Nestled in the heart of southern Michigan, Coldwater offers small-town charm and outdoor recreation for an enjoyable getaway. From historic sites to family attractions, here are some of the best things to do when visiting Coldwater, Michigan.
1. Spend a day at Coldwater Lake State Park
Coldwater Lake State Park spans over 560 acres centered around a 150-acre inland lake, offering recreation in beautiful southwest Michigan wilderness. Paddle in kayaks, canoes or stand up paddleboards rented from the beach house.
The swimming area has an inflatable floating playground for kids. Hike and bike the 4 miles of wooded trails. Camp overnight at modern sites or yurts.
Good fishing draws anglers seeking bass, bluegill, pike and more. Enjoy scenic nature with recreational activities at Coldwater Lake State Park.
2. Tour the Tibbits Opera House
Address: 14 S Hanchett St Coldwater, MI 49036
Built in 1882, the Tibbits Opera House is a majestic performing arts theater listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This impressive Victorian building with its grand lobby has been restored to showcase outstanding live performances.
Touring Broadway shows, big bands, children’s theater and other productions grace the Tibbits stage regularly. Backstage tours provide a behind-the-scenes look at the theater’s inner workings. With its 19th century ambiance, the Tibbits Opera House is a cultural gem.
3. Visit Children’s Museum of Branch County
Address: 58 W Chicago St, Coldwater, MI 49036
This children’s museum located downtown provides hands-on learning through interactive exhibits and activities. Permanent exhibits let kids roleplay careers like doctor, builder, chef and artist. A model grocery store, bank, diner, farm and vet clinic encourage imaginative play.
Some top exhibits and play areas include a model railroad layout, sandcastle building station, rocket launching lab, art studio, puppet theater, and outdoor Garden Works. Kids can also explore a giant kaleidoscope tube and climb a rock wall.
4. Tour the Branch Area Careers Center
Address: 366 Morse St, Coldwater, MI 49036
This innovative school facility offers public tours showcasing their cutting-edge Career Technical Education programs. Explore classrooms for healthcare, construction, criminal justice, cosmetology, engineering, and culinary arts.
Interactive tool displays demonstrate the latest technologies students use to gain career skills. Weekly Mindfulness Mondays provide relaxing sessions. Touring the state-of-the-art BACC helps you imagine bright futures for today’s youth.
5. Play a round at Coldwater Golf Club
Address: 270 Narrows Rd, Coldwater, MI 49036
Coldwater Golf Club is a 6,700 yard public course with rolling terrain surrounded by scenic wetlands. The 18-hole layout designed by William Newcomb features well-bunkered greens with tricky doglegs to test your game.
Juniors play at a discounted rate to learn the game. Dine at their Lake House Grill & Pub after your round. The pro shop can outfit you with Nike gear. Open year-round, Coldwater Golf Club offers an excellent golf experience at affordable rates.
6. See a show at Tibbits Summer Theatre
Each summer, Tibbits Summer Theatre produces outstanding musicals outdoors under the stars. Theprofessional company and set designs transform downtown Coldwater into a Broadway-quality stage.
Recent summer shows have included Mary Poppins, Grease, Always…Patsy Cline and Freaky Friday. Before the show, families can picnic at their “dinner theatre” events. Voted “Favorite Hidden Gem Theatre”, Tibbits Summer Theatre provides top-notch entertainment.
7. Watch glass blowing at Sun Catchers Stained Glass
At this working glass studio downtown, you can observe artists creating exquisite stained glass pieces. Sun Catchers frequently offers free glass blowing demonstrations where you’ll see molten glass heated and shaped into designs.
Artists will explain every step of the intricate process from concept to final product. The gallery also has completed lamps, windows, jewelry, sculptures and sun catchers available to purchase as artisan souvenirs. Watching glass blowing provides creative inspiration.
8. Pedal the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail
Stretching just over 16 miles between Goshen, Indiana and Middlebury, Indiana, the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail passes through bucolic Amish farmland. Coldwater sits right along the route, making it easy to jump on this cycling path.
Bring your own bike or rent one from the Middlebury trailhead. Highlights of the crushed limestone trail include covered bridges, one-room schools and quaint towns. Ride a section or the entire route while enjoying pastoral scenery.
9. See animals at Binder Park Zoo
Just 30 minutes northwest of Coldwater, Binder Park Zoo in Battle Creek provides close-up encounters with over 600 animals. Get nose-to-nose with playful giraffes at feeding platforms. Ride aboard a train winding through zoo habitats.
Pet kangaroos, cows, and goats in the children’s farm area. Safari experiences let you hand-feed a Southern white rhino or grip a giant tortoise. Special events like Zoo Boo or Wild Lights extend the fun into evenings. Make a day of memorable animal adventures at Binder Park Zoo.
10. Catch a show at Tibbits Popcorn Theatre
For first-run movies in an elegant setting, visit the Tibbits Popcorn Theatre. The intimate 78-seat theater inside the Tibbits Opera House dazzles with original décor from 1927 featuring twinkling lights and Italian plasterwork.
Gourmet popcorn and grown-up beverages can be ordered from your seat. Advance tickets start at just $5 for the friendly, affordable movie house. Seeing a show amid the ornate architecture makes for a special night out in Coldwater.
11. Browse the Coldwater Farmers’ Market
Each Saturday morning, downtown Coldwater comes alive with over 85 local vendors selling fresh produce, baked goods, cheese, flowers, crafts and more. Shop for fruits and veggies picked straight from Michigan farms.
Enjoy live music as you peruse the lively farmers’ market scene. Special events like themed markets and kids’ activities make it an engaging community gathering. The Coldwater Farmers’ Market is ranked one of the top markets in the state for good reason.
12. Hike and bike the Coldwater River Walk
Following the Coldwater River through the heart of town, this paved recreation path stretches over 5 miles one-way. Start from Heritage Park and head downstream along the riparian trail accented with art sculptures.
Bridges and vistas of the winding river make ideal photo spots. Interpretative signage explains natural features. Continue under the covered walkway by Tibbits Opera House downtown. The Coldwater River Walk invites walking, running, biking and scenic views within the city.
13. Tour Michigan Historical Markers
Over a dozen state historical markers scattered around Coldwater commemorate people and events instrumental to the area’s development. Spot markers detailing topics like the railroad, Underground Railroad, maps, politics and Native Americans.
Use the window stickers on buildings to identify marker locations. Photos and descriptions for each marker are catalogued at michmarkers.com. Locating and reading the markers provides an insightful Coldwater history lesson.
14. Tour the Chamberlain-Hunt-Sullivan Historic District
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this downtown neighborhood showcases Victorian-era architecture with pristine 19th century homes. Enjoy a walking tour to admire the historic residences like the Italianate Wilson House, Queen Anne style Dr. Hodge House, and Greek Revival Harris-Bates House.
Notable commercial buildings include the ornate three-story Butler Opera House. With careful preservation, the district provides a glimpse into Coldwater’s 1800s prosperity.
So there’s a full itinerary of the top attractions and activities to enjoy during a visit to Coldwater, Michigan! With its historic opera house, vibrant downtown, recreational lake, festivals, and family-friendly museums, Coldwater makes for an inviting Midwestern getaway.