Blake Walsh

25 Best Things to Do in Jackson, MI

  • Published 2023/03/02

The famous city of Jackson, Michigan, was founded in 1829 and is named after former US President Andrew Jackson.

The birthplace of the Republican Party, the city is heavily influenced by various types of politics and history.

Jackson has since grown into a beautiful tourist attraction with various tourist places like parks and places of worship.

Interested in finding out what else there is to see and enjoy in this city?

Here are the best things to do in Jackson, Michigan:

Visit the Ella Sharp Museum

Exterior of Ella Sharp house and Museum

kennethaw88, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The historical building of the Ella Sharp Museum was constructed in 1856.

The spectacular beauty is a vast 19th-century farmhouse-turned-museum set among sprawling lawns.

In 1972, it was granted a spot on the National Register of Historic Places.

It is a magnificent two-story structure with an Italianate tower and a wooden cupola.

The windows are very large and set over a wide six-over-six unit.

The architecture is quite classy and pleasant to look at.

Look at the Beautiful Cascade Falls

A major tourist attraction in Jackson, the Cascade Falls is a man-made waterfall so beautifully constructed that it appears to be natural.

The waterfall is especially lovely to look at on days like Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day, when it gets lit up and serves as the venue for various concerts and special events.

There is also a fireworks display which makes for a beautiful background for pictures and more.

With a total of 16 falls, out of which as many as 11 are illuminated, the falls are really spectacular.

They are basically made of six fountains and three reflecting pools, which are vast and wide.

The lighting music show is a visual and audio delight.

So, try visiting during one of the special days when the waterfall is on display in its full grandeur and beauty.

Admire the Stunning Works Displayed in Art 634

Art 634 is a beautiful place in Jackson that celebrates art and artists.

It hosts various local and international artists and has many paintings on display.

You can book a photography session with any of the photographers at the studio and snap some excellent and Instagrammable pictures.

Small workshops like art lessons and sewing lessons are conducted here as well.

There is also a dance studio where you can watch an excellent performance.

Go Golfing at Ella Sharp Park

The golfing course at Ella Sharp Park is beautiful and large, with over 18 holes.

It is affordable and a great place to hang out with family and friends.

It is also very beautifully designed and has a lush green lawn where you can run across and enjoy some action outdoors.

Locals also rent it out for small occasions like birthday parties.

The trees are lush green and huge, and picnic tables are constructed in the park.

So, pack a picnic with some sandwiches and refreshing beverages, and you are set for a wonderful family outing.

Ella Sharp Park is situated in the hills.

That said, the scenery from the top is breathtaking.

Breathe in some fresh air as you go golfing at this park.

Play with Animals at Imagine Planet

If you are planning a family vacation with kids, Imagine Planet is the perfect spot that you must visit.

With a variety of cute little species on display, it is a great place to take your kids.

It’s considered one of Jackson’s hidden gems, and the best part is that entry is free.

The volunteers themselves run the place.

Most of the animals are rescued from the wild.

They are well-cared for, and you can enjoy playing with them.

Imagine Planet will impart important lessons like empathy and sympathy to your kids.

They also give various tidbits of information about the various species on display.

Enjoy a Day of Outdoor Fun at Bucky Harris Park

Take a walk among lush green trees in the beautiful and quiet Bucky Harris Park.

It is situated right in the heart of downtown Jackson, so it is one of the quieter places in the bustling city.

Visit this park for some much-needed quiet and to find some peace with yourself.

There is a tiered fountain and a beautiful wall mural here.

The fountain is incredibly relaxing, and you can even let your kids play in it if they would like to.

You can also pack a picnic lunch when you visit.

Explore the Historical Side of Jackson at Under the Oaks

History marker of Under the Oaks

kennethaw88, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A famous historical site in Jackson, Under the Oaks honors the birthplace of the Republican Party.

The legend goes that since the convention was very large, it was impossible to be held inside a building.

Therefore, it was moved to an oak grove on “Morgan’s 40,” which is where the park is built today.

