Michigan is a state of boundless scenery with varied geography, coastline, and inland waterways, surrounding vibrant port and University cities. These seven cities, full of life and nature scape are the Mitten State's most beautiful.
The beautiful city just 45 minutes west of Detroit is one of Michigan's coziest and most geographically-diverse cities. The gem is scenically surrounded by mountains, lakes, farmlands, vineyards, sand dunes, and beaches. Home to the state university, its lively streets are a-buzz with students, especially during football season. The city turns quieter during summer for an appealingly-serene getaway to the lush "City of Trees" without crowds marring the shots and attractions lining the Main sans annoying queues. Ann Arbor boasts renowned restaurants for all tastes, including Zingerman's Deli, famed for Barack Obama's favorite, the Reuben Sandwich.
Ann Arbor is an atmospheric city with a big identity that one will remember for its one-of-a-kind quirkiness. The cultured will enjoy the unique Apple Daze festival in the fall, FestiFools in the spring, and Michigan Theater's regular productions. For the best cultural experience and youthful feel, one can wander the campus grounds during the day and chat-up locals over a pint at the beautiful Bill's Beer Garden at night. The endless outdoor pursuits include hiking along the lush Huron River Water Trail with different foliage each season or siesta-ing at the Matthaei Botanical Garden, which gets adorned by glorious peonies in early summer.
Grand Rapids offers a real respite from the crowds with amenities at-hand while uncovering its naturally-beautiful scape through activities and sightseeing. The state's second-largest city boasts a vibrant cultural heart and rich history, with Heritage Hill full of impressive architecture just east of the center-fare. The locale was first home to the Hopewell Indians 2,000 years ago and later settled by craftsmen, carpenters, and woodworkers who made the city "America's Furniture Capital." One will never run out of things to do with cool breweries in the "Beer City, USA," many nationally recognized attractions, and the nearby Lake Michigan beach communities.
Grand Rapids' modern metropolis is known for wholesome, fair-priced attractions, such as the nation's oldest Grand Rapids Public Museum and the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum on national history. The city's name stems from the snaking Grand River through downtown for a quick change in scenery and natural escape from the doorstep. There is a diverse array of neighborhoods and amenities, along with atmospheric local markets selling products from, what is known, as the world's best-growing regions surrounding the city.
The dynamic college city in the state's southwest is just inland from Lake Michigan's eastern shore and one hour away from Grand Rapids and Lansing. Kalamazoo is an incredibly scenic riverside modern metropolis with nature at the door. There are many family-friendly attractions, including the awe-inspiring Air Zoo aviation museum with interactive exhibits and rides, the Gilmore Car Museum, the Kalamazoo Nature Center, and the DeLano Homestead Farmyard right in the city.
The cultured will love visiting its world-class art museum and many offbeat galleries and joining the monthly Art Hop mecca. The lively downtown scene is home to over 450 restaurants, five historic districts with significant architecture, and ten performing arts theaters. There is also the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts with dynamic exhibitions, and one of the state's most prominent Underground Railroad sites. The breakfast-cereal magnate's estate of the W.K Kellogg Manor House is now a bird sanctuary and conference center.
The "Mall City" is home to the first pedestrian mall in America. The prices, thriving arts, and nightlife are geared at students of Western Michigan University, who, in turn, make the streets ring with their youthful spirit.
The lush Kalamazoo is lovely any time of year for adventures like paddling and picnics along the river and 83 lakes around for fishing, swimming, waterskiing, and boating. There are also numerous parks and countless nature trails for walks and jogs with water vistas. The city boasts over 120 kilometers of well-developed biking trails and nearby rugged mountain biking paths. There are also local ski resorts and toboggan runs, along with snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing in the area.
The hub of commerce, education, and government is set dead-center in the "Mid-Michigan" metropolitan area. One can see the diverse cultural makeup along the streets through art and history architectural pieces and taste it at innumerable restaurants. Fantastic public facilities include all kinds of shops and too-many nightlife spots, as well as art galleries, museums, and theaters for daytime enjoyment.
