6 Michigan Cities to Stroll Through this Spring

It’s finally spring and we can emerge out of our winter cocoons, stretch our legs, and stroll the beautiful streets and cities in Michigan. Here are six places we think your feet should travel, according to Margaret Clegg of The Awesome Mitten.

Sault Ste. Marie

As the oldest city in Michigan, there’s a lot of history to see in Sault Ste. Marie. See the historic Soo Locks up close and personal or take a walk to The Tower of History and enjoy a panoramic view of the Soo and the city from a height of 210 feet. If you enjoy shopping, there are numerous unique shops along the downtown strip. Find unique items for your home at Thinking of U, handmade wooden products from Island Books & Crafts, and outdoor weather wear at Bird’s Eye Outfitters. After a stroll through Sault Ste. Marie, quench your thirst at any of the drinking establishments in the “BARmuda Triangle,” featuring 13 bars that are all within walking distance to each other and to hotels. Visit 1668 Winery and Lockside Brewery for locally made brews or make a stop at Zim’s, a bi-level bar that features a live DJ and dancing.


The downtown area of Brighton feels like strolling down a road from yesterday. With the church set up the hill, just atop the river, the setting is so peaceful. There is so much to do and see along Main Street. On a warm spring day there are children playing in the park, people taking their dogs for a walk, and families feeding the ducks in the pond. Downtown Brighton prides themselves in being a “strolling community,” and you can see more than 30 public art exhibits as you walk through the area. There are also many fun-filled shops, like Oh My Lolli, where they make handmade candies,  conveniently located just across the from the playground. There’s Sassafrass Gifts, where you can unique items for a friend. When you’ve worked up the hunger for a bite to eat, you can enjoy an authentic Italian meal at Buon Gusto or a drink at Downtown Main Martini Bar and Grille.

Photo Courtesy of Margaret Clegg

Ann Arbor

College campuses are always the best place to take a stroll. Around the University of Michigan campus there are college students out throwing frisbees, musicians on street corners, and community events all year long. Nothing accompanies a good walk quite like a good meal, and Ann Arbor is great place to grab a bite. You can grab an outdoor seat at the Jolly Pumpkin for a salad or granite baked pizza, accompanied by a nice locally made beer. If your tastes are a bit more ethnic, you can pop on over to The Earthen Jar, where the Indian buffet is completely vegetarian and gluten-free, and the other customers are so friendly. If you want to walk with the community in a unique way, take part in the Fool Moon art parade, which kicks off the outdoor festival season.

Photo Courtesy of Margaret Clegg

Grand Rapids

We can think of no grander place to take a walk in the spring than Grand Rapids. While this 158-acre campus has many things to see on foot, the annual butterfly exhibit at Frederik Mejier Gardens & Sculpture Park is a huge attraction.  There are over 50 different species represented during this time, from March 1st through April 30th. Additional features of the gardens include outdoor sculptures to view, wooded trails to walk, and a children’s garden that provides hours of enjoyment. Once you’ve had your fill of viewing fresh flowers, you can take a short drive down the street to Green Restaurant, an eatery that focuses on fresh, local and organic foods. If time allows, venture a bit farther into the city and stop at the Downtown Market. There you can sample a variety of local flavors, with an appetizer of meat and cheese from Aperitivo, locally sourced meals from Making Thyme Kitchen, and organic desserts from Love’s Ice Cream.

Photo Courtesy of Margaret Clegg


If the view of the coastline takes your breath away, Petoskey is a beautiful place to visit. If you’re looking to enjoy the scenic beauty up close, Petoskey has many trails, pathways and preserves to take by foot or by bike. For historic views of Petoskey on foot, participate in one of their hour long Ghost Walks or do a self-guided tour of the Petoskey locations that were significant to Ernest Hemingway while he vacationed here. For a quick lunch after taking a stroll, stop by The Grain Train. This health food store also has a convenient hot food bar and deli. The view from the seating area overlooks the water, and is truly refreshing. If you’re looking to sit down meal, make sure to visit Petoskey during their annual Restaurant Week, which takes places May 20th through the 27th.

Photo Courtesy of Margaret Clegg

Traverse City

Traverse City is know as the Cherry Capital of the World, and in spring time the orchards are in blossom. There is more to this city than cherries and wine though. Tucked a few miles away from the downtown, The Village at Grand Traverse Commons invites people to walk back to older times. What was once the Traverse City State Hospital has been beautifully restored to include restaurants, unique crafters, business offices and housing. Enjoy their outdoor scenery by strolling through the gardens and preserved parklands, enjoying a picnic on their front lawn, or visiting their historic arboretum. Inside you will find many shops, including Gallery Fifty, which carries art from every state around the country. Purchase clothing that represents our great state from High Five Threads and enjoy locally grown tea at Cuppa Joe Cafe. For a fun dining experiences, enjoy homemade tamales at Spanglish or visit Left Foot Charley to sample local wines.

