20 Best Things to Do in Flint, MI

Flint, M

Embarking on a quest to uncover the best things to do in Flint, Michigan?

In this comprehensive guide, we've melded insights from locals and travelers to present you with a mosaic of experiences that define this remarkable place. While we've highlighted some must-visit spots, it's imperative to understand that these recommendations are shaped by personal opinions and experiences.

There are countless other wonderful places awaiting your discovery. Our goal isn't just to point you to the well-trodden paths, but to inspire you to explore and truly immerse yourself in the city's essence.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the following individuals for their invaluable contributions to this article: Briana Winters, Bryan Smiley, Michael Pritchett, Rebecca Pugh, Timothy Frisbie, Sergio Diaz and Muriel Obrien.

Marvel at Applewood Estate's Timeless Beauty

Exterior of Applewood Estate
Paul R. Burley , CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

As someone who has spent countless summer afternoons at the Applewood Estate, I can assure you that it offers a truly unique and refreshing experience.

The estate is just the right size for a leisurely 1-2 hour stroll, allowing you to soak in the serene atmosphere without feeling overwhelmed.

The most memorable part of the visit is the house tour.

Despite not being able to take pictures, the 30-minute tour offers a fascinating insight into the first floor and basement of the house.

The guides are friendly, engaging, and always happy to share stories about the family history and their contributions to the community.

One of the charming features of the estate is the 'Taste of Applewood.'

This is a novel way of experiencing the different fruits grown on the property.

Beautiful garden of Applewood Estate
Paul R. Burley , CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

On my last visit, they were offering apricots, and it was such a delightful experience to savor the flavors of the season.

But the real jewel in the crown of the Applewood Estate is the nostalgic Victorian-style gardens.

As you walk through the gardens, you can't help but feel transported to a different era.

Although the occasional weeds and Japanese beetles are a slight nuisance, they are a minor inconvenience compared to the sheer beauty and tranquillity of the place.

For those looking for a relaxed day out with the family, the gardens offer the perfect picnic spot.

Pack a basket, bring a blanket, and enjoy a leisurely lunch amidst the greenery and flowers.

Whether you're a history buff, a nature lover, or simply someone looking for a place to unwind, the Applewood Estate is a must-visit.

Landscape of Applewood Estate
Paul R. Burley , CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Unravel the Puzzles at Spymaker Escape Rooms

Oh, what a thrill the Spymaker Escape Rooms were!

I remember stepping into the room, my heart pounding with both anticipation and apprehension.

It was a group of seven of us - six adults and a 12-year-old whiz kid.

Navigating the intricacies of the room was a challenge indeed.

It felt as if we were in a detective movie, trying to solve a crime.

I would be lying if I said we didn’t feel helpless at times.

We had to ask for many hints to move forward.

However, the more time we spent inside, the better we got at solving puzzles.

The sense of achievement we felt when we solved a puzzle was indeed heady.

It's like we became more attuned to the rhythm of the room.

The puzzles were not just difficult but incredibly inventive.

They were a welcome change from the puzzles we usually solve in our local escape rooms.

The best part about Spymaker Escape Rooms was that they were very accommodating.

They allowed us to bring our service dogs inside the room and even let us add an extra player at the last minute.

Taylor was our guide, and she was fun, energetic, and very helpful.

It was a pleasure to have her guide us.

We had such a blast there that we couldn't help but discuss when our next visit would be.

The fact that they also sell board games in the lobby was a bonus.

It was an evening full of laughter, camaraderie, and mental gymnastics that I won’t be forgetting anytime soon.

Catch Stellar Performances at Capitol Theatre

Exterior of The Capitol Theatre
kennethaw88, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It was just another day in Flint when I decided to check out the much-talked-about Brian Regan show at the Capitol Theatre.

But let me tell you, I had one of the best nights of my life here.

The venue was absolutely stunning, with its magnificent stage and beautiful interior, it was certainly one of the best facilities I've been to.

While I was all excited about the show, there was a little mishap with our tickets. However, the staff was quick to respond.

They not only addressed our issue but also ensured it was sorted out immediately.

Their helpful attitude was indeed commendable, and it added to the overall experience.

