Day Trip: Flint, Michigan

One of our resolutions for the New Year (now fewer than three hours away!) is to (1) be financially responsible and (2) to spend our dollars in Michigan whenever possible.  In support of this goal, this column will feature “day trips” over the next few months:  culturally interesting jaunts within an hour or two of Royal Oak which our readers may not have visited in awhile.  Or ever.

Flint, Michigan is a scruffy city located about an hour northeast of Royal Oak which has a lot in common with Detroit.  It is suffering from the decline of the auto industry.  Its citizens are a proud, hard-working lot. Its population has been in decline.  And/but it has a rich cultural history.

Start your Day Trip to this city with a visit to the Flint Institute of Arts.  The museum completed a $12.6 million renovation in 2005 which left it with improved exhibits and a stunning building.  While over 85,000 visitors check out its permanent and visiting exhibits annually, the crowds are noticeably thinner than at the Detroit Institute of Arts — an advantage for the visitor who wants to leisurely peruse the collection without screaming kids underfoot.

Current exhibits include Las Artes de Mexico: From the Collection of the Gilcrease Museum and Masterpieces of European Painting from Museo de Arte de Ponce.  The museum also features an elegant “member’s room” which is open to the public, a film series, art courses, a shop featuring, among other things, Michigan artists, and a small cafe.  (Hint:  thanks to Target, the museum is free on Saturdays!)

Car buffs will love the Sloan Museum which is right next door.  It features a healthy dose of historic cars as well as displays on regional history.  As much for the anthropologist (check out the display on camping, featuring a 60s era RV) as for the auto enthusiast, this museum is as fun for kids who will love the interactive displays as it is for adults who can relive their childhoods while viewing nostalgic displays.

After you’ve had your fill of museuming, stop by The French Laundry in Fenton on the way home.  (Another hint for the wise traveller:  this place is great for breakfast and lunch, and just so-so for dinner, in our opinion.)  From “Would Be Prom Queens” (sandwiches) to “Eat Your Greens Child” (salads), this place located at 125 W. Shiawassee at Adelaide knows how to do lunch!

Are there any day trips which you would like to see featured?  Or, what’s your favorite spot in Flint?  Leave them in the comments.

Related posts by Brandon:

Stuff to Do:  Ferndale Holiday Ice Festival

Noble Fish:  The Best Damned Sushi in Metro Detroit

Get out there and Explore Metro Detroit’s Cultural Treasures . . . For Free!

This article brought to you by the good folks at Urbane Apartments Royal Oak Michigan, Urbane Apartments Ferndale Michigan,Urbane Apartments Birmingham Michigan, and Urbane Apartments Dearborn Michigan

  • http://www.urbanelobby.com/ Eric Brown

    Brandon,
    What a great post, an outstanding idea of highlighting day trips in and around our great state of MI.

    Thanks for your leadership and stewardship here!

  • Frank P

    You should do Frankenmuth as well, though Flint needs the tourist dollars more I’m guessing. Anyone remember Auto World? Yikes!

  • http://twitter.com/gamalam Hubert

    The French Laundry is a great restaurant, especially since they support the local economy by using baked good from Zingermann’s.
    Whenever you’re in Fenton again, might I suggest Fenton Hotel, which is not a hotel anymore just a restaurant. My fiancee’s uncle owns that place.

  • Brandon

    Will definitely try out the Fenton Hotel. There was a great place in Linden, too, but it burned down last year and was never rebuilt.

    Also will look @ doing Frankenmuth. I love Zenhders! Great bakery, chicken, etc.

  • Brandon

    Just found an AMAZING Thai/Lao restaurant at 14 & Campbell… Will be doing a post on it soon. Have already visited twice to do “research.” Now will be interviewing the family that owns it….

  • Brandon

    Alright… more time spent refinding and reuploading photos to the blog that were destroyed by our hacker. Back in business here, take that!

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  • http://www.midwestguest.com Dominique

    Flint is somewhere I haven’t been in a long, long time. Sounds like I should make a trip again soon.

  • Brandon

    It definitely needs some tourist love! And I think the FIA is an unknown gem. It’s great to be able to get close to and really enjoy the art as it’s never as busy or as crowded as the DIA, for example.

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  • Crazy Uncle Larry

    Dan Kildee and the Land Bank are one of the reasons why I believe Flint will survive. Kettering and UM-Flint’s expanding campus give it hope for the future. 3rd avenue has been re-named University Drive and a bike path has been laid which help connect the two campuses. i think Flint has a lot going for it in terms of its heritage and it’s location (I-69 & I-75). City leaders like Tim Herman and Dan Kildee have given Flint hope.

  • http://www.thebosblog.com Brandon

    Thanks for the comment, Crazy Uncle. Hope you saw this post too: http://www.urbaneapts.com/blog/?p=1503

    The University does seem to be the best thing Flint has going for it. I do hope some industry/ jobs become available so some of those smart, young graduates can stay in Flint, or at least in Michigan!

  • http://www.zeleny-gai.ru/ туапсе цены

    Что ж, подсказали тебе и без меня:) напрямую, двигаться дальше

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  • Shyla

    nice job with your magazine sir