State Street District

The Ann Arbor State Street District Neighborhood Association assists in planning for the future to provide a clean, safe, and vital neighborhood. The State Street District is home to the Ann Arbor Art Fair.

Ashley's 35th Anniversary

First opening in 1983, Ashley’s became the oldest craft beer restaurant and pub in the state of Michigan. It’s safe to say they opened before the term “craft beer” was even coined. Ashley’s is located right in the center of downtown Ann Arbor at 338 South State Street and has a second location open in Westland, located at 7525 N. Wayne Rd. This year, Ashley’s is celebrating their 35th anniversary and is very proud to say they are 8,965 days Bud Light free. No better way to celebrate than to custom brew a special commemorative batch of beer!

The bar inside of Ashley’s on South State Street

The bar inside of Ashley’s on South State Street

Brought to us by Bell’s Brewery (Michigan’s oldest and largest independent craft brewery), Ashley’s 35th Anniversary Ale is an Imperial Oatmeal Stout with an ABV of 8.5%. It’s only available on draught and will be around through December. Trust us, it’s delicious; but if you would like to try something else, Ashley’s has around 70 beers to choose from. Owner Jeff More refers to it as a “collection” rather than a “selection."

From the hoppy British bitters to the dark lagers of South Germany, from the classic Pilsners of Bohemia to the arcane fruit beers of Flanders, from the craft micro-brew beers of the US Pacific northwest to the finest Michigan micro-brews.
— Ashley's
Jeff More helping create the 35th Anniversary Ale at Bell’s Brewery

Jeff More helping create the 35th Anniversary Ale at Bell’s Brewery

We wanted to know a little more about beer, and how to find the right one, so we sat down with Jeff to get some pro-tips. 

What is beer made of?

“There are 4 ingredients in beer: water, yeast, malt, and hops. Hops are a preservative, an agent for aroma, and they contribute to the bitterness of the beer. Malt provides the sweetness, and body in alcohol. All ingredients must be balanced and in harmony in order to achieve the perfect beer”

How do I find a beer I really like?

“Look at what flavors you like when it comes to food. Now look at how those flavors can be used to craft a beer. The palette of ingredients that can be used in beer is so diverse that such amazing flavors can be created. There are 1,000’s of different types of yeast to choose from, like butterscotch yeast or citrus yeast. It’s amazing what you can do.”

What’s the perfect temperature for beer?

“Good beer will be served north of 40 degrees. You will notice how great the flavor is. If your beer is being served ice cold, you’re definitely missing out. For example, Founders Canadian Breakfast Stout is a beer that ages in bourbon barrels. These bourbon barrels have previously aged maple syrup… so can you image what rich flavor it has? It should be served warmer, about 45-50 degrees.”

What does DIPA mean?

“This just means the beer has double the hops and malt, so it’s stronger and contains a higher alcohol content. It stands for Double India Pale Ale, and is also known as Imperial IPA.”

If you don’t like beer, that’s great — we can work with you and expand your palette. If you like Budweiser, there’s not much we can do.
— Jeff More

SEE Eyewear: A Closer Look


SEE has worked hard since 1998 to bring unique and stylish eyewear to the people of Ann Arbor. Starting April 19th SEE will be hosting its annual Spring Trunk Show. The Spring Trunk Show will offer customers amazing Spring styles. These styles will cause serious eyewear envy considering there are a very limited number created, making them and YOU incredibly unique! You can just walk in to SEE what all of the hype is about or make an appointment with a stylist to get some one on one attention. The Trunk Show goes through April 22nd and you get a FREE GIFT (while supplies last), valued at $45 with your eyewear purchase on Thursday and Friday!  

One of the many unique designs SEEn at the store

One of the many unique designs SEEn at the store

    When’s the last time you had an eye examination? If you have to think about it, then it has been too long. Lucky for you, SEE offers eye examinations 6 days a week. Sunday is a new addition for SEE to have the eye doctor in, and parking is free so it’s easy to get downtown for a check up. Speaking of new, SEE makes sure they offer new inventory once a month. This means you will most likely SEE some glasses that fit your evolving style every visit.  

    SEE has a vision for using quality material in their products. They use Mazzucchelli, the finest Italian acetate. Mazzucchelli is ‘known for its strength, versatility, and most importantly its vibrant color.’ SEE values individuality and carefully crafted pieces. They have brought an entirely new layer of artistry to eyewear. They offer handmade styles from Italy, Germany, France, throughout Europe and even the US. Take a look around and SEE for yourself just how amazing their products are. You have the perfect opportunity at the Spring Trunk Show this week.  

