12 Attractions in Flint, Michigan

Last Updated on February 27, 2024 by Emily Johnson

Flint, Michigan is most well known as the birthplace of General Motors and for its struggles with economic decline and water contamination issues in recent years. However, beyond the negative headlines, Flint still has a lot to offer visitors. As the largest city in Genesee County, Flint boasts a vibrant cultural scene, several institutions of higher learning, and an exciting history as a leading industrial centre in the 20th century.

No.AttractionDescription
1Crossroads Village & Huckleberry RailroadA historical village with an authentic narrow-gauge railroad, offering a glimpse into 19th-century living.
2Flint Institute of ArtsOne of the largest art museums in Michigan, featuring a broad collection of artworks.
3Flint Farmers’ MarketA vibrant marketplace offering fresh produce, handmade goods, and various culinary delights.
4Applewood EstateThe historic home of automotive pioneer Charles Stewart Mott, surrounded by beautiful gardens.
5Flushing Historical MuseumA museum dedicated to preserving the history of the Flushing area, with various exhibits.
6Totem BooksA bookstore offering a wide range of books, vinyl records, and hosting community events.
7Flint River TrailA scenic trail providing opportunities for biking, walking, and exploring Flint’s natural beauty.
8Greater Flint Sports Hall of FameA museum celebrating the achievements of Flint’s athletes and sports teams.
9McCarthy’s Whiskey BarrelA local bar known for its whiskey selection and welcoming atmosphere.
10Buckham GalleryAn art gallery showcasing the works of local and regional artists, fostering the community’s creative spirit.
11Berston Field HouseA historic community center offering recreational and cultural activities.
12Factory One Assembly Line TourA tour providing insights into the automotive history of Flint and the early days of General Motors.

Flint and the surrounding areas are home to several unique attractions that showcase the city’s legacy as a manufacturing powerhouse. Car enthusiasts can tour the historic Durant-Dort Factory One and see a Model T come together before their eyes on an interactive assembly line. The Flint Institute of Arts houses stunning collections from around the world, while Crossroads Village and Huckleberry Railroad offer a nostalgic glimpse of 19th-century Michigan. And sports fans have countless opportunities to cheer on the local college and minor league teams.

Beyond these and other man-made attractions, Flint provides easy access to natural sites like the Flint River, Holloway Reservoir, and several beautiful parks and nature reserves. So whether you’re interested in history, art, entertainment, or the outdoors, this guide to the top 12 attractions in Flint has something for you. Let’s explore some of the best things to see and do in Flint, Michigan!

Crossroads Village & Huckleberry Railroad

Name and Location: Crossroads Village & Huckleberry Railroad is located at 6140 Bray Road, Flint, MI 48505.

History and Significance: Crossroads Village & Huckleberry Railroad is a living history museum that opened in 1969. It recreates a Michigan village from the late 1800s with over 30 historic buildings moved and restored to the site. The Huckleberry Railroad allows visitors to take a ride on an old-fashioned steam train.

What to Expect: Visitors can explore the historic buildings and chat with costumed interpreters bringing the past to life. Special events and festivals are held year-round. Ride on the Huckleberry Railroad steam train or Genesee Belle River Boat.

Visitor Information: Open mid-April through December. Check website for hours and special events. Admission charged.

Crossroads Village is an open-air museum located just outside Flint in Genesee County. The village aims to replicate 19th century life in Michigan by recreating shops, homes, gardens, and community buildings common during this time period. Costumed historic interpreters add an interactive element and provide educational information to guests. Crossroads Village originally opened in 1970 and has since grown to occupy over 30 acres.

The most popular feature of Crossroads Village is the Huckleberry Railroad. This functioning 1/8 scale steam locomotive offers rides around the perimeter of the village, allowing visitors to take in the sights of the recreated town. Special events like Thomas the Tank Engine visits, Easter rides on the Bunny Hop train, and the Santa Express provide seasonal family-friendly fun.

Crossroads Village is open mid-April through early January, with days and hours that vary by month. Special events often sell out in advance, so purchasing tickets ahead of time is recommended.

Flint Institute of Arts

Name and Location: Flint Institute of Arts is located at 1120 E Kearsley St, Flint, MI 48503.

