20 Best Things to Do in Saginaw, MI

Saginaw, MI
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As a diverse city with natural wonders, there are many places to explore in Saginaw, which is located in the heart of the Great Lakes Bay Region and alongside the Saginaw River.

If you are looking for a city with varieties of outdoor and indoor adventures, then you must go to Saginaw, a city teeming with natural attractions, museums, theaters, and even zoos.

Whether your interest lies in trying recreational opportunities, sports, arts, natural attractions, and live events, there are several places to visit in the town.

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

Check Different Exhibits in Castle Museum

Front View of Castle Museum's exterior
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Do you want to go to one of the sites listed as the National Register of Historic Places in Michigan?

Then, you must go to the historic Castle Museum, which is the current home of Saginaw County’s Historical Society.

The museum has three floors full of exhibits and displays about the automotive industry, lumbering, archaeology, Saginaw County Sports Hall of Fame, and the Saginaw 1914 cyclecar.

Top part of Castle Museum
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You can also venture back in time and know more about the stories of the Saginaw Country and explore and experience the museum.

Within the museum’s wall, you’ll discover the community’s heritage through exhibits like “Everyday objects of the Chippewa Indians,” “Geared for production,” and arrows, animal skulls, and spearheads for “Revealing our buried past.”

The Castle Museum is open from Monday to Wednesday and Friday to Saturday from 10 AM to 4:30 PM, Thursday from 10 AM to 7 PM, and Sunday from 1 PM to 4:40 PM.

The admission cost is $1 for adults, $0.5 for children, and free for its members.

Building sign of Castle Museum
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See a Wide Array of Animals in Saginaw Children’s Zoo

A peacock at Saginaw Children’s Zoo
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Transform your ordinary day into an extraordinary one by going to one of the homes to different kinds of animals.

Mammals, reptiles, invertebrates, and a variety of birds are at the Saginaw Children’s Zoo.

If you go to the zoo, you will see eastern gray kangaroos, capuchin monkeys, river otters, prairie dogs, pygmy goats, eclectus parrot, turkey vulture, leopard tortoise, alligator, tarantulas, honeybees, and many more animals

Aside from interacting with animals, you can also join camps, outdoor activities, and school programs that will enrich your experience and knowledge about conservation and animal protection.

This 10-acre zoo has the region's carousel, which is hand-carved, and you can also ride on the miniature train called “Ibershoff Special.”

You can also be involved in the zoo activities if you are a member.

Go Hiking and Birdwatching in Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge

A Bird at Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge
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Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge has a 6.5-mile wildlife drive dedicated to preserving wildlife habitat.

The wildlife refuge is simply breath-taking as you can see many pelicans and different animals on your way; and on spring and fall migration, you can see geese and ducks in the area.

Ducks at Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge
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The points of interest in the place are the Wildlife Drive, which is a 6.5-mile self-guided car tour route, the Ferguson Bayou and the Woodland Trail, and the nature center at Green Point ELC.

A Bird at Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge
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It’s the perfect place to go if you want to take a break from the online world, if you want a quiet and peaceful place in the wooded trails, and if you want to experience the close-to-nature feeling.

The Wildlife Refuge is absolutely the best place to go.

A Bird at Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge
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Buy Local Items in Pride and Country Village

Head over to Pride and Country Village and buy different items!

This gift shop has six unique shops that appeal to your different tastes and preferences, such as the Schoolhouse Fashion Boutique, The Mill, The Barn, Tumbleweed Farms, The Farmhouse, and Our Woodshop.

You will surely have one-of-a-kind shopping experiences with all the shops you can check and explore since they have something for everyone.

Read the Local History Genealogy Collection in Hoyt Library

Exterior of Hoyt Library
Ian Poellet, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Hoyt Library is a historical tribute to the city’s rich history and architecture.

Here, you'll find the Local History and Genealogy Collection (LHG), a central repository of Saginaw local history, Saginaw Valley, the people who settled in the region, and the history of Michigan.

You can read over 18,000 books, scrapbooks, diaries, photographs, periodicals, and microfilms about the extensive genealogical history of the people.

Front view of Hoyt Library's exterior
Ian Poellet, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You may borrow a book as long as you have your library card with you, and the library is open on Monday to Thursday from 9 AM to 8 PM and on Friday and Saturday from 9 AM to 5 PM.

What are you waiting for? Come and visit Hoyt Library.

Take Part in the Art in Saginaw Art Museum

If you go to the Saginaw Art Museum, you will find different sculptures, paintings, and watercolor artwork included in the Permanent Collection, and all of these artworks are made by American and European artists from the 18th century to the 21st century.

There are also photographs, glass and works on paper, and ceramics that can catch your attention.