The Spring Trunk Show Invitation

The Spring Trunk Show Invitation

University Flower Shop: A Flourishing Local Business

Young, hard-working, local business owners in Downtown Ann Arbor play an important role in maintaining the vibrant energy of the neighborhood. Dani Vignos, the owner of the University Flower Shop that is located in the 100-year old Nickels arcade, purchased the shop in April, 2015, just before she graduated from Michigan. She had aspirations of entrepreneurship after college and the opportunity to revamp the flower shop as the new owner had impeccable timing. Though she knew taking on this kind of responsibility would have its challenges, encouraging words from other young entrepreneurs in the area combined with her vision of success solidified her decision to pursue this path.    

Dani’s vision of the flower shop has blossomed (literally and figuratively) as she has created a beautiful space where guests are immediately greeted with smiles and the scent of fresh flowers. While discussing why she chose this industry, Dani goes in depth about her love of creation and the special significance in flowers, a perishable masterpiece. The composition of various bouquets and flower arrangements allows for her creativity to flourish (pun intended). The University Flower Shop has been around since the 1930s and cycled through different owners, but Dani has eloquently illustrated the special experience of supporting your local flower shop.

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A view just outside the shop, stroll through Nickels Arcade and you can't miss it!

A view just outside the shop, stroll through Nickels Arcade and you can't miss it!

Through supporting University Flower Shop you support local farms where Dani sources her product. One of Dani’s favorite parts of her job is going to the farms and picking the flowers herself. This process allows for a deeper connection with her product and the local flower farmers. She gets especially excited by the approach of spring, that first delivery after a long winter foreshadows what’s to come in Michigan. Dani’s involvement in the Michigan Flower Growers Co-Op has nourished her passion even more as she witnesses the importance of building relationships with the flower farmers.

Locally sourced flowers from @forgetmenotfarmsmi

Locally sourced flowers from @forgetmenotfarmsmi

An image of the power flower, Cymbidium Orchid

An image of the power flower, Cymbidium Orchid

It was her Father’s rose garden that introduced Dani to her first flower love, the Garden Rose. She also loves the Muscari, an adorable spring flower that blooms in purples and whites, perfect for a fresh bouquet. A power flower and another favorite of hers is the Cymbidium Orchid, which ‘stands out in singularity’ according to Dani. Dahlias and Peony Tulips also have a place in her heart as some personal floral favorites.  

Supporting any local businesses remains important in order to maintain the vitality of a neighborhood. Ann Arbor cultivates a strong support system for local businesses to thrive and grow just like a beautiful flower in a nourished garden.

Dascola Barbers: A Staple of Ann Arbor

It all started 79 years ago when Bob Dascola’s father, Dominic, moved from the Upper Peninsula to pursue his academic career at the University of Michigan. Dominic Dascola (Dom) graduated from the University of Michigan in 1936 with an LS&A degree. He continued in academia and earned a Masters degree in Linguistics while working as a barber at the Michigan Union.  

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Bob Dascola pictured with what you can see in the background as what he likes to call his 'happy mirror' covered with the photos of his long-term customers, family Christmas cards and so on.

Bob Dascola pictured with what you can see in the background as what he likes to call his 'happy mirror' covered with the photos of his long-term customers, family Christmas cards and so on.

Dom’s love for learning continued on when he opened a barbershop of his own where he started learning through the people he connected with. As Bob says about working at Dascola Barbers, “this is a cultural and intellectual experience.” Bob does not just cut hair, he builds lasting relationships with his customers. The biggest reason why Dascola Barbers has thrived for as long as it has and has maintained its name as an Ann Arbor staple is because of the relationships with the people. In addition to emphasis on good relationships, Dascola’s is a local family business that adds to the vitality of downtown.  

Walking into Dascola you will instantly feel a sense of home and family. The environment is welcoming and immediately transmits historic energy. As you look around the walls you will see the history in pictures of the many loyal customers. Photos depicted the history of people that have been with Dascola from childhood to adulthood. Also you will see the wall dedicated to the beautiful and talented singer, Celilia Bartoli. Celilia is good friend of Bob Dascola’s and is well known for her opera career in Rome, Italy. She is not the only famous face to see Bob, but also, the Disney star, Ethan Steiner from ‘Newsies’ is a regular of Dascola. Bob prides himself on creating an experience at the barbershop, a time to conversate while freshening up your look.  