History and Significance: The Flint Institute of Arts opened in 1928 and has an impressive permanent collection focused on 20th & 21st century American art. It regularly hosts major traveling exhibits.

What to Expect: Visitors view artwork across multiple galleries and mediums. Family programs, art classes, concerts and lectures are regularly held. The Museum Store sells unique gifts.

Visitor Information: Open Tuesday-Sunday. Check website for hours and special events. Admission fee charged.

The Flint Institute of Arts (FIA) has an impressive permanent collection for a city the size of Flint. The museum holds over 8,000 objects in its galleries, spanning centuries of art history from ancient Greece to the modern era.

Highlights of the FIA’s collection include European masterworks, early American painting and decorative arts, African tribal art, photography, Native American artifacts, sculpture courtyards, and more. Among the most celebrated pieces are works by Auguste Rodin, Edgar Degas, John Singer Sargent, Ansel Adams, and Andy Warhol. The FIA also features interactive elements like a hands-on children’s gallery, glassblowing pavilion, and art studio spaces.

In addition to displays of works from its permanent collections, the FIA hosts several visiting and community exhibitions each year. Other programming like concerts, lectures, family days, and special events aim to promote visual arts education and engagement.

The Flint Institute of Arts is located downtown near several other cultural attractions. It’s open Tuesday through Saturday and admission is free!

Flint Farmers’ Market

Name and Location: Flint Farmers’ Market is located downtown at 300 E First St, Flint, MI 48502.

History and Significance: Flint Farmers’ Market opened in 1940 and is one of the oldest continuously operating farmers markets in the country. It provides access to fresh, locally grown produce and food products.

What to Expect: Visitors will find over 50 year-round indoor shops and seasonal outdoor farmers stands selling fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, baked goods and more. There are also several restaurants.

Visitor Information: Open year-round, days/hours vary by vendor. Many shops and restaurants accept credit cards.

The Flint Farmers’ Market brings a taste of the surrounding farmlands to the urban center of the city. Vendors sell fresh produce straight from Michigan fields and orchards alongside artisanal goods, baked treats, cheeses, coffee and tea, flowers, and more. Many of the vendors come from family-owned and operated farms that have been supplying the Flint Farmers’ Market for over a century!

In addition to the variety of quality products for sale, part of the appeal of the Flint Farmers’ Market is the historic pavilion that houses it all. The building dates back to 1940 and features a beautiful roof, skylights, and brickwork. Characteristics like these earned the Flint Farmers’ Market designation as a Genesee County Historical Site.

The market bustles on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays year round. From crops like asparagus and rhubarb in the spring to apples and squash in the fall, the seasonal fare from local farmers is not to be missed. The Flint Farmers’ Market also hosts vibrant holiday markets and food truck rallies to support the vibrancy of downtown.

Applewood Estate

Name and Location: Applewood Estate is located at 1400 E Kearsley St, Flint, MI 48503.

History and Significance: Applewood Estate was built in 1885 and was the home of Charles Stewart Mott and his family. It offers a glimpse into the life of an early 20th century automobile magnate.

What to Expect: Guided tours of the 50-room Victorian mansion and stories of the Mott family’s influence on Flint. The grounds also feature rose and lily gardens.

Visitor Information: Estate is open for guided tours late May-early October, Thursday-Sunday. Reservations required. Admission fee charged.

Nestled in the northern Flint suburb of Grand Blanc is the historic Applewood estate, built in 1913. This Georgian-style mansion functioned as a private residence for the first eight decades of its existence. Then in 1993, Applewood opened for tours and began operating as a non-profit museum focused on the history of Genesee County.

Visitors can explore rooms on the first and second floors of the house, furnished with authentic artifacts and decor from the 1920s and 30s era. Interpretive guides provide insight to the estate’s original owners, the history of the grand house, and details about life during Flint’s booming auto industry heyday. The grounds also feature heritage flower and vegetable gardens maintained according to early 20th century ornamental guidelines.

