Blake Walsh

25 Best Things to Do in Marquette, MI

  • Published 2023/03/15

Marquette, a city located in Michigan’s suburban county of the same name, is the perfect destination for anyone looking for a break from reality.

From bars, pubs, and cafes to gardens, waterfalls, beautiful scenery, and historical attractions, this place has got it all.

Whether you’re interested in catching a glimpse at the world-famous Aurora Borealis or a trip to a majestic waterfall, this city should be on your radar.

If you’re looking to have a hassle-free trip with the perfect itinerary of the places you must visit in this beautiful city, you’ve come to the right place.

Are you ready to discover more about this bucket list-worthy city?

These are the best things to do in Marquette, Michigan:

Hike Your Way to the Dead River Falls

Cascades of Dead River Falls

Kyle J Cole /

This magnificent waterfall with the most eye-catching name is a gorgeous piece of natural beauty in Marquette.

You need to hike your way up to the cliff to experience the magnificence of the Dead River Falls.

The hike is full of lush green trees and rocks that people enjoy climbing.

Daytime view of Lower Dead River Falls


There are not only one but multiple waterfall viewpoints along the trails, so do not stop after the first one and keep hiking to get better and better views.

The spot blooms with colorful leaves during the fall season and with beautifully colored flowers during spring.

The scenery and landscaping of these waterfalls are extremely beautiful to experience.

The hike is long and a little challenging, making it a very adventurous experience.

Closeup view of Dead River Falls

syd.03 /

Take Your Kids to the Upper Peninsula Children’s Museum

The Upper Peninsula Children’s Museum is the best place you can take your kids to teach them about science and culture.

This museum comes with hands-on exhibits on culture, science, and technology.

The museum is a very interactive place to learn and is very cool to walk around.

The tickets are very pocket-friendly, especially for such a fun tour.

The museum also has small live animals display with a lot of areas for kids to play around.

The museum is very creative, colorful, and catchy to kids’ eyes.

Do give this museum a visit if you are in or around Marquette.

See the World-Famous Northern Lights

The gorgeous Northern lights of Marquette

Matthew J Leppek /

Did you know that you can see the Aurora Borealis from the city of Marquette?

While it might seem almost too good to be true, it isn’t.

As dreamy as it sounds, Marquette offers people the chance to see the beautiful and colorful Northern Lights more than three times a year.

Scenic view of Marquette Northern Lights

Matthew Heinly /

Between the months of August and April and from October to November, you can get a chance to view the most astonishing scenes across the globe.

This is one of the most romantic getaways you can have with your partner.

It could be the most unique and heartwarming experience you can get in the city.

Camping under Marquette Northern Lights

Matthew J Leppek /

Have a Chilled Beer at Ore Dock Brewing Co.

Interior of Ore Dock Brewing Co

The ed17, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Ore Dock Brewing Co. is one of the best pubs in Marquette where you can get a wide selection of beers.

The bar comes with free popcorn and games for you to enjoy while comfortably sipping beer.

The beer here is well-loved by many tourists and locals.

Beer refilling station in Ore Dock Brewing Co.

The ed17, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It is a great place to visit with your friends.

The food and beverages are delicious, and the place holds live music performances in the evenings, making it a very cheerful experience.

The whole vibe of this place is very chill and joyous.

Barrel tables in Ore Dock Brewing Co.

The ed17, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Go Hiking on Sugarloaf Mountain

Beautiful rainbow over Sugarloaf Mountain

Craig Sterken /

Your experience on this lofty mountain is going to be as unique as its name.

Sugarloaf Mountain is a peaky mountain with lush greenery, hiking trails, and colorful flowers all along the way.

The hike to the top is totally worth it, for the scenery and beauty will leave you in awe.

Beautiful autumn trees at Sugarloaf Mountain

Todd Maertz /

The sunrises and sunsets from atop the mountain are extremely beautiful to watch.

It is filled with snow during the winter season, and you can play all kinds of snow games here.

The lake is the most beautiful feature of the mountains, especially during the summer season, which makes it look astonishing.

