Blake Walsh

25 Best Things to Do in Midland, MI

  • Published 2023/03/08

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 and parks, dense forests, historic rail trails, and beautiful creeks, rivers, and lakes.

There are also many magnificent bridges, fascinating museums and art centers, excellent wineries, and more attractions to explore.

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 a thrilling adventure or a relaxing vacation, Midland is the perfect place to book for your next holiday.

Here’s a list of the best things to do in Midland, Michigan:

Admire Nature’s Beauty at Dow Gardens

Vibrant tulips at Dow Gardens, Midland, Michigan

Craig Sterken /

Dow Gardens is one of the prime attractions of Midland.

Encompassing over 100 acres, it features many beautifully landscaped gardens with brilliantly colored 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 short footbridge surrounded with beautiful trees at Dow Gardens

John McCormick /

Many events take place here throughout the year, including concerts, open-air movies, a Christmas Walk, yoga sessions, history tours, educational programs, and more.

The Pines of Dow Gardens, which was the home of the Dow Family, dates back to the late 19th century.

Today, it is a museum that showcases the family’s furniture, home décor, china, paintings, and other belongings.

Enjoy a refreshing stream sidewalk, admire nature’s astounding beauty, feast your eyes on the views of the outrageously colored flowers, explore the bridges and the mesmerizing waterfall, relish a lovely picnic against the picturesque backdrops, and relax in the tranquil environment.

Artificial waterfall at Dow Gardens


Go Hiking on the Pere Marquette Rail Trail

Name sign of Pere Marquette Rail Trail on the bridge

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 Herbert 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

An arched footbridge over Whiting Forest waters

Guillermo Lizondo Esteve /

This site features the country’s longest canopy walk, and it is on every tourist’s Midland itinerary.

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 1,400-foot-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 on views of the apple orchard, pond, creek, and towering trees.

Take a break from your daily routine and escape into nature here.

Admission to Dow Gardens includes access to this site.

Go Lakeside Picnicking at Stratford Woods Park

The picturesque Stratford Woods Park features a mesmerizing lake and a swimming beach.

Perfect for a day of outdoor fun, the park also comprises picnic areas with grills, multiple volleyball courts, nature trails, a basketball court, a playground, a BMX track, and plenty more.

Explore the serene waters of Kiwassee Lake by diving in for a swim, or bring along a delicious picnic to relish while admiring the park’s natural beauty.

You can also enjoy a fun game of volleyball or basketball, hike on the invigorating trails that traverse the site, or 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 public can access the BMX bike track located in the park from April to October.

Shop for Fresh Goods at Midland Area Farmers Market

Located in downtown Midland, this famous market offers fresh fruits and vegetables.

In addition to that, they also sell 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 every Saturday from April to October.

Additionally, the winter market is open on the second Saturday of every month from November to March.

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 fantastic local culture of Midland here.

Take an Evening Stroll at The Tridge

Night lights of the Midand Tridge, Michigan

Shriram Patki /

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.

The Tridge's lights reflecting on the water

Craig Sterken /

Visit The Tridge 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.

The view from within The Tridge

Craig Sterken /

Tour the Alden Dow Home and Studio

Exterior of Alden Dow home and Studio

Craig Sterken /

This historic house was the residence and work studio of the 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 an apprentice to Frank Lloyd Wright.

The home and studio boast remarkable mid-20th century modern architecture.

It features Alden Dow’s patented Unit Block, vintage American pottery, Scandinavian glass, beautiful furniture, a serene pond, a ceramic collection, and so much more.

The beautiful architecture style of Alden Dow Home and Studio

O. David Redwine, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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 the public for tours.

Tours are provided by reservation from Mondays to Saturdays.

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

Exterior of Midland Center for the arts

Jake Novak, CC BY 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

This renowned center for arts encompasses a 1,500-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 exciting way.

Various educational programs and stage shows that inspire curiosity among kids are organized here all year round.

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 emphasizes 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, jewelry design, and more are provided here for all age groups.

Many events are hosted throughout the year, including winter festivals, comedy nights, concerts, and more.

The historic building was designed by Alden B. Dow.

It is the perfect place for a wonderful evening’s entertainment.