Interior of The Capitol Theatre
Capitol Theatre, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Capitol Theatre certainly stole my heart.

It's not just the attractive setting but also the thoughtful arrangement.

Despite the concession and bathroom lines getting slightly long, I was glad to see them on both the main and the 2nd floors.

It seemed like the theatre had thought of everything!

Being part of the Flint community, it was exciting to see a theatre like this in our downtown.

I do hope they continue to organize more music and comedy shows because I can't wait to be back for more.

Have a Learning-Filled Afternoon at Gloria Coles Flint Public Library

Have you ever gotten lost in the world of reading?

If not, you might want to give it a try, and there's no better place to do so than the Gloria Coles Flint Public Library.

Recently updated to embrace a more contemporary aesthetic, this library features a vast selection of both hard and paperback books, audiobooks, CDs, and reference materials.

Securing a library card was a breeze, and although the information staff were incredibly helpful, I wish they had provided a quick tutorial on how to find and check out books.

Nevertheless, I found the layout quite intuitive, making it easy for me to locate the books I needed.

I couldn't find the specific book I was looking for on my first visit, but that's just an excuse for me to make another trip back in the future!

One of the highlights for me is the quiet and cozy nooks where you can immerse yourself in your reading.

Gloria Coles Flint Public Library is also well-maintained, with a clean and inviting atmosphere that makes it a great place to spend your leisure time.

Just a heads up, the library is closed on Mondays, so make sure to plan your visit accordingly.

For families with children, the library has a dedicated children's section that was recently renovated.

My kids particularly love the dedicated snack room in this section, which always keeps them engaged and entertained during our visits.

There's also a computer area for kids that's well-monitored, providing a safe and educational environment for them.

Another new addition is the computerized system to look up books, which replaced the old card system.

Now, finding your desired book is much easier and quicker.

For group discussions or meetings, there are rooms that can be checked out, adding another layer of convenience to the library's offerings.

Get Inspired at Flint Institute of Arts

Colorful exterior of Flint Institute of Arts
Michael Barera, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Every so often, I find myself longing for an escape, a retreat into a realm of artistry, history, and culture.

That's when I head to the Flint Institute of Arts, a local gem that houses a remarkable collection of European and American works dating back to the 15th century.

Even as a frequent visitor, the allure of the museum never fades, each tour revealing a new perspective or hidden treasure.

During my last visit, I was captivated by their special displays, including a super cool glass exhibit.

The delicate glass artifacts were safely tucked behind glass, their beauty magnified, not obscured.

I marveled at the Renaissance and Baroque room, which houses the largest known collection of tapestries.

The audio stories accompanying most artworks add depth to the visual feast, providing a fascinating peek into the minds of the artists.

But Flint Institute of Arts is not just about visual arts. On one surprising visit, I was treated to a captivating glass-blowing presentation by the students of UM-Flint.

From the glowing orb of molten glass to the final polished product, the expressive performance was an unforgettable experience.

The museum also houses temporary exhibits.

The Art in Fantasy exhibit, a delightful journey through realms of magic and myth, was a feast for the imagination.

But the most poignant display for me was the one that chronicled the Flint Water Crisis.

A stark reminder of our shared history, it left an indelible mark on my heart.

The visit wouldn’t be complete without a quick stop at the museum's gift shop, a treasure trove of works by local artists, and a bite from the bustling cafe.

Good food and good art – a combination that never disappoints.

Discover a Piece of History at Sitdowners Memorial Park

You know that feeling of serenity that washes over you when you step into a place steeped in history?

That's exactly how I felt when I first set foot in the Sitdowners Memorial Park.

Nestled unassumingly in the heart of Flint, this small park packs a punch with a wealth of history and a heartfelt memorial.

One lazy Thursday afternoon, I found myself waiting for my sister who was at the doctor's nearby.

With time to kill, I decided to take a stroll and chanced upon this quaint little park.

It didn't take long for me to be drawn in by the intriguing information about the union history in Flint.

As I delved deeper, I discovered Grand Sinn's brick and was immediately enveloped in a wave of nostalgia.

I remembered the stories shared with me over the years about the arduous struggle and the resilient spirit that shaped the unions we know today.

You might be wondering, what's so special about a brick?

