Near the base of the Michigan Thumb, Flint is a beautiful city with a ton of things to see and do. From entertainment venues and museums to restaurants and boutique shops, it has something for everyone.
Here are just a few of the best things to do in Flint Michigan…
Indoor Things to Do in Flint
Whether the weather is sub-par or you prefer to stay indoors, Flint has plenty of options for you. Here are just a few of our favorite indoor things to do in Flint Michigan!
Stockton House Museum
The Stockton House Museum was built in 1872 by Thomas Baylis Whitmarsh Stockton and his wife. The now-restored house overlooks a natural spring, which the family called Spring Grove. While touring the ornately decorated home, you can learn about the family’s interesting life.
Located in downtown Flint Michigan, the Buckham Gallery is a nonprofit organization dedicated to enriching culture in the surrounding community with a variety of innovative contemporary art.
Since it was established in 1984, art professionals and artists of all kinds have led the art gallery’s exhibitions and programs. These operations are sustained by support from individuals and organizations.
Bringing the best of performing arts to Flint, The Whiting has been delighting guests since 1967. In 1999, the building underwent a huge renovation, but still retains the charm and grace of its European style.
The theatre is the only place where you can see Broadway, dance, comedy, theatre, music, and other performances on the same stage throughout the year.
Outdoor Things to Do in Flint
There is nothing better than experiencing the great outdoors in Michigan, and Flint is no stranger to outdoor adventures. Here are a few of our favorite outdoor things to do in Flint Michigan!
Flint River Trail
One of the best activities in Flint is hiking or walking, and the Flint River Trail stretches for more than 11 miles from Saint Paul School to Stepping Stone Falls. When it reaches the falls, it splits in two directions on each side of Mott Lake.
The west branch passes through Genesee County Recreation Area and keeps going toward Davison.
You can take a bike ride on the trail too, and rentals are available throughout the city via the Flint Bike Share program. Since the trail is part of the Iron Belle Trail system, it connects other cities and towns across Michigan.
Flint River Water Trail
If you like paddleboating, hit the 73-mile Flint River Water Trail. From any of the 24 access sites, you can canoe or kayak through natural habitats, small towns, and urban areas.
Along the way, you’ll see a wide array of wildlife, such as bald eagles, great blue herons, turtles, and several types of fish.
Crossroads Village & Huckleberry Railroad
One of the biggest attractions in Flint & Genesee County is the Crossroads Village & Huckleberry Railroad. This early 1900s Great Lakes town is authentic and has over 34 historic structures. Costumed individuals teach visitors about their various trades, and performances are scheduled in the Colwell Opera House.
Also, the town has vintage amusement rides, a 40-minute ride on a train, and a 45-minute trip on a paddlewheel riverboat replica. It even hosts events during the year, such as Halloween Ghosts & Goodies and Christmas at Crossroads Holiday Magic.
Seasonal Things to Do in Flint
No matter the season or time of year, there are always lots of great things happening around Genesee County and Flint Michigan!
Springtime Things to Do in Flint
Flint and Genesee County is part of one of the largest county parks systems in the state, making it an optimal Michigan vacation destination during the spring months!
Mott Park Disc Golf Course
Opened in 2017, the Mott Park Disc Golf Course is located on the former Mott Park Golf Course. The design was a collaboration with the local disc golf association Town Flyerz.
Playing a round of disc golf in Flint Michigan is a relaxing way to enjoy the spring weather. For some baskets, you have to throw the disc over the Flint River.
The Mounds ORV Park
In Mt. Morris, you can hit the dirt and mud at The Mounds ORV Park, a premier off-road vehicle park. The park is open for ATVs, dune buggies, Jeeps, motorcycles, and pickup trucks. Along with dirt and mud, the off-roading playground has rocks and sand to drive over and water to splash through.
B’s Bowling & Richfield Bowl Centers
Stealing the hearts of more than 70 million Americans, bowling is a classic indoor activity for spring. Fortunately, Flint has two locations — B’s Bowling Center and Richfield Bowl.
B’s Bowling is equipped with 24 lanes, billiards, a game room, and more. Richfield Bowl has 48 lanes. Both locations are open for cosmic bowling with black lights, disco and strobe lights, runway lights, and laser lights, as well as heart-pounding music.
Summer Things to Do in Flint
As soon as summer temperatures warm Mott Lake enough for swimming, heading to Bluebell Beach is one of the best seasonal things to do in Flint.
Along with swimming and laying on a sandy beach, there’s a Splash Pad and shade kites donated by the Ruth Mott Foundation. The Flint River Trail connects to the beach too.
