travel with purpose
COLLiDE Travel is an interactive collection of city guides curated by local bands, artists and tastemakers. Spanning the globe, hundreds of creatives have shared their favorite local hangs, from the underground to the upscale, and everything in between. So choose a city and start exploring!
Allene Smith

Growing up on a llama farm in rural southwest Michigan, land steward Allene Smith discovered her love for nature, which has since grown into a full-fledged career in conservation. “It’s hard to grow up close to nature and not to love it,” she says.  Since earning a B.S. in plant biology from Western Michigan University, she has worked with The Nature Conservancy, MDNR, and the Forest Service.

Today she is a land steward for Legacy Land Conservancy, an organization founded in 1971  in response to growing awareness of the need to preserve natural spaces in southern Michigan, and here Smith has grown to love not only the landscapes she helps manage, but also the community she now calls home.

Check out her Ann Arbor recommendations below.

city guide:
Ann Arbor, MI
Sharon Hills Nature Preserve
"There are open fields, a well-established woodland, and natural wetlands - a pretty diverse landscape - and the trails criss cross, so I can mix up my route." - Allene Smith
Sharon Hollow Rd, Manchester, MI 48158, USA
Recommended by
Lloyd and Mabel Johnson Preserve
"I consider it a bit of a hidden gem. It’s half woodland and half restored prairie. The woodland is high quality considering its being located in a more industrialized part of the city, with a nice buttonbush swamp at its center." - Allene Smith
Platt Rd, Ann Arbor, MI 48108, USA
Recommended by
Cedar Bend Park
"I haven’t been there for sunrise, but Cedar Bend Park is another city park that’s really hilly, and I imagine looking east in the morning from a high point there could be pretty stunning." - Allene Smith
1495 Cedar Bend Dr, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA
Recommended by
Huron River
The Huron River is 130-mile-long, the river system flows through the southeast Michigan counties of Oakland, Ingham, Livingston, Washtenaw, Monroe and Wayne.
Huron River, Michigan, USA
Recommended by
Graffiti Alley
An alley on East Liberty Street in Ann Arbor where the walls are covered with graffiti. The wall has served as a canvas for many graffiti artists over the years and is continuously evolving as new artists leave their mark.
E Liberty St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104, USA
Recommended by
Nickels Arcade
Nickels Arcade is a covered shopping district in Ann Arbor, built in 1918.
326 S State St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104, USA
Recommended by
Michigan Theater
Established in 1928. Home to three screening spaces: the 1600-seat Main Auditorium, the 200-seat Screening Room, and the 60-seat Annex Cinema.
603 E Liberty St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104, USA
Recommended by
Kosmo Bop Shop
"I get their vegetarian bibimbap with sauteed and fermented veggies, and load it up with their gochujang sauce (aka bibimbap sauce). It’s hot, hearty, fast, and all-around legit food." - Allene Smith
407 N 5th Ave, Ann Arbor, MI 48104, USA
Recommended by
Mighty Good
"I love coffee, and in my opinion Mighty Good does it right. The beans are ethically sourced, roasted locally, and turned into art through a wide selection of brew methods. Their decaf is swiss-water processed, which is a good clean choice if you’re looking for a little less oomph, and they can froth non-dairy milk like no other." - Allene Smith
Mighty Good Coffee, North Main Street, Ann Arbor, MI, USA
Recommended by