Sturgis, Michigan is a small city in St. Joseph County, known for being home to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. While the rally draws huge crowds every August, there are plenty of things to enjoy in Sturgis year-round.
Here are some of the best attractions and activities in Sturgis, Michigan.
1. Sturgis Motorcycle Museum and Hall of Fame
The Sturgis Motorcycle Museum and Hall of Fame is a must-visit attraction for any motorcycle enthusiast. This museum features over 50 historic motorcycles, including rare one-of-a-kind bikes.
There are exhibits detailing the history of motorcycling in Sturgis and the annual motorcycle rally. You can even hop on a motorcycle simulator and test your skills. Don’t miss the Hall of Fame section with plaques honoring noteworthy individuals from the motorcycle community.
2. Sturgis Main Street
Downtown Sturgis’ Main Street is where you’ll find shops, restaurants, and historic buildings lining the walkable corridor. Pop into unique boutiques like Something Southern for gifts and home decor or Cottage Creations for stained glass and pottery made by local artists.
Grab a coffee at Main Street Coffee Company and stroll past murals depicting Sturgis history. The facades of old brick buildings now house antique stores, salons, and eateries. Be sure to stop by the Sturgis Scoop ice cream parlor for refreshing treats.
3. Sturgis Historical Museum
Address: 101 S Jefferson St, Sturgis, MI 49091
To learn about Sturgis’ early days, spend an afternoon at the Sturgis Historical Museum. Operated by the Sturgis Historical Society, the museum occupies a handsome Victorian home built in the late 1800s.
Inside you’ll find artifacts, photos, documents, and displays illuminating Sturgis’ history from the time of its founding in 1830 through its development into the motorcycle mecca it is today. Exhibits spotlight local industries like manufacturing and agriculture that fueled the town’s growth. The museum also includes antique furnishings, clothing, and other 19th century relics.
4. Lake Templene
Located just northwest of downtown Sturgis, the placid waters of Lake Templene offer year-round recreation. In summer, enjoy fishing from shore or renting paddleboats and kayaks.
There’s a fishing pier extending into deeper water and a swimming beach with a grassy lawn. Miles of hiking and mountain biking trails loop around the lake.
Come winter, you can ice skate on groomed paths cleared on the frozen lake. Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing trails are open after heavy snowfalls.
5. Sturgis Dam
An important part of Sturgis’ early development was the construction of the Sturgis Hydroelectric Dam spanning the St. Joseph River in 1907. Visitors can view the massive structure up-close from the adjacent park.
Walk across the dam’s spillway bridge overlooking the river. Interpretive signs explain how the dam provided electricity that fueled the growing city. Continue down the path to the powerhouse to see turbines from outside. The river below the dam is popular for kayaking and fishing brown trout.
6. St. John’s Episcopal Church
Address: 110 S Clay St, Sturgis, MI 49091
With its Gothic Revival architecture, St. John’s Episcopal Church stands out in downtown Sturgis. The stone church was constructed starting in 1873 and features stained glass windows and a square bell tower.
Step inside to admire the sanctuary’s arched beam ceiling and intricate woodwork. Historical displays explain the church’s role in the development of Sturgis. The church is also notable for being one of only three built from stone quarried in Sturgis.
7. Sturgis Festivals and Events
Throughout the year, Sturgis hosts fun festivals and events that highlight local culture. The Sturgis Fest of Ale in April is a beer-lover’s paradise, with Michigan craft breweries offering samples during the tasting event.
Sturgis Fest of the Seas in June celebrates the city’s inland port history with maritime-themed activities and entertainment.
Experience food, music, craft vendors, 5K run, carnival, and parade during the Sturgis Falls Celebration over 4th of July weekend.
Each August, check out vintage vehicles, tractors, and engines at the Threshermen’s Reunion. And in December, get into the holiday spirit at Christmas in Sturgis festivities.
8. Bonnie Brook Golf Course
Tee off at the scenic 18-hole championship course Bonnie Brook Golf Club, conveniently located just outside Sturgis. The public course features bentgrass greens, tall grass roughs, and holes separated by mature trees for a challenging game.
More novice players can hone their short game on the par-3 junior course. The pro shop can outfit you with gear and also provides lessons. Unwind after your round on the patio overlooking the course.
9. Hoopdance by the Creek
Combining art and fitness, Hoopdance by the Creek offers fitness classes using hula hoops. Their downtown studio is bright and cheery, with hoops of all sizes to accommodate beginners through advanced students.
There are hoopdance classes set to energetic music to get your heart pumping. Or try their hoop yoga classes that build strength and flexibility while incorporating hoop techniques. Private lessons and parties are also available. Hoopdance is a unique way to exercise and inspiring activity during a Sturgis visit.
10. St. Joseph Riverwalk
Extending along the St. Joseph River through downtown Sturgis is the scenic Riverwalk path and park. The paved trail runs parallel to the river, making for a relaxing stroll or bike ride.
Benches line the path where you can sit and observe waterfowl drifting in the river. Keep an eye out for sculptures and historical markers along the route.
The Riverwalk connects to Thurber Park and also features exercise equipment stations for an active outing. Its vantage points of the river make the Sturgis Riverwalk a go-to spot for riverside recreation.
11. Uptown Art of Sturgis
Browse regional art at Uptown Art of Sturgis, a locally owned gallery and boutique on Main Street. The shop represents over 30 Michigan artists who work in media like painting, glass, jewelry, pottery, and textiles.
There are constantly new pieces and collections arriving at the gallery to admire and purchase. Uptown Art also sells home decor, gifts, greeting cards, and bath products.
Don’t miss their monthly sip and shop evenings with wine, refreshments, door prizes, and special sales. Check upcoming workshop listings to get creative with classes on painting, calligraphy, and more.
12. St. Joseph County International Country Music Festival
For an authentic country music experience, time your Sturgis visit to coincide with the St. Joseph County International Country Music Festival. Held annually in early June at the St. Joseph County Fairgrounds, this 4-day festival brings in major country stars to perform live concerts each evening.
Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton, and Brad Paisley are just some stars who have taken the stage in recent years. Rising artists perform during the day on smaller stages.
Fans can camp right at the fairgrounds to be in the heart of the action all weekend long. In addition to the concerts, the festival has vendors selling food, drinks, and souvenirs.
With its motorcycle museum, historic downtown, and abundance of outdoor recreation, Sturgis offers plenty to keep you busy. And don’t forget the annual motorcycle rally every August, which attracts huge crowds for cruising Main Street, live music, and races.
Whether you’re into motorcycles or not, Sturgis’ small town hospitality and attractions make it a delightful place to visit any time of year.