Things to Do in Saginaw: The Ultimate Pure Michigan Guide

Photo Courtesy of great_smitten_adventures

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A diverse city from Riverfront Saginaw to Old Saginaw City with natural wonders like the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge and Saginaw Valley Rail Trail beckoning for outdoor adventures, Saginaw is rich in opportunity to explore! From art museums and theatres to iconic locales with both historical relevance and modern-day flair, there's so much to do!


Let this snippet of fun things to do in Saginaw act as your starting point:


1. Sip Teas at Japanese Cultural Center and Tea House

Revered as one of the most authentic Japanese gardens in all of North America and the only authentic Japanese tea house in the Midwest, experience the Japanese Cultural Center and Tea House. Traditional Tea Ceremonies (Chanoyu) are offered the second Saturday of each month, but a "Tea & Tour" can be scheduled anytime and the three-acre gardens on the shore of Lake Linton are free to enjoy.


2. Book a Custom Boat Tour with Johnny Panther Quests Adventure Trips


Not only will booking a custom boat tour with Johnny Panther Quests Adventure Trips bring you through one of the richest wildlife habitats in all of Pure Michigan - the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge - but your excursion will also include unforgettable, scenic views that'll leave you daydreaming about how relaxed you felt on this Michigan ecotour outing.


3. Explore the Castle Museum of Saginaw County History

Built in 1897 in the style of a French chateau, admission is just $1 (and .50 cents for children) to explore the Castle Museum of Saginaw County History. Featuring traveling exhibits and show stopping displays of Saginaw history, try to find the gargoyles outside and ask a staff member inside about their meaning!


4. Attend a Live Event

Enjoy events amidst the 25,000 square-foot Wendler Arena inside the Dow Event Center, or at the neighboring outdoor Huntington Event Park in summer months. And just up the road is the historic Temple Theatre, a beautifully restored 1927 theatre that hosts live events, plus a recurring Dueling Pianos show that's worth catching while you're in town!


5. Indulge in Art 


Peruse the Saginaw Art Museum, a 1904 Georgian-Revival Mansion with Italianate gardens and a permanent collection spanning 4,500 years, or possibly Gingerblue Gallery, featuring international and local artists and a selection of mediums. Or, browse the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum, with more than 200 sculptures (and 20 bronze statues in the Sculpture Garden).


6. Sample Cocktails and Craft Brews 

Experience a wide selection of wines and martinis amidst the 1920s-style speakeasy ambiance of Bancroft Wine and Martini Bar, then walk around the corner to Bourbon + Co. where you'll sample from more than 70 bourbons. Whet your whistle at Old Town Distillery, slip inside Woody's Draught House to sample from 100+ beers on tap, or taste the elevated brewing craft at Oracle Brewing Company, where artisan touches are infused every step of the way, from grain to glass.


7. Shop Your Way Around Town 

Discover upscale, trendy clothing and accessories inside OMONI Boutique, or scour vintage goods, furniture, and hard-to-finds at the Antique Warehouse, Old Town Furniture and Adomaitis Antiques.


8. Find Fun for the Whole Family


Let the kids have hands-on fun at the Mid-Michigan Children's Museum (and try deciding if little kids or "big kids" enjoy this place more)! And be sure to spend time at the Saginaw Children's Zoo at Celebration Square, marveling at the animals and riding the hand-carved carousel and miniature train. (Psst! Buy double tickets. When the kids say, "Can we ride again?", say, "Yes!" and watch their faces light up!) 


9. Taste New Dishes

Sample Asian-fusion dishes (and arguably the best spring rolls around) at Pasong's Café, enjoy award-winning steak and global wine offerings at Jake's Old City Grill, experience upscale-yet-urban fine dining at Artisan Urban Bistro in Old Saginaw City, or peruse the Downtown Saginaw Farmers Market at the brand new SVRC Marketplace for peak-of-freshness local flavors and one-of-a-kind marketplace finds.



Whether you grab a Coney dog and root beer at Saginaw's infamous 1950s-style drive-in car hop, Old Town Drive In, or picnic at Saginaw's own Ojibway Island, you’re bound to enjoy every bit of your Great Lakes Bay getaway in Saginaw!



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: