15 Best Things to Do in Midland, MI

15 Best Things to Do in Midland, MI

John McCormick / shutterstock.com

Nestled on the banks of the scenic Tittabawassee River, Midland is a heavenly city offering an ideal mix of nature exploration and city life enjoyment. It is home to picturesque gardens, numerous parks, dense forests, historic rail trails, enchanting creeks, mesmerising rivers, magnificent bridges, fascinating museums, extraordinary art centres, amazing wineries, beautiful lakes, and so much more.

You can enjoy a vast array of nature based outdoor recreational activities in this city including hiking, biking, kayaking, swimming, picnicking, tobogganing, snowshoeing, ice-skating, tobogganing, cross-country skiing, wildlife viewing, fishing, and more. Whether you are looking for thrilling adventure or a relaxing vacation, Midland is the perfect place to book your next holiday.Here’s a list of the best things to do while vacationing in Midland:

Admire nature’s beauty at Dow Gardens

Dow Gardens, Midland, Michigan
Craig Sterken / Shutterstock.com

The Dow Gardens is one of the prime attractions of Midland. Encompassing over 100 acres, it features many beautifully landscaped gardens with brilliantly coloured flowers, a waterfall, walking trails, towering trees, sprawling greenery, an enchanting stream, multiple beautiful bridges,  a historic home, sculptures, and so much more.  The gardens are home to 22,000 flowering bulbs and more than 35,000 annuals. Hike on the trails and explore the scenic gardens. The site attracts more than 300,000 visitors annually. You can spot numerous gorgeous butterflies, birds, turtles, squirrels, ducks, fish, rabbits, and more.

A multitude of events take place here throughout the year including concerts, open air movies, Christmas Walk, yoga sessions, history tours, educational programs, and more. The Pines dates back to the late 19th century and was home to the Dow family. Today, it is a museum that showcases the family’s furniture, home décor, china, paintings, and other belongings. Admission fee is USD 10 for adults, USD 2 for children between the age of 6-17 and college students with valid I.D. Kids under the age of 6 can enter for free.

Enjoy a refreshing stream side walk, admire nature’s astounding beauty, feast your eyes to the views of the outrageously coloured flowers, explore the bridges and the mesmerising waterfall, relish a lovely picnic against the picturesque backdrops, and relax in the tranquil environment.

Hiking on the Pere Marquette Rail Trail

Pere Marquette Rail Trail
O. David Redwine, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Extending 30 miles from Midland to Clare, this trail follows the route of an abandoned CSX railroad. The trail features numerous historical sites, parks, beautiful bridges, diverse wildlife, serene rivers, lush foliage, shops, restaurants, and so much more. It provides opportunities for a wide range of nature-based recreational activities, such as hiking, biking, canoeing, fishing, swimming, in-line skating, cross-country skiing, picnicking, and more. Tour the H.H. Dow Historical Museum and the 19th century Bradley House and learn about the region’s fascinating history.

Explore the many historic railroad bridges and enjoy the spectacular vistas of the Tittabawassee and Chippewa rivers. The trail is home to diverse wildlife including deer, chipmunks, and numerous beautiful birds. Experience fishing and canoeing in the enchanting river and bring along a nice picnic to relish against the stunning backdrops. Explore the region’s heavenly natural beauty and rejuvenate yourself.

Explore Whiting Forest of Dow Gardens

This site features the country’s longest canopy walk and it is on every tourist’s itinerary in Midland. It consists of sprawling woodlands, an apple orchard, dense foliage, an enchanting stream, wetlands, ponds, a playground, walking trails, beautiful bridges, a café, tree houses, and more. Explore the region’s wilderness and enjoy spectacular views by hiking on the 1400 feet long canopy walk.

You can also enjoy invigorating hikes on the nature trails that meander through the scenic landscapes of the forest and along Snake Creek. Located adjacent to Dow Gardens, Whiting forest is a nature lover’s paradise. The site offers several vantage points where you can feast your eyes to the views of the apple orchard, pond, creek, and towering trees. Take a break from the mundane and monotonous daily routine and escape into nature here. Admission to Dow Gardens includes access to this site.

Lakeside picnicking at Stratford Woods Park

This picturesque park features a mesmerising lake, swimming beach, picnic areas with grills, multiple volleyball courts, nature trails, basketball court, playground, BMX track, and plenty more. Explore the serene waters of Kiwassee Lake by diving in for a swim, bring along a delicious picnic to relish while admiring the natural beauty of the park, enjoy a fun game of volleyball or basketball, hike on the invigorating trails that traverse the site, and watch the setting sun paint a kaleidoscope of crimson, yellow, and pink in the skies.

