16 Things to See and Do in Muskegon, Michigan
Muskegon is known for its beautiful sandy beaches on Lake Michigan and a vibrant downtown full of history and art. Lumber drove the economy in the 1800s, and the city’s location on Muskegon Lake near Lake Michigan makes it an important port city. There are many historic homes an buildings near the downtown area, and many have ties to Charles Hackley – a lumber baron and philanthropist. Today the population is close to 40,000 and the downtown area continues to see new business open and thrive.
Thousands flock to Muskegon each summer for the beaches at Pere Marquette State Park and the dunes at Muskegon State Park. Options for outdoor recreation include hiking, biking, swimming, fishing, kayaking, boating, and more. With warmer temperatures on the way, we’d like to encourage everyone to visit the “Port City.” Here is our list of 16 Things to See and Do in Muskegon, Michigan:
Pigeon Hill Brewing Company – This downtown brewery opened in 2014, and has quickly built a reputation for great tasting beers. The taproom offers snacks and you can bring your own food or order in from local restaurants. You have to try the O.C.P. (Oatmeal Creme Pie), a brew that is so tasty it will be the first offering in cans by Pigeon Hill.
500 W. Western Ave.
Pere Marquette Park – In the summer, you’ll rarely find a day when the beach at Pere Marquette isn’t packed with visitors. It offers a clean, sandy beach as well as volleyball courts, a restaurant, and access to the lighthouses in the channel.
1601 Beach St.
USS Silversides Museum – This submarine entered service in 1941, and saw action in the Pacific during World War II. During 14 war-time patrols, she sank 23 enemy ships. After the war she spent time in Chicago before finding a home in Muskegon in 1987. It is now open as a museum and offers opportunities for overnight stays as well. Find more at: http://silversidesmuseum.org/.
1346 Bluff St.
SS Milwaukee Clipper Museum Ship – One of three museum ships in Muskegon, the Milwaukee Clipper was a passenger and car ferry that operated on four of the five Great Lakes. Now that the SS Keewatin (formerly docked in Saugatuck) has been returned to Canada this is the only remaining passenger steamship left in Michigan. The ship is 361 feet long, and was launched in 1904 as the Juniata. It was rebuilt and renamed in 1941 and stopped operating after the 1970 season. Before ending up in Muskegon she was a museum ship in Chicago and Indiana. Restoration efforts are ongoing, to find out more about tours visit: http://www.milwaukeeclipper.com/.
Grand Trunk Dock at the end of McCracken St.
Lake Express ferry to Wisconsin – This high speed ferry offers daily trips from Muskegon to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Passengers have the option of traveling with or without their vehicles, and the trip takes about three and a half hours. Find out more at http://www.lake-express.com/schedule/.
1918 Lakeshore Drive
Muskegon South Pierhead Lighthouse – This 46 foot tall light has stood here since 1903, and stands out due to its bright red paint. The light sits next to the U.S. Coast Guard Station, but access is possible by following the foot path next to the NOAA research station. Park at Pere Marquette Park or in the lot by Margaret Drake Elliott Park. Information on how to help with the restoration of this light as well as the South Breakwater Light can be found at http://www.muskegonlights.org/.
1431 Beach St.
Michigan’s Adventure – This amusement park is the largest in the state, and features 53 rides. Seven roller coasters will thrill visitors, and the WildWater Adventure water park is fun for the whole family. Highlights include Shivering Timbers: a wooden roller coaster that reaches a height of 125 feet and a speed of 65 mph, Thunderhawk: a steel inverted rollercoaster with a drop of 86 feet that sends riders upside down at 50 mph, and the Wolverine Wildcat: a wooden roller coaster that is 85 feet high and reaches a speed of 55 mph. Family and children’s rides, carnival games, miniature golf, and food help keep everyone entertained for a day of fun. Opening day is May 27. https://www.miadventure.com/
1198 W. Riley-Thompson Rd.
Muskegon State Park – Campers will find 240 sites at two campgrounds at Muskegon State Park, which is located on the north end of the channel that joins Lake Michigan and Muskegon Lake. A beach, blockhouse overlook, 12 miles of hiking trails, access to scenic dunes, and water recreation opportunities on both lakes are just a few of the things that keep visitors coming back here year after year. In the winter, the park’s Winter Sports Complex offers cross-country skiing, ice skating, ice fishing, and a luge track.
