About 60,000 people live in this town that survived an economic downturn when the logging industry ended at the turn of the 20th century. As with many Michigan cities, it is currently struggling to adapt to the challenges of having an economy based on the automotive industry. A recent article on AOL listed Saginaw in the Top 10 of 'Ghost Towns of the Future', due to its declining population, vacant downtown area, and lack of services
Over the past 15 years, Saginaw has built an impressive network of health care facilities - hospitals, specialists, cancer treatment centers - that serves residents from many of the surrounding counties.
You can easily reach Saginaw via the I-75 freeway that runs north from Detroit. Downtown Saginaw is accessible from I-675. You can fly into the MBS (Midland/Bay City/Saginaw) international airport.
Saginaw and Saginaw County offer friendly, hospitable residents who welcome guests to the area. The downtown Saginaw area is home to the Dow event center, home to the Saginaw Spirit (yes, the same Saginaw Spirit supported by Stephen Colbert) a celebrated OHL hockey franchise, home to the Saginaw Sting (the areas most popular arena football team), the Saginaw Symphony ranking at the top of the nation's symphony performing groups with international conductor Maestro Patrick Flynn and home to the Temple Theatre a fully resorted 1927 Vaudeville Theater home to an original Barton Organ. There are also wonderful museums, the Saginaw Art Museum (Smithsonian Sanctioned) and the Mid-Michigan's Children's Museum. A stop to Saginaw is well worth the time and value.
You'll need a car. Public transportation is limited. In the city and surrounding areas, mass transit is provided by bus under the authority of the Saginaw Transit Authority Regional Services (STARS) system. The STARS system connects to Bay City's Bus system at Saginaw Valley State University. The Saginaw Valley has five primary tourist areas: Birch Run, Chesaning, Frankenmuth, Saginaw City and Saginaw Township. These are spread out by as much as 25-30 minutes by car.
Andersen Enrichment Center 120 Ezra Rust Dr. +1 989 759-1362.
Japanese Cultural Center and Tea House 527 Ezra Rust Drive. +1 989 759-1618. Educational and cultural programs for guests of all ages. One of only five of its kind in the country.
Saginaw Children's Zoo at Celebration Square. 1730 S. Washington Ave. +1 989 759-1408. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Zoological facility featuring hands-on exhibits where you can let the kid in you out, whether you're 2 or 92. Facility includes: train, playground, Awareness Amphitheater, gift shop, and concessions. Home of Michigan's only new hand-carved carousel. Seasonal with special weekends in October and December. Handicap accessible.
Theodore Roethke House. 1805 Gratiot,+1 989 799-0559. Visit the home of famed Pulitzer Prize-Winning Saginaw poet Theodore Roethke and view the historical marker. Educational and cultural tours, slide presentations for organizations, occasional picnics and concerts. Call to make arrangements and obtain information.
Castle Museum of Saginaw County History. 500 Federal Ave. +1 989 752-2861.
Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum. 7400 Bay Rd, University Center. +1 989 964-7125. Saginaw Valley State University's permanent exhibition of more than 200 works of art, spanning the career of Marshall Fredericks, internationally known sculptor. A fun and educational experience for visitors of all ages. Handicap accessible.
Saginaw Art Museum 1126 N. Michigan Ave. +1 989 754-2491. Ancient and modern art, formal gardens, tours, classes and children's area.
Saginaw Railway Museum. 900 Maple St. +1 989 790-7994. Depot, railroad tower, trackage, diesel locomotive, three historic cabooses, two boxcars and limited hours. Call in advance.
Chesaning Showboat. 218 N. Front St., Chesaning. Toll-free: +1 800 844-3056. Variety show draws internationally acclaimed entertainers such as Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, Roy Clark, Randy Travis and Lee Greenwood. Outdoor theater seats 7,000. Shows are run during the second full week of July. Handicap accessible.
Pit & Balcony Theater 805 N Hamilton St. +1 989 754-6587. Community theater.