Applewood Estate mainly offers guided tours Thursday through Sunday from April until December. However, the venue may be rented for corporate functions, weddings, and other private events throughout the year. The estate’s programming also includes seasonal events like a spooky flashlight maze for kids at Halloween and holiday high teas in December.

Flushing Historical Museum

Name and Location: Flushing Historical Museum is located at 103 E Main St, Flushing, MI 48433.

History and Significance: The Flushing Historical Museum is run by the Flushing Area Historical Society and opened in 1999. It highlights the history of Flushing from its founding days to current times.

What to Expect: Visitors view exhibits about the Underground Railroad, early settlers, businesses, churches and more. Historical photos, artifacts, and reference materials are displayed.

Visitor Information: Open Saturdays 10am-2pm March-December or by appointment. Free admission.

Though small in size, the Flushing Historical Museum packs an impressive amount of local history and memorabilia into its space. As the name implies, the museum’s focus is on preserving and showcasing the heritage of Flushing, MI – a quaint suburb located just outside of Flint. Visitors can get a glimpse into what made this village an early pioneer settlement site and later home to legendary automotive tinkerers who set up shop developing engines, parts, and accessories nearby.

Display cases and walls feature Native American artifacts, blacksmith and carpentry tools, medical equipment, storefront signs, and other relics from 19th century Flushing. Auto racing memorabilia, models, and machinery highlight some of the village’s famousgarage tinkerers and their innovations. The museum also includes early schoolhouse artifacts, military uniforms, and some truly eclectic collections showing what life was like for past residents.

The Flushing Historical Museum operates thanks to volunteers who are passionate about preserving local history for future generations. Hours are limited, so check their website before visiting. Admission is free, but donations help keep this hidden gem going.

Totem Books

Name and Location: Totem Books is located at 620 W Court St, Flint, MI 48503.

History and Significance: Totem Books opened in 1971 and is Flint’s oldest independent bookstore selling new and used books. The store hosts author events and supports local writers.

What to Expect: Browse books across all genres, subjects and formats. Relax in the upstairs bibliosphere and attend special readings and signings.

Visitor Information: Open daily. Accepts cash and major credit cards. Check website for current hours.

For literature lovers visiting Flint, Totem Books is an absolute must-see destination. As one of the last independent bookstores in Genesee County, Totem offers a meticulously curated selection reflecting the tastes of well-read locals. The cozy shop carries over 35,000 titles between new and used books, giving it an inventory comparable to big chains without losing the community charm.

Totem Books first opened its doors in downtown Flint back in 1971. Today it remains family-owned and focused on providing personal service to foster a love of reading. In addition to books, the store stocks literary gifts and hosts free group events like writers’ workshops and children’s story time. As a long-standing local business, Totem is truly part of what makes Flint’s cultural scene special.

Bibliophiles should be sure to set aside some time to browse the shelves at Totem Books during their visit. The knowledgeable staff primarily considers employee recommendations when selecting inventory, so chances are good that any purchase will make for an enjoyable read.

Flint River Trail

Name and Location: The Flint River Trail runs through downtown Flint following the Flint River.

History and Significance: The Flint River Trail allows people to enjoy outdoor recreation and highlights the importance of the Flint River to the city’s founding and growth.

What to Expect: Users walk, run, bike or rollerblade along the paved trail which features scenic river views and links parks, museums and businesses downtown. Interpretive signs tell the river’s history.

Visitor Information: Trail access from multiple public parking lots downtown. Open daily dawn to dusk. Free admission.

While many tourists associate walking trails and scenic river pathways with northern Michigan, Flint also offers some excellent outdoor recreation. The Flint River runs right through the center of the city including downtown. And along its banks, the paved Flint River Trail provides pedestrians and cyclists over 5 miles of pathway linking colleges, museums, parks, and residential areas.

From the eastern trailhead at Kettering University, the trail heads west through the heart of the cultural district. This area features public art installations and access to cultural attractions like the public library, art galleries, museums, theaters, and concert halls. Continuing west, the trail passes scenic green spaces like Vietnam Veterans Park, Riverbank Park, and Bicentennial Park where pathway users can take a break. At Sunset Park on the western edge of Flint, the trail comes to an end, but plans exist to expand it further in the coming years.

