Shopping in Ann Arbor

General Information

Explanations and Tips

Prices are not fixed in the United States, so stores in Ann Arbor may charge different prices for the same item. You may want to compare prices between stores before you make a purchase. The internet is a good way to do this, especially for brand name items.

Sales Taxes
Michigan's sales tax is 6% (in 2011) for all products except food, medicine and periodical publications (newspapers and magazines but NOT books). The prices at stores do not include sales tax.

Personal Checks
Purchases made with a personal check require picture identification, preferably a Michigan Driver’s License or a State of Michigan identification (ID) card. Student ID cards may not be accepted at stores off campus. It is not necessary to show your passport. Some stores, especially small businesses, might not accept checks. Personal checks are often used to pay bills.

Credit Cards
It is safer to use a credit card than cash when purchasing expensive items. A credit card defers payment until you receive a bill once a month. Read the information that comes with your credit card carefully and pay attention to monthly interest fees and late payment penalties. Major credit cards in the U.S. include VISA, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover. Generally most stores accept VISA or MasterCard. If your credit card is lost or stolen, contact the credit card company immediately.

Carry money in small bills (e.g. $5, $10, $20) because smaller stores may not accept large bills, such as $50 and $100. It is not safe to carry large amounts of cash.

ATM and Check Cards
Most stores accept check/debit cards, which immediately deduct the money directly from your bank account. They can also be used to withdraw cash at ATMs, but there may be a service fee or $1-3. Always read the fine print. There is a conversion fee for using foreign ATM cards.

Coupons can save you money on food and daily necessities. Coupons are available in newspapers (Detroit News, Detroit Free Press) and online. At the beginning of each term, coupons for downtown restaurants and stores are distributed around campus. Check the coupon's expiration date on coupons and the terms of discount. Give your coupon to the cashier at the beginning of your purchase.

Store Savings Card
Kroger, CVS, RiteAid and other stores offer free programs ("Kroger Plus" at Kroger, "ExtraCare Rewards" at CVS, and “Wellness +” at RiteAid) that provide product discounts. After you sign up you receive a card to keep in your wallet or on a keychain. Ask the store’s customer service for details.

Return Policy
If you are not satisfied with an item or service you have purchased, you should return it as soon as possible. All stores require a sales receipt for a cash refund or credit card refund. If you don’t have a receipt or the item is used, some stores will still exchange the item or give you store credit, depending on store policy. Underwear and bathing suits are almost always not returnable, and some stores do not accept returns on sale items. Ask for details before you buy.

Alcoholic Beverages
State law requires that the buyer of alcoholic beverages be 21 years or older. You will may asked for an identification card when purchasing alcohol even if you look older than 21. It is illegal to purchase alcohol for people under 21 years old.

Mall and Store Locations

Major shopping centers in the Ann Arbor area 

General Merchandise

Locations listed as Near Campus are within walking distance of Central Campus. UM buses can be used to travel between North Campus and Central Campus. Traver Village Mall, which has a Kroger grocery store, is within walking distance from North Campus.

For locations listed as Off Campus, you can use The Ride, the Ann Arbor bus system. Refer to the Ride Guide in your orientation folder for more details. Schedules are also available at Blake Transit Center downtown. Locations listed as Far from Campus require a car.


Near Campus

Bivouac - Outdoor clothing, boots, shoes, coats, and backpacks
Footprints - Wide range of comfort shoes and boots
Moosejaw - Outdoor clothing, boots, shoes, coats, and backpacks.
Pitaya - Inexpensive, trendy clothing for women
Renaissance - More expensive, designer and custom clothing
Sam's Clothing - Levi’s, shoes, boots, and coats
Urban Outfitters - Moderately priced, trendy clothing, accessories, and home goods
Van Boven - More expensive, men’s suits and formal wear
Van Boven Shoes - Range of shoes and boots for men and women
Vintage to Vogue - More expensive women’s clothing, cosmetics, and candles

Off Campus

Briarwood Mall - Department stores Marshall Fields, JC Penney, Sears, and Von Maur; men's and womens clothing stores including Express, Eddie Bauer, J. Crew, Aldo, Nine West, and Abercrombie & Fitch
Marshalls (Arborland) - Discount brand-name clothing, shoes, and home goods
REI - Coats, boots, backpacks, outdoor clothing and gear

Target (Oak Valley Mall) – Inexpensive clothing, home goods, and more
TJ Maxx (Westgate Shopping Center) - Discount brand-name clothing, shoes, and home goods

Note on Winter Clothing: You will need a long, warm coat and insulated, waterproof snow boots for Ann Arbor's cold, windy, snowy winters. Look for wool, down-filled or synthetic fiber-filled coats that are big enough to wear multiple layers of clothing underneath. The most effective styles cover the neck, have close-fitting cuffs, and are snug at the waist. Boots should be lined with fleece, thinsulate, or another insulating material, have a non-slip tread, and be tall enough to tuck in your pantlegs. You should also have a wool or fleece scarf, hat, and waterproof gloves or mittens. Stores with a good selection of winter coats and boots include Bivouac, Moosejaw, REI, and the Land's End Shop at Sears.

