21 Best & Fun Things to Do in Manistee (MI)

Manistee, Michigan, is filled with lots of exciting activities. Running out of things to do in Manistee, MI is almost impossible when you’re vacaying in the city.

There are many places to visit, beautiful scenery, historical attractions, lodgings, bars, museums et cetera.

If you’re planning on visiting Manistee, Michigan, this article is definitely for you as it will highlight some of the fun activities available in this beautiful city. 

The write-up will specifically cover exciting activities to do in Manistee, Michigan.

Where is Manistee, Michigan?

The city of Manistee is located in Michigan’s Manistee County. It is the only county seat in the region. 

At the census of 2020, the population of the city was 6,259. The name “Manistee” is derived from an Ojibwe word that was first used to describe the river that flows through the county. 

It is believed that the word “spirit of the woods” came from the ministigweyaa, which means river with islands at its mouth.

Although it’s politically separate, the city of Manistee is located at the mouth of the MISTER River.

The neighboring township of Filer is to the south, while the Stronach Township is to the east.

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Fun Things to Do in Manistee, MI

These are the 21 things to do in Manistee, Michigan;

1. Arcadia Overlook

You will eventually reach the Arcadia overlook as you drive through the beautiful countryside of Michigan’s Manistee County. 

This is a well-known observation point that some refer to as Inspiration Point. 

You will eventually find yourself at zero elevation when traveling through the town of Arcadia.

Before heading to the top deck of the overlook, make sure to bring some spare change. 

This will allow you to take advantage of the telescope that’s located at the top.

Address: The Arcadia Overlook is located on M-22 just north of Arcadia, Michigan.

2. Watch a Movie at Vogue Theater

The Vogue Theater was built in 1930 and is located in the heart of downtown Manistee. It’s one of the city’s most popular attractions.

The building was considered the most modern structure in the area during its construction. 

It was also equipped with various features, such as a grand retro atrium and a splendid exterior façade. 

In 2005, the theater was almost demolished, but the locals saved it. Today, it still features its original neon signs and is still full of character.

The staff at the Vogue Theater is friendly and welcoming. It’s also a great place to watch movies. 

There are a variety of classic and up-and-coming films that you can enjoy.

Address: The Vogue Theater is located at 383 River St, Manistee, MI 49660, United States.

3. Visit the Manistee North Pierhead Lights

The magnificent lighthouse at the end of the pier in the city of Manistee is known as the Pierhead Lights. 

This structure, constructed in 1875, is a marine navigation guide that can be seen from both the south and north sides of the harbor. 

The current tower, which is 39 feet tall, is cast iron and has a white cylinder body. Its lantern can be seen from 12 nautical miles away.

During times of heavy storms, the lighthouse’s elevated walkway can be used to reach its keeper. 

This structure has been continuously updated several times. So take a break from the warm weather and visit the lighthouse. 

It offers a tranquil setting, and the crashing sound of waves can be heard from the walkway.

Address: The Manistee North Pierhead Lights is located in Manistee, MI 49660, United States.

4. Visit the Manistee County Historical Museum

The museum in Manistee County’s heart features rotating and permanent exhibits. 

It was once the home of the A.H. Lyman Drug Company, one of the town’s three-drug firms. 

After Lyman died in 1896, his family gave the building to the museum in 1961. F.W. White ran the business until 1961 when it was handed over to the museum.

The museum features various exhibits, such as artifacts from the Civil War, pioneer exhibits, and houseware. 

It also has a variety of maritime and historical exhibits, including a life-sized log cabin. 

In addition, it has an extensive collection of Victorian antiques and several period rooms that feature Victorian furniture.

Every year, the museum features three exhibits that highlight the history of the town of Manistee. 

This is a must-visit for anyone who’s looking for unusual old-time displays. 

Address: The museum is located at 425 River Street in the heart of the town.

5. Chill with Friends on Fifth Avenue Beach

Fifth Avenue Beach is one of the most popular places to visit in Manistee. This is a beautiful spot that offers views of the North Pier. 