Well, each brick in the park is a memorial to a sitdown from the 1936-1937 General Motors sit-down strike, a pivotal moment in American labor history.

The park is a tribute to these brave men and women, acknowledging their contribution and their fight for workers' rights.

If you're interested in learning more about the union history in Flint, I highly recommend a visit to this park.

Don't forget to ask for a tour when you're there.

Sometimes, the smallest of parks can tell the biggest of stories.

And let me tell you, the Sitdowners Memorial Park is one such place where history is not just remembered but felt.

Go Stargazing at Longway Planetarium

Dome-shaped Longway Planetarium
Michael Barera, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There's this hidden gem in the city, Longway Planetarium, where the magic of the universe unfolds right before your very eyes.

From the comfort of the 60-foot dome, I often find myself immersed in the captivating world of astronomy.

Their demonstrations are top-notch, and they keep everyone from kids to adults hooked with their science and laser rock shows.

One of my favorite experiences was taking my family there - it was an unforgettable day.

Seeing the wonder on my child's face as we took a virtual tour of the Solar System was priceless.

The staff at Longway Planetarium was friendly and knowledgeable, and the presentation was absolutely fantastic. It's safe to say that the drive was worth every minute.

They also host classes and camps, which I've found to be quite informative.

I've learned so much about the celestial bodies that light up the night sky.

It's not just the kids who have all the fun, the adults, too, can have their fill of learning.

Last winter, we decided to switch up our usual weekend routine and headed to one of their laser light shows.

I attended a few of these 25 years ago, and I must say, they've managed to keep the excitement alive with improved audio and video technology.

I remember sitting there with my family, mesmerized by the spectacular play of light and sound, forgetting about the winter chill outside.

The Longway Planetarium isn't just about the shows and classes, though.

The place is immaculately maintained, well-lit, and gives off a warm, inviting vibe.

With a secure and well-lit parking lot, it's quite a stress-free trip.

Get Your Hands on the Interactive Exhibits of Sloan Museum of Discovery

Ever since my first visit to the Sloan Museum of Discovery, I've been hooked!

You wouldn't believe the joy that fills my heart every time I walk in and see the classic auto gallery with Flint-built cars on display.

I can't help but be filled with pride knowing that such incredible pieces of machinery were birthed in our very own city.

I've spent countless afternoons showing off the museum to visiting friends and family.

Whether we're exploring regional history or getting our hands dirty with science exhibits, there's always something to keep us engaged.

I remember a particular afternoon where we spent hours in the hands-on water area, completely captivated by the various scientific themes it covers.

I've also found myself immersed in the climate change and rocket exhibits, learning new things each time I visit.

It's not every day that you get to test your knowledge and have fun at the same time!

But what is even more heartwarming is seeing toddlers engrossed in the interactive displays.

Watching the next generation take an interest in science and history truly makes my heart swell.

And it's not just about the exhibits – Sloan Museum of Discovery is clean and well-maintained, and even the bathrooms next to the kids' discovery center are spotless.

And let me tell you, the satisfaction of availing of the resident discount makes the experience even more rewarding!

Spot the Animals at For-Mar Nature Preserve & Arboretum

A butterfly at For-Mar Nature Preserve & Arboretum
James W. Thompson / Shutterstock.com

Whenever I crave some fresh air and a peaceful walk, I head straight to the For-Mar Nature Preserve & Arboretum, a truly hidden gem in Burton.

Spanning 383 acres, it's almost impossible to fully explore this tranquil oasis in a single day.

This is my go-to place for a soul-soothing walk amidst nature since 1970.

It's always a thrill to cross the picturesque wooden bridges that span the quaint, tranquil streams.

The sight of fish playfully swimming in the pond often enthralls me.

If you are lucky, you might even spot some of the snapping turtles that call this pond their home!

And don't forget to look up - you might just see a majestic crane soaring overhead.

The indoor exhibit at the visitor center never fails to educate and entertain.

Seeing children gathered around the beehive, fascinated by the industrious workers inside, is a heartwarming sight.

The aquariums and terrariums are beautifully maintained and house a variety of animals, providing a great learning experience for all.

Walking around the grassy area is a delight in itself.

