Manistee is a small city in Michigan located at the mouth of the Manistee River on Lake Michigan. At the mouth of the Manistee River is the Manistee Pierhead lights, located on the north and south piers, built in 1873 and replaced in 1927. The SS City of Milwaukee is a historic Great Lakes railroad car ferry, now a museum ship, bed and breakfast, and event venue. The Vogue Theatre is a historic neighborhood movie theatre built in 1938. Douglas Valley is Michigan’s First Vineyard Community. Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts operates from the Ramsdell Theatre, a historic playhouse and opera house built in1903.


1.Manistee North Pierhead Lights

Manistee North Pierhead Lights
© Paul Lemke/stock.adobe.com

The Manistee Pierhead lights are a pair of active navigation aids located on the north and south pier in the harbor of Manistee, Michigan. The first light was built in 1870 on the south pier. It burnt in 1871, along with most of the town of Manistee. Two original lighthouses were built in 1875, one on each town pier. The existing tower on the north pier, built in 1927, is 39 feet tall, constructed of cast iron, with the white cylinder tower and a separate keeper’s house. The original lens was a Fifth Order Fresnel lens. The tower has been rebuilt when the pier has been extended. On top of the tower is a ten-sided steel lantern. The light is visible for 12 nautical miles in clear weather. The northern pier light is37 feet high and is located on the same side of the river as the Manistee Coast Guard station.

Manistee, MI 49660

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2.SS City of Milwaukee

SS City of Milwaukee
© SS City of Milwaukee


The SS City of Milwaukee is a historic Great Lakes railroad car ferry that once travelled on Lake Michigan, most often between Muskegon, Michigan and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The ferry was built in 1931 for the Grand Trunk Milwaukee Car Ferry Company. The ship was launched in to replace SS Milwaukee, which sank in 1929 during a gale with all hands. The Great Lakes had car ferry service since 1892. There were 14 vessels crossing the lakes at the peak of the system. These vessels could carry up to 34 railroad cars across the frequently stormy and ice-packed lakes. In 1978 City of Milwaukee was chartered to the Ann Arbor Railroad. until 1982, when she was permanently retired. She now serves as a museum ship, bed and breakfast, and event venue. She is located on the waterfront of Manistee Lake in Manistee, Michigan and was designated a National Historic Landmark.

99 Arthur St, Manistee, MI 49660, Phone: 231-723-3587

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3.Manistee River

Manistee River
© ehrlif/stock.adobe.com

The Manistee River runs 190 miles through the northwestern Michigan Lower Peninsula. It passes through the villages of Sharon, Smithville, and Mesick, and enters Lake Michigan at Manistee. It is considered to be one of the best trout fishing rivers east of the Rockies. The river originates in the sand hills in Antrim County, about six miles southeast of the town of Alba. These deep glacial sands produce incredibly stable flow of clean cold water year round, making the Manistee River a great river for fishing. The river is a popular destination for recreation, offering excellent conditions for canoeing, boating, and fishing. It has been restored from the destruction of the logging era, and is again considered among the best trout and salmon rivers in the country. Commercial navigation is possible only in the lower parts of the river below the Tippy Dam.

Manistee, Michigan

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4.Vogue Theatre

Vogue Theatre
© Vogue Theatre


The Vogue Theatre is a historic neighborhood movie theatre built in 1938 in Manistee, Michigan. At that time, it was considered ultramodern, the ultimate word in design, luxuriously equipped with every convenience, with the finest projection and sounds systems. Its design was a northern Michigan version of an Art Deco style, with a recessed entry leading to a modern lobby and a 935 seat theatre. The Vogue had operated regularly until 2005 when it was supposed to be closed for good. The Vogue Theatre Project was organized for a complete rehabilitation of the theatre and a totally renovated interior with two screens. The grand theatre seats 187, while the smaller theatre seats 45. The lobby and lounge area and concession stand were completely rebuilt and the original neon signage was brought back.

383 River St, Manistee, MI 49660, Phone: 231-222-5199

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5.Douglas Valley Winery

Douglas Valley Winery
© Douglas Valley Winery


Douglas Valley is Michigan’s First Vineyard Community. It is located on a 640-acre historic fruit farm near Manistee, which has been transformed into a large sustainable vineyard community. At the heart of Douglas Valley is the winery, surrounded by rolling hills, lush orchards, vineyards, and individually owned estate farms, all with panoramic view of Lake Michigan. About 8000 vines of Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir, have been planted and the first crop was harvested in 2009. Today, the vineyard’s tasting house offers their award-winning hard ciders and wines. The attached Farm Market offers a variety of farm-fresh produce from June to October.

5375 Douglas Valley Dr, Manistee, MI 49660, Phone: 231-887-3333

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6.Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts

Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts
© Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts


The Ramsdell Theatre is an historic playhouse and opera house built in1903 in downtown Manistee, Michigan, by Thomas Jefferson Ramsdell, local lawyer and philanthropist. The exterior of the building is a classic Colonial red brick structure with six massive columns supporting the portico over the main entrance. . Designated a Michigan Historic Building, the theatre today serves as a Western Michigan cultural center. The Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts manages and operates the Ramsdell Theatre, which is owned by the City of Manistee. The center provides quality arts and cultural entertainment. It produces more than 20 music, dance, and theatre performances per year.

101 Maple St, Manistee, MI 49660, Phone: 231-398-9770

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6 Best Things to Do in Manistee, MI