There are different artwork themes in the museum, such as The British Tradition, France: From Artifice from Reality, American Realism, Sculpture Solarium, and Romantic Landscape in America.

You can go to the museum for free if you are currently a member of the US Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Navy.

You can find the museum at 1126 North Michigan Avenue, and it is open from Wednesday to Friday from 12 PM to 5 PM.

Have Fun in Frank N. Andersen Celebration Park

If you are looking for something new and more active to do in Saginaw, you should go to the 4-acre Frank N. Andersen Celebration Park, with 15,000 feet of concrete for inline and outdoor skating.

Aside from the skate park that is open for the whole year, there is also a splash park with water features and splash pad sections for three different age groups.

There are picnic areas and a pavilion with picnic tables where you can stay, relax and create a memorable experience with your family, friends, or loved ones.

Celebration Park also has a European-style playscape with a rock-climbing wall and three slides, a quarter-mile of walking parks, and an area where you can have your leisure strolls and nature watching.

You should not worry about the parking because there are ample parking spaces that are easily accessible by public transit.

Watch Great Performances in Temple Theatre

Exterior of Temple Theatre
Ian Poellet, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you want to go to the premier venue for performing arts, dance, music, and cinema, you must go to the Temple Theatre, also known as the “Showplace of Northeastern Michigan.”

With 1,750 seating capacity, Temple Theatre is home to the only Barton Butterfield Special organ which is still in its original condition.

The theater has an original Neo-Classic design with an intricate interior, and it has been the center for regional culture and art.

View of Temple Theatre
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Witness many great performances of contemporary stars, legendary performers, and most-awaited performing groups that grace the theater every year.

You can also check out their events and programs, such as Saginaw Silver Screen, a movie series on classic films and commentaries about the grandest stage of the region; or check the Spark Mini-musical camp, an online platform that presents theater education.

Building sign of the Temple Theatre
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Buy Fresh Produce in the Saginaw Farmers’ Market

You should not miss out on going to the Saginaw Farmers’ Market, where you can buy many locally produced vegetables, fruits, herbs, and even fresh-cut flowers.

You can also find organic handmade soaps, and other delicious food like cakes, cookies, pies, brownies, jams and jellies, chocolate, caramel corn, and many more.

If you took all the time to buy local food and products, you can stop in for lunch, as there are stores which offer great and delicious food.

All the vendors are very welcoming, and they are all gathered in the northwest corner of Thompson Streets and Washington Avenue.

If you are planning to visit, it’s best to check the calendar of activities.

Watch Concerts at Dow Event Center

Front View of Dow Event Center's exterior
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Dow Event Center is an entertainment complex and an indoor event venue for sporting, dance, concerts, theater, and other great events.

So, if you want to find ways to activate spaces and envision new ways to create great experiences for your guests, clients, members, and others, you can rent a space in the event center and create amazing memories.

A concert in Dow Event Center
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Revisit History in Saginaw County Veterans Memorial Plaza

The Memorial Plaza is dedicated to military men and women from Saginaw County who served and brought honor to America in times of war for the cause of freedom.

There are five circular structures called pods.

The four of them contain World War II monuments, while the last one has three flag poles with flags of America, State, and POW/MIA for different ceremonies.

There are engraved names of veterans from Saginaw County.

There is also a new section in the Saginaw County Veterans Memorial Plaza that honors families of service members and wounded service members.

You can walk in the brick-paved walkway surrounding the monuments and just relax for the day here in the place.

Shop ‘til You Drop in Fashion Square Mall

Exterior of Fashion Square Mall
TenPoundHammer, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Going to the largest enclosed shopping center should also be in your list of activities when you are in Saginaw!

Come and enjoy at the Fashion Square Mall, where there are over 100 specialty shops, such as American Eagle, Aeropostale, Bath & Body Works, Encore, Hot Topic, Rue21, and many more.

There are many things available in the mall, and aside from the stores, there are also eateries inside, making it truly a total shopping experience.

Sip Teas in Japanese Cultural Center and Tea House

One of the most interesting things to do in Saginaw is to visit one of the most authentic Japanese tea houses in the Midwest and to stroll in the Japanese gardens.

The mission of the Japanese Cultural Center and Tea House is “to promote intercultural understanding and peace through a bowl of tea.”

It is best if you plan your visit on the second Saturday of the month because the staff offered traditional tea ceremonies or what the Japanese called Chanoyu.

If you can’t go on this specific day, do not worry because a “Tea & Tour” can be scheduled anytime, and you can freely enjoy the peaceful setting in the three-acre gardens on Lake Linton’s shore.