The butterfly house, in particular, is a spectacle not to be missed, a riot of colors and fluttering wings.

And the best part? The trails are always well-kept, with benches conveniently placed, offering a perfect spot to take a breather and soak in the beauty of the surroundings.

Even on sweltering summer days, the abundant shade from the trees provides ample respite.

The preserve is also home to many woody specimens and features an extraordinary treehouse that is a must-see.

One of my favorite things about the For-Mar Nature Preserve & Arboretum is the myriad critters that make their home here.

Whether it's a squirrel scurrying up a tree trunk or a bird chirping high up in the branches, it's a paradise for wildlife lovers.

With trails well-marked and easy to follow, the sights and sounds of this preserve never get old, no matter how many times I visit.

Watch Shows at Whiting Auditorium

There's no denying the magic that lives within the walls of the Whiting Auditorium.

Just last week, I attended an electric performance of STOMP that left me spellbound.

With every beat and rhythm, the auditorium came alive, a testament to the immaculate acoustics that the Whiting is known for.

Indeed, whether you're seated up close or at the back, you'll be guaranteed a perfect view and a sonic experience that envelops you.

The staff at Whiting are instrumental in ensuring that every visit is a memorable one.

They are welcoming, friendly, and always on hand to navigate you through the space.

As for cleanliness, the facility holds high standards, ensuring a comfortable experience for all patrons.

The Nutcracker performance at the Whiting Auditorium last Christmas was an unforgettable experience.

The ballet was breathtaking, and I was in awe of the beautiful orchestrations and the grace of the dancers.

The ambiance and the architecture of the theatre added to the overall charm of the night.

Having experienced both sides of the stage at Whiting, as an attendee and a performer, it's safe to say that it's a theatre that appreciates and enhances every type of performance.

Discover Flint's Past at the Whaley Historic House Museum

Exterior of Whaley Historic House Museum
Michael Barera, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Stepping into the Whaley Historic House Museum is like stepping back in time.

I was immediately struck by the ornate beauty of the Victorian-era building, with its intricate details and well-preserved structure.

One glance around the interior and it's clear that a lot of love and effort has been put into maintaining this piece of Flint's history.

Guided tours of the house are offered, and I highly recommend taking one if you're interested in learning about the story behind the structure.

I had the pleasure of being guided around by Samantha Engle, the docent/director, during the Christmas season.

The entire house was decorated beautifully, filled with the festive spirit, and Samantha's knowledge about the house's history and Flint's past was superb.

Trust me, every visit is a captivating journey into the early 1900's!

Friendly and detailed, these guided tours truly highlight the house's historical collections.

Each room is a treasure trove of artifacts and curiosities from the 19th century.

As a history enthusiast myself, it's enthralling to wander through the museum and soak in all the stories each exhibit tells.

Have a Movie Date at US 23 Drive In Theatre

I remember when I first discovered the US 23 Drive In Theatre.

I was looking for a unique way to spend my Friday night, and a friend suggested this nostalgic gem.

Nestled in our city for over six decades, this drive-in theatre has seen generations of movie buffs, all seeking the old-school charm of watching films under the stars.

Upon arriving at the theatre, you're greeted by friendly staff who guide you through the entrance.

US 23 Drive In Theatre has a welcoming vibe, and it's easy to see why it has been a favorite for locals across the years.

The ticket prices are reasonable - $22 for two adults, and a small fee if you wish to rent a radio.

What's a movie without snacks?

The concession stand is a dream come true for all food lovers.

From classic popcorn to mouth-watering nachos, the range of snacks is extensive.

The best part, of course, is the movie experience itself.

Nestled comfortably in your car, gazing at the big screen under the night sky - there's something magical about it.

Although, I must share a word of caution.

Make sure your car or any hatches are not obstructing the view of the people behind you.

There were instances when people didn't follow the rules, and it led to some unpleasant experiences.

Bring Your Train Enthusiast at Crossroads Village & Huckleberry Railroad

Steam engine at Crossroads Village & Huckleberry Railroad
Larry Burk / Shutterstock.com

You know that feeling of nostalgia mixed with sheer joy?

That's what I experience every time I visit Crossroads Village & Huckleberry Railroad.

