12 Things to Do in Flint, Michigan

Last Updated on February 28, 2024 by Emily Johnson

Flint is an industrial city in eastern Michigan that has a lot more to offer visitors besides its manufacturing legacy. Once a prosperous hub for the automotive industry, Flint has transformed into a city rich in cultural attractions, outdoor recreational activities, and historic landmarks.

Flint Institute of ArtsExplore a vast collection of artworks and educational exhibits.
Sloan Museum of DiscoveryInteractive museum focusing on science, history, and innovation.
Capitol TheatreVenue for live music, films, and performances.
Saginaw StreetCentral area with shops, restaurants, and cultural attractions.
Flint Farmers’ MarketMarket offering local produce, goods, and food.
Flint River Water TrailPaddling trail for kayaking, canoeing, and tubing.
Fusion Glass WorksStudio offering glass blowing classes and exhibits.
Stepping Stones MontessoriExperience local history in a unique educational setting.
Longway PlanetariumPlanetarium shows exploring astronomy and science.
Flint Crepe CompanyDine on locally sourced crepes and Michigan craft beverages.
Flint River TrailPaved trail for biking and sightseeing along the Flint River.
Crim Festival of RacesAnnual sporting event featuring various races and community activities.

Flint’s economy suffered greatly in the late 20th century as the automobile industry declined nationally. However, with investment and community efforts, the city has seen resurgence and revitalization in recent years. New small businesses have moved into the bustling downtown area centered around the Flint River. Additionally, community organizations host various festivals, events, markets and more throughout the year.

Although Flint is mostly known as the birthplace of General Motors, visitors will be pleasantly surprised by the diverse array of fun things to experience in Michigan’s seventh largest city. From museums and farmers markets to kayaking adventures and unique dining options, Flint has something for everyone. Here are the 12 best things to do in Flint, Michigan:

1.Explore the Flint Institute of Arts

Name and Location: Flint Institute of Arts in Flint, MI

History and Significance: Established in 1928, this expansive art museum holds significant collections of Ceramics, Decorative Arts, European and American Paintings alongside hosting exhibitions and community education programs.

What to Expect: Galleries feature stunning permanent collections and rotating displays spanning various mediums and movements. Family guides, accessible programs offered to make art approachable for all. Gift shop onsite.

Visitor Information: Located downtown Flint Cultural Center. Open Tues-Sat 12-5pm, Sun 1-5pm. Admission $10 adults, $8 seniors/students, free on Thursdays.

The Flint Institute of Arts boasts an impressive permanent collection for a city of its size. The art museum holds over 8,000 pieces in its collection spanning 5,000 years of human creativity. Some highlights include Asian art exhibits, African sculptures, Ancient American ceramics and 18th century European paintings. Special exhibitions rotate throughout the year as well.

The art institute also features an interactive children’s museum called the ArtQuest Gallery. This hands-on creative space allows kids to get inspired participating in accessible art projects. Parents can enroll children in classes held at the Flint Institute of Arts too covering various mediums like painting, drawing and sculpting.

2.Tour the Sloan Museum of Discovery

Name and Location: Sloan Museum of Discovery in Flint, MI

History and Significance: Formerly Sloan Auto Museum, this reinvented hands-on science center reopened 2022 with 8 new interactive galleries engaging visitors in innovators and innovations that changed the world.

What to Expect: Immersive exhibits span topics from space to artificial intelligence allowing kids to perform experiments and gain STEAM skills. Also features vintage car collection, Flint history galleries.

Visitor Information: Located downtown Flint Cultural Center. Open Tues-Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 12-5pm. Admission $18 adults, $15 seniors/children, memberships available.

Flint’s top history museum underwent major renovations between 2018-2020, reopening in 2021 as the expanded Sloan Museum of Discovery. This revitalized museum complex focuses on hands-on education by allowing visitors to actively engage with exhibits related to science, history and innovation.

Some stand out displays in the Sloan Museum include the “Flint Generations” exhibit detailing the stories of Flint residents over the decades. Visitors can walk through recreated sets bringing different eras in Flint’s history alive.

Guests will also discover over 200 classic GM vehicles in the restored Durant-Dort Carriage Company factory, GM’s original manufacturing site. From Buicks to Cadillacs, car enthusiasts won’t want to miss this incredible 20,000 sq ft auto gallery.

3.Catch a Show at the Capitol Theatre

Name and Location: Capitol Theatre in Flint, MI

History and Significance: Built in 1928 this beautifully restored 1500-seat Spanish atmospheric venue presents Flint Symphony performances, popular musicals and children’s theater serving as the area’s premier entertainment destination.

