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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!

15 responses to "Day Trip: Flint, Michigan"

  1. Eric Brown Jan 01, 2009 at 12:33

    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!

  2. Frank P Jan 01, 2009 at 16:52

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

  3. Hubert Jan 02, 2009 at 09:18

    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.

  4. Brandon Jan 02, 2009 at 10:56

    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.

  5. Brandon Jan 03, 2009 at 23:52

    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….

  6. Brandon Jan 17, 2009 at 10:05

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

  7. Day Trip: Toledo, Ohio | the urbane life Jan 17, 2009 at 11:01

    […] is the second post in our series, “Day Trip.”

  8. Dominique Feb 02, 2009 at 00:28

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

  9. Brandon Feb 03, 2009 at 21:56

    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.

  10. Flint Thinks About Being Smaller | the urbane life Apr 26, 2009 at 22:39

    […] Thursday, the Most Emailed Article at the New York Times’ website

  11. Brandon Apr 30, 2009 at 22:39

    Thanks for the comment, Crazy Uncle.

    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!

  12. Crazy Uncle Larry Apr 30, 2009 at 20:55

    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.

  13. туапсе цены Feb 10, 2010 at 06:43

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

  14. Day Trip: Toledo, Ohio | the urbane life Apr 24, 2010 at 10:06

    […] is the second post in our series, “Day Trip.”

  15. Shyla May 20, 2013 at 14:12

    nice job with your magazine sir