One Perfect Day in Marquette, Michigan: A Local's Summer Itinerary
Late August in Marquette, Michigan is prime time summer. The bugs have waned, Lake Superior temps are warm (ish), and the sun is shining. It also means that we’ve been living here for about one year. Time flies. Since I’ve been in my third trimester this summer, I haven’t been traveling outside of Michigan so I’ve been able to experience, aside from beers on the patio, some of the best summer things to do in our new home base.
From waterfall hikes to shopping downtown, to brewery hopping, there is so much to do in Marquette, Michigan. One day in Marquette isn’t nearly enough, but I hope this one day summer itinerary gives you an idea of all the fun there is to be had up here in the warmer months.
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One Perfect Summer Day in Marquette
Marquette Downtown Farmers Market
Marquette Commons | Saturday morning 9 am-1 pm; Wednesday night 5-7 pm
I’m all about a summer farmers’ market and the one in Marquette is great, especially for a small town. Of course there’s fresh produce and meats at the market but if you’re visiting and staying in a local hotel, there are plenty of prepared foods you can enjoy and locally made goods to shop at the market as well. Get your day started early with some coffee and a pastry from one of the bakeries at the market on Saturdays. I’ve seen many a berry scone, monster cinnamon rolls, and more. I’m always down for baked goods and fresh flowers.
Shopping Downtown Marquette
The farmers market is conveniently located in downtown Marquette so when you’re finished browsing the vendor booths, continue to wander downtown and check out some of the local shops for outdoor gear, Upper Peninsula souvenirs, antiques, and more. Here are a few of my favorite shops to take visitors:
Donckers | 137 W Washington St - Old school chocolate shop and soda fountain that’s been around for about 100 years. Shop for yummy truffles, chocolate bars shaped like the Upper Peninsula, and their signature caramels. They have a delicious and family friendly sandwich shop upstairs that you should try at some point over your trip!
Superior Outfitters | 209 S Front St - If you have any fishermen/women in your group, you need to pay a visit to Superior Outfitters. They know all the spots and all the flies that are working for that time of year. Ryan shops here all the time, plus they have a great selection of used outdoor gear and clothing.
Getz’s | 218 S Front St - This is the place to shop for the latest outdoor clothing. It’s basically a 3 story department store with every brand you can think of that makes clothing and shoes for the outdoors. The bottom floor has a massive sale section so don’t miss it and don’t even worry about looking online for a better deal because they have sales all the time to keep products moving. I scored this Arcteryx coat at 20% off and this North Face long coat at 10-15% off.
Revisions Design Studio | 219 W Washington St - Beautiful home and gift shop with quirky cards, locally made planters, jewelry, and more.
Snowbound Books | 118 N 3rd St - Used and new books featuring a collection of writers from the Northwoods
Brunch at Cafe Bodega
When you get good and hungry from your morning shopping, head to Cafe Bodega on Third Street for a big brunch. I love breakfast food, no matter the time of day and Bodega serves it up all day long. If you’re starving, get the Spud Plate with an egg or two. It is a massive plate of food and the only place I’ve found that has loaded home fries that rival Waffle House in my book. They’re totally different but equally delicious. They make all of their own breads so sandwiches are a great choice too. I love their BLT served on cinnamon raisin toast (YUM). If you’re in the mood for lunch, Ryan swears by the whitefish tacos.
Other Brunch Ideas:
Chasing Waterfalls in Marquette
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with deciding how to spend your time in the outdoors up here because there are SO many options. I love a good waterfall hike and lucky for me there are hundreds of waterfalls in the Upper Peninsula and plenty near Marquette. One of my favorite places Ryan took me too this summer was Yellow Dog Falls, just about a 30 minute drive outside of the city. The trail is relatively flat/easy ( I was 6 months pregnant I believe when we went) and meanders alongside the Yellow Dog River and you can see multiple falls along the way, the biggest being 20 feet or so. We had our dogs with us and it was a great place to splash around for the afternoon and relax. *Note: Don’t rely on GPS once you leave town. There is little cell service once you leave the city so make sure to plan your route ahead of time.
Getting to Yellow Dog Falls:
Take 550 from Marquette toward Big Bay, MI
Turn on 510 heading South for about 6 miles
Cross the bridge and park
Once you start on the trail, you’ll see a big information board with a map
Once you’ve had your fill of the waterfalls, go relax on the beach for a bit before dinner. Our go to spot is just north of Little Presque Isle Recreation Area. It sounds incredibly vague I know. Honestly, the place we park has no name and no signage and was shown to us by some really nice DNR officers when we asked about a beach spot where there wouldn’t be many people. The easiest thing to do would be to go to Little Presque Isle and hang out there. The beach there is big and really popular on the weekends. If you want to get away from the crowd a bit, hike down the North Country Trail and just keep an eye out for an open spot. When we head out for the day we usually have snacks and drinks packed in a small cooler so we’ll throw it in our backpack with towels and sunscreen and we’re good to go. This spot is so peaceful, definitely one of my favorite places to wind down from a long day.
Other Beaches in Marquette
Little Presque Isle Recreation Area: 7 miles northwest of Marquette off of Big Bay Road
Wetmore Landing: Just before Little Presque Isle off of Big Bay Road
Picnic Rocks Beach: Located in the city just off of Lake Shore Blvd
Presque Isle Park Beach: Peter White Dr
Note: Many recreation areas require a recreation passport for your vehicle. Find out which trails and beaches require them before you go and purchase online from the DNR.
Back to Marquette for Dinner
There are lots of restaurants I love in town but this summer, we’ve been loving the food trucks. There are currently three in town (I think) and they typically park at Marquette’s local breweries. Good food + good beer = win, win. Each truck is great about posting their schedule on Instagram so I typically check before we go out hiking or to the beach so we know exactly where to go for a quick and inexpensive dinner when we get back to town. We live pretty close to the Blackrocks Brewery tap room so on any given night of the week you might see us there grabbing food and lounging on the back patio.
Marquette Food Trucks
Burger Bus - Classic singles & doubles and a really good Falafel burger.
Smelted Pizza - Wood fired pizza. Green Garden (pesto & veggies) is my favorite in the summer with the Dirty Martini (green olive and lots o herbs and cheeses) a close second.
Dia de los Tacos - Delicious street-style tacos. Pulled pork and chorizo are my favs.
Other great spots for dinner:
Steinhaus - Delicious, authentic German fare using locally sourced produce and meats. This place is on the pricier side, but I think it’s totally worth it.
Portside Inn - Kitschy maritime themed restaurant with a nice patio, killer pizza, massive sandwiches, and seafood. They only serve Michigan beer on tap and have a great Bloody Mary.
Stuckos - Really casual bar and grill with a nice patio, good Michigan beer selection, great burgers and my favorite whitefish sandwich. Open til Midnight.
After dinner dessert
If you have room and are craving something sweet there are a few really good options in town. Frosty Treat is an old school walk up ice cream window on Third Street that stays open til 10 pm and is always hoppin’ in the summertime. Babycakes is another favorite of mine. This bakery is known for their massive muffins but they serve all kinds of sweet treats like macarons, petite cakes, mini mouses, cannolis, and more.
Frosty Treats | 724 N 3rd St - Soft serve ice cream that you can have in a shake, cone, sundae, and cyclone (aka giant blizzard).
Babycakes | 223 W Washington St - Bakery featuring muffins, desserts, and sandwiches. Open ‘til 8 pm in the summer.
Have you been to Marquette, Michigan? Let me know in the comments!