Saginaw Bay Symphony Orchestra. See and hear some of the best musicians in the area; recently re-organized and performing in the Temple Theatre often, too!
Saginaw Valley State University Theatre. 7400 Bay Rd., University Center. +1 989 964-4261. Comprehensive season, including youth theater. Call for schedule. Handicap accessible.
Temple Theatre. Beautiful historic theatre in downtown, located on Washington. Concerts, films, plays, and more are shown here. It's recently been redone and the interior is absolutely breathtaking.
TheDow Event Center Arena, theater, conference and hall complex in Downtown Saginaw. Formerly the Saginaw Civic Center.
Crooked Creek, 9387 Gratiot Road (M-46 in Shields, MI). +1 989 781-0050. Hours vary. 24 lanes, family-friendly environment.
LeFevre's Family Bowl, 6220 State Street in Saginaw Township. +1 989 793-3010. Hours vary. 48 lanes, Len & Gerry's Pub.
Stardust, 3750 Bay Road in Saginaw Township. +1 989 793-6300. Open Noon-Late. Co-located with the Michigan Tap Room.
Crooked Creek, 9387 Gratiot Road (M-46 in Shields, MI). +1 989 781-0050. Seasonal; hours vary. 18 holes, driving range, open to the public.
Swan Valley Golf Club 9521 Highland Green Dr. +1 989 781-4653. Seasonal; hours vary. 18 holes, driving range, Grill on the Green lounge, open to the public.
Friday Night Live Morley Plaza (on N. Washington between Citizens Bank and The Temple Theatre). Summer concert series. Food vendors on site, beer tent, children's games. 2006 themes included "Latin Night," "Oldies Night," "Country Night," and "Motown Night." Free admission.
Lawn Chair Film Festival. Easily one of the coolest things to happen to this post-industrial town in quite some time. Weekly free showings of excellent domestic, independent, and foreign films during the summer months. Shows start at dusk; all that's required is your own lawn chair (hence the name of the festival!).
Pit & Balcony Theater 805 N Hamilton St. +1 989 754-6587. Community theater.
Shiver On The River Annual walleye ice-fishing contest on the Saginaw River. Typically begins in late January and concludes in early February, but depends on ice and weather conditions.
WKCQ Country Fest Country music festival typically held on the third Saturday in June on Ojibway Island.
Fashion Square Mall 4787 Fashion Square Mall, +1 989 793-6723. The Tri-Cities' premier shopping destination. With great shopping destination like Macy's, JC Penney, Sears, over 100 specialty shops including Talbot's, Yankee Candle, Hollister, Children's Place and a eight-unit food court.
Home to most of Saginaw's national retail outlets and chains.
Frankenmuth River Place. 925 S. Main St., Frankenmuth. Toll-free: +1 800 600-0105. Mini European hamlet with 30 shops and attractions including a laser show and the Bavarian Belle paddle wheel boat. Have fun at A-MAZE-N MIRRORS mirror maze, BeeBee's Fun Place, A Magical Town sculpture and hologram village or enjoy time at our Day Spa!
St. Julian Winery. 127 S. Main St., Frankenmuth. +1 989 652-3281. Michigan's oldest and largest wine company. Best selection. Free tastings of Michigan's best wines, champagnes and sparkling juices.
Prime Outlets at Birch Run 12240 S. Beyer Road (Birch Run, MI). Toll-free: +1 888 901-7467. The Midwest's largest outlet center, with 170 shops, with discounts of 25-65% off manufacturers' prices. Stop by the Customer Service Center in Fir Run to receive a current listing of discounts available to shoppers. I-75 adjacent.
The Stable Outdoor Outfitters. 300 S. Hamilton St. +1 989 799-0601. Located in 1860's livery stable. Skis, snowboards, bikes, kayaks and in-line skates.
Many large and small antique shops to explore. The Antique Warehouse has more than a hundred stalls featuring uncommon treasures.
Spencer's, 5530 Gratiot Rd, +1 989 793-4500 Fine dining and spirits. Classy, upscale restaurant. Italian and American food. The service and the food is excellent.
