In Midland’s downtown zone are fashionable galleries, stores and art boutiques, while the trails of urban parks connect this city to large nature centers.
Tittabawassee River flows through the nucleus of Midland, which surprisingly has many acres of verdant parkland and forests. Lakes and ponds add to the pastoral aesthetic, featuring golf courses, nature centers and family activity hubs. Appreciate the greenery of this urban lung in Michigan.
Wrapping around the downtown Midland district is the river, straddled by green areas, such as Towsley Dike Park, Smithfield Park and Fournie Park. Bring kids to play in the wooden playground and sports fields of Plymouth Park Fun Zone. Watch a baseball game at Dow Diamond arena, home of the Single-A Great Lakes Loons in the Midwest League.
View the floral displays in the botanical garden of Dow Gardens, a 1-mile (1.6-kilometer) walk north from the baseball stadium. Here, you’ll find the Midland Center for the Arts, a vast compound reflecting the city’s thriving art scene. Visit the theater, peruse the science galleries and take art classes in this innovative setting.
Head northwest toward Northwood University, stopping in at the Herbert D. Doan Midland County History Center. Stone façades and rose windows grace the sides of the building, whose displays trace Midland County’s history.
Chippewa Nature Center is a bucolic presence marking the city’s southwestern border, where rivers, marshes and woodland intertwine. To get here, skate, jog or cycle along the tree-lined Chippewa Trail and its adjoining Pere Marquette Rail Trail. Hike with your family through the arboretum and see the log cabin and other vestiges from a 1870s homestead farm. Expect hot, sunny summers and snow-filled winters, when the nature center welcomes cross-country skiers and snowshoers.
Midland is in the Tri-Cities area in Central Michigan. Fly to Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport and rent a car for the 130-mile (210-kilometer) route north to get here. Make your way through neighboring cities, such as Flint, Frankenmuth and Saginaw.