What to Expect: From Broadway musicals to comedians, experience world-class productions on Capitol Theatre’s grand stage. Their children series features imaginative shows based on popular books.

Visitor Information: Located downtown adjacent the Flint Cultural Center. Showtimes and ticket prices vary. Self-guided venue tours offered Thursdays 10am and Saturdays 11am.

Flint’s gorgeous 1928 Capitol Theatre is an architectural sight to behold on its own. This elegantly restored multi-use entertainment venue regularly hosts national music acts, comedians and performers on its main stage. Additionally, the Capitol Theatre shows independent films in its smaller screening room.

Past celebrity acts at the Capitol Theatre range from classic rock icons like George Thorogood to alternative bands like the Gin Blossoms to country singer Travis Tritt.

Local university and community performances grace the Capitol stage as well. The intricate Thomas W. Lamb-designed interior radiates a palpable sense of Flint’s rich history. Treat yourself to dinner and a show on your Flint getaway.

4.Stroll Down Saginaw Street

Name and Location: Saginaw Street in Flint, MI

History and Significance: Downtown Flint’s main thoroughfare, this vibrant half-mile avenue is undergoing revitalization to become a walkable dining, art and entertainment district anchored by the vibrant Flint Farmers’ Market at its heart.

What to Expect: Stroll tree-lined sidewalks to discover local shops, restaurants, street art installations and cultural attractions along the way. Historic commercial architecture houses independent boutiques and creative enterprises.

Visitor Information: Saginaw Street south of the Flint River runs parallel to I-475 highway. Things to do and upcoming events listed on the Downtown Flint website.

Downtown Flint’s Saginaw Street serves as the city’s main drag. It offers pedestrians blocks of shops, restaurants and cultural attractions to explore. Start your walk at the Flint Farmers’ Market, then head north while popping into local businesses along the way.

You’ll pass by charming independent storefronts like the unique hats at Hatters and the smoking accessories at Pipes and Pleasures.

When you work up an appetite, fuel up on BBQ at the White Horse Tavern or grab Greek eats at Blackstone’s Pub. Don’t forget to stop for dessert! MaMang serves Taiwanese snow ice whileBake N’ Cakes offers cupcakes galore.

The downtown area also holds several quintessential Flint spots like the Capitol Theatre, Sloan Museum and Flint Institute of Arts. With this critical mass of sights, sounds and flavors, Saginaw Street contains something for everyone.

5.Shop at the Flint Farmers’ Market

Name and Location: Flint Farmers’ Market in Flint, MI

History and Significance: Opened in 1940 within a WPA-era pavilion, this year-round public market supports Michigan growers and producers by offering seasonal harvests, regional specialty foods and artisan products downtown.

What to Expect: Over 35 indoor shops sell locally grown produce, cheeses, baked goods, flowers, sweet treats alongside cafes, international cuisine stalls and occasional live music.

Visitor Information: 300 E First St location. Open Tues/Thurs/Fri 9am-6pm, Sat 8am-5pm. Free admission. Market events and vendor directory on website.

Flint Farmers’ Market serves as an epicenter of local community activity in the heart of downtown. The bustling open-air market first opened in 1940 and continues operating in the same historic location over eight decades later. Vendors sell fresh produce, artisanal goods, prepared foods and more during regular weekly hours. Seasonal farmers markets take place here as well on Saturdays year-round.

Beyond shopping, restaurants like MaMang, Table Five and Curry in a Hurry satisfy hungry shoppers with an array of multi-ethnic flavors.

Additionally, the Flint Farmers’ Market hosts free community events like yoga classes, live music performances and art fairs. Visitors will love experiencing this vibrant marketplace that fosters convening and innovation. It undoubtedly channels the collaborative spirit of Flint’s auto manufacturing heyday.

6.Paddle Down the Flint River Water Trail

Name and Location: Flint River Water Trail in Flint, MI

History and Significance: Winding through Flint, sections of the Flint River have been designated as part of a water recreational trail enabling paddling along downtown at your own pace taking in historic industrial sites and urban nature.

What to Expect: Rent kayaks or canoes to traverse the 7 mile paved and rustic river sections glimpsing riverside ecology and artifacts of Flint’s manufacturing legacy along back channels.

Visitor Information: Access from multiple launch points. Steady current, upriver paddling recommended for beginners. Guides and outfitter info at paddlingmichigan.com

Outdoor adventurers rejoice because Flint contains an underrated gem perfect for water sports – the Flint River Water Trail. The water trail follows the Flint River for nearly 20 miles as it flows right through the heart of the city.