This is the place to go if you want charming shoreline views. Also, the lighthouse is right next to the beach.

If you have a lot of energy, this beach can accommodate you with its tennis courts, a playground, and concession stands. 

Also, there are multiple clean public bathhouses nearby. Finally, after a long day of playing and walking, you can grab refreshments at one of the concession stands.

Address: The Fifth Avenue Beach is located at 5th Ave, Manistee, MI 49660, United States.

6. Orchard Beach State Park

One of the best things to do in Manistee is visit Orchard Beach State Park

This public recreation area is located on the shore of Lake Michigan and covers over 200 acres. 

It features hiking trails, camping, and self-guided tours. The park also offers a variety of other activities such as fishing and swimming.

This park also features a picnic area and a playground. It’s open from Monday through Sunday from 8 am to 10 pm. 

Address: The Orchard Beach is located at 2064 N. Lakeshore Road, Manistee, MI 49660.

7. The Manistee Golf and Country Club

Michigan is known for its beautiful weather and diverse landscapes. One of the most famous golf courses in the state is the Manistee Country Club, which was established in 1901. 

It offers magnificent views of Lake Michigan and the surrounding area.

The beautiful Lake Michigan scenery and the various holes overlooking it make the golf course at the Manistee Country Club an ideal choice for everyone. 

The course features a variety of challenging holes that require varying skill levels. 

After playing the golf course, enjoy a traditional meal at the restaurant inside the club. The staff at the club is also helpful and friendly. 

If you plan to visit the area, add the golf course to your list of fun activities.

Address: This attraction is located at 500 Cherry Rd, Manistee, MI 49660, United States.

8. The Manistee River

The Manistee River flows through the sandhills of Antrim County and eventually empties into Lake Michigan. 

This natural body of water is a wide-flowing river that’s 190 miles long. 

The cold and clean water from the sandhills of Antrim County makes this area a great place to fish.

The river is regarded as one of the country’s best salmon and trout fishing areas. 

It’s also an excellent spot for people who enjoy hanging out at the sand bars and rope swinging. 

The beautiful waters of the Manistee River are an excellent spot for people who enjoy swimming, sightseeing, and boat rides. It’s also a great place to go for a tubing session. 

Address: The Manistee River is located in Manistee, MI.

9. Hike the North Country Trail

If you are planning on going on an adventure, especially if you are a hiking enthusiast, then the North Country Trail is for you. 

This national scenic trail spans over 4,000 miles and is located along the Michigan-North Dakota border. 

It features sandy soils, forests, and several communities and farmlands.

The North Country Trail can be used for various activities, such as hiking and biking. It also offers access to the Hodenpyl Dam. 

Regardless of your choice of a hiking adventure, the trail has something for everyone. 

Address: The North Country Trail is located in Manistee, MI.

10. First Street Beach

The First Street Beach in Manistee is the largest city-owned recreation area. 

It features various family activities, such as tennis courts, basketball courts, a dog run, a boat launch, a fish-cleaning station, and a playground. 

Besides being a recreational place, the sugar sand provides an ideal setting for surfing, swimming, and parasailing.

Besides being a recreational place, the sugar sand provides a perfect setting for surfing, swimming, and parasailing. 

It also features a concert site that can be used for live music. In addition, the beach can be used for picnics and barbecues during the summer. 

You can enjoy the cool breeze from Lake Michigan by setting up fire rings at night.

Address: This attraction is located at 100-122 S Lakeshore Dr, Manistee, MI 49660, United States.

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11. A.M Galleries

One of the best things to do in the city of Manistee is to visit A M Galleries. Although it’s not in the town, this Ludington gallery is worth visiting. 

It features the work of several talented artists. Besides being a beautiful location, this gallery also displays modern and abstract pieces.

Besides being a great place to browse for fashion, this gallery also features a wide range of accessories and jewelry. 

It’s additionally available for rent during private events. 

Address: A.M Galleries is located at 115 West Ludington Avenue, Ludington, MI.

