Midland is a gorgeous Tri-Cities destination in Central Michigan, best known as the former home of renowned American architect Alden B. Dow, an apprentice of Frank Lloyd Wright whose beautiful estate home is considered to be a 20th-century masterpiece of American architecture.
The beautiful Midland Center for the Arts, designed by Dow, showcases a plethora of cultural performances and hands-on museum exhibits celebrating the arts, sciences, and humanities. More than 3,000 acres of gorgeous parkland stretches throughout the city, including passive recreation waterfront areas and multi-use trail networks.
1. Whiting Forest of Dow Gardens
Whiting Forest of Dow Gardens is a stunning 54-acre woodland area set on the grounds of the beautiful Whiting estate, designed by renowned 20th-century architect Alden B. Dow. The forest, which was opened to the public in 2004, is home to gorgeous meadow, apple orchard, and pond and stream habitats, as well as the nation's longest canopy walk, which soars more than 40 feet above the ground and was recently opened in 2018. The 1,400-foot canopy walk is designed to be accessible to all guests throughout the year in every season, showcasing three arms and a unique nature viewing platform 25 feet in the air. The Whiting Forest Café serves up light lunch fare, including soups, salads, coffee, and pastries. More romantic getaways in Michigan
Forest Visitor Center, 2203 Eastman Ave, Midland, MI 48640, Phone: 989-631-2677
2. Alden B. Dow Home and Studio
© Alden B. Dow Home and Studio
Alden B. Dow Home and Studio preserves the gorgeous former residence of 20th-century architect Alden B. Dow, a former apprentice of Frank Lloyd Wright who earned national acclaim in his own right throughout the 1930s and 1940s. The stunning home, which was constructed between 1934 and 1937, was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1989 and awarded the prestigious Paris Prize for Residential Architecture for its beautiful lyrical composition. In 2014, the home was listed on Traditional Home's list of the 25 best historic homes in America. Visitors can explore the home throughout the year as part of guided public tours, which offer information about the facility's unique diverging angles and use of reflective light. Tours last approximately an hour and a half, offered between February and December.
315 Post St, Midland, MI 48640
3. The Tridge
The Tridge is a three-way wooden footbridge stretching across the confluence of the Tittabawassee and Chippewa Rivers, near downtown Midland's Chippewassee Park. The bridge, which is named for a portmanteau of the words "tri" and "bridge," was constructed in 1981 and is anchored around a 31-foot-tall central pillar supporting all three of its spokes. It has become known as a major tourist attraction in the Tri-Cities area, surrounded by 35 acres of surrounding parkland that is known as one of Midland's top outdoor recreational destinations. Though it is mainly used as a pedestrian footbridge, it is also open to skateboarders, cyclists, and inline skaters. The bridge marks the start of the 3.5-mile Chippewa Nature Trail and hosts public concerts on select summer evenings. Each year, the bridge hosts an annual Labor Day Walk event sponsored by the Chippewa Nature Center.
4. Dow Diamond
© Dow Diamond
Dow Diamond is the home of the Single-A Great Lakes Loons Minor League baseball team, affiliated with the Los Angeles Dodgers as part of the Midwest League. The stadium, which is located in downtown Midland, is sponsored by the Dow Chemical Company and is a reference to both baseball diamonds and the company's signature red diamond logo. It was opened in 2007 and has hosted several Midwest League All-Star Games throughout its tenure, along with regular season home games for the Loons against other Minor League teams. Seating for up to 9,000 includes 12 luxury suites with onsite catering.
825 E Main St, Midland, MI 48640
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5. Midland Center for the Arts
© Midland Center for the Arts
Midland Center for the Arts is a gorgeous landmark building in downtown Midland that was designed by internationally-renowned architect Alden B. Dow, opened to the public in 1970. The stunning complex is home to two performing arts venues, showcasing performances by regional arts groups like Center Stage Theatre, which presents musicals, comedies, and dramas throughout its performance season. Midland Symphony Orchestra presents concerts under the direction of music director Bohuslav Rattay, while five choral groups draw participants and audiences from across the Great Lakes Bay Region. Visitors can also peruse exhibits at the Alden B. Dow Museum of Science and Art or learn about the region's history at the Midland County Historical Society. Each year, the center presents the annual MATRIX:MIDLAND Festival, which celebrates the arts, sciences, and humanities.