Photo Courtesy of Margaret Clegg

What are your favorite places to visit in the spring? Which Michigan destination are you headed to in the coming weeks?


Margaret Clegg was born and raised in Michigan and resides in Flint. She is a Central Michigan University graduate and the proud wife of an amazing husband and owner of two adorable dogs. She is a passionate advocate for Celiac Disease and works with many organizations within the state to help those with these special needs. She’s a proud MSU fan and loves ice cream. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Periscope.

The I-500 Race Returns to Sault Ste. Marie

The 45th International 500 Endurance Snowmobile Race (or I-500) comes to Sault Ste. Marie in just a few weeks! Today, Mariah Goos of the Sault Ste. Marie Convention & Visitors Bureau fills us in on what to expect at the race, along with her recommendations on other things to see in the area while you’re in town.

If you find yourself in Michigan’s Eastern Upper Peninsula February 2nd, 2013, take a drive to Sault Ste. Marie and you’ll be in for an adventure. 500 miles of speed, thrills and spills will be waiting for you at the 45th International 500 Endurance Snowmobile Race. The I-500, as we call it, is February’s answer to cabin fever for over 10,000 spectators. For $15 dollars a button you can watch 38 teams race at 100mph through the straightaway for a prize purse worth tens of thousands of dollars.

Did I mention that they race on a one mile ice oval track? Yes, ice. It takes three weeks, 1,800,000 gallons of water, and freezing temperatures to create the track.

You’ve never been, you say!? What’s to do, you ask? Between watching the snowmobiles careen around the ice track you might wander through the 12th Annual Vintage Snowmobile Show. Sleds representing nearly every decade since the launch of the snow machine are present. Admission is included with the purchase of a button.

The I-500 race has a tailgate atmosphere filled with festive social spectators. Bring your cooler or purchase food and beverage from the local vendors that line the infield. Join this fun atmosphere to chase away your cabin fever, but remember to dress warm. You never know what the weather has in store during early February.

Truth be told, you can turn your Saturday I-500 Race adventure into a weeklong excursion.

Bring your ice skates and join in Monday night for skating on the smooth one mile oval track for free. Then, watch Tuesday through Thursday afternoons as teams practice and jockey for position in time trials. Ramp up Thursday night with the 20 lap Woody’s Challenge Pro-Am Race, followed by a live band to rock out the evening.

Finally, on Friday night cast your vote for the 2013 Miss I-500. Vote for your favorite contestant with your pocketbook; all funds donated to the Pink Ribbon Riders Breast Cancer patient assistance fund. Admission is free. Stick around after the crowning of Miss I-500 to watch the kids tear up the track in the Mini-Z Race. Enjoy the crackling bon-fire as Friday night wines down and you prepare for the fun of Saturday mornings green flag at 10:00am.

Fill in your race weekdays with amazing winter adventures in and around Sault Ste. Marie. Have you ever seen the Tahquamenon Falls? How about in the winter? The frozen cascade of the 50 foot falls is a site you have to see in person. How about speeding down an icy slope in an inner tube? Or, visit Sault Seal Recreation Area and experience all seven runs of varying inclines. And if you missed Monday night’s ice skating there are three indoor facilities to choose from right in town.

Whether you come for the day or the week, a trip to Sault Ste. Marie Michigan for the I-500 Race should be on your to do list for 2013. There are only three things you need to know about the race to fully appreciate it: Go Fast, Always Turn Left and DON’T Fall Off The Sled.

For information on Sault Ste. Marie please visit http://www.saultstemarie.com/. Information regarding the International 500 Endurance Snowmobile Race please visit http://www.i-500.com/.

Are you attending the I-500 race next month? Share with us below!

Mariah Goos is the Communication Coordinator for the Sault Ste. Marie, MI Convention & Visitors Bureau (http://www.saultstemarie.com/). She is the face behind a number of the social media interactions that comes out of the Sault. Mariah loves all three seasons in the Upper Peninsula and her motto is “No Coffee…No Workee”. Find her on Twitter (@VisitTheSault), Facebook, and Pinterest.

My Heart Belongs to Michigan

Kim Traud shares her “Pure Michigan Moment,” fond memories of vacationing with her parents and her plans to carry on that tradition.


Flickr photo credit: Sandra Pruden

Mackinac Bridge

Other than the few years I lived out of state, I was born in Michigan and have raised my family here. I love Michigan for all of its timeless beauty. The places I enjoyed are still there for my kids to enjoy and hopefully will be there for generations to come! Michigan is home and will always hold my heart.


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