Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Flint, MI

  • Published 2022/12/07

Situated in the heart of Michigan, Flint City is the largest city in Genesee County that is rich in history, arts, and culture.

Formerly a major lumbering area along the historic Saginaw Trail, you will find heritage sites, galleries, museums, theatres in Flint, which all promote history, science, fine arts, and performing arts.

Settled beside the scenic Flint River, this city has maintained a thriving, creative, and hospitable community despite enduring economic setbacks.

Interested to know more about this place?

Here are the 20 best things to do in Flint, Michigan:

Be Inspired by the Beauty of Applewood Estate

Exterior of Applewood Estate

Paul R. Burley , CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Applewood Estate is a former private home of the Mott family.

It is now a facility dedicated to the renewal of community vitality and is open to the public for free.

The grounds cover about 34 acres that include an orchard of 29 varieties of heritage apples, with 18 acres that are beautifully landscaped gardens.

Beautiful garden of Applewood Estate

Paul R. Burley , CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Within its gardens, you will find many varieties of flowers and perennials, plus a demonstration garden where herbs and vegetables are planted to serve as an example for aspiring gardeners.

Within the estate, you will find archives, photographs, antique artifacts that tell the story of the Mott family, as well as fine and decorative paintings and sculptures that have inspired generations.

Take a tour to Applewood Estate at Kearsley Street and marvel at the beauty of its gardens as you get a glimpse of its remarkable history!

Landscape of Applewood Estate

Paul R. Burley , CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Wander Back in Time at the Historic Saginaw Street

The road of Saginaw Street

Michael Barera, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A brick street over 116 years old lined with good restaurants, mural art, and classical stone architecture, Historic Saginaw Street in the heart of Flint City is where you will experience the city’s thriving culture.

According to locals, this red-brick street is what symbolizes Flint’s culture and history, and some even stole and kept some of the bricks when the street was torn up once.

Along this historic street downtown, you will find other iconic structures, like the Flint Masonic Temple, the Mott Foundation Building, and The First Presbyterian Church.

Events that attract nationwide attention, such as Back to the Bricks, are held here, where motor enthusiasts celebrate and parade classic, collector, and custom vehicles.

Head downtown and see what the best Flint City has in store for you!

Praise Grace and Goodwill at the First Presbyterian Church

Located at the Historic Saginaw Street, the First Presbyterian Church became the first of its kind in Flint on August 7, 1841.

Known for its magnificent stained glass windows and Gothic architecture, this church is open to everyone that wants to strengthen their connection to the Christian God or just admire the elegance of the entire structure.

This church stood the test of time for 175 years, preaching the Scriptures from its pulpit as its large organ and melodious choir brings forth the music of the heavens.

Inside you will find large stained glass windows that depict biblical events, as well as a hallway gallery that features different artists every 12-15 weeks.

Experience Life in the 1800s at Crossroads Village and Huckleberry Railroad

Red brick building at Crossroads Village

Steve Lagreca /

Have you been curious about what life was like a few hundred years back?

Then head to N Bray Road and visit Crossroads Village and Huckleberry Railroad, experience an 1800s town, and tour at least 34 historical structures!

Prepare to be welcomed by friendly townsfolk as you watch or join them in their activities of their day-to-day lives.

Observe apples being pressed at the cider mill, hot iron being hammered at the blacksmith, village artisans making vintage crafts, or just sing-along with traveling musicians.

Row of vintage vehicles at Crossroads Village and Huckleberry Railroad

Steve Lagreca /

If you are a fan of history or locomotives, you will surely rave at their diesel and coal-fired locomotives, as well as their collection of 11 original and replica wooden coaches and a classic red wooden caboose.

You may even double the fun by swinging by their carousel, Ferris wheel, and kiddie rides; or voyage along the Mott Lake shoreline with a paddlewheel riverboat.

Also, don’t forget to catch a show at the Colwell Opera House and shop at the General Store!

