The charming city of Saginaw in Mid-Michigan has to be one of our favorites in the state. There are a lot of things to do in Saginaw. Visitors to the diverse city can walk along Riverfront Saginaw to Old Saginaw City, or explore the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge. It’s a buzzing little city with art museums, fine restaurants, and theatres, making it the perfect escape.
Saginaw can trace its roots back to the lumber industry before transitioning to manufacturing. It’s also the birthplace of one of the state’s most famous musicians, Stevie Wonder. The unique allure of the area has brought recent recognition, as it rejuvenates into a happening hotspot for fun-filled getaways with plenty of things to do in Saginaw.
Best Things to Do in Saginaw, Michigan
Castle Museum of Saginaw County History
The Castle Museum is a stunning historic structure set in the heart of downtown. It was built in 1897 in the lavish style of a French Chateau. It currently houses the county’s historical society but was once called the Saginaw Post Office.
Before entering, take in the towering facade with turrets and gargoyles to explore three floors of engaging exhibits. Rotating installations and permanent collections delve into the city’s automotive industry, lumber era, and archaeological heritage. For any athletic enthusiast, there’s even a Sports Hall of Fame.
- Address: 500 Federal Ave, Saginaw (GPS)
- Hours: Monday – Wednesday & Friday – 10:00 am 4:30 pm, Thursday: 10:00 am – 7:00 pm, Sunday – 1:00 pm – 4:30 pm
- Cost of Admission: Adults: $1, Children: 50 cents
Saginaw Art Museum
This mecca of art is set inside a Georgian-Revival Mansion built in 1904. The Saginaw Art Museum was once the family home of lumber baron Clark L. Ring. The permanent collection alone spans over 4,500 years of history. It’s a beacon of arts and culture in the area and hosts many engaging community events.
Most works are European and American made between the 18th and 21st centuries. There are many mediums on display, including watercolor, sculpture, painting, photography, and ceramics. The grounds feature an elaborate Italianate garden that is worth a wander.
- Address: 1126 N Michigan Ave, Saginaw ( GPS )
- Hours: Wednesday -Friday: 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum
Named after the prolific local artist Marshall M. Fredericks, over 200 sculptures and bronze statues grace the grounds. Heading here on a beautiful day is one of the best things to do in Saginaw! Fredericks is known for his prolific 75-year career creating figurative works, public memorials, fountains, portraits, and medals.
The Main Exhibit Gallery and Sculptor’s Studio is on-site, showcasing regional, national, and international artists. It’s located inside the Arbury Fine Art Center. The garden is masterfully manicured for a marvelous mosey. The best part is it’s totally free!
- Address: Saginaw Valley State University, 7400 Bay Road, Saginaw (GPS)
- Hours: Monday -Saturday: 11: 00 am – 5:00 pm
- Cost of Admission: Free
Saginaw is a treasure trove of vintage goodies to discover. We love to spend a day scouring the shops downtown for unique gems. Antique Warehouse and Old Town Furniture provide captivating collections of home furnishings to dig through. Adamontis Antiques has been a haven for one-for-a-kind finds in Saginaw since 1971.
They have thousands of costumes and themed clothing available from every era imaginable and vintage clothing and accessories to browse. They’ve amassed rare pieces from every corner of the globe, making it a space full of hidden gems galore.
- Address: 400 Court St, Saginaw (GPS)
- Hours: Monday – Saturday: 9:00 am -5:00 pm, Sunday: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Enjoy the Restaurant Scene
The cuisine scene in Saginaw is full of delicious destinations. Fuzzy’s is a mom-and-pop favorite in Saginaw. They serve up all the American diner classics made from scratch.
Fralia’s is a cute and cozy cafe that cooks carefully crafted lunch plates, like their vast gourmet sandwich selection. Old Town Drive-In brings retro charm to classic comfort foods. Fry baskets, burgers, and hot dogs have been feeding the hungry masses of Saginaw since 1940, and it still feels like a step back in time.
- Address: 422 Hancock St, Saginaw (GPS)
- Hours: Monday – Friday: 10:30 am – 3:30 pm, Saturday: 11:00 am – 3:00 pm, Sunday -Closed
Enjoy the Orchards
Apple Valley Orchard offers over 500 trees with 30 different types of apples to peruse and pick. It’s a perfect Michigan falltime activity, and they also sell handmade cider, donuts, honey, and more. The land is lovely for a foliage-filled stroll, and there are always fun farm activities for the whole family.