It is an ideal spot to relax, unwind, and spend quality time with your friends and family. The BMX bike track located in the park can be accessed by public between 8 am and sunset from April to October.

Shop Fresh at Midland Area Farmers Market

Located in downtown Midland, this popular market offers fresh fruits and vegetables, plants, flowers, cheese, meat, seafood, honey, bakery goods, eggs, maple syrup, candles, jams, body care products, pickles, coffee, yogurt, and plenty more. All the products available for sale are sourced from local farmers and producers.

The market is open on every Saturday from April to October between 7 am and 1 pm. Additionally, the winter market is open on the second Saturday of every month from November to March between 9 am to 12 pm. Be sure to try out mouth-watering food at the food trucks in the market. Tour the market, shop fresh and organic, and catch a glimpse of the amazing local culture of Midland here.

Evening stroll at the Tridge

Midand Tridge, Michigan
Shriram Patki / Shutterstock.com

Dating back to 1981, this historic footbridge is located at the confluence of the Chippewa and Tittabawassee rivers in downtown Midland. It provides access to Chippewassee Park, Midland Farmer’s Market, Pere Marquette Rail Trail, Chippewa Nature Trail, and St. Charles Park. Visit the bridge for  a refreshing evening stroll and enjoy the spectacular views of the serene rivers, the gorgeous sunset, and the surrounding greenery.  The bridge is host to a multitude of events including free summer concerts, Labour Day Walks, Riverdays Festival, and more. Enjoy canoeing in the rivers during the summer months and bring along a delicious picnic to relish by the riverside while admiring the magnificent vista.

Tour the Alden Dow Home and Studio

Alden Dow home and Studio
Craig Sterken / Shutterstock.com

This historic house was the residence and work studio of famous 20th century architect, Alden B. Dow. He was the son of Herbert H. Dow who co-founded the Dow Gardens. Alen B. Dow graduated from Columbia School of Architecture and was apprentice to Frank Lloyd Wright. The home and studio boasts remarkable mid-20th century modern architecture. It features Alden Dow’s patented Unit Block, vintage American pottery, Scandinavian glass, beautiful furniture, a serene pond, ceramic collection, and so much more.

The house is located on the banks of an enchanting stream next to the picturesque Dow Gardens. Enjoy the tranquil environment and the stunning views of the sprawling natural beauty. The house is open to public for tours. Tours are provided by reservation from Mondays to Saturdays at 11 am and 2 pm. Tour the house, appreciate the incredible architecture, explore the ceramic and glass collection, check out the vintage furniture displays, and admire the beautiful creek and lush greenery.

Watch a show at Midland Center for the Arts

Midland Center for the arts
Jake Novak, CC BY 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

This renowned center for arts encompasses a 1500-seat auditorium, a 400-seat theatre, two museums, lecture halls, art studios, rehearsal rooms, Heritage Park, and so much more. The Alden B. Dow Museum features a broad array of hands-on experiences and interactive activities that help children learn about science and art in a fun and interesting way. Various educational programs and stage shows are organised here all year round that inspire curiosity among kids. Heritage Park includes the Doan History Center, Herbert H. Dow Museum, Bradley Home, and the Carriage House.

Explore fascinating regional history at the Doan History Center. The Herbert H. Dow museum emphasises on the history of the Dow Chemical Company and its founder. The Bradley home is a historic 19th century home that gives you a glimpse of the lifestyle of the residents of this region during that period. The Carriage House showcases various historical horse-drawn carriages and traditional equipment and tools used by blacksmiths during previous centuries.  The performance venues here present plays, comedies, concerts, musicals, dance performances, film screenings, cabaret, and more.

Classes on a vast array of subjects, such as ceramics, photography, painting, jewellery design, and more are provided here for all age groups. A multitude of events are hosted here throughout the year including winter festivals, comedy nights, concerts, and more. The historic building was designed by Alden B. Dow. This is the perfect place for a wonderful evening’s entertainment. Appreciate art, explore fascinating history, try out fun hands-on experiences, and watch a lively performance here.

Tour spectacular gardens at Dahlia Hill

This is a picturesque garden featuring over 3000 brilliantly coloured dahlia flowers of hundreds of varieties. The garden dates back to the late 20th century and was founded by Charles Breed. Breed was inspired to create this scenic garden when his daughter gifted his wife dahlia tubers on mother’s day. In addition to the gardens, the site features the Equiline Museum which showcases outstanding works of art by the Charles Breed. Various beautiful sculptures designed by Breed are installed throughout the site which add to the beauty of the gardens.

