Welcome to Monroe, Michigan – an enchanting location gracefully located along the shores of stunning Lake Erie. From historical sites to natural wonders, this captivating city offers countless experiences waiting to be explored. Whether you’re a history buff, nature enthusiast, or simply looking for a fun escape, Monroe beckons with a wealth of attractions and activities. Join Let’s Save Michigan Travel Blog on a virtual journey to discover the top things to do in Monroe, Michigan and immerse yourself in the charm of Monroe, where every experience is a testament to its rich heritage and The natural beauty of the city.
1. Tour the River Raisin National Battlefield Park
One of the largest and bloodiest battles during the War of 1812 took place right in Monroe, known as the Battle of the River Raisin. This national park preserves and commemorates the battlegrounds.
Start your visit at the educational visitors center, where exhibits and a movie explain the events of the battle. Revolutionary War and War of 1812 artifacts are on display as well.
After learning about the battle, walk through parts of the actual battlefield, following hiking trails along the River Raisin. Interpretive signs mark key troop movements and clashes.
Pick up a map of this informative 70-mile self-guided driving tour that visits War of 1812 sites across southeastern Michigan, including River Raisin park.
2. Explore Sterling State Park
Situated along over 2 miles of Lake Erie shoreline, Sterling State Park offers great recreation activities like swimming, boating, hiking, fishing, and camping.
The wide, sandy beach has a designated swim area with lifeguards and nearby restrooms/changing rooms. A playground overlooks the beach, perfect for kids.
The campground contains nearly 200 wooded sites for tents and RVs, most with electricity, along with modern bathhouses and a camp store. Advanced reservations recommended.
The visitor center has exhibits about the park’s ecosystems and local plants and wildlife. Join guided hikes and nature programs offered seasonally.
3. Stroll Through Charming Downtown Monroe
Downtown Monroe centers around Washington Street lined with historic commercial buildings and landmarks. Pop into shops, dine at restaurants, and admire the architecture. You can visit some of these destinations:
This downtown plaza has a band shell, fountain, and monuments honoring veterans. On summer weekends, there are free band concerts in the gazebo.
Post Office Mural
Inside the Monroe Post Office at 101 Washington Street, see the large historic mural depicting French colonists naming the River Raisin. This work was commissioned during the 1930s.
4. Ride the Train at the Sandy Creek Winery
Sandy Creek Winery offers free train rides through their picturesque vineyards and cider apple orchards during select hours on summer weekends.
You can catch the Whistle Stop Train which takes 15 minute ride. The Engine 1261 locomotive take visitors on a relaxing tour through the farm. While you’re there, visit the tasting room to try their wines and hard ciders.
5. Hike Through forests at Farnsworth Metropark
Just south of Monroe, this 1,500 acre metropark has nearly 8 miles of hiking trails following the River Raisin through peaceful forests with some scenic overlooks along the waterway.
A 2 mile loop trail that passes through pine and oak forests with an overlook deck atop a high bluff along the river – one of the prettiest hikes in the park.
Here, you can find the unique 200+ year old bur oak tree right along the trail. At over 100 feet tall, it’s one of the largest oak trees in Michigan.
6. Ride the River Raisin
The River Raisin National Heritage Corridor offers great recreational paddling and boating opportunities right through the heart of Monroe. Rent a kayak or canoe and spend a few hours on the tranquil river. You can try renting:
- River Raisin Canoe Livery: Provides canoe, kayak, and tube rentals for exploring the River Raisin. Shuttle services are available to transport you back to your starting point.
- Sterling State Park Launch Site: Put in small non-motorized boats at the public launch site along the River Raisin within Sterling State Park. Peaceful waters here are great for beginners.
7. Cheer on the Timberwolves at Roederer Park
Address of the park: 612 Roederer St, Monroe, MI 48162
Monroe’s historic Roederer Park baseball stadium dates back to the 1930s and hosts the Southern Michigan Timberwolves baseball team during summer. Catch an affordable game in this nostalgic setting.
In addition to baseball games, the park hosts festivals, fireworks shows, and community events during the warmer months. The old-timey stadium adds to the charm of a game here.
8. Learn About Edison’s History in Monroe
Famed American inventor Thomas Edison spent his early childhood years living in Monroe, which inspired his interest in innovations and experiments. The Edison Institute museum and birthplace memorial mark his time here.
You can see some of Edison’s early battery experiments and telegraph prototypes on display at this downtown museum, along with exhibits about his upbringing in Monroe during the mid-1800s.
A large sculpture next to the museum marks the site of Edison’s birthplace along the River Raisin. Interpretive signs describe his profound impact on modern technology and innovation.
9. Check Out the Wildlife at the Sterns Road Fen
Address of Sterns Road Fen Nature Preserve: Sterns Rd. south of Flight Memorial Dr, Lambertville, MI 48144
This unique nature preserve contains extremely rare alkaline fens, wet meadows, and wetland environments. A hiking trail loops through the landscape, providing opportunities to spot fascinating plant and animal species.
Look for carnivorous sundew plants in the wetlands and listen for the calls of rare bird species that nest in the secluded habitat. Free public access daily during daylight hours.
10. Enjoy a Show at the Monroe County Fine Arts Center
Address: 1 S Macomb St, Monroe, MI 48161
This multi-use facility brings music, theater, and art to the community through its performance hall, outdoor amphitheater and art galleries. Check their event calendar for upcoming concerts, plays, classes and exhibits.
The 370-seat Worswick Theater and outdoor plaza amphitheater host touring acts and local performers throughout the year. Art classes and summer youth camps foster local creativity too.
Monroe, Michigan offers a delightful blend of history, culture, and natural beauty, making it an ideal destination for both locals and visitors alike. The top 10 things to do in Monroe highlight the richness of its heritage, the warmth of its community, and the abundance of recreational opportunities. From exploring historical landmarks to enjoying outdoor adventures and indulging in local cuisine, Monroe has something for everyone.
As we’ve discovered through this exploration, Monroe’s unique character is deeply rooted in its past, yet it continues to evolve with a vibrant present and a promising future. whether you’re strolling through the historic district, savoring local flavors at the eateries, or immersing yourself in the natural beauty of the parks, Monroe beckons with open arms, inviting you to create lasting memories. Let this guide be your roadmap to unlocking the treasures of Monroe, Michigan, and let’s save those moments of joy, exploration, and connection in the heart of the Great Lakes State.