steps from the outside track where in 1935, future Olympian Jesse Owens set five track and field world records and equaled another in the span of 45 minutes while competing for Ohio State at the Big Ten championship at the University of Michigan.
Four basketball courts, three racquetball courts, three wallyball courts, free weights, weight machines, cardio trainers, showers and locker room facilities are found here. Fencing, boxing, volleyball, badminton and Quidditch are just a few of the events hosted in this historic space.
University of Michigan - Mitchell Field
Soccer, football, baseball, and softball happen here on multiple fields (all with lights) including: Two, 308' x 195' grass fields; two 309' x 209' turf fields and two ball diamonds. Mitchell Filed, operated by the university’s recreation sports department, is home to many of U of M Club Sports and Intramural games. There’s plenty of parking, covered facilities for registration, scoring and restrooms. It’s only 10 minutes from the heart of campus.
Eastern Michigan University – Convocation Center
Ypsilanti is home to Eastern Michigan University, which hosts several sporting venues available for group rental.
The Convocation Center was built in 1998 as EMU drove a campus-wide upgrade initiative. A multi-purpose facility, the EMU CC hosts trade shows, concerts and athletic events including basketball. Flexible seating arrangements hold up to 8,800 for athletic events. With variable arena floor configurations (10,000/20,000 square feet) and a large atrium (7,000 square feet), the CC is well-suited for large events.
Eastern Michigan University - Olds/Robb Intramural Complex
The Olds/Robb Student Recreation Intermural Complex houses eight racquetball courts, the Jones Natatorium with 50-meter pool capable of hosting swim and dive meets, synchronized swim, water polo and even kayaking. The facility has a dance/aerobics studio and conference facilities.
Eastern Michigan University – Rynearson Stadium
Home to the EMU Eagles and their fabled mascot Swoop, Rynearson Stadium is also known as “The Factory.” Capacity here is 30,200. One of the most unique venues in college football, the gray artificial turf is surrounded by an Olympic-sized track. The facility has a state-of-the-art weight room with recent upgrades including a comprehensive video scoreboard. The Factory hosted the track and field portion of the AAU Junior Olympics in summer 2017.
The “Big House” – Michigan Stadium
There’s only one venue in Ann Arbor that can hold the city’s entire population for a party: Michigan Stadium. Tours of the “Big House” are a special treat for sports groups. Tidbits include the official seating capacity is 109,901, but the “Big House” holds the NCAA single season attendance record (2012) with an average head count of 112,252. The “Big House” had a record turn-out of 115,109 to root for the Wolverines as they beat Notre Dame in 2013. The behind-the-scenes tour puts visitors in the locker room, on the field, and in the same rare air as that breathed by U of M legends like Tom Brady, Tom Harmon, Charles Woodson and Desmond Howard.
Photo Credit: Destination Ann Arbor