There is a plaque constructed into a boulder that honors this momentous event.

Under the Oaks Park is well-maintained and peaceful.

Discover Facts about Automobiles at the Lost Railway Museum

Locomotives and automobiles have always fascinated many people due to their unique and different ways of working.

The Lost Railway Museum houses many automobile cars and railway engines from the bygone eras, especially from the 20th century.

There are different kinds of transport on display, which have come before and after the advent of the railways.

A famous attraction is the 1890s-style bicycle, which is on display here.

The Lost Railway Museum also showcases a restored Model T.

The museum is a quite recent addition to Jackson’s tourist index.

It was opened only in 2017, but has since come a long way and is already one of the most popular tourist attractions in Jackson.

Honor War Heroes by Visiting the Michigan Military Heritage Museum

The most surprising and unique feature of this museum is the authentic uniform collection, which is displayed at exactly the entrance of the museum as if welcoming you into the war world.

The Michigan Military Heritage Museum was founded in 2016 as a reminder of the sacrifices of the brave hearts who lost their lives during the various wars to bring peace.

There are artifacts on display from all over the world, with a special focus on the soldiers who are from Michigan.

One of the museum’s most interesting features is the life-size model of a World War I trench, which visitors can actually enter and explore.

Get a Taste of an Authentic Coney Dog

Coney Dog

Brent Hofacker /

The coney dog is a specialty in this city.

Jackson is actually where it was invented.

There are various places that serve this dish, such as the Jackson Coney Island, which is the birthplace of the coney dog.

Virginia Coney is said to serve one of the top five best coney dogs in the state, so you can also check it out if you’re looking for somewhere to get your fix.

Make sure that you visit any of these places and have a bite of this delectable dish, which is very famous among the people of Jackson.

Splash about at the Sparks Foundation County Park

Essentially a garden, the Sparks Foundation County Park houses a mini waterpark, which is extremely enjoyable, especially if you’re visiting with kids.

The splash pad is the mini water park located inside this county park.

It has a lot of features like waterfalls and mini fountains, along with the typical swimming pools.

The water rides are very much fun and crazy.

A special attraction is the park’s giant dump, which will wet your entire body with water.

The Sparks Foundation County Park itself is also very beautiful.

You’ll see a lot of people walking their dogs, so you can make some furry friends as well.

There is also a lake inside the park, where you may even spot beautiful ducks swimming about.

Go for a Run on the Falling Waters Trail

Jackson is a beautiful city enriched with nature, and the Falling Waters Trail is one of the many trails where you can go walking or running.

It’s often visited by both locals and tourists, especially those with an affection for the outdoors.

The best part about the trail is that it also allows animals, including dogs and horses, so you can even enjoy some horseback riding.

Another fun sport you can enjoy here is rollerblading.

Taste Some Wine at Sandhill Crane Vineyards

A family-owned business located in Jackson, visiting Sandhill Crane Vineyards is one of the top things to do if you are a lover of wine and spirits.

The wines here are award-winning and are among the freshest and best-tasting wines in Jackson.

Sandhill Crane Vineyards’ wines are all brewed using organic produce like grapes and other fruits.

The tasting room is always open on business days.

There is also a small event organized every Friday night, where live music is played on the patio and you can enjoy a drink while enjoying the performances.

Watch a Movie at GQT Jackson 10

As is apparent from its name, GQT Jackson 10 is a movie theater with as many as 10 screens.

It displays various feature films using digital projection, which makes for a great viewing experience.

Watch a movie on a relaxing Friday night at this beautiful theater.

The venue has high-back chairs for viewers’ utmost comfort.

There is also a snack bar where you can buy food and drinks to enjoy along with your movie.

Go Ice Skating at the Optimist Ice Arena

A quaint little indoor ice skating rink, the Optimist Ice Arena is an awesome place to go for a thrilling experience.

It is open to the public at various times, and you can book tickets to have some fun ice skating.

For those who are not very familiar with the craft of ice skating, there are basic skating lessons that you can sign up for.