There is just too much to see and do here at Crossroads Village and Huckleberry Railroad!

Exterior of a house at Crossroads Village

Steve Lagreca /

Adore the Vast Art Collection of Flint Institute of Arts

Colorful exterior of Flint Institute of Arts

Michael Barera, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Established in 1938, the Flint Institute of Arts is the second-largest art museum in Michigan which holds an impressive collection of over 8,000 artworks and artifacts from all over the world and continually growing each year.

An artistic monument at Kearsley Street, this art museum’s collection is a must-see if you want to admire artworks first-hand from world-famous artists such as Auguste Renoir, John Sargent, and Mary Cassatt.

Aside from their global collection of paintings and sculptures, an ethnographic artifact collection spans 5,000 years back is also featured in this art haven.

Apart from that, the FIA also organizes intriguing exhibitions, interpretive programs, film screenings, concerts, lectures, and other events.

Adore the vast and world-class collection of international artworks here at the FIA!

Explore Deep Space at the Longway Planetarium

Dome-shaped Longway Planetarium

Michael Barera, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Ever looked up at the stars and wondered what is it like to fly among them?

Then drop by Longway Planetarium and go back to 85 million years ago as you uncover the mysteries of deep space!

Known as Michigan’s largest and most technologically advanced planetarium, you will surely rediscover your love for the sciences as you participate in their hands-on science activities and engaging public shows.

Built in 1958, this planetarium has a cutting-edge projection system, cove lights, and a huge dome that will allow you to immerse yourself in a journey among the stars, planets, moons, and much more!

Come visit the Longway Planetarium at Kearsley Street!

Keep Your Kids Busy at Flint Children’s Museum

Exterior of Flint Children’s Museum

Susan Montgomery /

Inspiring children to dream, play, and grow since 1980, Flint Children’s Museum is a haven for kids who need to explore, learn, and cherish the wonders of youth.

In this delightful museum along University Avenue, children will get to role play in a cute kiddie town complete with a grocery, hospital, post office, and more.

Open to kids aged two to 10, the museum offers fun educational activities and programs, such as building bridges using blocks, sketching using magnets, making a marionette dance, creating music from recycled materials, and many more!

Also, let your kids explore the Discovery Zone, an interactive exhibit space that transforms into a different theme every four months, or the Sproutside, an outdoor space where your kids can get messy with plants and other outdoor activities.

Invest in a fun-filled learning experience for your kids here!

Stop and Shop at Flint Farmer’s Market

Exterior of Flint Farmer’s Market

Paul R. Burley , CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Being the first recorded market in Flint in 1905, the Flint Farmer’s Market is a hub of locally produced items with competitive prices.

Open all year, Flint Farmer’s Market offers great food, entertainment, kitchen demonstrations, events, and a festive atmosphere.

Far exterior view of Flint Farmer’s Market

Michael Barera, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In its spacious and lively atrium with a ceiling over 70 feet high, you can find over 50 vendors that sell diverse quality products, such as cured cheese, gemstones, artworks, gourmet popcorn, herbal products, giant cinnamon rolls, farm-raised meats, and many more!

You may also sit back and relax on the rooftop terrace as you enjoy a nice view of the historic Saginaw Street as you sip a glass of Michigan-crafted beer or wine from their rooftop bar.

Come stop by Flint Farmer’s Market at East First Street!

Vibe with Local Artists at Buckham Gallery

Founded in 1984 by a collective of Flint artists, the Buckham Gallery is a place where local cultural life is fostered.

Chilling at Second Street, here you will get to admire local and international art and be entertained and educated by occasional concerts, film presentations, talks, conversations with artists, open mic performances, and slideshow presentations.

Dedicated to presenting a broad range of contemporary art that features artists from many diverse locations, you will admire quality artwork as you attend their monthly exhibitions or the Flint Art Walk.

Visit Buckham Gallery now and experience the communal and creative spirit of Flint City.