Appreciate art, explore the fascinating history, try out fun, hands-on experiences, and watch a live performance here.

Tour Spectacular Gardens at Dahlia Hill

Vibrant flowers at Dahlia Hill

In His Image /

Dahlia Hill is a picturesque garden featuring over 3,000 brilliantly colored 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.

Fully bloomed dahlias at Dahlia Hill

In His Image /

In addition to the gardens, the site features the Equiline Museum, which showcases outstanding works of art by Charles Breed.

Various beautiful sculptures designed by Breed are installed throughout the site, adding to the beauty of the gardens.

The 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 colored dahlias, explore thought-provoking art in the museum, and admire the magnificent sculptures.

Dahlia Hill's pretty flowers

In His Image /

Enjoy Winter Recreation at Midland City Forest Park

Midland City Forest Park is the largest park in the city and is a perfect spot for a vast array of outdoor recreational activities.

The park attracts myriads of hikers, joggers, cyclists, and runners in the summer months.

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.

Visit Midland City Forest Park, admire the captivating views, experience various exhilarating winter recreation activities, and enjoy a fun-filled day with your friends and family.

Join a Wine Tasting at Grape Beginnings Winery

Founded in 2014, this famous winery is located in downtown Midland.

Relish a glass of delicious wine and sink your fork into delectable delicacies here.

Grape Beginnings Winery‘s menu consists of a wide variety of reds, whites, and fruity wines.

Enjoy tasting their exceptional wines along with delicious chocolates and cheese.

Homemade dinners are organized 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.

You can sit on their outdoor patio and enjoy the weather while dining in the summer months.

See Wildlife at Chippewa Nature Center

Closeup of a wildflower at Chippewa Nature Center

syd.03 /

This popular tourist attraction is a nature lover’s paradise.

It encompasses lush foliage, wetlands, numerous towering trees, fields, the ecosystem gallery, a wildlife viewing area, and mesmerizing rivers.

There are also river overlooks, nearly 20 miles of hiking trails, a nature discovery area, a theater, a naturalist station, a library, a recreated 19th-century homestead with outbuildings, and so much more.

Chippewa Nature Center 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, and view the diverse wildlife.

Here, you’re invited to feast your eyes on the spectacular views of the rivers and greenery, explore the river waters by kayaking, watch a fascinating show at the theater, and check out cool exhibits at the gallery.

The Ecosystem Gallery features exhibits that focus on the region’s flora, fauna, people, and natural resources.

Watch fascinating videos relating to floods, farming, and more at the Bur Oak Theater.

Many events are organized 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 the public from Monday through Saturday.

The nature trails can be accessed daily from sunrise to sunset.

Enjoy Riverside Picnicking at Emerson Park

Located on the banks of the 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 the winter months.

Enjoy a refreshing riverside stroll at this park, and feast your eyes on the surreal views of the magical sunsets and the enchanting river.

Emerson 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 excellent lagers and ales and mouth-watering food.

Be sure to try out Midland Brewing Company‘s 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

The field of Dow Diamond, Michigan

Matthewldevries, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Located in downtown Midland, Dow Diamond 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 tournaments, fourth of July celebrations, and many more.

Join an Art Class at Space Studios

At Space Studios, a 5-acre architectural wonder, you may paint and create from a vast range of ready-to-be-glazed, handmade ceramics in the Pottery Studio and Glaze Bar.

Participate in a pottery class for four or eight weeks.

During this workshop, you’ll learn wheel throwing, hand building, and glazing methods!

They are ready to be glazed since they were made by local potters. Let your imagination go wild with these products!

Between $10 and $75, prices are all included. Walk-ins are accepted during regular office hours.

You may also hold parties here.

Paddle with Ike’s Mobile Kayak Rentals

It’s a unique kayaking experience that Ike’s Mobile Kayak Rentals provides.

There is a wealth of natural beauty in Midland and the surrounding region, including stunning rivers, lakes, and easy kayak launch points.

After your trip, we will meet you at your final destination and transport you to your car back at the launch place.

Kayaking is a terrific way to spend time with loved ones and get some fitness at the same time.

The kayaks we use are 12 feet long and can be used for either standing or sitting.

We provide both guided and self-directed trips.

Getting out on the lake is the most important thing to do.

