With so many great places to visit in Michigan, it’s not surprising that some communities don’t get the full attention they deserve. Take, for instance, Plymouth. Over the past few years, my husband and I have enjoyed visiting Plymouth for various outdoor events, weekend outings, and spontaneous dinner plans. We love the area and there are countless things to do, and it’s never overcrowded! When I talk about Plymouth with friends and coworkers, however, they seem to be unaware of what this community really has to offer. At the risk of revealing my “secret” getaway to the masses, I’m happy to share this list of favorite Plymouth activities, characteristics, and locations I’ve discovered so far.
If you’re heading toward downtown Plymouth, the first thing you’ll notice is block after block of beautiful, old buildings. Sprinkled throughout neighborhoods and shopping districts, many are remodeled in bold colors and serve as dwellings for town residents and storefronts for modern businesses. These beautiful structures are swoon-worthy and best enjoyed during an early-evening drive or afternoon stroll.
For a morning or afternoon visit, be sure to stop by the Plymouth Historical Museum. Comprised of both regular and seasonal exhibits, this is a great place to begin your journey around town while brushing up on local history. Limited on time? Don’t miss the Lincoln Collection, a room filled with priceless artifacts from the life and time period of our 16th president. As our tour guide explained, this exhibit includes pieces that the Smithsonian and Henry Ford Museum would “love to get their hands on,” such as original signed documents and locks of Abraham Lincoln’s hair.
The Plymouth Historical Museum also hosts several lectures and special events throughout the year, such as themed tea parties (Downton Abbey for adults and Frozen for children) and a “Ghost Walk” tour that helps bring the past of downtown Plymouth to life.
Take your pick of boutiques, jewelry, art (you name it!) as you shop downtown Plymouth’s unique shops. No matter what your interests are, there’s plenty to see–so make sure to bring your friends and family along!
Although I’ve been to Plymouth a handful of times, I’ve barely scratched the surface of all the tasty cuisine this wonderful place has to offer. That being said, here are a few eateries that are worth the trip:
For a quality, sit-down meal you can enjoy with family or a large group of friends, head to Station 885 in the Old Village (an area I look forward to exploring further!), Karl’s Cabin (just outside of downtown), or Box Bar downtown (order off of the specials menu–especially if the special is meatloaf). For burgers, I like The Burger Spot for its fresh, unique ingredients and Jay’s Stuffed Burgers for its ability to satisfy even the most ravenous of appetites.
From fine chocolate to frozen yogurt, Plymouth has you covered with countless dessert options. My favorite, however, is The Cupcake Station. Always good and always adorable, this downtown spot is the perfect place to grab an after-dinner sweet treat (and if you’re there near closing time, you may just get a discount!). Choose from fun flavors like “What’s Up Doc” (carrot cake) and “Bump-a-licious,” and bring a pal to sit and chat with or take a few containers to go (the cupcakes are just as delicious the next day).
For an alternative (or follow-up!) to dessert, try a delicious espresso or smoothie at The Plymouth Coffee Bean Company. Sure, there are a couple of well-known coffee chains just down the road, but in my opinion, nothing beats a great local cafe with its own unique flair. Don’t know what to order? Ask one of the baristas! This is how I discovered a delicious iced latte called the “Hat Trick”–peanut butter, hazelnut, and caramel flavors that hit the spot on a warm, spring afternoon. The Plymouth Coffee Bean also carries a variety of wraps and baked goods, plus a made-to-order crepe station with sweet and savory options. Enjoy your vittles in one of the cafe’s three main sitting areas, each decorated in different colors and mismatched furniture. The quiet space is perfect for studying or reading during the week, while weekends transform to accommodate live bands and open-mic nights.
An oldie but goodie, the Penn Theatre has served as a staple in downtown Plymouth since 1941. With a few transitions in ownership and a brief closure in the early 2000’s, the Penn now operates as a nonprofit, charging just $3.00 per general admission ticket to support theater operations. Movies change regularly and range from second-run blockbusters to independent and classic films, so there’s something for every age range and movie preference.
When it comes to special events and activities, Plymouth’s Compuware Arena has you covered no matter what season it may be. During colder months, stay inside and catch a Whalers game or enroll in an ice skating class. When summer rolls around, the Compuware parking lot transforms into a drive-in movie theater, offering three double-feature choices each night (including family-friendly flicks). You can even add on dinner at CJ’s beforehand for an awesomely-priced, movie/meal deal. Cutting it close to showtime? CJ’s will deliver your food directly to your car before the movie starts.
Plymouth Ice Festival (winter event)
And finally–if you haven’t been, I highly recommend checking out the Plymouth Ice Festival (held annually at the beginning of each year). A post-holiday season treat, this conglomeration of ice sculptures, carving contests, food, and lights is a spectacle that demonstrates how Michiganders make the most of every season–even winter! The event is what introduced me to Plymouth for the first time a few years ago, helping me discover what an amazing community this city and downtown really are.
Where are your favorite places to hang out in Plymouth (or what’s on your list to try)? Comment below!