If you grew up in Michigan, you’ve undoubtedly got a mental rolodex of magical memories and family getaways. Whether you spent your childhood on the beach or in the bustling metropolis of Detroit, there’s no denying that the Great Lakes State was a huge part of your formative years. Here are 11 amazing places in Michigan that will take you on an exciting journey down memory lane.
1. Tiger Stadium (Detroit)
Before Comerica Park, there was Tiger Stadium. Generations of baseball fans watched our beloved Detroit Tigers play in this Corktown venue, which first opened in 1912. Is there any sweeter childhood memory than heading to the ballgame with family and friends? While Tiger Stadium was demolished in 2009, Comerica Park offers the joy of baseball to a whole new generation of fans.
2. Michigan’s Adventure (Muskegon)
If you were a Michigan kiddo, you likely spent plenty of summer days enjoying the excitement of Michigan’s Adventure. This amusement park and water wonderland truly offers something for everyone, from winding coasters to lazy rivers — and it’s been around since 1956! Nothing says "childhood" like cotton candy and ferris wheels.
3. Tahquamenon Falls (Paradise)
This gorgeous natural attraction in the U.P. is breathtaking no matter what your age, but there was always something completely magical about visiting as a child. The falls’ power was both intimidating and beautiful — and you could easily spend hours staring at the flowing water. If you were lucky enough to visit Tahquamenon as a child, we’re sure your memories are good ones.
4. Up North
"Up North" takes on a different meaning for each and every Michigander, but there’s no denying the excitement of venturing northward on a hot summer day. As a child coming of age in the Great Lakes State, no words were sweeter than "Up North," as this usually meant there were hours of fun in the sun, ice cream excursions, and family togetherness to be had.
Most Michiganders took at least one field trip to Lansing during childhood, and the state’s capital is undeniably impressive. Perhaps it was difficult to appreciate the historical importance of the Michigan State Capitol Building as a school-aged kiddo, but there’s no forgetting the towering beauty of the structure’s rotunda.
6. Mackinac Island
People on bicycles, horse-drawn carriages, and fudge shops around every turn: what’s not to love? Growing up in Michigan, nothing was more delightful than hopping on a ferry and making your way to the pretty island where cars are nowhere to be found. Whether you visited for day trips or spent the night in the Grand Hotel, a journey to Mackinac Island felt like visiting a different world.
7. Great Wolf Lodge (Traverse City)
For younger generations, Great Wolf Lodge played an important role in a Michigan upbringing. As soon as you announced that your family would be venturing to this amazing indoor waterpark in Traverse City, you’d become the envy of your classmates. If Great Wolf Lodge garnered popularity a little after your time, why not take your own kiddos there for an amazing adventure?
8. Dinosaur Gardens (Ossineke)
This fascinating roadside attraction in Ossineke sits on 40 acres of land and features all sorts of massive dinosaur sculptures just waiting to be explored. The gardens have been drawing in curious visitors since the 1930s, and an adventure here is almost impossible to forget. Few places in the Great Lakes State are weirder — in the most wonderful way possible!
9. Hudson’s (Detroit)
The J.L. Hudson Department Store was a fixture in downtown Detroit from 1927 until its closure in the 1980s. As a child, a trip to Hudson’s felt like something from a movie, especially at Christmastime. Escalators and elevators, row after row of clothing, a dining room, beautiful display windows — the list continues. Modern department stores have their perks, but nothing beats Hudson’s.
10. Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum (Farmington Hills)
To this day, Marvin’s remains an exciting place to spend a few hours — but for younger visitors, it’s like an otherworldly wonderland. This Metro Detroit hotspot inspires sensory overload with row after row of pinball machines, animatronic animals, neon signs, and everything in between. If you were a 90s or 2000s kid in the Great Lakes State, a trip to Marvin’s was a real treat.
11. Greenfield Village (Dearborn)
For many Michiganders, Greenfield Village at the Henry Ford offered a first taste of history and illuminated the unique ways in which Michigan contributed to the development of America. Whether you were watching a real Model T drive by, marveling at historical re-enactors, or checking out the blacksmith shop, there was always something magical about a trip to this fascinating outdoor museum.
Alright, now it’s your turn! We know that every Michigan upbringing was different — and we’d absolutely love to hear about the places and experiences that made your childhood in the Great Lakes State so unforgettable. Share your memories in the comments section below.