Written by Kingsli Kraft | June 7, 2019
This is your guide to the perfect weekend in Downtown Alpena, at least from my perspective. I was born here, raised here, I went away to school and now I’m back, and rediscovering this little town that I call home is one of my favorite past times. If you’ve lived here your whole life, maybe this will inspire you to go out and explore something familiar to find a new experience. If you’re visiting, I hope this guide helps you to have the best possible experience in Downtown Alpena during your stay. (Click on any of the businesses and organizations listed below for more information on their offerings.)
10:00am Breakfast. You have to start your Saturday right at As You Wish Gourmet Eatery with a cinnamon roll and a cup of tea or an acai bowl and coffee. (Maybe even a cupcake if you’re feeling particularly rebellious?)
10:30am Shopping. Take a meandering stroll through downtown and check out Blue Phoenix Books for something to read during your trip, Traveling Ladders for unique vintage finds and treasures, Olivet Books + Gifts for a trinket or another book to read, The Rabbit Hole for cool gifts from bookish accessories to homemade candles, and The Local Basket Case for an Alpena tee shirt, sweatshirt, coffee mug or beer glass to commemorate your trip.
12:30 Lunch. Stop in at Bob’s Bullpen and The Bulldog, browse the comic books and grab one of their signature hot dogs (vegan, vegetarian and gluten free options available!) to refuel before the next round of shopping.
1:30 Shopping. Check out My Front Porch Decor for some handmade home decor, Soaps + Such for handmade, all natural wellness products, Myer’s Fashions for some new jewelry or an outfit, and Rusty Petunias Marketplace for some cute home decor or a summery outfit, Bark & Ophie for a treat for your furry friends, the Sugar & Spice Shop for a treat for yourself, Masters-LaLonde Shoes for a new pair of sandals or sneakers.
3:00pm Afternoon Pick-me-up. Pop over to Cabin Creek Coffee for all the cozy cabin vibes and to rest your feet, and refuel with a specialty mocha or latte. We recommend the Nutty Irishman or their signature Deer Camp Roast. (If coffee isn’t your thing they also have a variety of teas available!)
3:30pm Art Galleries. Stop in at Forty-Five North Art Gallery, Art in the Loft, Studio Rubedo, Thunder Bay Arts Council Gallery, and My Glass Wings for art spanning all mediums—ceramics, woodwork, painting, photography, sculpture, collage, glass and more—created by local artists from around Northeast Michigan.
5:30pm Dinner. Get a table at The Fresh Palate for a fresh and locally sourced meal. Order one of their specialty burgers, a pizza, or one of their other delicious menu items. They also offer a full spectrum of Michigan microbrews and a complete wine list.
7:00pm Live Theatre. Grab tickets for a show at the only year round professional theatre in Northern Michigan, Thunder Bay Theatre. This year their summer shows are Into the Woods, Mamma Mia, and Carousel.
9:00am Breakfast After a long and busy day yesterday, we’ll start at JJ’s Steak and Pizza House for their hearty, delicious and classic breakfast buffet—eggs, bacon, biscuits, hash browns, sausage.
10:30am Museum Just a short walk along the river down Fletcher Street is the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center, the visitor’s center for the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, the Heritage Center offers exhibits on the numerous shipwrecks in Thunder Bay, native wildlife, and maritime artifacts and history.
12:00pm Take a Walk After exploring the museum, take a nice long walk along the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Trail, read the signs detailing the history of the Sanctuary, enjoy the views of the river, take a second to sit and relax on a bench, and see what wildlife you can spot!
1:00pm Lunch Take a walk back through downtown to The Black Sheep for their Sunday Bloody Mary Bar (hint: Kris’ Mix is the best!) and a bit of lunch, maybe some sliders or a pizza to share!
2:00pm Dessert In our opinion, dessert is as essential, and no trip to Downtown Alpena would be complete without a stop at Downtown Scoops! Grab a scoop (or three!) of ice cream in one of their homemade waffle cones and browse locally made salsa, honey and jam!
2:30pm Relax Stop in Avery Park (across the street from Bella Rose Yoga Studio and the Alpena CVB) to relax or the Pocket Park to admire the Community Fish Mural (between Mangos and the Local Basket Case) and let your stomach settle before the next stop on the itinerary.
3:00pm Yoga Class Continue the theme of relaxation and leisure with a wonderfully restorative Recovery Yoga class at Bella Rose Yoga and Fitness Studio.
4:30pm Wine Tasting Take a walk back over the bridge to the Center Building and stop into Thunder Bay Winery for a tasting! You can try six wines for $5, or get a flight of 4 for $10. They offer a full selection of red, white and fruit wines. Don’t leave without grabbing a bottle.
6:00pm Dinner Walk back through the Center Building, out the back door and across the Pocket Park to Mangos Tequila Bar. Order a margarita (they come in glass, pitcher and tower form) and munch on the complimentary salsa and chips while you browse the menu. There’s something for everyone with their complete Mexican menu and a few American additions.
Kingsli Kraft wrote this article for Blog Downtown Alpena. Kingsli is a graduate from University of Michigan. She now works at the Alpena Downtown Development Authority as Marketing and Outreach Coordinator. She enjoys reading, writing, yoga, hiking, caring for all of her plants and trying new recipes. You can follow her on Instagram here.