Top 14 Free Things to Do in Michigan This Weekend

Detroit Institute of Arts Museum / Source: DIA

Michigan offers plenty of free and budget-friendly ways to enjoy weekends across the state. From museums to outdoor activities, here are some top free things to do in Michigan this weekend.

1. Stroll through Campus Martius Park

Campus Martius Park / Source: Downtown Detroit Partnership

Address: 800 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48226

This public square in downtown Detroit hosts a seasonal ice rink free to use and fun events year-round. Lace up your skates for free ice skating November through March.

In summer, take a rest in the park’s comfy chairs and hammocks. Visit food trucks, play games like chess or ping pong, and catch live music performances for free.

With its festive atmosphere and prime location, Campus Martius Park is a great place to spend time this weekend without spending money.

2. Browse the Ann Arbor Art Fair

Ann Arbor Art Fair / Source: Pure Michigan

Address: 721 E Huron St STE 200, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

One of Michigan’s most popular summer events, the Ann Arbor Art Fair transforms downtown Ann Arbor into an outdoor art gallery each July. Nearly 1,000 artists set up colorful booths to display and sell their paintings, photographs, jewelry, ceramics, clothing and more.

Live music and street performances entertain fairgoers as they walk block to block. The art is juried, ensuring high quality. Best of all, admission to the Ann Arbor Art Fair is completely free.

3. Shop at Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland

Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland / Source: Frankenmuth Michigan

Address: 25 Christmas Ln, Frankenmuth, MI 48734

Entering Bronner’s is like stepping into Santa’s workshop, with 50,000 trims and gifts spanning over 27 acres indoors and out. Wander through room after room decorated floor to ceiling for Christmas in July…and every month of the year!

Admiring the elaborate displays of ornaments, nutcrackers, and trees is totally free. Bring the kids by on weekends for free cookie decorating.

You can watch Christmas movies playing in the auditorium free of charge as well. It’s the World’s Largest Christmas Store and a merry experience that won’t cost a cent.

4. Tour the Dossin Great Lakes Museum

Dossin Great Lakes Museum / Source: Detroitisit

Address: 100 Strand Dr, Detroit, MI 48207

On the Detroit River, this maritime museum provides a free look into Great Lakes history. Wander through exhibits of model ships, real boat cabins and equipment.

Inside Dossin Great Lakes Museum / Source: Worldwide Classic Boat Show

Learn about shipwrecks, lighthouses, fishing, shipbuilding and more though the museum’s artifacts and displays. Outside, tour the bow of the SS William Clay Ford freighter. The Dossin Great Lakes Museum lets you explore Great Lakes culture at no cost.

5. Visit the Detroit Institute of Arts

Detroit Institute of Arts / Source: Historic Detroit

Address: 5200 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48202

The renowned Detroit Institute of Arts houses significant art collections spanning eras and cultures. Wander through galleries filled with pieces from ancient Egyptian sarcophagi to contemporary photographs.

Inside Detroit Institute of Arts Museum / Source: DIA

Admire European old master paintings, Islamic tiled ceramics, innovative modern art and more. The museum also hosts events like yoga, live music, and crafts to complement the world-class art. General admission to the DIA is free for Wayne, Oakland and Macomb county residents.

6. Tour the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum

Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum / Source: Ford Library Museum

Address: 303 Pearl St NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504

Learn about Michigan native Gerald Ford’s life and presidency through interactive exhibits at this museum that doesn’t charge admission. See a replica Oval Office and the actual Lincoln desk Ford used.

Inside Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum / Source: Xibitz

Board the plane carrying the Fords home after the former president’s inauguration. Artifacts like Ford’s pipe collection and family mementos tell a personal story. On Mondays from 5-8pm, the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum stays open late with free admission.

7. Visit the Marshall Mural Mile

Marshall Mural Mile / Source: Downtown Development Authority

Over 30 vibrant murals decorate the sides of buildings in downtown Marshall, earning it the nickname Mural Mile. Walk or drive around downtown to spot colorful murals depicting Marshall’s history and notable residents.

Highlights include a tribute to famous magician Harry Blackstone Jr., a mural honoring Montgomery Ward department store, and pastoral scenes of rural life. Each mural has been meticulously researched and locally designed. Maps available downtown outline where to view the entire public art collection.