It is overall an excellent place for sightseeing and for hiking.

Have a Picnic at Ellwood A Mattson Lower Harbor Park

Ellwood A Mattson Lower Harbor Park in Marquette is the most beautiful park and garden you will witness in town.

The park is located just beside the beautiful Lake Superior.

You can go walking or ride your bike along the trails of this park.

It is a perfect park for having picnics with your family or friends on sunny days.

You can also go boating in the beautiful sapphire-blue Lake Superior and get a chance to watch the ducks and swans in the water.

The spot holds various events and festivals filled with the most chill atmosphere and joyous vibes.

You must definitely pay a visit to this beautiful harbor park in Marquette.

The lovely Presque Isle Park is one of the most famous parks in the city with the most astonishing views.

It is built across the shores of Lake Superior, too.

Perfect for cute little picnic dates, this park is truly a must-visit when you are in town.

Go Camping at the Harlow Lake Recreational Area

The Harlow Lake Recreational Area is the perfect spot for boating and camping.

You can go mountain bike riding across the shore and along the challenging trails to add an element of adventure to your trip.

In addition, you can go overnight camping along the shore and have a beautiful bonfire while roasting marshmallows and sipping beer.

It is the perfect spot for visiting with friends or family.

The water is calm and makes it safe for camping.

There are a lot of trails all along the mountain where you can go hiking and explore nature.

This place is extremely beautiful and surely won’t disappoint you.

The Harlow Lake Recreational Area is the perfect spot to add to your itinerary.

Check Out the Displays at the De Vos Art Museum

It is believed that art museums hold an eternal beauty that no other historic place can.

The De Vos Art Museum displays various exhibits ranging from older forms of classic art to newer and more modern abstract art forms.

Its aesthetics are extremely beautiful and mesmerizing, and you can take photos of all those interesting exhibits.

The museum has a collection of artwork from all around the world, and the best thing about the museum is its rotating exhibits of different kinds.

Marquette’s De Vos Art Museum is a very fascinating art facility.

You can also submit your own art pieces here.

Do get an experience of visiting this interesting art museum when you’re in the city.

Explore Marquette’s Vibrant Downtown Area

Buildings along Downtown Marquette

Ulf Nammert /

The downtown area is the chirpiest, most beautiful, and fun area of any destination, and this holds true for the city of Marquette.

Downtown Marquette is full of aesthetic cafes, and almost all of them come with pretty outdoor seating.

The Downtown Marquette Farmers Market offers fresh fruits and vegetables for everyone.

Benches at Downtown Marquette

ehrlif /

There are also plenty of handcrafted goods and plants in the market for you to explore and buy.

From fish to baked goods to coffee, this market has got it all.

You must definitely explore the downtown area, visit the cafes, and grab snacks like cookies and coffee.

The road of Downtown Marquette

Tony Webster from Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Go Skiing or Snowboarding at Marquette Mountain Resort

Marquette Mountain Resort is the perfect spot for those who want to ride mountain bikes amid beautiful and long trails.

It is the perfect spot for mountain bike riding during the summer season, and the best spot for skiing during the winter season.

You can play all kinds of snow games on this mountain, like snowboarding, ice skating, skiing, and snowball throwing.

It’s also an excellent place to simply experience the abundance of white snow.

The mountain overlooks Lake Superior and gives the most amazing views.

It is an ideal place to go to just to relax for a while and take a break from everything else.

Spend the Night at the Forestville Campground

The Forestville Campground is one of the most amazing camping sites in town.

There are a lot of trails all around, and they’re very fun to hike on.

Forestville is filled with deep white snow during the winter season, making it perfect for skiing and snowboarding.

In the summer, it’s calm and sunny—ideal for picnicking.

The views from here are stunning.

The whole area is full of green trees and colorful flowers.

It is the perfect place for overnight camping and a bonfire.

The Forestville Campground is definitely worth checking out.

Visit the Stunning Wright Street Falls

Wright Street Falls is a beautiful piece of nature in Marquette.

The hike up to the waterfall is very easy and appropriate for people of all age groups.