On the National Register of Historic Places, the Applewood Estate was built in 1916 as a home and self-sustaining farm for the Charles Stewart Mott Family. You can tour the 34-acre grounds and its many buildings, such as a barn, chicken coop, greenhouse, and gatehouse.
The property has rose and perennial gardens and an orchard. Inside the home, you can see the diary, photo, and other collections that the family left behind.
Spymaker Escape Rooms
When summer days are just too hot for outdoor activities, test your investigation skills at Spymaker Escape Rooms. You can choose from various scenarios — The Alchemist, Spymaker, The Catacombs, Escape the ’80s, and The Dead Man’s Hand.
Even virtual reality escape rooms are available, and all of the scenarios involve discovering clues, performing tasks, and solving puzzles.
Fall Things to Do in Flint & Genesee County
Johnny Panther Quests Ecotours
For a unique way to see the fall colors, join a Johnny Panther Quests ecotour. The Fall Color Tour lasts for about 2-3 hours, offering brilliant views of the changing leaves.
The second week of October is the best time to go because the leaves reach the peak of color. Despite that, other boat ecotours are available for varying lengths of time.
To get into the fall harvest spirit, head to Flushing Farms. It’s the ultimate family-friendly fall destination in Michigan with a number of activities included for the admission price — straw mounds, a Hippity Hop Ball Raceway, 2 inflatable obstacle courses, and 3 corn mazes.
Also, you get a doughnut and cider, unlimited wagon hayrides and barrel train rides, and time with the petting zoo animals and bounce house. After dark corn maze runs are optional, and U-pick pumpkins are available as well.
For-Mar Nature Preserve & Arboretum
Originally a dairy farm, the For-Mar Nature Preserve & Arboretum is a park that’s been open since 1970. The preserve protects 383 acres of landscape, 116 acres of which is an arboretum with 157 plant species across a collection of gardens.
The grounds feature an apiary, a barrier-free treehouse, and miles of hiking trails through meadows and past ponds.
Winter Fun in Flint Michigan
Most people outside of Genesee County might not think of Flint as a Michigan winter vacation destination, but between the area’s downhill skiing, cross country ski trails, ice climbing, and cultural art center, there are so many things to do in the winter in Flint and Genesee County!
Mt. Holly Ski and Snowboard Resort
Offering winter fun for the whole family, the Mt. Holly Ski and Snowboard Resort in Holly was established in 1956.
The resort was the first in Southeast Michigan to make snow for the slopes. It has 19 ski trails and 2 Sunkid Wonder Carpets, as well as 7 chairlifts and 5 rope tows. The Bavarian lodge has a lounge with 2 fireplaces, 2 cafeterias, and a separate fireplace room.
Richfield County Park
When snow conditions are suitable, you can go cross-country skiing and snowmobiling at the 345-acre Richfield County Park. The park is also home to a BMX Track where you can ride motor, mountain, and fat tire bikes. Additionally, it has tennis courts, ball diamonds, and a canoe launch.
Flint Repertory Theatre
If it’s too cold outside for you, you can always catch an indoor show at the Flint Repertory Theatre. This professional theatre won The American Theatre Wing National Theatre Grant in 2018. It schedules imaginative, thought-provoking performances all year to inspire and entertain all ages.
Date Ideas & Romantic Things to Do in Flint
If you’re looking for a great date idea in Flint or a romantic getaway in Michigan, we’ve got you covered! Here are a few of our favorite romantic things to do in Flint Michigan.
Capt. Phogg Balloon Rides
When you want to celebrate a special date with your significant other, book a hot air balloon ride with Capt. Phogg in Fenton. For 50 years, he has been offering breathtaking views of Mid Michigan — lakes, state parks, woodlands, and wildlife. The whole experience lasts for about 3 hours, including 45 minutes to 1 hour in the air. Afterward, you can make a toast with champagne.
Stepping Stone Falls
One of the most scenic places in Flint Michigan is Stepping Stone Falls, which rests at the mouth of the Flint River on the south end of Mott Lake. You and your love can go for a walk on the Flint River Trail, which runs alongside the falls, and stop for a picnic.
At night, the falls glow with multicolored lights, and it’s a great spot for stargazing.
US-23 Drive-In Theater
Rather than go to a standard movie theater for date night, consider going to the US-23 Drive-In Theater in Fenton. Open since 1952, the drive-in has 3 screens and shows double first-run movies.
You can order a variety of snacks from the concession stand — including popcorn, candy, burgers, corn dogs, and more.
Free & Cheap Things to Do in Flint
Exploring Flint Michigan on a budget? Here are a few of our favorite free and cheap things to do in Flint!