Computers & Electronics

On Campus

U-M Computer Showcase (Michigan Union and Pierpont Commons) - Computers and accessories at special prices

Off Campus

Best Buy - Computers, TVs, audio, video
Big George's - TV, audio and video
Kmart - TVs, audio, video
Meijer - TVs, audio, video
Target - TVs, audio, video


Near Campus

Treasure Mart - Vintage and antique furniture

Off Campus

Art Van Furniture - New furniture
Mattress World - Beds
Kmart - Furniture that requires assembly
Meijer - Furniture that requires assembly
Target - Furniture that requires assembly

Far from Campus

Ikea (Canton) - 20 mins. from campus by car. Furniture that requires assembly

Household Items and Appliances

Near Campus

Downtown Home & Garden - Linens, dishes, and towels

Off Campus

ABC Warehouse - Large and small appliances
Bed, Bath and Beyond (Arborland Mall) - Linens, dishes, towels, small appliances, decor
Best Buy - Large and small appliances
Kmart - Linens, dishes, towels, and small appliances
Meijer - Linens, dishes, towels, and small appliances
Sears (Briarwood Mall) - Large and small appliances
Target - Linens, dishes, towels, and small appliances

Off-Campus Fabric and Craft Supplies

Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts (Oak Valley Mall) - Large selection of fabric and craft supplies
Michael's - Large selection of craft supplies, art supplies, seasonal decorations
Wal-Mart - Fabric and craft supplies

Far from Campus

Ikea (Canton) - 20 mins. from campus by car. Linens, dishes, towels, window coverings, lighting, storage and more

Medicine, Contraceptives, Cosmetics, and Personal Care

On Campus

UHS Pharmacy - Prescription and non-prescription drugs and contraceptives. Prices for prescription contraceptives (birth control pills and diaphragms) and non-prescription contraceptives (condoms, contraceptive foams, jellies, sponges) are usually lower than at regular pharmacies.

Near Campus

CVS (S. State St.) - Prescription and non-prescription drugs and contraceptives
The Village Apothecary - Prescription and non-prescription drugs and contraceptives

Off Campus

Prescription and non-prescription drugs, contraceptives, personal care items, and cosmetics:


For cosmetics:

Sears, Von Maur, Marshall Field's and JC Penny at Briarwood Mall

Textbooks and School Supplies

School supplies are available at all bookstores listed below and at stores like Meijer.

On Campus

North Campus Bookstore
Michigan Union Bookstore

Near Campus


Groceries and International Food Markets


Near Campus

Ann Arbor Farmer’s Market - Fresh fruits and vegetables, baked goods, arts & crafts, and flowers
Busch’s Fresh Food Market (Green Rd) - Full grocery store near North Campus
Kroger (Plymouth Rd) - Full grocery store near North Campus
People's Food Co-op - Bulk foods, spices, fresh produce, specialty foods, and groceries
The Produce Station - Fresh produce, bread, flowers, and prepared foods
Sergeant Pepper’s General Store
Strickland’s Market
White Market (E. William)

Off Campus

Kroger (Various locations) - Full grocery store
Meijer (Various Locations) - One-stop shopping
Hiller's - Full grocery store, large selection of international foods
Plum Market - Upscale grocer
Trader Joe's - Produce, specialty foods, frozen foods, snacks, unique foods
Whole Foods (Two locations) - Organic foods, health foods, groceries, personal care items

Mediterranean, Indian, and Pakistani

Ahmos - Mediterranean
Aladdin's Market - Mediterranean foods, halal meats, and baked-goods
Bombay Grocers - Indian
Foods of India - Indian
Jerusalem International Market - Mediterranean foods, halal meats, and baked-goods
Mediterranean Market - Mediterranean foods, halal meats, and baked-goods

Far East Asian

Dong-Yu China Market - Chinese
Galleria Market - Primarily korean
Hua Xing - Chinese, Vietnamese, and Thai
Hyundai Asian Market - Asian and especially Korean
Manna International Market - Food from all over the world, especially Korean
Tsai Grocery - Chinese and Japanese food


Zingerman's Deli - Upscale Gourmet European deli


Arbor Farms Market - Natural foods and some international foods
Morgan & York - Italian, Asian and South Asian products, imported wines, cheeses, coffee and tea
Monahan's Seafood Market - Fresh fish, smoked fish and seafood items, appetizers, soups

Resale Shops for Used Clothing, Furniture or Household Items

Resale shops offer used items at much lower costs than new merchandise.

Ann Arbor PTO - Clothes, furniture, household items
Kiwanis Club Sales - This organization sells a variety of items, including furniture, clothing, books and kitchen utensils. Open every Saturday. No delivery.
Old Woman in the Shoe - Used clothing for kids
Recycle Ann Arbor Reuse Center - Reclaimed major appliances and furniture
St. Vincent de Paul - Clothes, furniture, household items
Salvation Army - Clothes, furniture, household items
U of M Property Disposition - Used university furniture and other items.

Garage & Yard Sales - Most garage sales are held in the summer on weekends. People advertise on Craigslist and by placing fliers on trees, lightposts, and in their yards. You can find good deals on furniture and household items, and can usually negotiate prices.

Outlet Malls

Outlet malls offer discounts on past-season designer merchandise. They are located far from campus and require a car.

Birch Run Outlet Mall
Tanger Outlet Mall
Great Lakes Crossing Outlet Mall

Shopping Online

Online stores

National retailers often offer a better selection of goods online than in their stores. These sites usually charge shipping fees and sales tax, and you will need a credit card for most purchases.

Stores can be found with an online search engine (google or yahoo). The website brings together many online retailers and provides price comparisons.

Be cautious when buying online. Make sure you are buying from a legitimate online retailer. Check sites such as Yahoo! Shopping for reviews of online retailers and products.

Buying goods online

Online auctions and marketplaces have made it much easier to find new and used goods at reasonable prices. Delivery and payment methods vary, but credit cards and PayPal ( are commonly used.

Craig's List
A great place for used items such as furniture, cars, books, music, electronics and more. Ads are often posted anonymously so it is possible that some ads may be inaccurate or misleading. When purchasing items or checking out a product, always arrange to meet in a well-populated, familiar area and bring friends along. Always check out the product in person before purchasing the item.

Online auction site. Auctions run for a specified number of days. Buyers bid on items and the the highest bid wins.