12. Explore SS City Milwaukee

The SS city of Milwaukee is a steam-powered railroad car ferry that moved between Wisconsin and Michigan. It was built in 1931.

It was built for the Great Northern Car Ferry Company. It is the only surviving example of its kind from the pre-1940s era. 

It has been designated as a National Historic Landmark. This vessel is currently docked in Michigan’s Manistee Lake.

Inside the museum, you will learn about how the ferry traveled across Lake Michigan. 

During a tour, you will be able to see the ship’s mechanicals and learn about the people who worked on it. 

It’s also a great place to taste what life was like during the steamship. In October, the vessel is decorated for Halloween.

Take a trip back in time with the last railroad car ferry still docked in the Great Lakes. 

Address: This vessel is currently docked at 99 Arthur St. Manistee, MI.

13. The Manistee Harbor Tours

Harbor Tours in Manistee provides various types of boat and sightseeing tours in the area. These include private events and sightseeing cruises on Lake Michigan.

The Princess is a 65-foot aluminum vessel cruising out of Manistee’s town and into Lake Michigan. It then passes through the river and into the lake.

Address: The Manistee Harbor Tours is located at 480 River St, Manistee, MI 49660, United States.

14. Manistee Riverwalk 

The pedestrian-friendly walkway known as the Manistee Riverwalk is a popular area to walk along in downtown Manistee. 

It can be reached from the center of the town to as far as Lake Michigan.

The markers along the walkway will help you understand how the river has shaped the town’s development.

Address: The Manistee Riverwalk is located at 43-79 Jones St, Manistee, MI 49660, United States.

15. Insta-Launch Campground & Marina

The Insta Launch campground is on the Big Manish River and the north end of the town of Manistee Lake. 

It offers full access to Lake Michigan, free WiFi, river float trips, and various other activities. 

The waters of the river are known for their abundance of Chinook and Steelhead fishing. 

There are also excellent opportunities to catch Brown Trout, Lake Trout, and Coho.

Address: The Insta Launch campground is located at 20 Park Avenue, Manistee, MI 49660.

16. Happy Owl Bookshop

The Happy Owl Book Store is located in the heart of the downtown district of Manistee. 

It is an independent bookstore that aims to keep conversations about books alive and grow the community through its offerings. Its shelves are full of various gifts and publications.

Address: The Happy Owl Bookshop is located at 358 River St, Manistee, MI 49660, United States.

17. Ludington Waterfront Park

The Ludington Waterfront Park is a 5-acre park located on Pere Marquette Lake. 

It was unveiled in 1999 and has become a popular area for people to gather. This park also serves as a great backdrop for photos.

Address: The Ludington Waterfront Park is located at 1122 S William St Ludington, MI.

18. Magoon Creek Natural Area

If you love nature and the outdoors, then the Magoon Natural Creek Area is the place to be. 

This area is a great place to gather and enjoy the views of Lake Michigan. It features a beautiful shoreline and a high bluff that overlooks the lake.

Address: The Magoon Natural Creek Area is located in Manistee, Mi.

19. Secret Garden

Although not in Manistee, The Secret Garden is a great place to visit if you want something different. 

This gallery features the work of over 200 artists from Michigan. The gallery’s goal is to provide a variety of views on nature, history, art, and existence.

Address: The Secret Garden is located at 10206 W Front Street Empire, MI 49630.

20. Orchard Beach Aviation

During the winter, Northern Michigan is in its glory as the earth begins to change from its vibrant green color to its calm and bright colors.

During this flight, you’ll get a glimpse of the beautiful colors of the earth as it begins to change. 

The scenery on this trip will also show you the various types of forests and fields.

Address: The Orchard Beach Aviation is located at 2323 Airport Rd, Manistee, MI 49660, United States.

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21. Manistee Recreation Association

In addition to being one of the top things to do in Michigan, the town of Manistee is also taking a break from its usual activities to focus on rejuvenation. 

The local recreation association is committed to providing its members with various activities and programs.

Address: Manistee Recreation is located at 30 Jones Street, Manistee, MI 49660.