This 1800s-era lakeside village, with its 34 historic buildings, never fails to transport me back in time.

Not to mention, the operational train is a real crowd-pleaser, especially for families.

Dipping into the village, it's like stepping into a time machine.

The Ferris wheel and carousel, both dating back to 1910, have this charming authenticity about them.

Yes, they might squeak a bit, but at 10mph, they provide quite a thrilling ride.

It's surprising how fast they feel.

One of my favorite spots is the candy store.

For just $2.00, kids can stuff a small brown bag full of colorful, mouthwatering sweets.

I've seen some of them cramp over 60 pieces into those bags, a strategic accomplishment that always brings a grin to my face.

For those looking for a snack, the burger, hot dog, and ice cream stalls are great stops.

Then there's the train ride - a 40-minute journey that's an absolute 'must' for any family visiting.

It's always a thrill to see the excitement on kids' faces, especially those who are fans of Thomas & Friends.

I've seen many a wide-eyed child, absolutely engrossed by the train ride.

Visiting the historic shops is like going on a mini-tour of our heritage.

The staff at Crossroads Village & Huckleberry Railroad, dressed as per the theme, It's a great way to balance the fun with a bit of learning.

This quaint village is open all summer, and they even host special events for Halloween and Christmas.

Art has always been a part of my life, and one of my favorite spots to immerse myself in the local art scene is the Buckham Gallery.

The gallery has recently moved across the street, but it continues to shine as an incredible space, featuring some outstanding exhibitions and maintaining its legacy as a Flint tradition.

It's the best downtown gallery of its kind and definitely a high point in the community.

The first time I attended the art walk for the Danielle Muzin exhibit, it left an everlasting impression on me.

Buckham Gallery truly knows how to put together an exhibit that complements the entire work of all artists while still managing to highlight each individual piece.

The entire art walk was a beautiful experience, but the gallery was definitely one of the high points.

The gallery is not just a visual feast but also a place where you can learn and interact.

Buckham Gallery has now moved to a first-level, accessible location - a move that has only made it more welcoming and inclusive.

It's a cool place to admire the work of local artists and feel connected with the community.

Bring Your Little Ones to Flint Children's Museum

Exterior of Flint Children’s Museum
Susan Montgomery / Shutterstock.com

Imagine a place where your kids can become anything they dream of - chefs, firefighters, zookeepers, even pirates, all in one day.

That's the magic of the Flint Children's Museum.

From the moment you step in, it's a sensory overload for the young ones with an array of hands-on educational exhibits.

My nephew's favorites were the miniature town where they transformed into mailmen and cashiers and the science exhibits that sparked their curiosity to a whole new level.

They spent a good two and a half hours switching roles and soaking in the wonders of learning through play.

Flint Children's Museum is a haven for kids, especially those under six who are just beginning to explore the world.

As for the tickets can be purchased on the spot, and there are discounts for members and EBT holders, among others.

It's always a joy to see families, local and visiting, flooding into the museum, embracing the spirit of hands-on learning, and just having a good time.

Indulge in the Cuisines of Redwood Steakhouse and Brewery

Just last week, I found myself craving the culinary adventure of wild game and the warm, bubbly embrace of a well-crafted house beer.

I knew there was only one place I could satisfy these desires: Redwood Steakhouse and Brewery.

The upscale brewery, nestled in the heart of our city, is known for not only their food but also its rustic lodge-style space that instantly transports you to a cozy mountain retreat.

We had onion soup and house beer to start with, and it was the best.

They also went the extra mile to ensure my salmon was cooked perfectly to my liking.

Live music filled the air as I savored every morsel of my porterhouse steak and the irresistible crab cakes.

I couldn't help but smile at the cozy ambiance; the soft, warm lighting, coupled with the rustic decor, made for an enchanting evening.

One of the highlights of the night was their mashed potatoes – they were creamy, buttery, just the perfect side to my steak.

When it came to beverages, Redwood Steakhouse and Brewery didn't disappoint.

From their exquisite house beers to their unique cocktails, every sip was a delight.

I would recommend you ask for the server’s opinion when choosing your drink you'd be surprised at how well they know their drinks.