Going ice skating at the Optimist Ice Arena is also a great date idea if you want to do something fun with your significant other.

Explore Nature at the Dahlem Environmental Education Center

Also known as the Dahlem Conservancy, the Dahlem Environmental Education Center is the place where all those with a keen eye for observing nature go.

It is one of the best places to spend some quality time among stunning wildlife and plants.

Spread over a huge area of 280 acres, it has about five miles’ worth of hiking trails, where you can trek and discover new species along the way.

The ecosystems are all well-conserved, and you can observe a variety of species like butterflies, insects, and even large animals.

The terrain is beautiful and consists of various geographical features like forests, grasslands, streams, marshes, and more.

There is also a pond, so you can also have a look at some aquatic life.

The Dahlem Environmental Education Center also offers guided tours, which you can opt to join.

There are also free events, depending on the season that you visit.

Hit the Target at Axe Play

Axe Play is located in the heart of Downtown Jackson and is Jackson’s best ax-throwing bar.

Taking up the challenge of ax-throwing is a great way to spend a night out.

Fun awaits you and your ax-loving buddies. Relax with a drink from our extensive bar menu.

An Axe Master will teach you to participate in round-robin-type tournaments.

If you want to divert from the competitive air, try free-throwing!

To guide you, assure your safety, and assist with scoring, your Axe Master will accompany you throughout your ax experience.

Pay a Visit to Allskate Fun Center

At Allskate, you may have as much fun as you want skating with the upbeat music.

Aside from rollerskating, you can play laser tag with your friends and family or top your friends’ best scores in the arcade.

Roller skating is not just entertaining, but it also offers several health advantages, such as improving muscular strength, balance, and cardiovascular endurance.

Allskate Fun Center features a stunning Laser Tag arena equipped with a rift system.

This is the place to be if you’re a child or a kid at heart.

Feel the Adrenaline Rush at Jackson Speedway

Jackson Speedway is a state-of-the-art facility built for spectator enjoyment.

There are two types of tracks available here: a dirt oval for novices and a cement track for more experienced drivers.

Its half-mile road circuit, 0.20-mile oval, and 0.17-mile dirt track are illuminated for your safety.

Regardless of your age, you’ll have a blast at Jackson Speedway!

Whether you’re looking for mini-cup racing, go-karts, endurance events, racing leagues, or anything else, you’ll find it here.

The facility will teach you the basics of racing and provide karts and safety gear.

Support the Community and Grab Souvenirs from Marketplace Manna

Do you want to kickstart your holiday shopping earlier?

Are you looking for gift suggestions that are both heartfelt and ethical?

The Around the World Shop in Jackson Crossing Mall’s Marketplace Manna offers numerous unusual goods from more than 30 nations.

Disenfranchised and oppressed people throughout the globe would benefit from its efforts.

There is a story behind every product, and each of them supports a person who needs aid.

With your purchases, you are helping the store’s beneficiary help their family.

Go Antique-Hunting at Jackson Antique Mall

At the Jackson Antique Mall in Jackson, you’ll find one of the most expansive collections of antiques and collectibles.

The Jackson Antique Mall has been a fixture in the city for decades.

It was founded in 1988 in a historic 1860s building in downtown Jackson’s core business area. There’s no guarantee of what you’ll discover at this antique store.

You may find antique clothing, jewelry, hats, and furniture in all shapes and sizes.

It has everything from wedding attire to a coffin and everything in between!

Unlike other antique shops that are overcrowded, with stalls crammed to capacity, you’ll appreciate this one for being neat and organized.

Visit the Jackson Candy and Fudge Factory

There’s always a nostalgic feeling when customers visit the Jackson Candy & Fudge Company.

You can’t miss this 1890s-style candy shop housed inside a century-old building on East Michigan Avenue.

From the copper ceiling, brick walls, and wooden floors to the fancy mirrors and lighting, the shop is obviously more than your ordinary candy store; you’ll even find antique Toledo scales and the brass National cash register still used in the shop.