Sit Back and Watch Luxuriously at The Capitol Theatre

Exterior of The Capitol Theatre

kennethaw88, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Have you ever tried sitting and watching in a comfy chair in a grand classical theatre?

If not, then buy a ticket to one of Capitol Theatre’s events that feature film screenings, modern and contemporary dance, rock bands, string bands, country musicians, comedy shows, theatre works, spoken word, and even lectures.

Interior of The Capitol Theatre

Capitol Theatre, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Its beautiful architecture is reminiscent of 90’s nightlife while the ornate and interior calls back to the artistry of the Renaissance, plus the theatre ceiling just looks like the night sky.

Built in 1928, this iconic theatre on Second Street has been on the National Register of Historic Places in Michigan since 1985 and is now fully restored to connect you to Flint’s glorious past.

Plan a night out in this downtown gem in Flint City that is surely one of the last of its kind!

Reminisce the 1937 Sit-Down Strike at UAW Sitdowners Memorial Park

Commemorating the sit-down strike of the United Auto Workers in 1937, visit the UAW Sitdowners Memorial Park and admire the bronze and marble monument depicting the actual historical event.

Located along Executive Plaza Drive, this historic park is where you can learn the names of the men and women who have fought for labor rights and inspired other movements thereafter.

Here you can sit down and chill with the statues created by master sculptor Janice Trimpe or take a nice stroll among the greenery within the park.

Visit this humble historical landmark and learn about one of the most defining events that took place in Flint City.

Watch Stellar Local and International Performances at The Whiting

Exterior of The Whiting

Michael Barera, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

One of Flint’s jewels, The Whiting is a dazzling performing arts venue where you can watch the best regional, national, and global performing artists in their 2043-seat auditorium.

Opened in 1967, this auditorium at Kearsley Street is known to be the home of the Flint Symphony Orchestra, as well as other presentations such as Broadway musicals, concerts, dance, plays, and comedy.

Past shows include Chris Isaak, Jeff Daniels, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Martin Short, Mamma Mia, Rock of Ages, and so much more!

Be sure to check their calendar and catch the next starlit show!

Traverse along the Flint River at the Flint River Trail

A wooden bridge at Flint River Trail

beckysphotos /

If your instinct to conquer outdoor trails is kicking in, then run along Longway Boulevard to access the 17-mile Flint River Trail.

This well-maintained trail runs on both sides of the Flint River, one heading to the charming Bluebell Beach and the other to Crossroads Village.

Another segment takes you past the marvelous Stepping Stone Falls, a man-made waterfall, up to Genesee Township.

Trees surrounding the flint river

beckysphotos /

As you trek or bike, you will encounter city parks, neighborhoods, and wayside historical signs that tell you more about Flint’s history.

Friends of Flint River Trail, an active community group, also organizes weekly bike rides, outdoor activities, and community maintenance, keeping the trail supported and safe.

Arched wooden bridge at Flint River Trail

beckysphotos /

Play and Learn History at Sloan Museum

Vehicle display in Sloan Museum

Michael Barera, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Proud to hold a collection of 400,000 artifacts from Flint and Genesee County history, the Sloan Museum is a great place to learn and play for both children and adults.

Vehicle displayed in Sloan Museum

Michael Barera, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Sloan Museum offers hands-on traveling science and history exhibits, with artifacts encompassing different industries and topics such as old paintings, photographs, pistol sets, antique keys, bibles, old televisions, horseshoe crab skeletons, and many more!

The museum also has a vast automotive collection with 30 historical ones that feature older Buick models are on display.

They also have a play area with slides and puzzles that families can enjoy.

Exterior of Sloan Museum

Michael Barera, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Create Fun Memories at Kearsley Park

Established in 1917 after a 60-acre land was donated to the city, Kearsley Park has been a traditional gathering space for Flint residents where they would have a wintertime practice of making a bonfire out of used Christmas trees.

