St Joseph, otherwise known as St Joe, started off as a fur trading post in the 1780s. Plots of land were sold and it became a village in 1834, and then a city in 1891. It was across the water from Chicago and until the railway came, this was the only way to reach the larger city. Boatbuilding and other manufacturing enterprises, such as what is now called Whirlpool, were established there. The St Joseph River was extended into Lake Michigan by means of breakwaters. The North Pier lighthouses have been featured on one of the USA Postal Service Great Lakes series of stamps. Certain attractions may be temporarily closed or require advance reservations. Hours/availability may have changed.
1.St Joseph's North Pier – Inner and Outer Lights
© Kenneth Keifer/stock.adobe.com
These lighthouses were built in the early 1900s and decommissioned in 2008. Ownership was transferred to the city and $2 million was raised to restore the iconic pier range lights. The front lighthouse is conical, 8 ft in diameter and 30 ft tall. It produces a fixed red light. The rear tower is 24 foot square at the base with an octagonal tower above the peaked roof, topped by a circular lantern room. There is a walkway at the second story level that connects the two towers and the shore. In winter, the lake and the front tower and walkway freeze over, affording spectacular photo opportunities. Guided tours are available.
North Pier St, Saint Joseph, MI 49085
2.Curious Kids Museum and Discovery Zone, St. Joseph, MI
© Curious Kids Museum and Discovery Zone
These two attractions, designed for children up to the age of 14, are situated close to each other on the shores of Lake Michigan. They are open 7 days a week, all year round, except for public holidays. The interactive, hands-on exhibits stimulate curiosity and creativity. Children can navigate the Great Lakes and visit the market and the Vet's Clinic, among other activities. Birthday parties and day camps at the venues can be arranged. Outreach programs include traveling exhibits and taking science topics to schools. Families, school groups, scouts and guides are welcome.
415 Lake Boulevard, St. Joseph, MI 49085, Phone: 269-983-2543
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3.White Pine Winery, St. Joseph, Michigan
© White Pine Winery
After achieving a Masters in Horticulture and a PhD in grape photosynthesis, Dave Miller gained experience as a wine maker, working for others. He and his wife, Sandy, have realized their dream of starting their own enterprise. In 1999, they planted a vineyard, named Sophie's Vineyard, after their only child. The fruit from this and other local vineyards has gone into the production of red wines, particularly Merlot and Cabernet. White Pine also make Ice Wine and Rieslings, from a variety of other fruits. They have a tasting room in St Joseph. Opening hours change with the seasons.
317 State Street, St. Joseph, Michigan, Phone: 269-281-0098
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4.Box Factory for the Arts, St. Joseph, Michigan
© Box Factory for the Arts
In 1962 the Berrien Artist Guild was formed and in 1995 purchased the historic building that was formerly the William Brothers Paper Box Factory. The guild set about transforming the 2 story, 55000 square foot space into an artists' hang out. Slowly it took shape and now houses artists' studio, a theatre, concert space, galleries, reception halls, classrooms, meeting spaces and a shop. There is a full calendar of events. Funding for the venture comes from sales of tickets and artwork, various stage and musical performances, classes and hiring out of space in the building.
1101 Broad Street, St. Joseph, MI 49085, Phone: 269-983-3688
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Situated near the mouth of the St. Joseph River on Lake Michigan, Silver Beach is located in Silver Beach County Park in St. Joseph, Michigan. This wide and clean beach consists of around 1,600 feet of public beach and swimming area during the summer season. Silver Beach County Park also offers access for the public to the South Pier. While the park itself is open throughout the entire year from dawn until dusk, the restroom buildings in Silver Beach County Park are only open to the public from the beginning of May to the end of October.
