- Things to Do
- Eat + Drink
- Places to Stay
- Plan Your Trip
Spend your first day in Downtown Bay City — where historic charm, jaw-dropping waterfront views, and opportunities abound all within a few walkable city blocks!
Breakfast: Start at Populace Coffee — named the best roaster in Michigan by Food & Wine — with a scratch-made bagel and drip coffee (or a Lavender Honey Latte). Or, try Harless + Hugh Coffee for artisan toast, prosciutto- and egg-topped waffles, and house-specialty sips like their turmeric and ginger Golden Milk Latte.
Walk This Way: No matter which of the two shops above you take off from, anything & everything Downtown is just blocks away. Looking for vintage one-of-a-kinds? Experience Michigan’s largest antique center — Bay City Antiques Center/Bay Antique Center — and a handful of other antique shops dotting the nearby streets.
Stroll & Shop: Saunter into Half Mile Handmade and Violets Blue to peruse artisan products. Sample charcuterie and the Olive Oil & Balsamic Vinegar tasting bar inside Artigiano Artisan Cheese Shoppe. Get to My Secret Garden or Ferne Boutique, and have fun finding what you’ll wear out later this evening!
Lunch: Discover Downtown Bay City’s year-round, indoor City Market for a mix of shops and a mecca of lunch options. You won’t leave the Market hungry, and you shouldn’t leave without sampling at least a few spots!
Pedals & Pints: Bringing a big group? Sunrise Pedal Trolley is an eight- to 15-person trolley bike that allows pints while pedaling (cheers!) and offers a unique way to travel through town. Ride by Wenonah Park for picturesque views of the Saginaw River, stop off at St. Laurent Brothers or Village Chocolatier for a sweet treat, and keep your eyes peeled for places like G.T. Homestead and Little House that you might like to visit later!
Don't have enough people in your party for the pedal trolley? Rent single or tandem rides from Jack's Bicycle Shop, right Downtown, and start exploring on your own two wheels!
Dinner & Dessert: With delicious options peppered throughout, consider Fusion 1 Café for an unforgettable sushi bar. Dine by candlelight at Old City Hall and enjoy their extensive wine list, or experience MI Table to taste Pure Michigan on the plate (alongside a wine, beer, or cider flight, if you like).
Into the Night: Sample from 54 beers on tap at Tavern 101 and swing by the seasonal, outdoor Drydock Beer Garden in nearby Unity Park. Then, cap off your night beneath the brilliant lights of the Third Street Star Bridge — a luminescent display and the perfect backdrop for a keepsake photo of your trip to Bay City.
Meet Uptown Bay City today and dip your toes into what’s available, because Bay City is a waterfront destination full of options worth exploring!
Breakfast: For elevated classics, enjoy Uptown Grill for breakfast (and choose between Sweet Potato Pancakes or Baklava French Toast). Or, grab a yogurt parfait or delicious quiche at Live Oak Coffeehouse in Uptown, and sip on locally roasted specialty coffee.
Sail Through the Day (or Into the Night): If adventuring on Lake Huron's Saginaw Bay aboard the majestic Appledore tall ships sounds magnificent (it is), book your freshwater sailing experience with BaySail!
Choose between Great Lakes 101 daytime sails and evening Sunset Sails for gorgeous scenery and nature sightings. Or, look into Celestial Excursions if you want to drift underneath starry skies! You’ll experience a live presentation by local astronomers (and delicious charcuterie) while aboard this magical outing where you can bring your own beverages.
Cruise to Views: Or, hop aboard the Princess Wenonah or Islander when you take a tour on the Saginaw River with Bay City Boat Lines. (Look into Friday-Night Entertainment Cruises for good times through the summer, including dinner, live music, and dancing on board!)
World-Class Catch: Rather drop a line and bring world-class walleye home as souvenirs? Book an outing with one of our Saginaw Bay fishing charters! They'll lead you (with expert know-how) through what's hands-down one of the best walleye fisheries in Michigan.
Lunch: If you’re not on a boat for lunch, head to Sushi Remix in Uptown to taste refreshing Poke (pronounced “poh-kay”, bowls filled with deconstructed sushi) and Bubble Tea.
Take in the State: Working around your waterfront adventure, see if you can catch a movie, comedy show, or other performance at State Theatre of Bay City. Built in 1908, this place is worth a visit if only to witness one of Michigan's finest examples of Art Deco design!
Dinner & Drinks: Head to Uptown for dinner, and prepare all of your senses for the churrascaria experience of Costela Brazilian Steak House. Sample from top-tier meat selections, cooked churrasco-style over mesquite-wood-fired grills, then carved table-side. Order a traditional Caipirinha — a Brazilian specialty drink with fresh fruits.
Fresh-Catch Flavors: Or, dine at casual-upscale Real Seafood Company, and enjoy unbeatable waterfront views along with premium selections. Serving top-catch fish and seafood from the waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, Great Lakes, and Gulf of Mexico, enjoy scallops seared in balsamic brown butter, fresh catch in your choice of seven preparations, or an order of King Crab Legs. Try their Sunrise on the Saginaw specialty drink with Finlandia citrus vodka during or after dinner!
Into the Night: Head to Tri-City Brewing Company to try the Hell's Half Mile Lager (fingers crossed for on-site food trucks, or one of their special charcuterie pop-up events with Artigiano). Stop off for a flight by the outdoor fire bar at Lumber Barons Brewery, or build your own charcuterie board to pair with one of The Public House's thoughtfully crafted artisan cocktails as a nightcap.
Spend the rest of your final day in Bay City soaking up any last goodness you didn’t get to quite yet!
Brunch: Before you leave, double back to The Public House for their Sunday Edition brunch. Enjoy locally sourced fare (think: specialty skillets, biscuits & gravy, chicken & waffles), and enjoy every drop of your mimosa made with fresh-squeezed orange juice or bloody mary garnished with a bacon-wrapped date!
Linger over a long brunch, then head to Bay City State Park — one of U.S. News & World Report's "20 Best Michigan State Parks" — on your way out of town. Spend the whole day enjoying more than 1,000 feet of beach along the Lake Huron coast and explore the scenic trails of Tobico Marsh before closing the book on your memorable trip to Bay City!
Jen is a Saginaw native and owner of Feel These Words, an independent copywriting studio & home to the free "5 Day Website MiniBoost". Jen specializes in writing that connects, delivered through website copy, branded content articles, and WingWoman writing services. You'll find Jen camping with her family, laughing, and at feelthesewords.com