1801 W St Andrews Rd, Midland, MI 48640, Phone: 989-631-5930
6. Chippewa Nature Center
Chippewa Nature Center is a nonprofit nature center and protected wildlife area spanning more than 1,348 acres throughout Michigan's Lower Peninsula, opened in 1964. The nature center has become one of the United States' largest and most acclaimed nature centers throughout its tenure, encompassing beautiful forest, river, and wetland habitats. 15 miles of gorgeous nature trails are open to the public year-round from dawn to dusk, offering opportunities for hiking, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing. Wildlife common to the center includes North American river otters, American mink, great horned owls, and bald eagles. Visitors can explore the facility's Nature Center Store, which sells nature-themed books and gifts, or view hands-on exhibits at its Ecosystem Gallery. A plethora of nature-focused programming is presented by the center throughout the year, most for free or nominal entrance fees.
400 S Badour Rd, Midland, MI 48640, Phone: 989-631-0830
7. Dahlia Hill
© Dahlia Hill
Dahlia Hill is a delightful protected garden area spanning 1.41 acres throughout the city of Midland, operated by the nonprofit educational organization of the same name. The garden, which was founded by Charles Breed and Bill Fisher, showcases more than 3,000 dahlia plantings each year, with blossoms ranging in size from two to 14 inches and spanning a beautiful array of color schemes. More than 250 varieties of the flower are showcased, planted each year by nonprofit organization members. Surplus flower tubers are sold throughout the spring months, available for purchase by non-members. A lovely museum honors the artwork of Charles Breed, focusing on his unique use of plastic as an art medium.
2809 Orchard Dr, Midland, MI 48640, Phone: 989-631-0100
8. Midland Brewing Company
© Midland Brewing Company
Midland Brewing Company was opened in its first incarnation in 1935 inside a creamery building in the city's downtown district, operating as the region's premiere brewery throughout much of the 20th century. It was reopened in 2010 in its modern incarnation, known for excellent year-round brews such as its flagship Copper Harbor Ale, Arbuckle Cold-Brew Coffee Stout, Three-Mile Market Hefeweizen, and Midland Brut IPA, brewed with champagne yeast and Mosaic and Citra hops. Visitors can enjoy drafts at the company's public tasting room, which offers an outdoor beer garden throughout the warmer months. Growler fills are available to go, along with six-pack sales of the company's flagship and seasonal brews. Delicious gastropub-style food offerings include artisanal burgers, sandwiches, shareables, and flatbreads.
5011 N Saginaw Rd, Midland, MI 48642, Phone: 989-259-7210
9. Maru Sushi
© Maru Sushi
Maru Sushi is the vision of restaurateurs Robert Song and Moon Yang, opened in 2009 in Okemos. The restaurant offers several locations today through the Great Lakes Bay Region, including a delightful location in downtown Midland. High-quality sushi selections are crafted with California-sourced premium sushi rice and fresh market produce, stuffed with a variety of housemade sauces and spice blends. Chef's choice omakase platters feature delicious signature roll and sashimi options, ranging from classic favorites like California and spicy tuna to signature varieties like the Madagascar, which blends tempura shrimp, kampyo, rooster sauce, serrano peppers, and garlic eel paste. Shareable appetizer selections are also offered, including firecracker shrimp, bulgogi beef skewers, and flash-fried calamari.
715 E Main St #120, Midland, MI 48640, Phone: 989-633-0101
10. Shier's Pasties & More
© Shier's Pasties & More
Shier's Pasties & More serves an eclectic menu of soups, sandwiches, and Upper Peninsula-style pasties. All menu items are prepared from scratch from the family-owned deli's kitchen, including delicious sandwiches prepared to order with fillings like house-smoked brisket, pastrami, and melt-in-your-mouth pulled pork. Upper Peninsula favorites include handcrafted pasties and housemade Cudighi. Pasties are served up Wednesdays and Saturdays, stuffed with ingredients like fresh-ground chicken, rutabaga, carrots, potatoes, and onions and served with housemade gravy and ketchup. Daily specials include grilled meatloaf sandwiches, Cubans, and Colorado-style pork green chili.
