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7 Best Things to Do in Marquette, Michigan

If you want a summer destination, consider adding Marquette, Michigan, to your list. The Wolverine State is known for its comfortable temperatures and is a popular state for people who want to escape the summer heat. The two regions — the Upper Peninsula and the Lower Peninsula — offer different climates, the Upper rarely sees temperatures much above 80 degrees.

But it’s not just the mild summer climate that draws visitors. From the Northern Lights to the hiking trails, tourists love to visit Marquette, Michigan, year-round. Marquette County brings in over $200 million in visitor spending, and 15% of the county’s employment is in tourism-related jobs. Let’s take a look at why so many people visit this area of the country and why you should plan a visit, too. Let’s dive in.

Where Is Marquette, Michigan? 

Marquette, Michigan, is located in the Upper Peninsula. Over 20,000 people call this city home. The waters of Lake Superior crash along the shoreline, making Marquette a popular tourist destination as well. The city is conveniently located near Highway 41 and Highway 28 to the southeast.

Marquette, Michigan - Things to Do and See When You Go

What Is Marquette, Michigan, Known For? 

Marquette remains a major port known for shipping iron ore. But it’s more well known for the outdoor recreational opportunities it offers. Whatever outdoor adventure you want, Marquette, Michigan, has it. View the beautiful blue of Lake Superior, stunning evergreen hikes, and the colorful northern light. Whatever you choose, this part of the Upper Peninsula is breathtaking.

Enjoy splashing along one of the beaches, explore the Marquette Harbor Lighthouse, or set out on your mountain bike. Additionally, you can try fishing for deep water lake trout, whitefish, salmon, and brown trout. If you want a more low-key experience, take a tour of the many breweries and eclectic art galleries. 

Pro Tip: After exploring Marquette, Michigan, head to one of these Top 10 Beaches in Michigan You Must Visit.

Scenic view of Marquette, Michigan in the fall
Located in the Upper Peninsula, there are lots of things to see and do in Marquette, Michigan.

7 Things to Do in Marquette Michigan 

Marquette, Michigan, is the largest city in the Upper Peninsula. But more than bright city lights and towering skyscrapers, you’ll find outdoor fun and local cultural experiences. From camping at Tourist Park to cross-country skiing at Presque Isle Park, you’ll have so much to do here. Let’s look at seven activities to plan your next trip.

#1 Visit Lake Superior

One of the biggest freshwater lakes in the world, Lake Superior has more than 80 species of fish. These include lake sturgeon, northern pike, round whitefish, smallmouth bass, walleye, and yellow perch. Take a day trip to fish these great waters.

It also has beautiful beaches along the shoreline. Many love to cliff dive off the Black Rocks. And you can enjoy the spectacular view of the Marquette Harbor Lighthouse at McCarty’s Cove. Catch a sunset along Sunset Beach or let the kids play in the shallow waters of South Beach.

#2 Check Out the Local Breweries 

Marquette, Michigan, also has a great brewery scene. Barrel & Beam, the only farmhouse ale brewery in the area, includes a wide variety of fruits like apples, blueberries, and peaches. Blackrocks Brewery offers guests a unique environment to enjoy its popular 51K IPA.

Also, Drifa Brewing Company, serving hard cider and wine, is the closest brewery to the Lake Superior shoreline. Additionally, it was the first cooperatively owned craft brewery in Michigan.

Woman drinking a beer in brewery in Marquette, Michigan
Bar hop through Marquette, Michigan’s awesome brewery scene.

#3 Explore the Marquette Harbor Lighthouse

In 1866, the Marquette Harbor Lighthouse replaced the old lighthouse. However, it has undergone additions like a two whistle system, converted living quarters, and a covered staircase. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Marquette Harbor Lighthouse is part of 2.5 acres of Lighthouse Point. It also includes the Marquette Maritime Museum.

#4 Appreciate the City’s Vibrant Art Scene

Lakenenland Sculpture Park is a 37-acre park built by Tom Lakenen over the past 25 years. More than 100 sculptures from scrap iron offer guests whimsical and entertaining art free of charge. If visiting in the summer, try the popular Art on the Rocks event held annually in July. It features over 140 artists.

You’ll find fine art, pottery, photography, painting, and activities for kids. In addition, the Marquette Arts and Cultural Center hosts musical and lecture series and monthly regional and national exhibits.

#5 Trek the Iron Ore Heritage Trail 

You can bike, hike, cross country ski, or snowmobile on the Iron Ore Heritage Trail. And it’s open year-round for exploration and exercise. This 47-mile trail includes paved, crushed aggregate, and dirt/sand surfaces. Marquette has over 160 years of mining history, and this trail captures that legacy.

Experience the Lake Superior shoreline, urban city centers, historic mining regions, wetlands, forested areas, and the Iron Ore Heritage Trail. You can experience all types of terrain and learn a little bit about the history of Marquette, Michigan.

Waterside dock in Marquette, Michigan.
Outdoor adventurers will love the hiking, biking, and swimming opportunities in Marquette, Michigan.

#6 See the Northern Lights in the Winter

Although very unpredictable, you can see the Northern Lights during the winter in Marquette, Michigan. You’ll have a great view because of the city’s darkness and geographical location.

The long winter days mean less light and less humidity, ideal conditions for viewing the Northern Lights. And because of Lake Superior, you have no obstructions to catch the beauty of this phenomenon. You’ll want to bundle up, but the experience is worth braving the Michigan cold.

Pro Tip: In addition to Marquette, Michigan, these are the Best Places to See the Northern Lights in the USA.

#7 Enjoy a Mountain Biking Adventure 

Besides the Iron Ore Heritage Trail, Bad Dog Loop is one of Marquette, Michigan’s most popular mountain biking trails. The 2.6-mile loop is considered a moderately challenging route and is open year-round. The Ultimate North Marquette Loop is 7.8 miles of beautiful Michigan scenery. It also has a higher elevation gain of almost 500 feet.

The Northern Lights over Marquette, Michigan
If you visit Marquette, Michigan in the winter, you may be able to see the Northern Lights.

When Is the Best Time to Visit? 

If you want to see the Northern Lights, pack heavy coats and winter gear. You’ll need to head for Michigan during the coldest season of the year. But if that experience isn’t high on your to-do list, then the late spring, summer, and early fall months will bring the most comfortable weather.

However, tourists flock to the shores of Lake Superior during the summer. So if you want to avoid crowds, plan your visit for late spring or early fall. You can enjoy mild temperatures for outdoor activities and perhaps catch a show downtown.

The Largest City In Michigan's Upper Peninsula: Marquette, Michigan 4K.

Should You Check Out Marquette, Michigan? 

Marquette, Michigan, has so much to offer all types of travelers. Whether you want to dive into the art scene or ride your mountain bike for hours, everyone can find something to do. You can experience city life while also escaping to the rugged natural landscape. It’s a beautiful area of Michigan and well worth adding to your must-visit list.

Have you ever been to Marquette, Michigan? If so, how was your experience? Tell us in the comments!

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