Peruse the Stalls at Flint Farmers' Market

Exterior of Flint Farmers' Market
Paul R. Burley , CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There's nothing quite like a Saturday morning spent at the Flint Farmers' Market.

It's become a staple of my weekend routine, and for good reason.

The sheer diversity of vendors and food offerings is astounding.

The last time I was there, I found myself marveling at an exotic fruit I had never seen before!

And the food stalls... oh, the food stalls! One of my favorites is this little place that makes these mouth-watering Arepas sandwiches.

Every bite is a burst of flavor that leaves me longing for the next Saturday to come around quickly.

The market isn't just about shopping and eating, it's a place that brings the community together.

Just the other weekend, I was part of an amazing paint party organized on the rooftop of the market building.

The staff were so supportive and friendly, it felt more like a gathering of friends than a public event.

Helen, one of the market's mainstays, is a treasure. Her warm personality and welcoming nature make everyone feel like they're part of the Flint Farmers' Market family.

While the market is only open a few days a week, those days have become a highlight of my week.

From fresh veggies to artisan cheeses and baked goods, the Flint Farmers' Market is not just a place to shop, it's an experience.

I often find myself recommending it to people who are looking for a unique, community-driven shopping experience.

Catch Concerts at Kearsley Park

On a sunny day, there's no better place to spend some quality time than at Kearsley Park.

I've been frequenting this magnificent, spacious city park for years.

The park's charm is contagious, right from the expansive greenery, the playground, to the ball fields and the pavilion, which hosts seasonal concerts and plays.

Parking has never been an issue here, thanks to the ample space provided. Kids love the small playground that's tucked in the place where a swimming pool once thrived.

It's a bit of nostalgia for me, having spent numerous summers at that pool.

Now, its absence makes the playground all the more charming.

One of my favorite spots is the park's pavilion, which is available for rent and quite spacious.

The quaint structure is nestled amidst nature and provides an ideal setting for any event.

It's hard not to be charmed by the solitude and peace it offers.

But it's the park's natural beauty that keeps me coming back.

With plenty of trees and a tranquil environment, Kearsley Park is a sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Observe the Water Flowing at Stepping Stone Falls

Daytime view of Stepping Stone Falls
James W. Thompson / Shutterstock.com

There's something magical about the way the water cascades over the rocks at Stepping Stone Falls.

Whenever I need a break from the hustle and bustle of city life, I escape to this slice of tranquility tucked away in Genesee County.

Every visit to Stepping Stone Falls is a blend of relaxation and adventure. I can't tell you how many times I’ve sat on the grass, mesmerized by the rhythmic sound of the water splashing against the stones.

It's the perfect therapy to wash away the stresses of the day.

When it's time for lunch, I claim one of the picnic tables and fire up the grill on one of the pedestal barbecues.

I've had a fair share of battles with the seagulls over my food, but it's all part of the fun.

The place turns quite magical after dark when the man-made falls come alive with lights. It's a sight that never gets old.

The area also boasts nice walking trails and bridges to cross the river.

I often jump on my bike and feel the wind in my hair as I ride along the trails.

And though the restrooms can sometimes leave a bit to be desired, it's a minor inconvenience compared to the overall experience.

Have a Retail Therapy at Genesee Valley Center

Oh, how the mighty have fallen! The once buzzing hub of shopping, the Genesee Valley Center, is now a ghost of its former self.

Time was when it housed a multitude of stores a variety of food joints and was a symbol of vibrant community life.

You can see here, at Genesee Valley Center, how much it has changed over the years.

My childhood memories are filled with the hustle and bustle of this shopping center.

The place where I bought my first book from Barnes and Noble, which still stands, though alone, outside the center.

The Planet Fitness gym seems to be an exception to the general trend and is quite popular among the locals.

And let's not forget, the tiny play area inside the mall is a little oasis of joy for children like my daughter.

Final Thoughts

Flint, Michigan, is a treasure trove of experiences waiting to be discovered.

It's the heartbeat of this city that truly makes it special. faces, the community spirit, and the city's rich history and resilience that can be felt in every corner.

Flint offers more than just places to see and things to do; it offers memories to make, stories to uncover, and a unique charm that truly makes it a place to love and keep coming back to.

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