The fall is very beautiful and calming to look at.

During the winter, you may find icecaps and snow here, which will make for an even more beautiful experience.

Overall, it is a fantastic place to add to your itinerary.

Spend Quality Time with the Family at Picnic Rocks Park

Located across Lake Superior, Picnic Rocks Park is a beautiful park with the most stunning vibes and views.

The park looks up to the lake and is perfect for daytime picnics.

It has small playgrounds for kids and lots of picnic tables for you and your family.

There are a lot of trails for you to hike on, and the park gives the perfect views of the black rocks by the lake.

Visit Marquette Maritime Museum

Exterior of Marquette Maritime Museum

rossograph, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Marquette Maritime Museum should definitely be on your list of places to visit.

Museums aren’t everyone’s favorite choice while traveling, but this particular one is worth a visit because of how interesting and fun it is.

It displays great exhibits about the town’s local history.

This museum has all kinds of boats and ships on display and is a fun and interesting place to learn everything about marine life.

From small canoes to vast coast guard boats, this museum has got it all.

So, do pay a visit and experience Marquette Maritime Museum for yourself.

Make Your Way to Carp River Falls

A small waterfall along Carp River Falls trail

Craig Sterken /

Surrounded by rivers and mountains, Carp River Falls is a rushing tumble of water in Marquette.

It’s a majestic sight, and there are various trails that lead to it.

You will surely find your breath taken away the moment you see it.

Carp River's flowing water

Craig Sterken /

The current is strong, and there are a lot of rapids that run along the river, so be careful while you’re there.

However, that shouldn’t stop you from taking a few photos for memories and just appreciating the sheer beauty and majesty of the river and waterfalls.

A boardwalk to cross Carp River

Craig Sterken /

Learn about the Stars at the Shiras Planetarium

The Shiras Planetarium is the only fully operational planetarium in and around Marquette, making it an important part of the community.

It first opened its doors in 1965, and since then, countless students, locals, and visitors have walked into it and learned more about planet earth and the universe that surrounds it.

They have different exhibits that feature various information about the planets in the solar system and nearby stars.

They even have a special dome where stars can be projected, and visitors can feel like they’re surrounded by an endless night sky.

The planetarium also hosts various shows throughout the year, so make sure to watch one if you happen to catch something that sounds fun and interesting.

Sit on the Shores of Clark Lambros Beach Park

Clark Lambros Beach Park is located on the coast of Lake Superior, and it’s a sight that any visitor will definitely enjoy.

You can have a picnic on the shore and marvel at the wonderful view before you.

After all, Lake Superior is the largest lake in North America and is a spectacular sight to behold.

It really makes you appreciate the world around you, along with the wonders of the natural environment.

There are even picnic tables and other amenities that make things easier and more convenient for visitors.

Enjoy Various Outdoor Activities along the Fit Strip

In the 1980s, the Fit Strip was constructed near the Park Cemetery.

It was built to accommodate various recreational activities, so you’re sure to have fun when you come here.

You can go skiing, running, biking, and other kinds of fitness training programs.

The sky’s the limit when it comes to the outdoor activities you can enjoy on the Fit Strip.

During winter, the Fit Strip is lit up at night, so you’ll have a lot of time to have fun with your different winter activities.

Follow the South Trails

The South Trails are a series of non-motorized trails that span across the southern border of the city.

This network of trails spans over 40 miles, and you’ll see so many wondrous sights while you walk through it.

You’ll see cascading waterfalls and breathtaking views.

There are also flow trails and techy lines.

You can access the trail easily from the town, just start at the Iron Ore Heritage Trailhead, and you’re good to go.

Most activities are allowed on the South Trails, as long as they’re non-motorized and human-powered.

Purchase Local Artworks at Zero Degrees Gallery

Need an art adventure while in Marquette?

Zero Degrees Gallery may be your ideal choice.

Formed in 2010, this local gallery puts a spotlight on rising and established artists.

Its collection includes a variety of art mediums, including ceramics, fiber, sculptures, and many more!

In fact, you’ll be in awe to know that most artists use recycled or upcycled materials in their art pieces.