Get a sweet welcome from the staff who’ll offer you samples of Rocky Road fudge or Coconut Crème Pie, while kids can get free tokens to the Wowie Zowie gumball machine.

Pick sweet treats that bring you back to memory lane like the classic salt-water taffy; they also have assorted homemade fudge, chocolates, retro candies, nuts, and a whole lot more.

While shopping for candy stuff, take a selfie in front of the wacky mirror and spin the prize wheel for a chance to win some goodies on your next visit.

You can also watch the expert confectioners make some chewy fudge or prepare different popcorn flavors in the open kitchen; you might even get free samples after waiting.

If you’re looking for unique gifts, Jackson Candy and Fudge Factory have assorted premade and customizable gift boxes anyone would love to receive.

Take Photos of the Artsy Bright Walls Murals

Stroll along East and West Michigan Avenues and you’re sure to spot the Bright Walls Mural artworks.

A public art and mural festival that started in 2018, Bright Walls was founded by several volunteers of the Jackson Young Professionals.

It hosted several artists from around the world who created more than 75 murals that brought life and color to Jackson’s downtown district.

Though the festival ended in 2021, you can still visit and appreciate the artistry of these wall paintings, all thanks to the efforts of the organization to clear-coat the murals.

Take time to spot and take snapshots of the Bright Walls Murals to add to your local city experience.

Catch Entertaining Shows at The Michigan Theatre

Exterior of The Michigan Theatre

Rachel Goodhew /

For some family entertainment, you can catch featured films and shows at the Michigan Theatre.

This historic theatre located on North Mechanic Street is downtown Jackson’s last and largest theatre venue; it’s now operated and maintained by the Michigan Theatre of Jackson Inc.

It was built in 1930 showing mainstream entertainment in the earlier days, particularly vaudeville and old movies.

You’ll get to appreciate the theatre’s exotic Spanish designs, terra cotta exteriors, and lavish interiors including classic furniture, carpeting, draperies, fixtures, and décor.

So aside from enjoying the shows, you’ll experience a piece of local history on your visit.

Sit back, relax, and enjoy movie previews, concerts, art films, theatre productions, and other events with the family.

You can check the show times and buy tickets at The Michigan Theatre website.

Have Loads of Fun at the Jackson County Fair

If you’re visiting in the summer, you can join the fun-filled Jackson County Fair held at Keeley Park.

This local annual event has something for visitors of all ages who want to enjoy and have a uniquely Michigan experience.

You can purchase tickets at the website or contact the local event organizers.

For the whole week, you can catch 4-H events, Grand Stand Shows like demo derby and enduro car shows, rodeo shows, and much more.

And who doesn’t love exciting carnival rides, bingo games, and fun contests at community fairs?

The Annual Southern Michigan Winter Beer Festival is also a part of this whole event.

Enjoy rows of food trucks, fire pits, and lots of games and activities at the American 1 Event Center.

The event features over a hundred crafted beers, ciders, wines, and meads, along with food vendors selling burgers, pizza, brats, barbecues, and more.

Be one of the locals and head out to the Jackson County Fair.

Enjoy Rounds of Golf at the Grande Golf Club

Have rounds of leisure golf games at Grande Golf Club located on Floyd Avenue.

This 18-hole, par 72 golf course was voted Jackson’s Best Golf Course and was given a 4.5-star rating by Golf Digest.

Each fairway offers spectacular play with enough challenge for beginners and scratch golfers to more difficult obstacles for pro golfers; they offer six tee sets for players of any skill and ability.

You can also access any of the large putting greens, the chipping green complete with two sand traps where you can practice bunker play, and the large range tees.

You’ll also enjoy the stunning views of native wetlands surrounding the Grande Golf Club course.

Final Thoughts

Jackson, Michigan, offers a plethora of attractions and experiences.

The region’s dynamic downtown area and several parks and lakes make it easy to find ways to get involved, have fun, and feel a part of this thriving community.

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