This urban paddling route gets maintained through a partnership between the Flint River Watershed Coalition, Genesee County Parks and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Whether you kayak, canoe or tube, floating down the serene Flint River lets you see Michigan’s seventh biggest city from a unique vantage point. Pack a lunch and turn your urban paddle into a relaxing full day escaping into nature without traveling far. Rentals are available through companies like Flint River Paddle & Livery in nearby Mundy Township.

7.Learn Glass Blowing at Fusion Glass Works

Name and Location: Fusion Glass Works in Flint, MI

History and Significance: Opened in 2015, this contemporary glass art studio provides community education while creating functional artworks through masterclasses, events and youth programming led by skilled resident glass artists.

What to Expect: Try intro workshops in glass fusing, mosaics, painting or seasonal crafts using kilns and torches. Membership includes access to open studio hours utilizing specialty equipment.

Visitor Information: Located downtown Flint at 516 S Saginaw St. Class schedules, student membership pricing listed on website. Custom workshops arranged.

Instead of just shopping for art, you can witness skilled artisans create beautiful glass pieces on the spot at Fusion Glass Works. Their studio located just north of downtown in Flint’s Cultural Center offers beginner glass blowing classes to visitors. Both private and small group lessons provide detailed guidance on safely handling molten glass to produce decorative objects like paper weights and ornaments.

Observing professional glass blowers practice their craft as you make your own blown glass creation makes for an incredibly unique memory. Fusion Glass Works also creates custom-designed glass pieces for residential and commercial clients.

Patrons are welcome to browse their on-site gallery showcasing works from their talented glass artists as well. Visitors routinely leave Fusion Glass Works with appreciation for the intricate art form and its Flint practitioners.

8.Cruise Back in Time at Stepping Stones Montessori

Name and Location: Stepping Stones Montessori in Flint, MI

History and Significance: This nonprofit children’s museum opened in 1998 featuring imaginative hands-on exhibits, role playing activities and immersive environments inspired by the educational Montessori method to spark creativity and inquiry.

What to Expect: Kids can play pretend in interactive settings like veterinary clinic, grocery store, construction zone, art studio and more. Family STEAM programming offered after school and weekends.

Visitor Information: Located inside Flushing Town Center. Open Tues-Sat for guided play sessions and special events. Entry fees $7 per child, free for adults and babies.

History buffs can immerse themselves in Flint’s past with a guided tour through Stepping Stones Montessori’s historic village location. This innovative school resides on the grounds of Crossroads Village, Genesee County’s sprawling outdoor historical museum complex. Getting shown around the Montessori school set inside Crossroads Village literally makes you feel transported back to 19th century Michigan.

Costumed historical interpreters lead insightful walking tours explaining how early Flint pioneers lived. Seeing the one-room school house, church, general store and other antique buildings firsthand gives you deep perspective on old-time local life.

Stepping Stones tours run weekdays during the school year for a modest fee that supports student programming and scholarships. Walking through yesteryear without leaving present-day Flint makes for sensational time travel!

9.See a Planetarium Show at Longway Planetarium

Name and Location: Longway Planetarium in Flint, MI

History and Significance: Part of the Sloan Museum of Discovery, this 360-degree digital dome theater immerses audiences into awe-inspiring shows that explore the cosmos through dynamic visualizations and surround sound technologies.

What to Expect: Narrated productions explain space mysteries like black holes, moon phases and constellations. Programs appeal to all ages and change seasonally. Seats recline for stellar viewing experience.

Visitor Information: Included with general admission to Sloan Museum downtown Flint. Show schedules vary, check website calendar for days/times. Lasts around 30 minutes.

Flint cultural institutions like the Sloan Museum and Flint Institute of Arts rightfully garner lots of attention. However, the city contains a lesser-known gem for stargazers called Longway Planetarium. Located on the outskirts of downtown, Longway Planetarium immerses visitors in educational astronomy shows using cutting-edge digital projection in its 65-foot dome theater.

With the capability to display ten million stars, Longway’s Zeiss star projector will blow you away. The planetarium partners with the Flint Public Library to promote science education on astronomy topics like eclipses, extraterrestrial exploration and more. Visitors routinely leave Longway Planetarium feeling awestruck by the infinity of our universe. Don’t overlook this hidden Flint spectacle shining bright with insight and wonder.

10.Eat Michigan Cheese and Cure Meats at Flint Crepe Company

Name and Location: Flint Crepe Company in Flint, MI

History and Significance: Opened 2016 in a revived downtown storefront, Flint Crepe Co. serves sweet and savory French-inspired crepes stuffed with culinary influences from around the state sourcing from Michigan producers to highlight local flavors.