Enjoy Bonding Moment With Your Family in the Kokomo’s Family Fun Center

What could be a more fun thing to go than to go with your whole family to play games and have fun for the weekend?

There are many activities you can do, such as riding the outdoor go-karts and the roller coaster, joining in laser tag, playing the mini-golf course, and trying the indoor driving range and batting cages.

The fun center is also great for birthday parties, family outings, and team building, and you can buy tickets in bulk, family value pack, or individually.

Drop by and Buy Fresh Veggies at Johnson's Pumpkin Farm

Saginaw County has a seasonal farm called Johnson's Pumpkin Farm.

In 1985, they began cultivating pumpkins and selling them along the highway.

They have expanded in the past 35 years, adding a 13-acre corn maze, a sizable animal zoo, a comprehensive concession station, 15 festive acres to explore, weekend activities, and much more.

Their property is covered in several acres of animal enclosures, including those for chickens, goats, llamas, cows, and other animals.

Their large craft market offers a wide range of products from neighborhood manufacturers, including handmade food, apparel, and different seasons décor.

Johnson's has developed into the top autumn attraction in mid-Michigan and is open daily from the second Saturday of September through October 31.

Shop for Unique Items at Antique Warehouse

On October 2, 1982, Antique Warehouse began its operations with nine sellers.

They grew into a sizable two-warehouse facility with several small businesses, a tearoom, and an antique section in June 1987.

The collection of valuable and antique objects at Antique Warehouse is something to be proud of.

The company has decided to only sell goods that meet the finest and most reliable standards.

Currently, 70 high-quality antique vendors sell items, including furniture, glassware, table lamps, jewelry, toys, clocks, antiques, and more.

They have shopkeepers on site to help you, so explore, shop, and chat with them.

You will also love dining at their Memory Lane Cafe and going on shopping trips at one of their 12 specialty shops.

Relax and Watch a Movie at Quality 10

High-end audio, cutting-edge 4K projectors, plush power-reclining chairs, and a wall-to-wall screen showing the latest blockbuster films are all included in Quality 10.

With the capacity to locate "objects" of sound everywhere in the space, Quality 10 symbolizes both the present and the future of movie acoustics.

The movie's setting will make you feel like you are right in the heart of the action.

The theater's large screens allow you to fully engage in each film.

Sit back and relax in their elevated, non-reclining seating, either with or without a side table.

Grab your preferred concession item, including some traditional popcorn with butter or sweets.

Dine at Timbers Bar and Grill

Timbers Bar & Grill, a locally run establishment, lets you escape the neighborhood and embrace the forest feels.

Since 2001, Timbers Bar and Grill has been a Saginaw classic.

Their kid-friendly restaurant serves large quantities of freshly prepared American cuisine and is themed after Saginaw's logging history.

Their steadfast dedication to utilizing only fresh products is the first step in their love for preparing high-quality cuisine for clients.

The menu features meals influenced by the current season and a few year-round specialty dishes.

They have a sizable menu and daily specials that change each day of the week in addition to their extensive menu.

A bar with 20 beers on tap, most of their craft produced, is located next to the restaurant.

Exercise and Explore the Saginaw Valley Rail Trail

One of Saginaw County's treasures is the 11-mile Saginaw Valley Rail Trail, which runs from St. Charles to Saginaw.

The Shiawassee State Game Area, several marsh areas, seven bridges crossing different rivers and streams, and other natural elements are all incorporated within the park.

Saginaw Valley Rail Trail offers calm, secure areas for wildlife observation, horseback riding, cross-country skiing, jogging, strolling, and other activities.

It provides a singular way to experience the outdoors without consuming fossil fuels or jeopardizing the ecosystem.

The Rail Trail also features a horseback riding path, viewpoint stations, seats, restrooms, and trail shelters at the Van Wormer parking area.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Explore Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum

Interior View of Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum
Geoffehaney, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Are you interested in going to an art museum?

If yes, then it’s best to head over to 7400 Bay Road to find a museum that celebrates Marshall M. Fredericks’ artistic legacy.

Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum is known as one of the most prolific sculptors in America in the 20th century due to his portraits, monumental figurative sculptures, free-standing sculptures, public memorials and fountains, and animal figures.

In the museum, there is the main exhibit gallery, which has more than 200 collections of Frederick’s art in the span of his whole career, and also a Sculptor’s Studio.

Plan your visit to reflect and relax in The Jo Anne & Donald Petersen Sculpture Garden.

This museum is free and open to the public from Monday to Saturday, from 11 AM to 5 PM.

What are you waiting for?

Final Thoughts

Saginaw is truly diverse with many fun activities to do.

It is a place teeming with history, culture, and arts.

Be sure to visit this place!

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