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​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Park Address:​ ​215 Chapin St, Ann Arbor MI 48103

Access          Am​enities          His​​t​​ory

Hours and Rules

Open 6 a.m.-midnight with quiet hours beginning at 10 p.m. No vehicles allowed in the parking lot from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Refer to Chapter 39 of the City of Ann Arbor Code of Ordinances for park regulations and rules. Smoking is prohibited, alcohol is prohibited, ​and dogs must be on leash.  ​

Overview

West Park is a large, sprawling 26-acre park located close to downtown between Miller Avenue and W. Huron Street, and Chapin Street and N. Seventh Street. View the Ann Arbor Parks and Nature Areas map for location context. The park contains rolling grassy hills, large beautiful trees, and plenty of things to do. The park contains a historic bandshell where concerts are given in the summer, a playground, softball field, a basketball court, tennis courts, picnic tables and walking path.  A historic pergola is located at the northernmost entrance off of Miller Avenue. There are large and beautiful oaks located in the middle of the park near the picnic area. The tennis courts are located off of W. Huron Street but can be accessed from the main park area by taking the wooden staircase up to street level on the south side of the park. ​

There is a pond near the center of the park with a surprising amount of wildlife to see. A Great Blue Heron often stalks the pond in the summer months. West Park is a great destination to see birds in the winter.  Since the park has lots of open space and winter maintenance, raptors such as Red-tailed Hawk, Cooper’s Hawk and Merlin can be seen hunting from its tall trees. Within the park is a segment of a historic ​Native American trail​, which is maintained by Natural Area Preservation​ and volunteers. 

West Park features two Champion Trees​, being the largest trees of their respective species in the city. The city's champion burr oak (Quercus macrocarpa) is located​ in the center of the park near the bandshell. The city's champion northern red oak (Quercus rubura) is on along Miller Avenue at the park's northern foot entrance. View both locations on the city's Champion Tree map and both are noted with green arrows on the park map below.

Bandshell Update 5/20/21:  The historic bandshell is closed due to safety concerns resulting from deterioration to the structural foundation.  

At approximately 80 years old, the bandshell is routinely monitored for structural integrity. This spring, an engineering firm performed a structural evaluation of the bandshell, which showed significant degradation since the last foundation wall study was completed in 2015.

Further investigation and monitoring are required before developing a plan of action to rehabilitate the bandshell. During this time period, we will be installing a protective fence around the boundary of the structure. We apologize for needing to take this wonderful community amenity offline, and appreciate your patience as we work to resolve the problem.​​​

​For project updates, please visit, www.a2gov.org/ParkP​lanning​

​Access and Parking

There is a parking lot at the park's main entrance off of Chapin Street. There are five spaces for park parking adjacent to the tennis courts off of Huron Street on the south edge of the park.

The park is accessible by foot and bicycle via the streets that border the park. There are sidewalks along 7th Street, Miller Avenue, Chapin Street, and Huron Street on all four sides of the park, and there are pedestrian entrances on all four streets. There are bike lanes along Miller Avenue on the north edge of the park. There are bike racks at the main park entrance off of Chapin Street.

Public Transportation: The nearest bus stop​ to the main entrance is on Miller Avenue, and there are bus stops adjacent to the park along both Miller Avenue and Huron Street​. Visit The Ride for schedule and route details or check out the parks ride guide. ​​​​​​​​

West Park Ammenities

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Using a Phone? - Click for a GPS Tracker and Wayfinding Map

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Amenities

 

Volunteer

There are ongoing and limitless opportunities for volunteering and getting engaged with the Ann Arbor Parks and Recreation Services Unit. GIVE 365 and the seasonal Adopt-a-Park Program offer volunteer opportunities ranging from a 90 minute commitment, to a more long term, ongoing role. Natural Area P​reservation also has volunteer opportunities that support their mission to protect and restore Ann Arbor's natural areas and to foster an environmental ethic among its citizens. If you are feeling the call to volunteer or give some time, reach out or explore the websites above to see what’s upcoming or how to get involved.​​

Report a Problem - A2 Fix It

To report any maintenance issues or other problem during your park visit, please report through A2Fix It. When reporting an issue in a park please include location details. There is a details and description section near the end of the request process to help you provide this. In addition, users can utilize the pin (website) or X (mobile app) feature to provide specific location information inside the park. Finally, please consider including a wide angle photo or include background landmarks, which helps staff find and fix the problem.

Gifts and Donations 

Information on donating to the parks and the Guide to Giving can be found here. Alternatively if you have a special project or park improvement idea that you want to donate your time and energy toward, a great place to start is through Adopt-a-Park and the proposing a special park project guide. For information on donating a tree through Adopt-a-Park, the tree donation guide can help you get started.​

History​

The​ acquisition of the land for West Park as we know it today began in 1908, when the City Council authorized the purchase of six acres of land for "Westside Park." The park became known as West Park in 1909. The park was expanded over the next several decades by a variety of land purchases. The pergola at the park's north entrance was constructed in 1925. In 1936 the Board of Education deeded some land to the park that had previously been deeded to them. By 1941, the park contained five tennis courts, the first of which was built in 1910.​ The last parcel of land to be acquired came in 1964. Read a history of the early developments and acquisitions for the park here​.

The Band Shell

The plans for the historic Band Shell in West Park were approved in 1938, receiving $8411 in federal funds. It was constructed and dedicated that same year. It was originally called the West Park Orchestra Shell and was built for the Ann Arbor Symony Orchestra. About 1800 people attended the dedication, and the bandshell was a cultural landmark for decades thereafter. Many concerts and performances happened at the space, with Sunday concerts being a regular and important feature in the city's cultural landscape.

 

The Band Shell under construction in 1938 (picture from AADL)

In 1967, legendary classic rock band the Grateful Dead played at the West Park Band Shell, possibly igniting a long series of controversy and debate about amplified music being played at the Band Shell, which some nearby neighbors found upsetting. Read more about it here in an article from MLive. Amplified music was banned from the Band Shell, and large concerts ceased to happen there. From the 1970s to today, the Band Shell has continued to host events and performances, though fewer of them, with smaller crowds and without amplified sound.


The Grateful Dead playing at the Band Shell in 1967 (picture from MLive)


A performance at the Band Shell in 1988 (picture from AADL)

The Band Shell was shut down in 2021 after inspection revealed that the foundations of the structure were unstable. Several options have been proposed for the future of the structure, including moving it to another location in the park, which could cost around $2 million. The fate of the structure has yet to be determined. Read more about the structure and its future possibilities in this article from MLive.

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​Updated March 2022. Email [email protected]​a2gov.org for incorrect/outdated information.​