The Flint River Trail allows outdoor enthusiasts to experience Flint from an entirely different perspective. Locals and tourists alike take to the trail year-round thanks to the accessible, paved route suitable for joggers, walkers, bikers, skaters, wheelchair users, and families with strollers.

Greater Flint Sports Hall of Fame

Name and Location: Greater Flint Sports Hall of Fame is inside the Dort Federal Credit Union Event Center at 3451 Lapeer Rd, Flint, MI 48503.

History and Significance: The Hall of Fame recognizes standout amateur athletes and teams from Flint and Genesee County representing achievement in many different sports.

What to Expect: Visitors view exhibits and memorabilia honoring inductees and area sports history. An induction ceremony is held annually.

Visitor Information: Open year round during venue hours. Admission is free.

As the original home of General Motors, it comes as no surprise that the Flint area has made significant contributions to the automobile racing world. After all, GM employees were known to tinker with engines and test out modifications that pushed speed limits. To showcase these racing innovators, Flint established the Greater Flint Area Sports Hall of Fame back in 1988.

While automotive racing does feature prominently, the Hall of Fame honors stand-out athletes in several sports who claim Flint roots. Interactive displays allow visitors to learn about local heroes who went on to successful college, Olympic, and professional sports careers after training in Flint. Motorsports legends like Bobby Allison, Roger Penske, and Johnny Benson appear alongside NFL stars like Mark Ingram Jr., professional golfers, and Olympic medalists.

Located inside the Dort Mall shopping center, the Hall of Fame makes for an inspiring and educational diversion while shopping around town. Admission is free, though donations help support exhibits and induction ceremonies for new honorees.

McCarthy’s Whiskey Barrel

Name and Location: McCarthy’s Whiskey Barrel is located at 110 S Saginaw St, Flint, MI 48502.

History and Significance: Opened in 2014, McCarthy’s Whiskey Barrel serves locally sourced modern American cuisine alongside an extensive whiskey menu in a casual, upscale pub setting downtown.

What to Expect: Diners can select from a wide variety of whiskeys and classic cocktails along with burgers, steaks, salads and sandwiches in a welcoming atmosphere. Live music many nights.

Visitor Information: Open daily for lunch and dinner plus brunch on Sundays. Accepts reservations. Valet parking available.

No visit to Flint would be complete without stopping by McCarthy’s Whiskey Barrel, a legendary pub and eatery downtown. According to local tradition, the historic watering hole first opened its doors (or rather, whiskey barrel) to patrons looking for a drink back in 1902. However, McCarthy’s likes to claim it is “Flint’s oldest existing neighborhood tavern – since the day before forever.”

Beyond the clever quips, McCarthy’s actually has plenty of history to back its swagger. During prohibition, a mail slot in the facade aided inconspicuous speakeasy operations. A side room also once housed Flint’s original radio station, WWOK. Today McCarthy’s remains a quintessential neighborhood joint thanks to its original antique wood bartop, tin ceilings, buffalo head mounted on the wall, and jovial atmosphere. Of course, the drink menu featuring Michigan craft beers and Irish whiskies doesn’t hurt either!

Swing by McCarthy’s to eat, drink, and soak up over a century’s worth of tavern tales. And who knows – your visit just might inspire a story or quirky catch phrase that gets passed down through generations of patrons yet to come.

Buckham Gallery

Name and Location: Buckham Gallery is located inside the Flint Institute of Arts at 1120 E Kearsley St, Flint, MI 48503.

History and Significance: Buckham Gallery highlights artwork of emerging and recognized local artists. Opened 1965. Rotating exhibits change every 6-8 weeks.

What to Expect: Visitors view diverse contemporary art in a variety of mediums that reflect the region’s creative culture while supporting area artists.

Visitor Information: Open during normal museum hours year-round. Included with general admission. Closed Mondays.

Tucked away on University of Michigan – Flint’s modern downtown campus is the Buckham Gallery showcasing an impressive private collection from the family of one of Flint’s legendary automobile pioneers. Joseph H. Buckham made his mark not only as a successful Buick dealer, but also as an avid supporter of the cultural arts in Flint. Upon Buckham’s passing in 1959, his wife Beatrice donated funds and their personal art collection to UM – Flint resulting in this small but striking gallery.