Kayaking is a great activity to try!

It has a variety of paddle events, such as sunset paddles, ladies’ nights, fall color tours, after-work group paddles, and yoga and paddle night.

Unwind at WhichCraft Taproom

WhichCraft Taproom is another excellent spot to unwind after a long day of exploring the city.

Visit the WhichCraft Taproom, which has more than 80 kinds of Michigan-made brews, 40 of which are on tap!

The taproom sources its ingredients from businesses in the area, ensuring it contributes to local livelihood.

WhichCraft Taproom offers a wide variety of exquisite food on the menu.

Several board games are available for you and your friends to enjoy while sipping on your beverage.

Grab a Souvenir from Coyer Candle Co.

In 2008, Scott and Lisa Coyer began their firm in their kitchen.

The search for a lovely scented candle that burnt cleanly and lasted was fruitless, so they decided to make their own.

As their company grew, they eventually outgrew their home-based operation and opened a downtown Midland, Michigan storefront.

They quickly filled the shelves of their own store and those of other companies in Michigan, the United States, and even abroad.

Hundreds of goods are made each day by their employees.

They use 100% soy wax, cotton wicks, and jars created in the United States to provide the best scented candles.

Today, Coyer Candle offers more than 100 distinct soy candle smells.

Cool Down in the Pool at Plymouth Park

In the warmer season, the swimming pool at Plymouth Park opens to the public for a day of beating the heat and having fun in the water.

The large pool is a great spot during hot summer days when you’re in Midland with your family and friends.

And if you have kids in tow, they too can join you and play at the designated play area to keep them entertained.

Also, there’s an area for kids to enjoy the spray features without the need to swim at the pool.

Plymouth Park is located off East Wheeler Street.

Play Bowling at Valley Lanes Family Entertainment Center

Strike some pins down at Valley Lanes Family Entertainment Center and enjoy its modern amenities that make your time more comfortable with your friends and loved ones.

The bowling alley features 24 lanes with a modern scoring system complete with custom animation and graphics.

If you have younger kids with you, there are bumpers on all lanes to cater to them too.

Also, as soon as you have enjoyed bowling, Valley Lanes Family Entertainment Center also offers arcade games. bumper cars, laser maze, and more.

You can find it on Bay City Road.

Take Scenic Walks at Chippewassee Park

On a fine morning or afternoon in Midland, you can take yourself to Chippewassee Park, where you can enjoy scenic walks along its nature trails.

The 35-acre park features beautiful grassy areas to explore while you’re taking advantage of a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere perfect for nature walks.

Kids will also love its beautiful playground with nice play equipment, as well as the splash pad during the summer season.

Its location on the fork of the Chippewa and Tittabawassee Rivers makes it more attractive to locals and tourists visiting the area.

A scenic walk at Chippewassee Park makes a relaxing day in Midland!

Dine at Boulevard Lounge

Sure you can dine anywhere in Midland, but one of the best restaurants to try is Boulevard Lounge on South Saginaw Road.

The restaurant is popular for its mouthwatering hearty burgers such as patty melt, as well as onion rings, fish fries, wet burritos, fried mushrooms, pizza, and more.

And of course, its cold draft beer on tap is a must-try!

Founded in 1956, the restaurant also features several displays to watch sports while enjoying your food and specialty drinks.

Boulevard Lounge has been a tradition in Midland, which is a great stop for tourists.

Go Shopping at Midland Mall

Interior of Midland Mall

TenPoundHammer, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Shopping also comes in handy in the city at Midland Mall, which features popular brands ranging from women, men, and kids’ apparel to beauty and home care.

Opened in 1991, the mall also offers several dining options if you prefer to dine inside after shopping for goods.

Currently, there are more than 30 retail stores in the mall and is a great destination for mall lovers traveling to Midland.

The 505,916-square-foot mall is owned by Kohan Retail Investment Group.

It’s located off Eastman Avenue.

Final Thoughts

Midland is an ideal mix of natural beauty and urban sophistication as a holiday destination.

A visit to the 1,200-acre forest and wetland sanctuary of Chippewa Nature Center or a stroll through the Midland Area Farmers Market will leave you with enough to think about and taste buds itching for more.

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