Top Ten Things to do in Flint, Michigan
Flint, Michigan is notorious for a lot of negatives. High unemployment, a high crime rate, and highly publicized activities of city officials make people think twice about visiting Flint. Before I moved here I was one of those people who avoided the city. I missed out on a lot of activities I enjoy now, and I haven't taken part in a fraction of the fun and interesting attractions that are available. My top ten list will probably change as I take part in new activities, but for now, here are my favorites in no particular order.
1. Visit the Flint Institute of Arts, the Flint Farmers' Market, Buckham Gallery, and the Greater Flint Arts Council. Artists from many locations have work featured here, and the art work is wonderful. Some is for display, some is for sale, and all is enjoyable to view. The Flint Institute of Arts also features international, independent, and classic films. For information, visit www.flintarts.org, www.flintfarmersmarket.com, and www.greaterflintartscouncil.org/.
2. Attend a Flint Folk Music Society concert. I was hesitant when a friend asked me to go to a few concerts with her after she joined the Flint Folk Music Society, but I agreed and I've never regretted it. In fact, I became a member myself. Folk musicians from all over the world bring their talent to Flint. For $15.00, you enjoy music and conversation up close and personal. Buy a CD if you like the artist and you can meet the artist and have them sign the CD for you. Every summer the Flint Folk Music Society hosts a free folk festival featuring many local and nationally known folk artists. Go to www.flintfolkmusic.org for information on concerts.
3. Go to the Longway Planetarium. I had gone there several times before I realized how rare planetariums are. There are several shows to suit many tastes. Seasonal shows celebrating Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and other holidays are available for the whole family. There are features geared toward school-aged children and laser light shows set to music. My favorite has always been the Pink Floyd laser light show that returns every year. Call 810-237-3409 for information.
4. Catch a show by actors, actresses, comedians, and other personalities at the Whiting Auditorium. The Whiting is a nice show place that hosts many classic events. I've seen local and national talent entertain many diverse audiences. Coming attractions include The Four Tops, Bob the Builder Live, The Nutcracker, and Garrison Keillor. Check www.thewhiting.com for information on upcoming events and ticket prices.
5. Flint can boast having not one, but two excellent museums. The Sloan Museum features many exhibits and galleries that are popular for everything from car shows to weddings and parties.Call 810-237-3427 for information, or visit the website at SloanLongway.org. The Flint Children's Museum offers exhibits geared toward young children. "Grossology" was one of the more popular exhibits for school classes. Nature's Discovery Live Animal Exhibit features Michigan reptiles and amphibians. Check www.flintchildrensmuseum.org for upcoming exhibits.
6. Younger music fans enjoy visiting The Machine Shop to pay lower prices for hard rock acts. And yes, this much older fan enjoyed concerts there, too. You can see acts that are on their way to national fame as well as talented musicians that are no longer in the public eye but are still worth seeing. For concert information, www.myspace.com/themachineshop.
7. Local colleges and institutes offer a variety of entertainment for reasonable prices. The University of Michigan-Flint offers theatre and musical performances at the downtown E. Kearsley Street location and Mott Community College holds many musical performances and film festivals on the Court Street campus and at Woodside Church next to the college. The Flint Institute of Music provides local and international talent featuring Flint School of Performing Arts students and faculty. The International Institute teaches cultural differences through dance, music, art, and food.
8. Go to Crossroads Village to live Genesee County's History. Ride on the Huckleberry Railroad or the Genesee Belle. Visit during each season so you don't miss any of the exhibits. Christmas at Crossroads, Kaleidoscope in June, war reenactments, Halloween Ghosts and Goodies, and visits each year from local school children are all can't miss events. For information on Crossroads Village and other parks in Flint, visit www.geneseecountyparks.org.
9. Flint theatres, bookstores, and coffee shops offer venues for local entertainment. McCree Theatre (www.thenewmccreetheatre.com) offers affordable versions of excellent shows. Flint City Theatre (www.flintcitytheatre.com) offers a variety of entertainment. The Flint Youth Theatre (www.flintyouththeatre.com) offers entertainment for people of all ages by area youth. Border's bookstore has open mic nights and Good Beans Cafe features local entertainers.
10. Mott Lake in Flint is one of my favorite places. The Bluegill Boat Launch allows fishing fanatics to enjoy a wake-free area for their favorite hobby. Walleye, bluegill, crappie, pike, catfish, sunfish, bass, and perch can be found in Mott Lake. There's a bicycle path winding through the woods and along the shore of the lake that's enjoyed by walkers as well as bicyclists. Fall colors are as beautiful here as in any place in the state. I've taken hundreds of pictures on and around Mott Lake, and people I've shared them with ask "Where is this? It's beautiful!" And it is. Like any other place in the country, Flint, in spite of its bad press, has more goodness and beauty than negative qualities. You just have to look and find it.