3560 Memorial Dr.
Downtown Art – A walking tour of downtown will quickly show any visitor that this city has made a commitment to publicly accessible art. There is a statue of silent film star Buster Keaton in front of the Frauenthal Theater, ‘Muskegon, Together Rising’ stands tall in the middle of the downtown traffic circle, and a block away “The Turning Point” sculpture pays tribute to Muskegon’s involvement in the invention of “snurfing,” a predecessor to modern day snowboarding. Hackley Park is nearby and features a Civil War veterans memorial as well as statues of Farragut, Sherman, Grant and Lincoln.
Frauenthal Center for the Performing Arts – Concerts, movie screenings, theater performances and other events are held here each year in the historic Frauenthal Theater (built in 1929), the Beardsley Theater, an art gallery, Smash Wine Bar & Bistro, rehearsal space and more. Check out upcoming events at: http://frauenthal.org/.
425 W. Western Ave.
LST 393 Museum Ship – This World War II tank landing ship can be seen in downtown Muskegon, where it has been restored and opened for tours at the Mart Dock. This is one of only two such ships around today (out of more than 1,000) and it has been turned into a veterans museum as well as a museum ship. Among the battles LST-393 was involved in were Sicily, Salerno, and Normandy. Find out more at http://www.lst393.org/.
560 Mart St.
Heritage Landing – This is the place to go for summer events along the waterfront. Music festivals, fireworks, Girls on the Run, Bike Time, and more bring visitors and local residents to this park on the shoreline of Muskegon Lake. You’ll also find a playground, Tall Ship dock, picnic and fishing areas, and the pavilion shown above. It’s a short walk from downtown, and right next to a local bike path.
Shoreline Drive at W. Western Ave.
Unruly Brewing Co. – You’ll find excellent craft beer on tap at Unruly, including IPAs, porters, stouts, and seasonal brews. This brewery is housed in the historic Russell Block building, where you’ll also find Rebel Pies Pizza and Drip Drop Drink Coffee Bar. Lots of open space makes this a great venue for live music, or just a great place to grab a drink and relax. http://unrulybrewing.com/
360 W. Western Ave.
Hackley and Hume Historic Homes – These two homes have been restored to appear as they did in the 1890s, when lumber mill owners Charles Hackley and Thomas Hume were among the wealthiest men in the area. The Hackley home is considered a “unique example of Victorian architecture and of late nineteenth century interior decorative arts,” while the Hume home is more open and modern. Tours of both homes and the City Barn on the property are open for tours beginning May 2nd, find out more information about hours and prices at: http://www.lakeshoremuseum.org/project/hackley-hume/.
484 W. Webster Ave.
Veterans Memorial Park – This park lies in the middle of the north and south lanes of busy M-120 (M. Causeway), with the Muskegon River running through its two sections. Memorials for Korea and Vietnam, World War II, Fraternity of Police, POW/MIA, Battle of the Bulge, 32nd Division and more are spread throughout the park’s 28 acres. A fountain can be found at the south end of the park, and a large American flag flanked by two M1906 World War I cannons is located on an island with wooden bridges connecting it to the the rest of the park. This is also a popular spot for ducks, geese, herons and other birds.
M-120 between Lake St. and US-31 Business Route
L.C. Walker Arena – Muskegon has been home to many sports teams over the years, and various hockey, basketball, and football teams have called Walker Arena home over the years. The arena also hosts the occasional concert, circus, convention, or other event. It is the home of the USHL Muskegon Lumberjacks hockey team and the West Michigan Ironmen of the American Indoor Football League. More information and schedules at: http://www.lcwalkerarena.com/.
955 Fourth St.