2218 N Saginaw Rd, Midland, MI 48640, Phone: 989-832-3354
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11. The Boulevard Lounge
© The Boulevard Lounge
The Boulevard Lounge, nicknamed The Bully, is one of Midland's oldest restaurants, known as a top area hangout and lounge since its opening in 1959. The restaurant, which has been helmed original owner Clyde Dexter's son Scott since 1995, has been rated as the region's top burger joint by area publications, renowned for its friendly service, delicious mixed drinks, and excellent breakfast and brunch deals. Hot bubbling 10-inch and 14-inch pizzas are served up throughout the day, along with acclaimed half-pound burgers smothered in mashed potatoes and gravy, walleye pollock fish dinners, 21-piece shrimp platters, and house signature wet burritos. Creative shareables include deep-fried green beans, breaded mushrooms, and Brew City fries. Keno and karaoke are offered for diner entertainment, along with a selection of delicious domestic and regional beers on tap.
316 S Saginaw Rd, Midland, MI 48640, Phone: 989-832-5387
12. Grand Traverse Pie Company
© Grand Traverse Pie Company
Grand Traverse Pie Company was originally founded in Traverse City in 1997 by married duo Denise and Mike Busley. Today, the company operates more than 15 locations throughout Michigan, including a location in downtown Midland. Fresh, handmade pies are served up in the restaurant's cozy dining space, along with a delicious selection of lunch and dinner menu items. Seasonal pie flavors include delicious flavors like Montmorency cherry crumb, apple caramel pecan, chocolate peanut butter cream, and toasted pecan pumpkin brown sugar. Diners can also choose from savory menu items such as broccoli cheddar quiche, chicken focaccia sandwiches, and cherry chicken salad prepared with Michigan dried cherries.
2600 N Saginaw Rd, Midland, MI 48640, Phone: 989-839-4872
13. The Pines of Dow Gardens
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The Pines of Dow Gardens was built in 1899 by Herbert and Grace Dow. It was the first, and the only home, ever owned by the couple. Indoor, the home was managed by the woman of the house, Mrs. Dow, who raised many generations. Meanwhile, outdoors, Mr. Dow began developing gorgeous gardens and cultivating fruit-growing plants, all of which would come together to form the stunning gardens that welcome many guests today. Guests can visit the home, which has been designated a National Historic Landmark and gain an intimate look at the lives of the Dow Family through the furnishings, displays, and photographs that remain in The Pines today.
1809 Eastman Avenue, Midland, Michigan, Phone: 800-362-4874
14. Midland City Forest
Enjoy the great outdoors of Midland at the City Forest, a 520-acre property notable for its towering hardwoods and pines. This city park is open all year round for recreational activities. Spring, summer, and fall are great times for hikers and runners to hit the trails of the park. Meanwhile, mountain bikers are also sure to enjoy some great single-track and mountain trails. It’s not uncommon to see equestrians utilizing the walking trails of the park either. Meanwhile, winter transforms this public park into a popular winter recreation spot with hand-packed toboggan runs, a huge ice skating rink, and a sledding hill that’s open for use from sun up to sun down.
2849 E Monroe Road, Midland, Missouri 48642, Phone: 989-837-6930
15. Emerson Park
© Aperture Vintage/stock.adobe.com
Spend a great day under the sun with family and friends at Emerson Park. Situated at the corner of Main and Orchard Street, Emerson Park has a ton of great activities and amenities to be enjoyed by visitors of all ages. At the south end of the park, there is a beach volleyball court that can be used by the public throughout the day and even in the evening care of a self-serve light timer. Horseshoe pits and shuffleboard courts can also be found at the park and may be used on a first come, first serve basis. There is a regulation-size hockey rink also found at the park which is frequented by inline skaters during the warm months and is converted into an ice rink during the winter months. Last but not the least, the park has a nice walking trail and playground for leisurely walking and playing.
