Once in a while you just have to unplug and remove yourself from the subdued neuroticism of a library and the oppressive concrete of downtown to indulge your inner Walt Whitman. Luckily, we’re endowed with the Nichols Arboretum (commonly known as “The Arb”), the best place in Ann Arbor to let it all go and appreciate everything natural.

The 123-acre site, first opened in 1907, is a prime location for recreation and the exploration of ecological diversity. In late May, the blossoming of peonies announces the imminent arrival of summer in spectacular fashion. Within a month, The Arb becomes the place to be in Ann Arbor, as students and residents flock to exercise or spend a lazy, relaxing afternoon. Over three weeks in the month of June, the Arb hosts stunning productions of Shakespeare which forego the use of constructed stages in favor of the park’s natural topography.

However, the Arb is not just a summer destination. Events are held throughout the year ranging from Japanese flower arrangement tutorials to classes about exotic trees, all organized by groups of extremely passionate individuals. It is a center for recreational activities during all four seasons and most importantly, an integral part of what makes Ann Arbor “Tree Town.”

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