Lansing is an affordable city for its capital status, an array of vibrant attractions, and two through-running rivers that let one feel in the great outdoors without leaving limits. The rivers winding through the city's heart offer vast and pretty banks for relaxation and recreation, along with many bounding parks for serenity and fresh-air strolls. The peaceful waterfront walks are worn by joggers, bikers, and couples on a stroll who enjoy staying active within views. The big character and lively feel expected of a capital city are intensified by the large student body of Michigan State University.
The port city is home to a sizable student population from Northern Michigan University. The vibrantly-historic downtown boasts bustling businesses, bars, and breweries. Marquette spreads picturesquely, midway, along the shoreline of the immensely-gorgeous Lake Superior. Various parks dot the banks with water access, wooded trails, and varied scapes for recreation. There is also golf, waterways for fishing, as well as wintertime skiing trails.
The biking destination of the country boasts countless road- and mountain-adapted paths, such as the 17-mile Marquette City bike path with urban and natural vistas. The Iron Ore Heritage Trail challenging course cuts through a cross-section of the scenic Marquette County, while the Al Quaal's Red and Blue Trails run along the dramatic scenery of rugged rock formations, dense forest glades, and the beautiful Teal Lake, perfect for a rest-stop. A quick drive to Presque Isle Park offers the best views of the stunning scenery during the fabulous fall-foliage season, while Sugarloaf Mountain turns raw and somber under winter's snow cover.
The state's largest city is a natural slice of heaven along the immense Lake Michigan's western shoreline. Among its 26 miles of sandy beaches, the nationally-certified clean beach Pere Marquette Park is the ultimate getaway for visitors from beyond the state. Recreational boaters and anglers like to set base in Muskegon on a summer getaway-bound for the many inland lakes and rivers around. The city-made for the active is home to scenic dunes, hiking and walking trails at three surrounding state parks, and seven more county parks. The state's largest Michigan Adventure Amusement and Water Park is just a few miles out, with 50 rides, a water park, mini-golf, and go-karts. Its Shivering Timbers Rollercoaster offers extensively thrilling rides, while the Funnel of Fear defies gravity.
The Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Park was built by Olympians for rare thrills along the 850 feet of luge run and the only fiberglass-wheeled luge in North America during summer. The former "Lumber Queen of the World" boasts the Muskegon Heritage Museum on the city's industrial past, the historic Hackley Park, and the Hackley & Hume Historic Site made of restored mansions.
As one of the Great Lakes' deepest port cities, Muskegon boasts countless maritime attractions. There are multiple historic lighthouses, the USS LST 393 Veterans Museum, the USS Silversides Submarine Museum, and the S.S. Milwaukee Clipper. The Muskegon Lake is popular for cruises aboard the Aquastar on a deservingly-luxurious and calm outing on the waters.
This Oakland County city features a smaller spread and secluded atmosphere with comforts at hand. It is nestled between Rochester and Berkley, with easy access to both large-city amenities. Families love visiting Troy for the Troy Historic Village, which is a destination in itself for a whole-day visit, with sights and a wide variety of kids' activities, events, and lectures for adults. The five-acre complex with ten excellent historic structures delves into Michigan's history through story-telling and showcasing the lifestyle of the pioneers. One will leave appreciating the affluent city that grew from within during the 1800s when it was a scattered Troy Township with rural homes and farms.
Today, the vibrant neighborhoods come with unexpectedly quaint streets to stroll among the sights and landmarks and stops to peruse and eat. The downtown boasts countless fancy and unique shops with aesthetically-appealing storefronts, while Detroit's enticing entertainment is a quick drive away.
Troy's surroundings cover a massive part of the northern Metro Detroit area with leafy parks and green scapes. The ultimate getaway into nature offers everything from exploring the raw wilderness to recreational activities in the fresh air to serene picnicking.
These scenically-boundless cities offer countless ways to enjoy the Wolverine State's best natural scenery from the doorstep and in their immediate surroundings. The modern comforts and amenities with restaurants, shopping, attractions, and nightlife await after the nature-scape adventures.