Things to Do in Midland: The Ultimate Pure Michigan Guide

Midland forest fall
Photo Courtesy of polishlens80

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With natural settings and downtown cityscapes, rugged terrain and upscale splurges, you'll find your vacation in Midland be a beautiful blend of opportunities.
Whether you spend time perusing the Midland Area Farmers Market, tantalizing your taste buds at The Table or Gratzi!, or venturing out amidst the 1,200-acre haven of woodlands and wetlands that is Chippewa Nature Center, there's much to do, see, taste and remember here.
Here's a sampling of the fun things to do in Midland:

1. Experience Year-Round Beauty

Streamside walks along curving pathways, an historic red bridge, jaw-dropping florals and greenery. Be sure to enjoy the gorgeous 110-acre Dow Gardens in Midland any time of year! Consider Butterflies in Bloom (spring), outdoor movies in the gardens (summer), the poinsettia display and Christmas Walk (winter) and touring The Pines and Alden B. Dow Home & Studio in any season.

2. Explore the Canopy inside Whiting Forest of Dow Gardens

Inside above-mentioned Dow Gardens is Whiting Forest of Dow Gardens, and the soon-to-be, 1,400-foot, fully-accessible Whiting Forest Canopy Walk - the longest canopy walk in the nation - suspended four stories above the forest floor. Don't pass on discovering this incredible project in its infancy; a grand opening will take place in October 2018!

3. Enjoy a Museum and a Show at the Midland Center for the Arts 

With two museums (and wall-sized, show-stopper fish tanks), two performance venues and art studios, Midland Center for the Arts is the Great Lakes Bay Region's one-stop destination for art, science, history, music, theatre, dance, films, and professional world-class entertainers. 

4. Wine and Dine

Unwind at Whine - a "wine bar, with attitude" - offering an ample wine list with regional selections by the bottle or glass (and inventive small plates prepared with seasonal, local ingredients). And be sure to visit Downtown Midland's boutique winery - Grape Beginnings Winery - to enjoy wine tasting alongside unforgettable hot plates of Crab Puffs and Gorgonzola Honey Bruschetta.

5. Try Hands On Art 

Walk into the Pottery Studio and Glaze Bar at Space Studios, an architectural gem situated on rural, 5-acre property, and try your hand at painting and creating from a wide selection of ready-to-be-glazed, handcrafted pottery. And stop into Creative 360 for all kinds of creative endeavors to explore while enjoying art exhibits by area artists.

6. Play Ball

Or at least experience a Great Lakes Loons Minor League Baseball game at Dow Diamond! With seating for 5,200 fans (and 24 concession facilities, two indoor fireplaces, two outdoor fire pits, a group picnic area, and the Northern Lights Pavilion), enjoy a day at the ball game and say hi to official mascot, Lou E. Loon!

7. Find Bliss at Dahlia Hill 

Immerse yourself from April - November in Dahlia Hill and experience eight terraces bursting with more than 3,000 Dahlia blooms of more than 300 varieties, garden sculptures, and artist Charles Breed's working studio and museum.  

8. Venture Outside

Plan time to get out and breathe in the fresh air! Bike, hike, inline skate (or cross-country ski) the 30-mile Pere Marquette Rail Trail, or spend time in nature hitting up nearly 19 miles of trails at Chippewa Nature Center (and check out the two-story observation deck for birds-eye viewing at its best). And be sure to put Ike's Mobile Kayak Rentals on your radar if you're looking to add waterfront memories to your Midland getaway!

9. Cheers with Beer

Don't leave Midland without a stop at Midland Brewing Company to enjoy "historically great beers" that honor lumberjacks and brewers of the 1800s. And make sure to sip inside Whichcraft Taproom which serves up more than 80 varieties (40 on tap) of beer, wine, cider, and mead exclusively from Michigan artisans!

10. Shop Your Heart Out

Check out all the shopping available in Midland, and be sure to stop into favorites like Elodie Boutique for trendy and timeless wearables, or Coyer Candle Co. for a different kind of take-home fresh find.

11. Walk the The Tridge 

Ahh, Midland. Home to The Tridge that may very well be the only three-legged pedestrian bridge in the U.S. (a must-experience while you're here), and the kind of city that'll leave you feeling like you've found the best of both worlds: upscale and downhome, rugged and refined.
About the Author: Jen W. O'Deay is a writer and small business owner in Saginaw. You can find Jen reading, always, camping with her family, or at: