Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is home to beautiful scenery, an unparalleled wealth of outdoor recreation, and charming small towns. Norway Michigan — located in the Western UP — is a hidden gem that’s a worthy addition to any bucket list.
Known as the City of Trails, Norway is a tranquil community that offers a little bit of everything for residents and those traveling through town.
The wilderness around Norway is absolutely beautiful, but the town offers visitors a chance to enjoy annual festivals, dig into hearty meals at locally-owned restaurants, and explore a close-knit community.
Things to Do in Norway Michigan
While it may seem that such a small community in the Western UP wouldn’t have much going on, the opposite is true when it comes to Norway. There are lots of great things to do in Norway Michigan no matter the season!
City Band Shell
Throughout the summer, live performances by various artists are held at the Band Shell on Main Street almost every week. A Viking ship sailing through rough seas is depicted in a mural inside the shell.
The City Band Shell — located at 900 Main Street (next to City Hall) — is where the City Band performs at regular intervals throughout the summer from June to August. The 30-member Norway City Band — founded in 1882 — is the oldest band in Michigan to perform on a yearly basis.
Dickinson County Fair
Each Labor Day Weekend, the Dickinson County Fair becomes the site of the UP’s biggest little fair! The fair is the perfect way to wrap up the summer and offers something for visitors of all ages.
The fair has been going strong for more than 100 years and provides loads of tradition and family entertainment with more than enough to spare.
Past fairs have included events such as tractor pulls, animal auctions, live music, a carnival, a demo derby, agriculture events, and more.
Dickinson Trail Network
The Dickinson Trail Network builds and maintains several multi-purpose trails just outside of Downtown Norway. This makes it easy for adventurers to plot out a fun day of mountain biking before stopping for something to eat.
Hunting & Fishing
Hunting is a big deal in this town: It’s a tradition, a hobby, and the highlight of the season. Much of the region’s population is dedicated to the activity, making it important to the area’s present and future.
Plus, this is a popular destination for nonresidents who come during open seasons for a hunting experience that they can’t find anywhere else.
The majority of the hunting done in the area is deer hunting because of the quantity of whitetail deer; however, there are shooting seasons for other animals as well.
Jake Menghini Historical Museum
Visitors of any age who appreciate history can pay a visit to the Jake Menghini Historical Museum, which houses dozens of photos and artifacts inside a log cabin that tell the history of the area.
The museum is open seasonally and holds a variety of events during the summer and early fall, including seminars, musical performances, craft shows, and more.
Leif Erikson Fall Festival
As a town with Norweigan roots, Norway Michigan has been celebrating famous Nordic explorer Leif Erikson during an annual October festival for more than 30 years.
What began as a small festival in the ’90s has grown into a full-blown, weekend-long celebration complete with a Swedish pancake breakfast, a Viking parade, a Viking dinner theatre, a farmer’s market, and much more.
It’s fun for the whole family and is a great community-wide event each year.
Norway’s water tastes fantastic! It’s known far and wide for its purity and superior taste, and it won a Regional Water Taste-off in 2006. This excellent quality has not deteriorated since.
Norway Spring is easy to find because people are constantly streaming in and out of the small area where the spring’s fountain is located, filling up bottles and jugs throughout the spring, summer, and early fall months.
Open to the public from April to September, the cool, clear artesian spring water bubbles over the man-made rock atop the well from which it originates. This well was created in 1903 by the Oliver Mining Company drilling a 1,094-foot shaft while searching for iron ore.
Norway is a haven for those who enjoy country-style parks and recreation. Scenic playgrounds, wide-open spaces with several sports fields and courts in one park, and acres of natural area with wildlife to watch for await you in Norway.
Strawberry Lake Park sits at the north end of town and includes a walking trail, a boat launch, two fishing piers, a BMX track, and more. Marion Park sits at the south end of town and features an athletic complex with fields for multiple sports, pavilions, a picnic area, a playground, and more.
Also, trails connect several of the parks and other recreational areas. This small Upper Peninsula town is ideal for virtually any outdoor activity.
Oak Crest Golf Course
Oak Crest — rated one of the top five courses in the Upper Peninsula — is a public 18-hole course open from April to mid-November, from dawn to dusk. There is also a clubhouse with a bar and restaurant, as well as a full-service pro shop. In the winter, the grounds are groomed into two cross-country ski trails.
Events & Festivals in Norway Michigan
If you’re planning to visit, you could line up your stay with one of these top festivals in Norway Michigan.
This annual Labor Day weekend celebration promises fun for the whole family, including fair food, animal demonstrations, a demo derby, and so much more.
Nature enthusiasts and those who simply enjoy being outside are invited to participate in these annual walks, which allow walkers a chance to see eagles, loons, warblers, and other plants and animals in their natural habitat.
A parade, a performance by the City Band, and fireworks are all a part of the annual celebration of our nation’s independence right in the city center in downtown Norway.
It’s no secret that Michigan’s Upper Peninsula has some of the finest ski resorts in the country, and this annual event unites ski jumpers and ski enthusiasts from all over the world for a weekend of spectacular ski jumps.
Norway’s homage to the famed Norse explorer occurs on whatever weekend falls closest to Leif Erikson Day, which is recognized nationally as Oct. 9. The festival includes a number of Viking-themed events and more.
Each Memorial Day, Norway residents and visitors honor and mourn Americans who have sacrificed their lives in service of their country. Festivities on this day include a military tribute and a parade.
Mr. and Mrs. Claus wait at City Hall to greet the local children following the Christmas fireworks and parade; it’s a fantastic way to get into the spirit of the holiday season.
Things to Do Near Norway Michigan
If you are looking for more things to do near Norway Michigan plenty of options are available. Whether you are interested in outdoor activities, shopping, or cultural experiences, there is something for everyone in this area.
Visit the Fumee Falls Scenic Site, which features a beautiful waterfall and hiking trails. It’s one of the easiest waterfalls to access in Michigan, and as a roadside waterfall, it can be easily accessed off of U.S. 2.
Piers Gorge is a scenic natural attraction located near Norway on the border of Michigan and Wisconsin. It contains fast-moving water, making it unsuitable for general canoeing but offers beautiful scenery and wildlife viewing opportunities. There are hiking trails for families and experienced outdoor enthusiasts alike:
- Check out the Norway Mountain Ski and Snowboard Resort, which offers skiing, snowboarding, and other winter activities.
- Take a stroll through the historic downtown area, which features unique shops, restaurants, and galleries.
- Explore the Iron County Historical Museum, which showcases the history and culture of the region.
- Go fishing or boating on one of the many nearby lakes, such as Lake Antoine or Chicagon Lake.
- Attend a performance or event at the Braumart Theatre, a restored historic theater in downtown Norway.
- Take a scenic drive through the countryside, which offers beautiful views of the forests and lakes in the area.
No matter your interests, there is something to enjoy near Norway Michigan.
Locally-Owned Restaurants in Norway Michigan
If you’re looking for some delicious food options in Norway Michigan you’re in luck! Several locally owned restaurants in the area offer a variety of cuisines to satisfy any craving. Here are some of the most popular options:
- Mike’s on Main: Mike’s on Main in Norway, Michigan, is a nostalgic eatery with a preserved classic ambiance reminiscent of the 1930s, featuring an original Brunswick bar. The restaurant offers high-quality, craft-made food including mouthwatering thin-crust pizza and award-winning homemade chili, all served in a friendly atmosphere by the owner and his wife.
- Thirsty Whale: The Thirsty Whale in Norway, Michigan, is known for its standard bar fare, particularly its award-winning burgers, which have been recognized as the best in the Iron Mountain area.
No matter what your taste buds are craving, you’re sure to find something delicious at one of Norway’s locally owned restaurants.
Local Lodging Near Norway Michigan
If you are planning a visit to Norway Michigan, you will need a comfortable place to stay. Fortunately, there are several lodging options available in the nearby area. Here are some of the best local lodging options to consider:
- AmericInn by Wyndham Iron Mountain: This nearby hotel offers spacious rooms, a hot tub, and a complimentary breakfast. It is located just a short drive from downtown Norway and is a great option for families.
- Fumee Lake Place: Fumee Lake Place offers a private, peaceful vacation rental on Fumee Lake in Iron Mountain, serving as an ideal home base for various activities in the area, including kayaking, boating, swimming, whitewater rafting, skiing, and snowmobiling. Guests enjoy private access to their own floor with dedicated outdoor space, complete with a gas grill, outdoor furniture, and available kayaks for lake adventures.
No matter which option you choose, you are sure to enjoy your stay in Norway Michigan.
History of Norway Michigan
Norway is a city in Dickinson County Michigan and was named after the country of Norway. The area was first settled in the 1870s and was incorporated as a village in 1891. In 1944, it became a city.
The town was originally built around the iron mining industry, which was the main source of income and employment for the area. The first iron mine in the area was opened in 1877. The mining industry continued to grow, and by the early 1900s, Norway was a major center for iron mining in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
In addition to the mining industry, Norway was home to several other industries, including logging, farming, and manufacturing. The town was also known for its beautiful natural scenery, which attracted tourists from all over the world.
Today, Norway is a thriving community with a rich history and a strong sense of community pride. The city continues to be a major center for industry, including manufacturing and healthcare. Additionally, it is a popular tourist destination, with visitors coming to enjoy the area’s natural beauty and rich cultural heritage.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the background behind the name of Norway Michigan?
Norway Michigan was named after the country of Norway because of the large number of Norwegian immigrants who settled in the area. The town was founded in 1875 and officially incorporated in 1891. The name Norway was chosen as a tribute to the Norwegian heritage of the early settlers.
Where is Norway Michigan located on the map?
Norway Michigan is located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in Dickinson County. It is situated on the Menominee River, which forms the border between Michigan and Wisconsin. The city is approximately 90 miles west of Escanaba and 130 miles north of Green Bay Wisconsin.
What is the population of Norwegians in Michigan?
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the population of people of Norwegian ancestry in Michigan was approximately 104,000 in 2019. However, it is important to note that this figure includes people of partial Norwegian ancestry and may not accurately reflect the number of individuals who identify as Norwegian.
Plan Your Visit to Norway Michigan Today
Norway Michigan is far from being among the largest cities in the Upper Peninsula, but it has something to offer travelers of any age who come to explore its untapped wilderness and small-town charm.
Whether you’re passing through on a Michigan road trip or planning on staying for a few days, there’s a lot to see, do, and explore in Norway that make a trip to this small Western UP town worth it.