It’s no secret that Michigan is an absolute wonderland for outdoor exploration. But the weather doesn’t always cooperate — and sometimes nature-based activities simply aren’t meant to be. Never fear! There are plenty of incredible indoor attractions throughout the Great Lakes State that can turn a rainy day around in no time — without tanking your budget!
1. Belle Isle Aquarium (900 Inselruhe Ave, Detroit)
This awesome aquarium in Detroit is actually the oldest of its kind the country — and it’s an absolute blast. Kids and adults alike will enjoy perusing the aquarium’s large array of marine creatures and learning more about our beloved Great Lakes. The best part? Admission is 100% free!
2. Air Zoo (6151 Portage Rd, Portage)
At this incredible aerospace-themed museum, you’ll have so much fun that you’ll almost forget you’re learning in the process! Check out flight simulators, vintage airplanes, and all sorts of special exhibits throughout the year. General admission is $15.50 per person, but the fun you’ll have here is priceless.
3. John K. King Used & Rare Books (901 W Lafayette Blvd, Detroit)
Bookworms rejoice! This incredible book store in Detroit will absolutely amaze you as you peruse its aisles. There’s no telling the titles you’ll come across as you make your way through this decades-old shop. Just don’t be surprised when you leave with a massive stack of new-to-you literary favorites!
4. Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park (1000 E Beltline Ave NE, Grand Rapids)
Just can’t get enough of the great outdoors? You can experience the beauty of nature on a rainy day by taking a walk through the indoor portions of Frederik Meijer Gardens, which boasts stunning greenhouses and a vast array of tropical plants. General admission costs $14.50 per person, and the experience of this lovely spot will stick with you for years to come.
5. Grand Rapids Public Museum (272 Pearl St NW, Grand Rapids)
There’s truly something for everyone at this amazing museum in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids. From traveling exhibits to historic reconstructions of Grand Rapids’ earliest days to an amazing carousel, there’s no shortage of fun to be had. General admission is just $8 for adults and $3 for children, so you can explore all this wonderful spot has to offer without spending a fortune.
6. Michigan State Capitol Building (100 N Capitol Ave, Lansing)
Immerse yourself in Michigan’s fascinating history with a free tour of the State Capitol building in Lansing. Marvel at the building’s breathtaking rotunda and learn about the many unique facets of Michigan’s political past, present, and future. Did we mention that it’s absolutely free?
7. Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum (220 E. Ann St. Ann Arbor)
Children and adults alike will have a blast exploring the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum on a rainy afternoon. This fun-filled spot is just what it sounds like: a one-of-a-kind museum that encourages learning by way of firsthand experience. From science to art, there’s something here to interest every visitor. Admission costs $12 per person.
8. Detroit Institute of Arts (5200 Woodward Ave, Detroit)
Are you an art buff? Then the DIA is the place for you when weather keeps you from exploring the great outdoors. While general admission is $14 for adults and $6 for children over the age of six, the DIA does offer free admission to residents of Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties.
9. Museum of Ojibwa Culture (500 N State St, St Ignace)
This unique attraction just over the Mackinac Bridge is a wonderful spot to spend a rainy day. You’ll learn about history of Native Americans in Michigan, particularly the Ojibwa tribe. While the museum features several outdoor exhibits, it also boasts a lovely indoor section and plenty of artifacts to peruse. The cost of admission is donation-based, so you can choose the price point that suits your family.
10. Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum (18335 N Whitefish Point Rd, Paradise)
Many ill-fated ships have met their final resting places beneath the waves of our Great Lakes, and their stories are told in a fascinating way at this museum in the Upper Peninsula. Learn about the demise of ships like the famous Edmund Fitzgerald as you peruse the many exhibits on-site. Admission costs $13 for adults and $9 for children.
11. Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland (25 Christmas Lane, Frankenmuth)
If you love Christmas, you’ll absolutely adore a trip to Bronner’s. This classic destination in Frankenmuth celebrates the Yuletide spirit year-round, and you could spend hours perusing row after row of ornaments, Santa Claus figurines, and and everything in between. What’s not to love?
Tell us, Michiganders: do you have a favorite rainy-day spot here in the Great Lakes State? We’d love to hear your suggestions in the comment section below!