And many are for sale!

Find your next art souvenir at Zero Degrees Gallery on North 3rd Street.

Take a Picture of the Lower Harbor Ore Dock

Side view of Lower Harbor Ore Dock

Nagel Photography /

One historic structure in Marquette you shouldn’t miss out on visiting is the Lower Harbor Ore Dock.

This maritime and mining relic is no longer operating.

But it remains one of the most visited attractions in the city.

Built in 1931, this dock helped transport iron ore and was commonly in use for Duluth, South Shore, and Atlantic Railroad.

However, the dock wasn’t always in use.

Front view of Lower Harbor Ore Dock

AngelSchwai /

Eventually, it shut down in 1971.

With the help of the Friends of the Ore Dock, the dock became a preserved landmark until the current times.

Now, you can visit the site and learn more about the dock’s past with a historic marker onsite.

The Lower Harbor Ore Dock is accessible via the City Multi-Use Path.

Lights in Lower Harbor Ore Dock

Windy Kerkela /

Explore the Exhibits at Marquette Regional History Center

There’s always something interesting to learn about the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

And Marquette Regional History Center makes sure of it.

This center, established in 1918, features a variety of artifacts about local culture, early settlement lifestyle, and war stories.

Browse through memorabilia from those who first lived within the area after the melting of the glacier some 11,000 years ago.

View extensive firearms and transportation vehicles from the long-ago era.

The exhibits are interactive, too, so everyone of all ages can enjoy the experience.

Marquette Regional History Center is on West Spring Street.

Go on a Challenging Hike along Vielmetti-Peters Conservation Reserve

The Vielmetti-Peters Conservation Reserve provides a serene nature escapade unlike any other within the city.

Extending to 123 acres, this preserve offers a gateway of diverse habitats in its small area.

Its trails span nearly 4 miles and feature a stunning waterfall at the conjunction of Spring and Midway Creeks.

Hike your way along the wooded trails and take in the wondrous scenery in front of you.

You can find Vielmetti-Peters Conservation Reserve along Brickyard Road.

Join Tours around Marquette Harbor Lighthouse

Exterior of Marquette Harbor Lighthouse

John McCormick /

Built in 1866, the Marquette Harbor Lighthouse is one of Marquette’s fascinating pieces of history.

Though it’s not the first lighthouse in the city, it’s also one of the oldest and still-functional structures still standing in Marquette today.

When it started, this lighthouse boasted a 40-foot square brick tower with a Fresnel lens that you can now see at the Maritime Museum.

Over the years, it underwent renovations and additions, including a staircase.

Facade of Marquette Harbor Lighthouse

Leonard Zhukovsky /

Arguably, what makes this lighthouse unique from others is its shiny red exterior.

With the management of the Maritime Museum, Marquette Harbor Lighthouse is open for tours.

You can find this 45-stepped lighthouse on North Lakeshore Boulevard.

Far view of Marquette Harbor Lighthouse

Todd Maertz /

Other Things to Do Nearby

Visit the Michigan Iron Industry Museum

Did you know that Marquette County is famous for shipping iron ore?

Well, if you didn’t, here’s your cue.

The Michigan Iron Industry Museum in the neighboring city of Negaunee will take you back to the county’s iron roots and paves the way for further understanding of its iron business.

The museum has various exhibits on display; for example, the exhibition on local knife and ax companies.

It mainly covers the exhibits of the iron mining industry and equipment related to that.

The Michigan Iron Industry Museum comes with pretty well-maintained trails to walk on just beside the building.

There’s also a little gift shop where you can get souvenirs for your peers.

Final Thoughts

Michigan sits right at the edge of the United States, and a visit to Marquette will make you feel like you’re leaving all your problems behind.

While you’re here, you don’t have to think about anything other than relaxing and finding your spark all over again.

Marquette’s breathtaking natural attractions are more than enough to heal your weary soul, while the fascinating museums will keep you entertained.

Wherever you go, whether you follow one of the numerous trails in the area or visit a few of their bars, you’re sure to enjoy yourself and learn something new.

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