8. Hike Tahquamenon Falls

Tahquamenon Falls State Park / Source: Tahquamenon Country

Address: 41382 M-123, Paradise, MI 49768

Michigan’s largest and second most voluminous falls are located in an idyllic state park in the eastern Upper Peninsula. The Upper Falls plummet nearly 50 feet into a deep forest gorge.

Below, the Lower Falls stretch more than 200 feet across with tannin-rich waters. Hiking trails loop around the falls, providing scenic vistas.

While there’s a park entrance fee, viewing the majestic falls from trails and the observation deck is free. Tahquamenon Falls make for a spectacular free sight this weekend.

9. Stroll Mackinac Island’s Main Street

Main Street / Source: Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau

Mackinac Island’s downtown district along Main Street offers pure Victorian charm with its horse-drawn carriage rides and turn of the century buildings. The pedestrian street is lined with fudge shops, souvenir stores, historic landmarks and eateries.

Pop into art galleries like Gallery North and , or Lilac Tree Florist and Perfumery for artisanal scents. There’s no cost to leisurely stroll this quaint street reminiscent of bygone eras on the carless island.

10. Visit the Grand Rapids Public Museum

Grand Rapids Public Museum / Source: Grand Rapids MI

Address: 272 Pearl St NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504

Explore Michigan’s history through interactive exhibits at the Grand Rapids Public Museum, free on Saturdays. See vintage locomotives and Model Ts. Learn how fur traders interacted with Native Americans.

Inside the museum / Source: Grand Rapids Public Museum

Walk through a replica 19th century settlement. Exciting displays like a sensory waterfall and bubble room engage kids’ imaginations. Enjoy local art throughout the galleries. Regular events like Family Fun Saturdays provide educational activities.

11. Tour the Saugatuck Center for the Arts

Saugatuck Center for the Arts / Source: Ecogardens

Address: 400 Culver St, Saugatuck, MI 49453

This creative art center in a former church building offers free admission to its four galleries displaying the works of Michigan artists. Oil paintings, pastels, jewelry, photography and more fill the Weller Gallery, Walker Gallery, Smith Gallery and Kirk Newman Art School Student Gallery.

Guest artists frequently demonstrate techniques while you visit the galleries. Check the schedule for upcoming concerts with free admission in the art center auditorium. Donations are appreciated.

12. Visit the Howmet Playhouse Theater

Howmet Playhouse Theater / Source: mlive

Address: 304 S Mears Ave, Whitehall, MI 49461,

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Howmet Playhouse Theater dates back to 1941 in downtown Whitehall. This cinema and performing arts theater offers free classic movies on Saturday mornings sponsored by local businesses.

Free events like magic shows also take place in the historic theater regularly. Popcorn and pop just $1! Vintage architecture makes the Howmet Playhouse a nostalgic place to catch a flick this weekend.

13. Hike Michigan Nature Association Sanctuaries

Michigan Nature Association / Source: Michigan Nature Association

With over 175 nature sanctuaries across the state, the Michigan Nature Association protects over 10,000 acres of woods, wetlands and endangered ecosystems. Their sanctuaries offer free public hiking access.

Near Detroit, hike through prairie fields at Grosse Ile Nature Area or climb towering dunes at Deer Creek Savanna. Up north, visit family-friendly Danaher Nature Sanctuary or magical Echolake Area. Maps at detail public access.

14. Visit the Garden Peninsula

Garden Peninsula / Source: The Garden Peninsula

Stretching 40 miles north from Cedarville, the Garden Peninsula has over 300 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline. Visit quaint coastal towns like Garden, Fish Creek, and Fayette Historic Park where you can see a restored 1900s company town.

Hike to scenic stops like Lonesome Point and Devil’s Soupbowl rock formation. Search for Petoskey stones along beaches or kayak clear inland lakes. The scenic Garden Peninsula makes an unforgettable free weekend getaway.

So there are over 10 free weekend activities to enjoy across Michigan without emptying your wallet. From museums and hiking to wine tastings and cultural festivals, Michigan offers plenty of budget-friendly options for weekend fun.

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