The Buckham Gallery began displaying artwork in 1964. Today its collection includes roughly 250 pieces spanning European and American artists from the early 19th century onward. Revolving temporary exhibitions allow more work from the permanent collection to appear seasonally alongside student and local artists’ creations.

With free admission and convenient weekday hours corresponding to typical lunch breaks, the Buckham Gallery makes an effortless addition to any Flint itinerary. The gallery also hosts special events like meet the artist nights to engage both campus and external communities with the arts.

Berston Field House

Name and Location: Berston Field House is located at 3300 Saginaw St, Flint, MI 48505.

History and Significance: Dedicated in 1923, Berston Field House is one of Flint’s oldest active recreation centers. Generations have created memories there over its 100-year history.

What to Expect: Visitors use amenities like a gym, pool, fitness center, batting cages, and meeting rooms. Sports leagues, camps, events year-round.

Visitor Information: Open M-F 5:30am-9pm, Sat 8am-5pm. Daily fees or memberships available.

As the home arena for sports teams from the University of Michigan – Flint, Berston Field House hosts hockey, volleyball, and basketball games that often offer family-friendly entertainment options. The venue’s seating capacity of over 2,000 draws sizable crowds, especially for the Michigan Wolves hockey team games. Players from this minor league squad often go on to NHL careers, keeping competition fierce and exciting to watch.

Beyond UM – Flint athletics, Berston Field House also accommodates conventions, concerts, graduation ceremonies, and other community events. Recent performances range from comedians like Jeff Dunham to celebrity musicians like Snoop Dogg. Fans can check upcoming event listings online to see if any tournaments, conferences, or shows correspond with travel dates.

The lively atmosphere and affordable tickets make Berston Field House an excellent indoor entertainment option while visiting Flint. Sports fans will enjoy cheering on the local teams alongside passionate students and residents. But the venue also appeals to general event junkies hungry for a dose of community spirit.

Factory One Assembly Line Tour

Name and Location: Factory One Assembly Line Tour is inside the Flint Manufacturing Museum at 1096 W Bristol Rd, Flint, MI 48507.

History and Significance: Factory One operated from 1944-1987 and produced engines for GM vehicles. The tour gives an inside look at Flint’s history as a major manufacturing hub.

What to Expect: Guides lead visitors through the factory floor detailing roles of workers and operation of equipment that was used to build car engines.

Visitor Information: 90 minute walking tours offered Saturdays at 10am & noon. Tickets must be purchased online in advance.

No trip to the birthplace of General Motors would be complete without paying homage to the automotive origins. Factory One allows visitors to stand in the very building where workers assembled components from GM’s first mass-produced vehicles back in the early 20th century. Today the site operates as an industrial museum walking people through various eras of machinery and manufacturing advancements in Flint.

The main draw remains the interactive assembly line where guests can personally piece together a replica 1908 Model T. Under guidance from knowledgeable staffers, groups hand-crank engine blocks down the line just as factory workers did over a hundred years ago. The experience brings history to life while offering insight about innovations that made large-scale auto production possible right here in Flint.

Beyond the hands-on assembly line tour, visitors can also view extensive collections related to General Motors, its former chairman Billy Durant who founded Factory One, and the United Auto Workers labor movement. The museum celebrates key aspects of Flint’s legacy as “Vehicle City” where the modern automotive industry first took shape.

Conclusion

With its wealth of cultural institutions, historical sites, recreational spaces, and universities, Flint offers dynamic attractions to engage visitors of all ages and interests. More than a mere pitstop between Michigan’s thumb region beaches and woodsy state parks up north, Flint and Genesee County have emerged as a destination all their own thanks to beloved event traditions, anchors like the Flint Institute of Arts, and a revitalized spirit cementing community pride of place.

So whether you already call Flint home or have yet to explore Vehicle City’s unique offerings, carve out some time to experience the top museums, live events, family activities, and outdoor recreation glimpsed within this guide. Flint’s resilient character continues shining through in the attractions and programming that make it an up-and-coming weekend getaway ripe for rediscovery.

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