I’ve been globe-trotting for the last three years, but I was born and raised in Bay City. Every time I come back from one of my trips, I find a new reason to fall a little more in love with my hometown. Here are 10 summer favorites, from a just-opened farmers market to Thursday night bike rides.
1. The City Market
The City Market opened in June downtown inside a former department store and houses about 30 local vendors including a fresh juice bar, flower shop, gourmet cinnamon roll stand, apothecary, fishmonger and bakeries. Bring your self-control because you’re going to want to buy everything.
2. Tuesday Night Movies at the Park
Every Tuesday night at dusk, you can head to Wenonah Park for an outdoor movie night by the river. A big blow-up screen and projector show popular movies geared to all ages, such as The Sandlot and Finding Dory. The best part is…..there’s a concession stand with fresh popcorn and lots of candy. See you next Tuesday?
3. Rad Coffee Shops
Strolling around downtown can become pretty tiring, I get it. Thankfully, a handful of coffee shops will put a little pep in your step. One shop stands out in particular. Beatles and Beans is exactly what it looks like...a coffee shop literally covered from top to bottom in The Beatles memorabilia. Deciding what to order from the huge menu can be tough – ask the owners for the current specialty drinks and they’ll help you pick.
4. Ride the Water
Whether you’re on a kayak or a boat, the Saginaw bay and river are easily accessible. Take a ride on the river and go fishing, head out to the bay and catch an awesome sunset….or pull your boat right up to one of the area’s waterfront bars and restaurants and get a beer and a burger mid-ride.
5. The Riverwalk
Don’t feel like seeing the river by boat? No problem. Bay City just happens to have a beautiful Riverwalk that takes you through flower gardens, over small bridges, under trees, and by a pier. If your legs get tired, relax on one of the swings facing the river.
6. Thursday Bike Nights (B.A.R.S. of Bay City)
Weather permitting, B.A.R.S. (Bay Area Riding Syndicate) hosts a city-wide bike ride every Thursday night, drawing up to 500 riders. Volunteers help at intersections to make sure everyone stays safe and together. The rides cover about 10 miles, with the half-way point at a different bar each week. Snag a drink and get to know your fellow bikers.
7. Life is a Beach
Sometimes you don’t need a crazy activity-filled summer day. Sometimes you just need a relaxing summer day…on the sand…in the sun…by a large body of water. Bay City has got you covered! Head to Bay City Recreation Area and walk down a short trail to the beach. There’s even a splash park and playground nearby for the kiddos!
8. Mussel Beach Drive-In
After the beach, swing across the street to Mussel Beach Drive-In. You can go inside for a great meal of burgers and homemade fries, or just step up to the front window for some Michigan ice cream. They have soft-serve, banana splits, shakes, malts, sundaes, and more. There’s nothing better than a Mussel Beach stop on a hot day, I promise you.
9. The Bay City Bar Scene
If there’s one thing Bay City is good at….it’s having awesome bars. Over 75 of them. Head to The Stables Martini Bar on Midland Street and jam to live music, or go to downtown Bay City and sit on the patio at Tavern 101 (pictured) while mulling which of the 50 on-tap beers you want to order.
10. Sunrise Pedal Trolley
What’s better than a group of people drinking and pedaling a giant Dutch-made bike? Trick question. Nothing. The Sunrise Pedal Trolley should be called the Sunrise Party Trolley. The trolley provides 8 to 16 adults a fun night riding around Bay City with their favorite music blasting. The trolley can stop at any restaurant or bar you wish—or you can pedal the entire night away. That’s up to you.
Follow Kim's global travel adventures on Instagram.
For more information about Bay City and other destinations in Michigan's Great Lakes Bay Region, visit gogreat.com.