The family of Blueberries Galore Farm has been growing these tiny fruits for over 18 years. They also raise hens and sell fresh eggs on-site. There are over 30 active beehives, and many fresh blueberry products are available. It’s a favorite old-fashioned country activity and one of the best things to do in Saginaw summers.
- Address: AppleValley Orchard -6480 Davis Rd, Saginaw
- Hours: Friday – 9:00-6:00 pm, Saturday- 9:00 am -5:00 pm, Sunday – 1:00 pm-5:00 pm
Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge
Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge offers over 9,000 acres of scenic Michigan landscape to discover, and spending time here is one of the best things to do in Saginaw. It serves as a habitat for thriving local wildlife populations, such as many species of migratory birds. It’s the convergence point of several waterways into the Saginaw Bay watershed.
The locals refer to this natural oasis as the Saginaw Flats, one of the largest and most productive wetland systems in the whole state. There’s an auto tour route and many hiking trails to trek. The Green Point Environmental Learning Center is on-site and offers a working beehive, aquarium, observation deck, and some educational exhibits on the native ecosystems.
- Address: 6975 Mower Rd, Saginaw (GPS)
- Hours: 7:30 am – 4:30 pm
Pride and Country Village
This attraction has rightfully gained the title of Michigan’s largest village of unique shops. It’s one of the most fun shopping spots until you drop for funky finds in Saginaw. Vendors offer an eclectic selection of goods, from clothes to jewelry, bath and body products, and home decor.
Explore a general store set in a charming, restored barn, a modern women’s fashion boutique in a schoolhouse from 1898, a seasonal store of festive inventory in an old mill, and much more. We always enjoy searching for that perfect Saginaw souvenir at Pride and Country Village.
- Address: 5965 E Holl and Rd, Saginaw
- Hours: Monday – Sunday: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Japanese Cultural Center, Tea House, and Gardens
The Japanese Cultural Center in Saginaw is renowned for being one of the most authentic spaces of its kind in North America and is the only Japanese Cultural Center in the Midwest. They host traditional tea ceremonies that will transport you to Japan in an exciting cultural experience.
There are three acres of garden set right on the scenic shore of Lake Linton. They aim to promote intercultural understanding and peace, and it’s such a tranquil space to soak all this up. You can book a tour and tea any time or take a self-guided stroll through the serene landscape for free.
- Address: 527 Ezra Rust Dr, Saginaw (GPS)
Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland
Not exactly one of the best things to do in Saginaw, but nearby in Frankenmuth, just 20 minutes away. If you’re a fan of the festive winter season, Saginaw is surprisingly the perfect place to pick all year round. Bronner’s is the world’s largest Christmas store in Frankenmuth near Saginaw.
Its nickname is Little Bavaria, and it’s filled with over 50,000 gifts and decorations for a holly jolly Christmas in Michigan. Giant figurines and acres of twinkling lights create a delightful atmosphere for any visitor.
- Address: 25 Christmas Ln, Frankenmuth (GPS)
- Hours: Monday – Saturday: 9:00 am -5:30 pm, Sunday – 12:00 pm – 5:30 pm
For a day of outdoor fun, Hoyt Park offers all you need in any season. In the warmer months, it’s shrouded in greenery. There are six softball fields for playing or simply watching games. There are also plenty of nature paths for running, biking, or walking. It’s the perfect place to pack a picnic and take a relaxing respite from the sounds and sights of the city.
In the colder months, locals and visitors alike flock for ice skating. Anyone who enjoys ice hockey also has a lovely spot to play a friendly game. Grab a hot chocolate and bask in the beauty of a Michigan winter wonderland at Hoyt Park.
- Address: S Washington Ave, Saginaw (GPS)
- Hours: Monday – Sunday: 8:00 am -7:00 pm
Temple Theater is a beautifully restored building built in 1927. It’s often referred to as the Showplace of Northeastern Michigan, an apt moniker based on its popularity for performances. It’s one of the most charming venues, with a retro-chic feel.
Legends of all kinds have graced the stage here, from BB King to the Saginaw Bay Symphony Orchestra. It’s also home to a Barton Butterfield Special Organ in original condition. It seats 1,750 people and hosts many musical acts, like play productions and films, on their silver screen. Be sure to see the beloved and very fun Dueling Pianos Show while you’re in town!
- Address: 201 N Washington Ave, Saginaw (GPS)
Get Out to Ojibway Island
One of the best ways to experience the Great Lakes Bay is to visit Ojibway Island. Saginaw annually holds many community events on the island, such as concerts, charity events, or holiday affairs. It offers stunning views of the Saginaw River on one side and Lake Lipton on the other and a lush landscape to wander.