What to Expect: Thin delicate crepes wrapped around creative fillings like regional jams, nuts, cured meats and artisan cheeses. Kid friendly menu too. Counter service spot for quick, affordable meals.

Visitor Information: Located at 508 S Saginaw St. Open Mon-Thurs 7am-4pm, Fri-Sat 9am-10pm. Crepes around $6-12 each. Can order online for takeout.

Great crepes and craft beverages might not strike you as quintessential Flint cuisine. However, the Flint Crepe Company strives to locally source as many ingredients as possible – even the gouda and salami baked into their savory creations! This cozy eatery occupies a former blacksmiths shop mere blocks from downtown in Flint’s Carriage Town historic neighborhood.

Beyond mouthwatering sweet and savory crepes, the Flint Crepe Company slings stellar Michigan craft beers, wines and ciders to pair with their fare as well. Vegans delight over options like their spinach feta crepe too. The laid-back urban atmosphere makes an ideal spot to take a load off after exploring Flint while still soaking up local flavors.

11.Bike the Flint River Trail

Name and Location: Flint River Trail in Flint, MI

History and Significance: Forming a loop around the city, this paved non-motorized trail spans 12 miles following and crossing the Flint River enabling walking, running and biking while encountering urban nature and many city parks.

What to Expect: Mostly flat trail with some gentle slopes is great for all skill levels. Historical markers along the way offer insight into Flint’s heritage. Connects numerous green spaces, recreational attractions and neighborhoods.

Visitor Information: Access trail from multiple points. Maps available on website. Open 24 hours for free use by bicyclists, pedestrians and skaters. Lighting varies by location.

Pedaling on two wheels lets you cover more ground to see Flint’s sights while getting exercise. Luckily, a paved non-motorized pathway following the Flint River makes bicycling through the city a breeze!

The Flint River Trail spans over seven miles as it closely tracks the river flowing through the heart of the city near major attractions downtown. Partners like the Flint River Watershed Coalition and Genesee County Parks maintain the entire trail network.

You can access the Flint River Trail from numerous points downtown like near Water Street or Max Brandon Park. Feel free to traverse as little or much of the trail as fits your biking ability and schedule. Novice riders stick to straight stretches like in Riverbank or Mott Park.

Avid cyclists can incorporate more elevation change and distance pedaling upriver towards Flushing or downstream to Kettering University’s campus. Either way, the multi-use Flint River Trail lets you enjoy outdoor recreation and lovely river valley views during your visit.

12.Attend the Crim Festival of Races

Name and Location: Crim Festival of Races in Flint, MI

History and Significance: Inaugurated in 1977, the Crim Festival encompasses a series of community running races held annually each August, including the 10-mile Crim main event that draws over 10,000 competitive and casual runners.

What to Expect: Sign up to run distances ranging from a one-mile Fun Run and 8K race up to the flagship Ten Mile Crim race winding through the city and finishing under an arch downtown. Festivities held all weekend.

Visitor Information: 2023 race date August 26. Registration pricing varies per event distance. Entry caps and sell out timing differ across each footrace. Sign up online in advance once open.

Home to Michigan’s largest 10-mile race, Flint hosts the jam-packed Crim Festival of Races every August. Started in 1977 by Flint Judge Robert B. Weiss with just 261 participants, the Crim road races now draw over 17,000 athletes to Flint annually for a long weekend of activities centering around five races.

Runners enter competitive events like a one mile run, 5k, 5 mile race, 10 mile race and marathon. Thousands of volunteers and spectators line downtown streets to cheer on participants during race days too.

The Crim Festival also celebrates health and wellness more broadly by hosting a two day expo with family entertainment, food trucks, beer gardens and sponsor giveaways. Visitors planning on attending the Crim races one year witness Flint’s homegrown Olympic spirit propelling forward generations of young runners united by passion and perseverance.


Most outsiders expect little from Flint beyond abandoned factories telling tales of the city’s evaporated prosperity. However, look closer at this tenacious Michigan community and you’ll discover resilience, reinvention and no shortage of things to do. Flint’s cultural attractions like museums and historical sites now share the spotlight with outdoor recreation, local dining and major festivals.

So skip the tired stereotypes and experience the emerging Flint for yourself next time you plan a Michigan getaway. From the kayak-friendly Flint River to the world class art collection at the Flint Institute of Arts, fun and discovery await around every corner.

Locals know – and now you do too – that vibrant culture thrives in Flint well beyond its reputation as merely a manufacturing hub. The Vehicle City successfully transformed into an attraction-filled destination welcoming visitors to join its renewal.

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