1300 West Main Street, Midland, Michigan 48640, Phone: 989-837-6930
16. Solar System Sculptures
© toby osborn EyeEml/stock.adobe.com
Travelers who are eager to explore Midland on foot will find many unique sites to discover along the Pere Marquette Rail Trail. Situated in the western area of Midland County, the Pere Marquette Rail Trail features 30 miles of scenic and paved trail and is great for individuals who are looking for an easy and leisurely walk amongst the relaxing ambiance of nature. One of the highlights along the trail is the Solar System Sculptural installments. Situated at various points along the trail, the largest of the sculptures is the Sun sculpture which measures a whopping 7.5 feet in diameter perched on top of a 4-foot stem. The rest of the planets in the solar system, and the earth’s moon, are all found scaled to size as well, with the largest of the planets being Jupiter. For those who want to start their walk on the trail at the beginning of the installment, the Sun sculpture is located at the trail point in downtown Coleman.
Pere-Marquette Rail-Trail, Midland, Michigan 48657, Phone: 989-832-6876
17. Plymouth Park
© Wirestock Creators/stock.adobe.com
Home to 40 acres of recreational space, Plymouth Park is one of the most popular developed parks in Midland, and it also happens to be its largest. There are a huge number of amenities to enjoy at Plymouth, all of which are sure to please and keep you and your companions busy. Among them, the most popular is undeniably the Fun Zone, a huge 16,000-square-foot wooden playground built by Midland’s community. Meanwhile, Plymouth Park is also home to the city’s one and only outdoor community pool, several picnic areas, a huge open field to lounge at, a volley pit, and the Northeast Little League’s baseball field.
1508 East Wheeler Street, Midland, Michigan 48642
18. Creative 360 John Pratt Mosaic House
© Stanislaw Mikulski/stock.adobe.com
Most people would look at broken china, shards of discarded pottery, and destroyed mirror tiles as trash, but at the John Pratt Mosaic House, they’re seen as treasures. Once the home of local artist John Pratt, the Mosaic House is tucked into a quiet wooded lot and is characterized by the many murals that adorn the house’s exteriors. Each mural has its own story to tell, all just as meaningful and heart-wrenching as the next. The murals all represent and depict the story of John Pratt’s battle with paranoid schizophrenia and his rediscovery of the joy of life. The murals also tell evoke emotions as they convey his beliefs about unconditional love and the importance of tolerance. Although John Pratt has already passed, his ideals and what he stands for live on in this beautiful home-turned-art.
1517 Bayliss Street, Midland, Michigan 48640, Phone: 989-837-1885
19. Valley Lanes Family Entertainment Center
© Valley Lanes Family Entertainment Center
Planning for a great night out with friends or family? Try visiting the Valley Lanes Family Entertainment Center! This 32-lane bowling alley has played host to many great tournaments and events thanks to its great bowling amenities. Come in the evening to enjoy a fun round of cosmic bowling while enjoying drinks with your buddies or play a round of billiards or poll instead. Valley Lanes is also home to an 18-hole miniature golf course that will challenge experienced and newbie mini golfers alike. Other features at this popular family entertainment center include its arcade, which has a flight simulator, pinball, and racing games to enjoy.
5021 Bay City Road, Midland, Michigan 48642, Phone: 989-496-3940
20. Code Breakers Escape and Puzzle Rooms
When it comes to puzzle games or escape rooms in Midland, Code Breakers is the place to be. With unique activities at the ready, Code Breakers is sure to provide a terrific experience for families, friends, or co-workers. Guests to Code Breakers can choose between participating in an escape room experience, or an axe-throwing experience. The escape room, Escape Room Weird, can accommodate anywhere between 2 to 8 players and has a 60-minute time limit. At Escape Room Weird, players will have to solve puzzles and find the clues to save the world from a terrible mistake made by Merlin the Wizard. Meanwhile, Code Breaker’s Axe Throwing room can accommodate up to 30 people and is great for individuals who want to try their hand at this unusual but popular pastime.
4422 North Saginaw Road, Midland, Michigan 48640, Phone: 833-643-6424
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