Anglers will appreciate being able to fish from the quaint wooden dock. The waterfront scenery is lined with willows and is incredibly idyllic at sunset. In some seasons, cars are allowed, and others not, so always check beforehand to plan your adventure to Ojibway Island.
Lucille E. Anderson Rose Garden
A hidden gem of Saginaw is the Lucille E. Anderson Rose Garden. The grounds are enchanting to explore. The centerpiece is a circular pool and statue surrounded by trees, shrubs, and flowers. It’s set within the Anderson Enrichment Center. The blooms are always beautiful and manicured meticulously. They host many private and public events in this charming setting, like live jazz concerts and wedding ceremonies.
Have a Beer at the Breweries
There are plenty of superb places to indulge in a cold craft beer around the city, and heading to one of those places is one of the best things to do in Saginaw. Oracle Brewing Company is located in the heart of Old City and has a plethora of tasty taps to try.
The building was constructed in 1905, and today, it is a restored laidback space to enjoy some creative draft concoctions. Every palette has a brew here, from the C-beans Chocolate Coffee Stout to the Salina Gose Sour brewed with sea salt and coriander.
Loggers Brewing Company, named after the city’s rich history in the field, was the pioneer of breweries in the area. The indoor taproom has a cozy cabin feel, and the outdoor patio sometimes hosts live music.
The Pin Whacker American Pilsner and Daybreak in the Swamp Hazy Pale Ale are instant classics on tap, while the funkier favorites like the Vanilla Oatmeal Creme Stout and Blueberry Lemon Lime SQUATCH Smoothie Ale are for a more daring drinker. You can even get a five or ten-beer flight to sample some of every brew.
This is one of the best things to do in Saginaw! The SVRC ethos is inspirational in empowering persons at risk through economic development. It’s set in the historic Saginaw News building and is a fantastic way to shop small and support independent vendors from the community.
They host the Downtown Saginaw Farmers Market daily in the warmer season, bringing extra fresh produce and local flavor. Shops and eateries offer everything from handmade crafts and natural products to freshly made fares.
- Address: 203 S Washington Ave, Saginaw (GPS)
- Hours: Wednesday – Saturday: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm, Closed Sunday – Tuesday
Stroll the Trails
There are several wilderness trails around Saginaw for a scenic trek. Saginaw Valley River Trail is one of the longest, with over nine miles of nature to explore. There are three access points, so don’t feel you have to commit to everything. It’s chock full of charming bridges crossing rivers and creeks along the way.
Harger Line Rail Trail is ten miles meandering through majestic farmland. Bay-Zil Rail Trail runs parallel to the Saginaw River for over six miles of stunning scenery. Cass River Water Trail is an ideal destination for paddling adventures. Take a canoe or kayak down the dreamy waters for a refreshing and active adventure.
The Hoyt Library
In downtown Saginaw, Hoyt Library is much more than a superior collection of books. The historic architecture alone is a reason to visit. It was built in the late 19th century and is an excellent example of Richardson’s Romanesque style.
The cathedral-like entrance and rich oak interiors make it a stunning space to explore. Various activities and events are held here throughout the year, acting as the city’s social and cultural center. If you can, definitely try to catch an open mic night here.
- Address: 505 Janes Ave, Saginaw (GPS)
- Hours: Monday – Thursday: 9:00 am – 8: 00 pm, Friday & Saturday: 9:00 am -5:00 pm, Sunday: Closed
Price Nature Center
Tucked away from the city, Price Nature Center is the perfect secluded spot for peace and quiet. There are three miles of trails to trek, primarily forested and ideal for all skill levels. It’s one of the best bets for spotting local wildlife, so keep your eyes out for cute critters. In the winter, Price is also the go-to for cross-country ski trails. If you’re hoping to commune with nature on your trip, there are group sites for rustic camping here.
- Address: 6685 Sheridan Rd, Saginaw (GPS)
- Hours: Monday -Sunday: 8:00 am – 9:00 pm
Enjoy a Boat Tour
A boat tour is an easy and exciting way to get out on the beautiful waters around Saginaw. Michigan’s freshwater coastline is magical to explore on a sunset sail or a relaxing riverboat. Johnny Panther Quest Ecotours offers shallow draft boating through the “Everglades of Michigan.” Baysail takes you out on Lake Huron. You can even go on a celestial cruise to learn about the constellations. Bay City Boatlines offers public excursions, including narrated history tours, dinners, and live show outings.
Where to Stay in Saginaw?
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