101 Broad St, St. Joseph, MI 49085, 269-982-0533
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6.Baroda Founders Wine Cellar, St. Joseph, Michigan
© Baroda Founders Wine Cellar
Len Olson, the father of the winemaker and current owner of Baroda Founders Wine Cellar was a self-taught pioneer in the Michigan wine industry. He was the first person to be granted a winery licence after prohibition. He also planted the first European vines in Michigan. He later went on to plant 27 varieties of grapes. They now produce classic red and white wines, blended fruit wines and dessert wines, infused with chocolate. The enterprise has two attractions – a wine cellar in Baroda and a tasting room, 10 miles away at St Joseph. Wines are also available at retail outlets and restaurants throughout Michigan.
415 State Street, St. Joseph, MI 49085, Phone: 269-982-1115
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7.The Buck Burgers and Brew, St. Joseph, Michigan
© The Buck Burgers and Brew
In 2012, Ken Kozminski took over the lease on the remodeled historic downtown building which housed The Silver Dollar Café for over 50 years. The Café was nicknamed 'The Buck' and Ken paid tribute to this landmark business by naming his enterprise after it. The new Buck sells crafted beer, meads and wine. On the menu is 'burgers and more'. There are regular evening events, such as trivia evenings and open mic nights. The interior has an industrial chic style and outside decks are festive. Bucks is open all year round but closes on Tuesdays.
412 State Street, St Joseph, Michigan, Phone: 269-281-0320
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8.Azul Tequila Mexican Bar and Grill, St. Joseph, Michigan
Cooking is all Carlos Ortiz has known his entire working life and he loves it. He started working when he was 15 and at the age of 24 was called to Michigan to the aid of a failing family restaurant. By monitoring what food patrons left on their plates, Carlos was able to make improvements and turned the restaurant into a success within eight months. He runs the Azul Tequila with the same passion and still monitors what food comes back, if any. This restaurant offers authentic Mexican cuisine with sit down or take-out options, 7 days a week. There is a lunch and dinner menu with daily specials.
105 Main Str., St Joseph, MI 49085, Phone: 269-982-0300
9.Forte Coffee, St. Joseph, Michigan
© Forté Coffee
Brian Maynard's love affair with coffee goes back to childhood. His career since studying at culinary school had been on the periphery but in 2018, he took the plunge and opened up a coffee emporium. He roasts his own coffee and individualized blends for his restaurant customers. The coffee is artfully presented with a barista's touch. Brian's wife and daughter bake and serve the pastries, sandwiches and salads. Coffee-related merchandise such as mugs, used coffee bags and gadgets are sold at the shop. Community building touches are appreciated, like the pup-cups and doggy hitching post, and a sign that changes color to celebrate local events.
2045 Niles Road, St. Joseph, Michigan 49085, Phone: 269-769-0050
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, Michigan beaches
10.Silver Beach Carousel
The Silver Beach Carousel in St. Joseph, Michigan offers family fun throughout the entire year. Guests can choose their favorite carousel figure from nearly fifty different hand-carved menagerie figures, as well as two chariots, to ride under 1,000 twinkling lights. The carousel house, as well as the attached museum, is filled with memorabilia from 1892 to 1971, back when the Silver Beach Amusement Park existed. There’s also occasional free activities and a concession stand near the Silver Beach Carousel where people can get a fresh bag of cotton candy or popcorn as they listen to the carousel’s music.
333 Broad St, St Joseph, MI 49085, 269-932-1141
11.Krasl Art Center
© Krasl Art Center
Krasl Art Center provides both visitors and residents in southwest Michigan with a chance to experience art installations and exhibitions every day of the week with no fee for admission. Although, donations to the center are appreciated. In addition to the rotating schedule of exhibitions, a wide variety of programming is offered for children and adults alike, including workshops and classes in photography, ceramics, painting, drawing, and much more. There are also themed camps, Family Days, and multi-week classes, at Krasl Art Center throughout the year. During the summer, the center also hosts the Krasl Art Fair on the Bluff.