Cops & Robbers – Great Escape
From April to September, mini golf at the Cops & Robbers – Great Escape in Flushing can be a cheap experience for small families and couples.
The 18-hole course has a waterfall and a cave. If your budget allows, Country Dairy ice cream is available when you finish playing.
Flint Institute of Arts
Offering free family activities, the Flint Institute of Arts is Michigan’s second-biggest art museum and the nation’s third-largest museum-connected community art school.
It has been collecting and protecting global artifacts and art for over 90 years, culminating in a world-renowned collection of over 8,500 items. Aside from free family activities, guided tours are available.
Whaley Historic House Museum
For a free tour of a historic home, check out the Whaley Historic House Museum. It was built in 1859 and gives you a glimpse into the life of the Whaley family. They lived there from 1885 to 1925 and remodeled the Italianate home, turning it into a stylish Victorian house.
Fun Things to Do With Kids in Flint
Flint Children’s Museum
One of the top child-friendly things to do in Flint is exploring the Flint Children’s Museum. With support from community donors and partners, it offers interactive exhibits for kids ages 2 to 10 years. More than 40,000 children and families visit each year!
Every 3 months, kids can get a different educational experience at the Discovery Zone exhibit.
Flint Cultural Center
The Flint Cultural Center oversees several family-friendly places and exciting activities in the city. In particular, the Sloan Museum has regional artifacts from as far back as the 1860s, hands-on exhibits, and a play area for kids of all ages.
The Buick Automotive Gallery is part of the museum and rotates 24 historic automobiles on display.
In addition, the Longway Planetarium is one of the most well-equipped and largest planetarium structures in the United States. It features educational astronomy to holiday-themed shows that last for about 45 minutes each.
The Sandbox Virtual Reality Arcade
Most kids love video games, and you could surprise yours with a trip to The Sandbox Virtual Reality Arcade. It offers sensory experiences for all ages — such as being a pirate captain, wandering Tatooine with R2-D2, killing zombies, slaying dragons, and climbing Mount Everest.
If your kids need a way to exert some energy, The Sandbox has rage rooms for destroying designated objects.
Flint Michigan Events & Festivals
Nothing is better than gathering with a few hundred of your closest friends and neighbors to celebrate our great state and its many unique attributes. These Flint Michigan festivals and annual events are just a drop in the bucket of all the fun things happening in Genesee County!
Flint Jazz Festival
One of the most popular event-like things to do in Flint is attending the Flint Jazz Festival. Usually held in late July at Riverbank Park, it’s a whole weekend of live jazz performances from local, regional, and international musicians.
Although, the 10-acre park is an attraction on its own. It straddles the Flint River at the center of the city and has an arcaded amphitheater and a Grand Fountain with a cascading water wall.
Back to the Bricks
Another favorite event in downtown Flint Michigan is Back to the Bricks. This 5-day classic car extravaganza attracts more than 500,000 auto show enthusiasts to Genesee County in mid-to-late August.
The purpose is to celebrate the area’s role in the automotive industry. Along with classic, collector, and custom vehicles, the event includes live entertainment, family-friendly activities, and food vendors.
Holiday Walk at Flint Cultural Center
In early December, the Flint Cultural Center hosts the Holiday Walk. A tree-lighting ceremony kicks off the free event.
Other festivities include live music and caroling, planetarium shows, fun theatre activities, hands-on arts and crafts, and refreshments. Of course, it wouldn’t be complete without a visit from Santa Claus!
Unique Places for Shopping in Flint
Supporting local businesses is a great way to reinvest in your local community, and we love these Flint Michigan shops and stores for finding unique treasures while exploring Genesee County!
Shopping downtown is one of the most unique things to do in Flint. Saginaw St. has a funky and trendy collection of boutique shops. Glam Boutiques sells clothing, natural beauty care, and gifts; Julie Abbott Art sells artwork and other crafty items; and Totem Books is a fantastic place to get vinyl records, other multimedia, and (yes) books.
Flint Farmers’ Market
When you want the freshest produce and locally made products, go to the Flint Farmers’ Market in downtown Flint Michigan. You can shop the outdoor vendors and more than 50 indoor vendors.
Not 2 Shabby Red Barn
An ideal place to shop for antiques, the Not 2 Shabby Red Barn is situated on the south side of Flint. According to the owners, there’s no such thing as junk. Everyone is bound to find a treasure (or a few) here.
Best Local Flint Restaurants
Whether you’re visiting Flint or you live here, you’ll want to stop for a bite to eat. Here are just a few of our favorite local Flint restaurants to whet your appetite!
