7 Things to do Downtown Before Summer Ends

Written by Kingsli Kraft | August 21, 2020

The first day of Fall is September 22nd, and while this has been one of the loveliest summers for Downtown Alpena in terms of weather, we can definitely feel fall easing its way in. The mornings are crisp and cool. We’ve had to break out a cardigan or two. We’re running the AC less. Now, don’t worry, we’re definitely not trying to rush through the rest of summer. We’re looking forward to savoring the last of these summer days. So here are 7 things you should do in Downtown Alpena before summer is officially over (if you haven’t already)! 

  1. Dine or have drinks outside

A glass of Thunder Bay Winery Wine and a pizza from Fresh Palate while sitting on the sidewalk on Second Avenue and enjoying the ambiance of Downtown Alpena as the sun sets and paints the buildings in shades of gold. A margarita tower and a plate of enchiladas while you chat with friends on Mangos Tequila Bar’s patio under the Community Fish Mural—this is the epitome of summer in Downtown Alpena. 

  1. Watch the sunrise from the harbor 

This is my personal favorite, and while catching a beautiful sunrise from the harbor is great any time of year, it’s even lovelier in the summer when the sun still rises before 7:00am and you’re up and watching the sun bloom vibrantly across the horizon as most of town is still tucked in and sleeping at home. It can feel like a private show, just for you.

  1. Attend Coffee and Cars

Coffee and Cars is new in Downtown Alpena this summer. It started in July and was so much fun, our DDA Marketing & Promotions Committee decided to extend it through the rest of the summer. Coffee and Cars runs every Saturday from 8:00am to noon. You have until Saturday, September 5th, to come downtown and either park your own classic car or walk through downtown and check out all the cool cars as a member of the community. Grab a cup of coffee from Biggby or Cabin Creek and take a stroll through downtown. Classic and cool car owners that are participating can park anywhere they feel most comfortable, so there should be cars scattered throughout downtown! 

  1. Check out the Street Performers 

The Alpena Street Performers can be found downtown on Fridays from 6:00pm to 8:00pm, playing live music in Culligan Plaza, the Pocket Park, and Avery Park. It’s so lovely to combine this one with #1—dine in the outdoor areas of our downtown restaurants while the music filters through the streets, or grab take out/pack a picnic and go get a seat front and center to enjoy live music in Downtown Alpena. 

  1. Get an ice cream cone from Scoops! 

I would hope you’ve done this already, but if you haven’t, no judgement! It’s been a crazy and hectic year, but you can’t really experience summer in Downtown Alpena without getting a homemade waffle cone with your favorite flavor of ice cream from Downtown Scoops. Their walk-up window makes grabbing an ice cream after dinner downtown or during a walk through downtown even more tempting. My go to is Cookie Dough and Chocolate ice cream in a homemade chocolate covered waffle cone! 

  1. Take a photo in front of one of the Downtown Murals

After next week, we’ll have one more mural in Downtown Alpena perfect for snapping photos in front of. We already have the Community Fish Mural and the first mural from last year’s kick off of Fresh Waves: The Downtown Mural Project. As a part of Fresh Waves this year, two murals were commissioned. The first was painted at the end of July on the side of Salon 125 at 125 E. Chisholm Street, and the second will be painted next week on the Fletcher St. side of Thunder Bay Theatre’s warehouse. You have so many options for all of your photoshoot needs, whether it be for super special senior pictures, family photos, making a TikTok or just some fun pictures with your friends, we have so many great backdrop options now!

  • Community Fish Mural located in Pocket Park on the side of the Local Basket Case at 109 W. Chisholm St.
  • 2019 Fresh Waves Mural located at Family Enterprise at 211 S. Second Ave.
  • 2020 Fresh Waves Mural #1 located at Salon 125 at 125 E. Chisholm St. 
  • 2020 Fresh Waves Mural #2 located at Thunder Bay Theatre 400 N. Second Ave. (to be completed next week August 24th – 28th)
  1. Make a wish in the Culligan Plaza Fountain

Even as an adult, I make a point of doing this every summer. It’s a tradition that is so simple, but still so special to me. Step into Culligan Plaza by yourself or bring your family or friends and flip a penny into the fountain together as you murmur your wish to yourself. Adults deserve to believe in magic too, especially after the year we’ve had. 

Kingsli Kraft wrote this article for Blog Downtown Alpena. Kingsli is an Alpena native and a graduate of the University of Michigan. She now works at the Alpena Downtown Development Authority as the Marketing and Outreach Coordinator. She volunteers on Thunder Bay Theatre’s Board of Directors and is a dedicated advocate for the arts and environment. She enjoys reading, writing, yoga, hiking, caring for all of her plants and all things coffee. You can follow her on Instagram here.

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