Frália's, 422 Hancock St, +1 989 799-0111. Newer sandwich shop located in Old Town Saginaw. Absolutely fantastic sandwiches, utilizing fresh and quality ingredients.
Panda House, 1010 N Niagara St, +1 989 755-5394. Excellent Chinese cuisine. The sesame tofu is absolutely outstanding. Highly recommended. Locally owned and operated.
Pasongs, Great Asian food. All food is made in a single wok, so wait times can be lengthy. Only open Mondy through Friday, 11am - 7pm.
Tonys Original Restaurants, 2525 E Genesee Ave, +1 989 753-4321. Legendary steak sandwiches. Breakfasts are also amazing.
Bringer Inn, 516 W Genesee Ave, +1 989 753-1462. Looking for a good old diner with home cooked meals - all fresh, not frozen? Bringers is not fancy but there's a reason it's always packed. Good food and low prices. Order the Big Mike (with mayo and green olives). Also have great steak sandwiches (see above). Many homemade pies made daily.
Intermission Deli, 2128 Bay St, +1 989 790-6777. The best delis in Michigan (also in Bay City).
Red Eye Coffee House, 205 N. Hamilton St, +1 989 793-1411. Has placed two years in Torani's National Barista (Coffee Bartender) contest. Serving Manhattan-style bagels, scones, pastry. Entertainment includes poetry readings, and local art. Not a full service restaurant.
Spatz's Hot Bread The ubiquitous bread of Mid-Michigan. Available at almost any grocery store, this bakery product is produced locally and is the great secret of the area. It has a distinctive wax wrap in solid white and red. People as far away as Marin County, California have it shipped to them. The bread is best described as 'Your Grandmother's Bread'. It is heavy, turns rock hard in about three days (great for toasting then), but it is the closest to fresh baked bread you will find. Many locals don't say they're going to get a loaf of bread, instead they say, 'I need to pick up some Spatz's.'
Glen Rowan Estate Coffee Roasters, 212 S. Washington Ave, (989) 921-0340 or (866) 753-7417. Absolutely excellent coffee (roasted before your eyes!), amazing tea, and all kinds of other coffee-ish drinks. Friendly staff, great service, nice environment.
Len & Gerry's Pub, 6220 State Street in Saginaw Township. +1 989 793-3010. Recently renovated bar inside LeFevre's Family Bowl. Known for its Happy Hour prices.
Hamilton Street in downtown Saginaw City has a variety of bars and taverns that attract drinkers of all ages.
Jakes Old City Grill, 100 S Hamilton St, Saginaw, MI 48602 (On the corner of Court St. and Hamilton St.), ☎ (989) 797-8325, . Monday 11:00 am – 10:00 pm Tuesday 11:00 am – 10:00 pm Wednesday 11:00 am – 10:00 pm Thursday 11:00 am – 11:00 pm Friday 11:00 am – 11:00 pm Saturday 4:00–11:00 pm Sunday Closed. Jake’s Old City Grill is a casual-upscale dining facility with a comprehensive martini and wine list. The menu provides a classic, yet updated selection of steaks, chops, seafood, poultry, pasta and vegetarian entrees paired with dynamic presentation and gracious service.edit
Saginaw has many challenges with crime just like every other major city in the United States. Fortunately for Saginaw, these areas for crime are largely centered away from the tourist areas. While locals have been known to exaggerate the threat, the potential for violent crime is real.
Visitors unfamiliar with the area would be wise to avoid residential neighborhoods, especially east of the river and particularly at night. Old Town Saginaw can also get a bit rough, especially late at night when the bars clear out. That being said, if you exercise common sense and avoid looking for trouble, you should be fine.
Flint -- The home of the modern labor union movement in the US. Flint has a great art scene for a city of its size and is much less pretentious.
Bay City -- Less than 20 minutes from downtown Saginaw, downtown Bay City is known for diverse local eateries and shopping. Also visit the scenic Riverwalk and other public parks along the Saginaw River.