707 Lake Blvd, St Joseph, MI 49085, 269-983-0271
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12.Puzzlemental Escape Room Adventures
© Puzzlemental Escape Room Adventures
Puzzlemental Escape Room Adventures provides a fun and challenging outing for friends, families, and even companies in the city of St. Joseph, Michigan. There are three different escape rooms available, each with its own challenges and themes. Like with most escape rooms, guests have one hour to try to find clues, solve puzzles, and more to escape from the extremely themed room. Puzzlemental Escape Room Adventures include themed rooms like “The Source Stone,” where participants are part of a relic hunter secret society, and “Anarchist,” during which guests have sixty minutes to save millions of people in a major city.
403 State St, St Joseph, MI 49085, 269-409-1407
13.Lumberjax Urban Axe Throwing
© Mat Hayward/stock.adobe.com
Lumberjax Urban Axe Throwing “exists to rid the world” of cottonwood boards within a safe space where hard steel meets fresh cut wood with man-made velocity. Guests are invited to “fulfill their wildest fantasy of competing in a nonsensical sport” as they hit the bullseye with US-forged and semi-sharpened steel. Visitors to Lumberjax Urban Axe Throwing don’t need to worry about whether throwing axes is dangerous, as the professional and experienced staff provide everyone with proper coaching before they start their fun time of axe throwing. While walk-ins are welcome, it’s highly recommended that people make appointments.
2808 Niles Ave, St Joseph, MI 49085, 269-921-4739
14.Silver Beach Pizza
© Silver Beach Pizza
Tony and Jay opened Silver Beach Pizza in the historic Amtrak Depot of St. Joseph, Michigan in 2005. While the idea of opening a pizza establishment took shape after seeing the depot available, the main focus of the owners of SIlver Beach Pizza was to open a place where they could serve ice cold schooner to customers. The pizza served at Silver Beach Pizza has been repeatedly voted as some of the best pizza found in southwest Michigan and is associated with Gelsosomo’s Pizza. In addition to the main downstairs dining area, there’s the Upper Deck for adults over 21.
410 Vine St, St Joseph, MI 49085, 269-983-4743
© Clementines Too
Clementine’s Too in St. Joseph, Michigan has been providing the local community and visitors with delicious food and great drinks and service for more than fifteen years. Situated along the banks of the St. Joseph River, guests can enjoy a comfortable atmosphere and a family dining experience. Clementine’s Too is well known for their onion rings and perch, but the food menu also features a good variety of dinner entrees, sandwiches, and appetizers. The nostalgic and spacious building once housed a bank, with original vaults used today as storage, and is full of antique relics and a South Haven memorabilia collection.
1235 Broad St, St Joseph, MI 49085, 269-983-0990
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15 Best Things to Do in St. Joseph, Michigan
- St Joseph's North Pier – Inner and Outer Lights, Photo: Kenneth Keifer/stock.adobe.com
- Curious Kids Museum and Discovery Zone, St. Joseph, MI, Photo: Curious Kids Museum and Discovery Zone
- White Pine Winery, St. Joseph, Michigan, Photo: White Pine Winery
- Box Factory for the Arts, St. Joseph, Michigan, Photo: Box Factory for the Arts
- Silver Beach, Photo: gnagel/stock.adobe.com
- Baroda Founders Wine Cellar, St. Joseph, Michigan, Photo: Baroda Founders Wine Cellar
- The Buck Burgers and Brew, St. Joseph, Michigan, Photo: The Buck Burgers and Brew
- Azul Tequila Mexican Bar and Grill, St. Joseph, Michigan, Photo: Jenifoto/stock.adobe.com
- Forte Coffee, St. Joseph, Michigan, Photo: Forté Coffee
- Silver Beach Carousel, Photo: markrhiggins/stock.adobe.com
- Krasl Art Center, Photo: Krasl Art Center
- Puzzlemental Escape Room Adventures, Photo: Puzzlemental Escape Room Adventures
- Lumberjax Urban Axe Throwing, Photo: Mat Hayward/stock.adobe.com
- Silver Beach Pizza, Photo: Silver Beach Pizza
- Clementines Too, Photo: Clementines Too
- Cover Photo: Matt/stock.adobe.com
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