A picture Bob referred to as the 'best photo taken' of him and Celilia Bartoli.

A picture Bob referred to as the 'best photo taken' of him and Celilia Bartoli.

So if you go to Dascola Barbers be prepared to not only leave with a slick new haircut, but a smile on your face and feeling of warmth in your heart. It is not just a place focused on cutting hair, but caring for the people.






December 1st make your way down to the District and check out all of the specials your local businesses have to offer! Holiday season is fast approaching and lucky for you the District is offering specials starting at 6:00pm and will continue until close. Come dine in the District while getting deals on clothing, food, beverages, etc.  

‘Tis the season for holiday shopping and supporting local businesses in downtown Ann Arbor! Moonlight Madness is a night dedicated to the deals to help you save money and spend time in the vibrant neighborhood. The ambiance will LITerally be glowing as the State Theater lights the marquee.  

Shop until you drop or until you get hungry, then head to one of the many delicious eateries in the District and find more specials on food and beverages. Though many specials are going on all over, it is especially important to support local businesses this season and Moonlight Madness makes it easy. A couple of local business owners in the District are looking forward to seeing you on December 1st, and here’s what they have to say... 


Kate from Verbena, a hip boutique offering a stylish selection of dresses, casualwear & accessories for women, explains the importance of participating shoppers during Moonlight Madness:  

“Every sale for us really does mean so much. We try to make a personal connection with all of our shoppers and it’s great to see repeats of people who live here and come downtown, we love to get to know them and see our locals come out.”


AJ from Bivouac, a gear shop providing apparel, footwear & supplies for camping, climbing & other outdoor pursuits, speaks on why you should come out December 1st:

“It’s important to come out to support local businesses. Ann Arbor is alive on State street all the way through midnight. It’s a fun time to come out and check out all the specials going on.”  

    Mark it in your calendars, December 1st, starting at 6:00pm it is Moonlight Madness and these sales will drive you mad (in a good way). Bring your families and friends out to enjoy the neighborhood plus the specials, it’s a perfect way to start the holiday.


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Free UMMA Event: Curatorial Dilemmas

Did you know that the University of Michigan Museum of Art puts on FREE events almost every day of the week? I didn’t, but as soon as I discovered this, I had to check it out. They have a variety of events each week that not only educate you on the process behind Museum production, but also knowledge on the stories behind the exhibits. Understanding the curation in the representation of a culture, an artist, artifacts, etc. will help YOU as the Museum attendee learn the most from the experience.  

    The event, Curatorial Dilemmas: Representing Africa at UMMA with Pamela McClusky was the second program in a series of three comprised of different curators from Museums around the country. Pamela McClusky came from the Seattle Art Museum where she is the curator of African and Oceanic art. McClusky focused on connecting artworks and cultures while installing the African, Australian and textile galleries. Pamela states, 

“It’s a chance to rethink how we present [the artwork] with entirely new interpretations.”  Negative stereotypes are often associated with Africa, but that is not an accurate representation. She goes on to say, “So many people think of Africa as alien, but there are so many familiar elements — and look at how it interacts with the rest of the collections.” 

Pamela McClusky pairs a visual presentation with her lecture to depict images that help illustrate her points of discussion.

Pamela McClusky pairs a visual presentation with her lecture to depict images that help illustrate her points of discussion.

    Pamela McClusky starts the presentation by telling more about her travels and interactions with the people of Africa. She has taken on the responsibility to properly educate her audience by curating African art and in doing so she must create the ideal art installation. In her lecture she discusses how she feels her job is an opportunity and an obligation to bring awareness to those who attend the Museum on the most accurate representation of the culture.  

    While discussing the accuracy in representing Africa, Pamela talks about Peter DiCampo, a photojournalist and humanitarian. DiCampo started the What Went Wrong Foundation in hopes to reframe the conversation on foreign aid through in-depth photojournalism, crowdsourced reports, and data visualization. DiCampo’s work is relevant to Museum curators who are working to educate their audiences on the reality of the continent. At one point in the lecture Pamela discusses how difficult it can be to witness Museum guests underappreciating or not understanding the lives behind this artwork. The cultural story needs to be better represented and the artwork needs to be known in order to truly be curated.  

This event is just one of many put on by UMMA and they are all FREE. Take the time to visit your local Museum and learn more about the processes behind the exhibits. You can gain important knowledge, meet interesting people, make valuable connections, and get inspired. Visit to keep up with their FREE and educational events.  

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