Serving American-Italian fare, Pesto’s restaurant has a wide selection of pizza and pasta, and you can create your own pies and dishes. The menu includes salads, soups, sandwiches, and wraps as well.
Furthermore, the restaurant aims to accommodate most dietary restrictions with healthy choice and gluten-free alternatives. It even serves gluten-free desserts!
The first Italian restaurant in Flint, Italia Gardens was established in 1931 during the Great Depression. Over the years, it has maintained its authenticity and traditional roots.
The kitchen only uses fresh ingredients, and everything is homemade — just like founders Albert and Josephine Barone used to make.
Flint Crepe Company
The Flint Crepe Company was originally a food cart that opened in 2008. In just three years, it moved to a brick-and-mortar shop in downtown Flint Michigan. All of the ingredients are seasonal and sourced from local vendors.
The menu includes a wide array of savory and sweet crepes with gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, and vegan options. Don’t forget to add a cup of Flint-roasted coffee to your order.
Breweries & Wine Spots in Flint Michigan
If you’re looking for a great place to enjoy drinks with friends, these Flint Michigan breweries and wineries are sure to fit the bill.
Redwood Steakhouse & Brewery
Getting a bite to eat is one of the easiest things to do in Flint, but only a few places serve their own beer. Since 1996, Redwood Brewing Co. has been making award-winning beers.
You can get a taste of the hard work at the Redwood Steakhouse & Brewery, the first microbrewery and restaurant in Genesee County.
It has a casual atmosphere, which goes well with the menu of wood-fired pizza, wild game, and mesquite grill items. You can order fusion sushi, oysters, cocktails, and wine too.
For creative craft brews, head to Tenacity Brewing in downtown Flint Michigan. The building is an old fire station. The tap always has a variety of ales, lagers, stouts, and more. Hard cider, kombucha, and root beer are also available.
If you want a snack, the brewery has a small food menu and seasonal outdoor seating overlooking the Flint River.
Barley & Vine
For a casual place for any kind of drink, Barley & Vine will hit the spot. This neighborhood hangout serves wine and craft beer from local vendors and makes unique cocktails.
The menu includes charcuterie boards, small batch coffee, and whole leaf tea as well. Live entertainment is available on the weekends.
Cozy Flint Lodging Options & Places to Stay
Looking for the best hotels Flint Michigan has to offer? To explore all of these awesome things to do in Flint, you need a comfortable place to stay nearby.
These locally-owned Flint Michigan hotels and lodging options are just a drop in the bucket of all the unique places to stay in Flint!
Knob Hill Bed & Breakfast
Knob Hill Bed & Breakfast is a 1926 home in downtown Flint Michigan that was transformed into a bed and breakfast in 2013.
The 6 rooms and suites are uniquely furnished and designed. A gourmet breakfast is served every morning, and wine is served every evening.
Wolcott House Bed & Breakfast
Although it’s in downtown Fenton, Wolcott House Bed & Breakfast is a wonderful place to stay during a Flint getaway. The historic Italianate home was built around 1900 and owned by the Wolcotts, a prominent family who owned the city mill.
The 3 guest rooms are distinctly decorated and gorgeous. A gourmet breakfast is served every morning, and the property features a one-of-a-kind Train Garden with five G-scale train tracks.
Outdoor Adventures Lake Shore Resort
Offering an all-inclusive stay near Flint, the Outdoor Adventures Lake Shore Resort in Davison has a range of fun and relaxing activities. The property features 582 campsites for tents and RVs and a Dome recreation center with a heated pool, game room, and movie theater.
In addition to a water park, mini-golf course, and many other exciting activities and amenities, the campground is near museums, parks, historic sites, restaurants, and shops.
Frequently Asked Questions About Things to Do in Flint Michigan
What county is Flint Michigan in?
Flint is located in Genesee County, of which it’s the seat and largest city. The Flint River runs through it, and it’s a principal city within Mid Michigan. The Flint metropolitan area is the fourth largest in the state and entirely located within the county.
The county took its name from Genesee County in New York. Many other places in the local area took their names from New York and Pennsylvania destinations, reflecting the migration of people from those states to the area. Another thing that the county is known for is unearthing an 11,000-year-old whale fossil in Thetford Township.
What is special about Flint Michigan?
One standout thing about Flint Michigan is that it was the birthplace of General Motors. You can visit the original building — Durant Dort Carriage Company — in the Carriage Town Historic District. The city is known for its arts and culture as well. You can experience that at the Flint Cultural Center’s facilities, Flint Institute of Arts, Buckham Gallery, building murals throughout Flint, and more.
How far is Flint Michigan from me?