Best time to visit is between August and October when the flowers are in full bloom. Tour the gardens, enjoy the captivating views of the outrageously coloured dahlias, explore thought provoking art in the museum, and admire the magnificent sculptures. Admission is absolutely free for all.

Winter Recreation at Midland City Forest Park

This is the largest park in the city and is a perfect spot for a vast array of outdoor recreational activities. In summer months, the park attracts myriads of hikers, joggers, cyclists, and runners. Tobogganing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, and ice skating are very popular in this park during winters. Enjoy spectacular views here through all four seasons.

The park features miles of nature trails, an ice skating rink, towering trees, sprawling greenery, a sledding hill, a chalet, and  so much more. Rental skates, sleds, and other equipment are available on the site. Admission to the park is absolutely free for all. Visit the park, admire the captivating views, experience the various exhilarating winter recreation activities, and enjoy a fun-filled day with your friends and family.

Wine Tasting at Grape Beginnings Winery

Founded in 2014, this popular winery is located in downtown Midland. Relish a glass of delicious wine and sink your fork into delectable delicacies here. Their menu consists of a wide variety of reds, whites, and fruity wines. Enjoy tasting their amazing wines along with delicious chocolates and cheese. A home made dinner is organised at this winery on the third Wednesday of each month. Try out the unique and fun experience of creating art while enjoying wine at the winery’s painting events. In summer months, you can sit on their outdoor patio and enjoy the weather while dining.

Wildlife Viewing at Chippewa Nature Center

This popular tourist attraction is a nature lover’s paradise. It encompasses lush foliage, wetlands, numerous towering trees, fields, the eco system gallery, a wildlife viewing area, mesmerising rivers. river overlooks, nearly 20 miles of hiking trails, a nature discovery area, a theatre, a naturalist station, a library, a recreated 19th century homestead with outbuildings, and so much more. The site provides access to a broad array of nature-based recreational activities, such as hiking, birding, wildlife viewing, kayaking, snowshoeing, and more.

Enjoy invigorating hikes on the verdant trails, listen to the beautiful sounds of nature, view the diverse wildlife, feast your eyes to the spectacular views of the rivers and greenery, explore the river waters by kayaking, watch a fascinating show at the theatre, and check out cool exhibits at the gallery. The Ecosystem Gallery features exhibits that focus on the flora, fauna, people, and natural resources of the region.

Watch fascinating videos relating to floods, farming, and more at the Bur Oak Theatre. A multitude of events are organised here throughout the year including Maple Syrup Day, Fall Harvest Festival, Nature Art Show & Sale, Banff Centre Mountain Film Festival, and several others. The visitor center is open to public from Monday through Saturday between 8-5pm and on Sundays from 12-5pm. The nature trails can be accessed daily from sunrise to sunset.

Riverside picnicking at Emerson Park

Located on the banks of Tittabawassee River, this is a scenic park featuring lush greenery, picturesque landscaped flower gardens, a sand volleyball court, multiple picnic areas, horseshoe pits, shuffleboard courts, three softball diamonds, a hockey rink, and so much more.

The hockey rink can accommodate ice and is very popular for ice-skating in winter months. Enjoy a refreshing riverside stroll at this park and feast your eyes to the surreal views of the magical sunsets and the enchanting river. The park is a perfect spot for a lovely picnic. Bring along a delicious meal to relish with your friends and family here while admiring the scenic landscapes of the park.

Grab a beer at Midland Brewing Company

This popular brewery and restaurant dates back to 2010. Visit this place to enjoy amazing lagers and ales and mouth-watering food. Be sure to try out their delicious pulled pork sandwich while dining here. The various beers on their menu include Copper Harbor, Midland Brut IPA, The Haze Runner, Isle Royale Cream Ale, Red Keg, smoothie IPAs, and several others. Various events take place here all year round including trivia nights, Sunday Brunch, musical performances, Lent Fish Fridays, Wing Wednesdays, and more.

Watch a game at Dow Diamond

Dow Diamond, Michigan
Matthewldevries, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Located in downtown Midland, this is a minor league baseball stadium. It is home to the Great Lakes Loons baseball team. Get tickets and enjoy a great game at this wonderful stadium. In addition to baseball games, the stadium is also host to various events, such as parties, concerts, blood drives, winter markets, cornhole tournament, fourth of July celebrations, and many more.