With rehabbed historical districts, shopping and restaurants on both sides of the Saginaw River, Bay City (population: 36,800) exudes a lively urban river-town feel.

By By the editors of MidwestLiving.com
From May to October, the tall ship Appledore sails Saginaw Bay.

What to do

Appledore IV A vintage-looking schooner departs from the north end of Wenonah Park. Sail on weekend sightseeing cruises and dinner cruises. baysailbaycity.org

From May to October, the tall ship Appledore sails Saginaw Bay.

Downtown waterfront Once a gritty lumberjack hangout, the district on the river's east side now is known for condos, antiques stores, clothing shops, galleries, restaurants, and an annual independent film and music festival. downtownbaycity.com

Where to eat

Jake's Old City Grill Saginaw's high-end steak house delivers well-prepared food (try the seasonal pan-seared walleye and Caesar salad), polished service, microbrews and stylish cocktails in a historical building. It's located 17 miles south of Bay City. jakesforsteaks.com

Krzysiak's House Authentic Polish dishes, including golabki, pierogi, and famous homemade sausage and noodles, draw hungry crowds to this friendly spot. krzysiaks.com

Where to stay

Montague Inn The 1930 Georgian mansion stands on 8 acres in Saginaw. All rooms feature private baths and simple, period-appropriate furnishings (some show their age). montagueinn.com

For information: gogreat.com