This historical park is where the beginning of the automotive industry in Flint was celebrated, and also a good place to celebrate life among the mature trees and the wide-open spaces with your loved ones.

Along Kearsley Park Boulevard, this beautiful park features a pavilion, a children’s playground, a picnic grove, sledding and kite-flying hill, ball fields, and a hiking and biking trail along the serene Flint River.

The park also has a stage where a famous and talented local group of actors called the Kearsley Players mount well-known musicals and plays which you can watch for free!

Visit Flint Public Library and Leave with Additional Knowledge

Exterior of Flint Public Library

Alison Chan (Crazytales), CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In 1851, Flint Public Library was formed by a group of ladies involved in the neighborhood’s civic life.

Visit the Local History and Genealogical Room to view Michigan’s second-largest collection of publicly available genealogy resources.

Explore their collection and learn more about the Black Life and Literature selection.

You may connect to their Gigabit Internet service using your device or theirs.

For your organization’s upcoming major program, reserve a space varying in size from a small study room to a sizable communal room.

Pair Your Meal with a Drink at Redwood Steakhouse and Brewery

The Redwood Steakhouse and Brewery takes pride in providing sophisticated casual dining in a welcoming setting.

Savor prize-winning beer, eclectic sushi, and premium liquors.

They feature a mesquite grill, a raw bar, a woodfire pizza oven, a wine cellar, a martini lounge, live entertainment, outdoor dining, and more.

The Redwood Brewing Co. uses the best natural ingredients to manufacture distinctive beers enjoyed by beer enthusiasts everywhere!

Enjoy excellent beer, and bring some home to share with your loved ones.

In addition to providing food for all events, The Redwood Steakhouse and Brewery specialize in delivering the party to you.

Browse Different Brands as you Shop at Genesee Valley Center

The biggest enclosed shopping mall north of Detroit, Genesee Valley Center, has about 1.3 million square feet of retail space.

It has more than 125 merchants, notably Box Lunch, Forever 21, and Hollister, and locally exclusive brands.

Additionally, the Outdoor Village at Genesee Valley Center has brand-new Wahlburgers.

It provides 65,000 square feet of boulevard-style retail and amusement opportunities, such as free concerts every Thursday night during the summer.

Children may have fun at Genesee Valley Center while their parents observe from the comfy benches encircling the play space.

Visit one of the many dining options after spending a fun-filled day shopping and looking through merchandise to buy.

Food establishments include Logan’s Roadhouse, Habichi Grill, The Candy Store, and many others.

Play Smart at Spymaker Escape Rooms

One of the top escape rooms in Flint and the nearby areas, Spymaker Escape Rooms, is happy to have received a 5-star rating.

The success percentage for their 60-minute escape rooms ranges from 28% to 36%.

They prefer to make their rooms a bit more challenging.

But don’t worry, you can create your own experience, and your team may choose how challenging you want the game to be.

Additionally, they provide endless free hints, or you may contact your game master for more information.

Spymaker Escape Rooms offer what you’re hoping for, whether you organize a birthday party, business team-building engagement, group activity, or romantic night.

Enjoy a Date Night at US 23 Drive-In Theatre

Are you interested in having a unique movie-watching experience?

Pay a visit to US 23 Drive-In Theatre; it opens in the middle of April and closes at the end of September.

Parking is first come, first served, and gates open at 7:30 p.m.

The audio for the film is played over the FM radio inside your car, but if you don’t have one, you can rent a portable radio at the concession stand.

The current concession menu of US 23 Drive-In Theatre includes Popcorn, Nachos, Pretzels, Angus Burgers, Ice Cream, Water, and other items.

Final Thoughts

Whether you enjoy exploring outdoors or love just to sit and watch, there is just lots to do in Flint City and more to come as the city is continually thriving.

With its well-preserved historical landmarks, heritage sites, and family heirlooms incorporated into a bustling and ingenious community, a trip to this city will surely be fun and meaningful.

Schedule a trip to Flint City soon!

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