Since Flint is located in Mid Michigan, it doesn’t take too long to get there from several South Michigan cities:
– 45 minutes from Saginaw
– 1 hour from Lansing, Ann Arbor, and Detroit
– 1 hour, 45 minutes from Grand Rapids
– 2 hours from Kalamazoo
From other parts of the state, it will take longer. For instance, Flint is about 3 hours from Traverse City and Mackinaw City. If you’re driving from Marquette in the Upper Peninsula, it will take about 6 hours.
What can you do in downtown Flint Michigan?
Whether you live, stay, or just pass through downtown Flint Michigan, there’s plenty of attractions and things to do. While walking around, you can see several of the building murals organized by the Flint Public Art Project. Saginaw St. has a number of gorgeous historic buildings.
Downtown offers many opportunities to go shopping and stop for a bite to eat too. During the right time of year, you can attend an event — the Flint Jazz Festival and the Back to the Bricks event are two popular ones.
Want to Know More About Flint Michigan?
Recently clouded in controversy, there’s more to Flint Michigan than the Flint Water Crisis of 2014. In fact, Flint played a large role in the history of our state!
An Overview of Flint Michigan History
In the early 1800s, Genesee County was home to several Ojibwe Tribes, especially near what is known as Montrose today. The shallow parts of the Flint River became points of conflict between the rival tribes, which is evident by the presence of burial mounds and arrowheads. In fact, parts of Flint rest atop ancient Ojibwe Tribe burial grounds.
In 1819, a trading post was established at the Grand Traverse of the river by Jacob Smith. He was on good terms as a fur trader with the local Ojibwe Tribes and territorial government. Several times, he negotiated land exchanges on behalf of the U.S. government, and both sides held him in high regard.
Many of Smith’s own holdings were divided among his children. As an ideal stop on the Detroit-Saginaw travel route, Flint grew into a prosperous town and was incorporated as a city in 1855.
Major Roles in the Lumber, Carriage, and Automobile Industries
In the late 1800s, Flint became a center for the lumber industry, and revenue from that funded the local carriage-making industry. Then, it became a major player in the auto industry as horse-drawn carriages were replaced by automobiles.
After a short stint in Detroit, Buick Motor Company moved to Flint. Although the Chevrolet headquarters was in Detroit, its first manufacturing facility was in Flint. Also, several now-extinct automakers originated in the city — Dort, Flint, Little, and Mason — as did AC Spark Plug.
In 1904, local businessman William C. Durant was hired to manage the Buick facility, which grew to be the biggest automaker by 1908. Then, he founded General Motors in 1908 with a Flint headquarters. It remained there until the mid-1920s when it moved to Detroit. Durant subsequently lost the company after losing money in the 1929 stock market crash.
The Union Era and World War II Contributions
In the mid-1930s, the United Automobile Workers held a Sit-Down Strike at General Motors, leading to an era of labor unions. Gov. Frank Murphy successfully mediated the strike. At the end, the union was recognized in an agreement.
During World War II, Flint contributed to war machine manufacturing, such as tanks, because it had so many manufacturing facilities. In 1939, the first U.S. ship to be captured during the war was named after Flint — the SS City of Flint — and the vessel was sunk in 1943.
The Peak of Prosperity and Influence
The 1950s and 1960s are the decades when Flint flourished the most. The population peaked in 1960 at nearly 200,000 people, making it the second biggest city in Michigan at the time.
These decades also saw the establishment of several local institutions, including the Flint Cultural Center and Flint Bishop International Airport.
A Tumultuous Time
Through the end of the 20th century, Flint suffered from deindustrialization, depopulation, disinvestment, urban decay, and high rates of crime, poverty, and unemployment. As a major player in the auto industry, the 1973 oil crisis hit the city hard.
It went through a financial emergency between 2002 and 2004. That situation was further exacerbated by the decrease in General Motors employment through the early 2000s.
Redevelopment began in 2013 with old buildings being renovated and repurposed by businesses looking to establish themselves in Flint. Some new parks and landmarks were built as well. However, the city fell into another financial emergency between 2011 and 2015.
To make matters worse, Flint experienced a water crisis in 2014 when it switched its water supply from Lake Huron to the Flint River. Two independent studies determined that proper anti-corrosive measures weren’t taken, leading to lead poisoning.
A Rebirth for Flint
Since the downhill slide, Flint and Genesee County organizations have worked hard to reestablish the community as a safe place to live. Continuing redevelopment in downtown and elsewhere, the city has become a beautiful, vibrant place to visit.
The evidence of Flint’s revitalization efforts is in our list of things to do in Flint Michigan. There really is something for everyone to enjoy in Genesee County!