things to do in marshalL michigan

Discovering the Enchanting City of Marshall, Michigan

Are you seeking the finest attractions and activities in Marshall, MI? Look no further!

Marshall, MI is a city brimming with historical allure, natural splendor, and captivating restaurants and museums that are truly one-of-a-kind.

Nestled in southwest Michigan, just a stone’s throw away from Battle Creek, this city is steeped in history and offers a delightful blend of tourism and opportunities to delve into Michigan’s captivating past. Established by the Ketchum brothers, Sidney and George, Marshall has proudly served as the county seat of Calhoun County since the 1830s.

Renowned for its rich transportation history and its remarkably preserved 19th- and 20th-century buildings, Marshall offers a glimpse into the past that is sure to captivate visitors.

Exploring Downtown Marshall, Michigan

A visit to the charming downtown area of Marshall is akin to stepping into a bygone era, where quaint boutiques, gift shops, and eateries line the streets. This nostalgic Main Street is home to iconic restaurants like Schuler’s and Dark Horse Brewing, a renowned craft brewery in Michigan.

For enthusiasts of history, architecture, antiques, and gift shopping, Marshall presents an abundance of opportunities to explore and discover. On Friday and Saturday evenings, the Marshall Trolley Company provides complimentary rides to the public from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.

We have compiled a list of 21 remarkable things to do and see in Marshall, Michigan during your visit:

honolulu house

Embark on a Journey through Marshall’s History

When visiting a town steeped in history like Marshall, you may wonder where to find an intriguing and educational tour to delve into the city’s captivating past.

Fortunately, Marshall offers several self-guided routes that span the entire city. To obtain maps and detailed information about the sights along these tours, make a visit to the Marshall Welcome Center located at 323 W Michigan Ave, Marshall, MI 49068.

21. Marshall Historic Home Tour: The Historic Homes Walk

Within the Marshall Historic District, you’ll find over 15 homes listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This district boasts one of the country’s largest well-preserved street plans and architectural ensembles, showcasing 19th-century designs such as Greek Revival, Queen Anne, Italianate mansions, and Colonial Revival homes. Immerse yourself in the beauty of these architectural marvels along the 1.5 to 3-mile Historic Homes Walk.

20. The Capitol Hill Walk

Marshall once came close to becoming the capital of Michigan, but that honor was eventually bestowed upon Lansing in 1847. Nevertheless, before that decision was made, Marshall witnessed the completion of “Capitol Hill” and the “Governor’s Mansion.” Take the Capital Hill Walk and explore historic markers that shed light on Marshall’s significant role in Michigan’s expansion during the early days of the United States.

19. The Marshall Riverwalk

Take a leisurely stroll along the .85-mile Riverwalk, which winds along the picturesque Kalamazoo River. This wheelchair-accessible path offers views of bridges, boat launches, and scenic overlooks where you can bask in the beauty of the local wildlife.

Immerse Yourself in Marshall’s Museums

Marshall is home to numerous museums that showcase its captivating history. Overseen by the Marshall Historical Society, three noteworthy museums await your exploration: the Marshall Historical Museum, the Honolulu House, and the Capitol Hill School.

18. Discover the Honolulu House Museum

Location: 107 N Kalamazoo Ave, Marshall, MI 49068

Operating Hours: Monday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 12 pm to 4 pm

Constructed in 1860 for a former United States diplomat who aspired to bring a touch of the South Pacific to the Midwest, the Honolulu House stands as a remarkable and intricate residence. Its distinctive feature is a tower adorned with a Pagoda-style roof, prominently positioned at the center of the house.

The architecture of the Honolulu House showcases a captivating blend of Gothic Revival, Italianate, and Polynesian styles. Having undergone several restoration projects, it has become a beloved attraction for tourists and enthusiasts of 19th-century architecture.

17. Immerse Yourself in the Capitol Hill School Museum

Location: 602 E. Washington St

Visiting Hours: By appointment only

This two-room schoolhouse, established in 1861, operated for an impressive 101 years. It stands as a well-preserved testament to life in 19th-century Michigan, offering a glimpse into the past.

16. Uncover the Wonders of the American Museum of Magic

Location: 107 E Michigan Ave, Marshall, MI 49068

Operating Hours: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm; Sunday from 12 pm to 4 pm

Renowned as the “Smithsonian of American Magic,” the American Museum of Magic houses an extensive collection of artifacts that narrate the stories of numerous magicians from around the globe. This extraordinary museum features renowned figures such as Houdini, Thurston, Blackstone, and many others.

fountain marshall michigan

15. Experience the Serenity of Brooks Memorial Fountain Park

Location: 323 W Michigan Ave, Marshall, MI 49068

Nestled in the heart of Marshall, Brooks Memorial Fountain Park is a picturesque oasis. Its focal point is the city’s most famous landmark, the Brooks Memorial Fountain. Harold Brooks constructed this stunning fountain in 1930 as a tribute to his father, C. E. Brooks. Inspired by Marie Antoinette’s “Temple of Love” in Versailles, France, the fountain serves as a captivating backdrop for weddings and offers a serene setting for relaxation. Visitors can sit on the park’s numerous benches, admire the magnificent structure, and immerse themselves in the surrounding natural beauty. Additionally, from May to mid-October, the fountain illuminates with a spectacular display of colors after sunset.

14. Indulge in a Memorable Stay at the National House Inn

Location: 102 Parkview, Marshall, MI 49068

Desk Hours: 9 am to 8 pm / Check-in Hours: 3 pm to 7 pm (Closed on Sundays)

Situated just across the street from Brooks Memorial Fountain Park, the National House Inn Bed & Breakfast offers a charming accommodation experience. Recognized as a historical landmark on the National Register, this inn preserves its rich heritage and traditions, dating back to 1835. Legend has it that the inn played a role in the Underground Railroad. Inside, guests can appreciate the polished antique furniture, a brick fireplace, and an interior that reflects the country charm of the 19th century. The inn also features a gift shop where visitors can explore and purchase unique antiques. Many attractions and activities are within walking distance, providing a convenient and immersive experience.

cornwells turkeyville

13. Delight in Cornwell’s Turkeyville USA

Location: 18935 15 1/2 Mile Road, Marshall, MI 49068

Operating Hours: Tuesday – Saturday from 11 am to 7 pm; Sunday from 11 am to 5 pm

Cornwell’s Turkeyville USA is a delightful and welcoming restaurant that caters to the whole family. Guests can relish in homemade dishes crafted with authentic ingredients, following cherished recipes passed down through generations. The establishment also houses an ice cream parlor and a gift shop. Visitors can look forward to numerous events held here, including dinner theater. Reservations can be made online or by phone.

12. Savor the Experience at Win Schuler’s Restaurant & Pub

Location: 115 S Eagle Street, Marshall, MI 49068

Operating Hours: Tuesday – Thursday, Sunday from 11:30 am to 8 pm; Friday and Saturday from 11:30 am to 9 pm

With a century-long history, Win Schuler’s is a family-owned restaurant that has delighted its loyal customers for generations. Families often gather here, ensuring the continuation of cherished traditions. While preserving its rich history and traditions, the restaurant continuously enhances its menu, decor, and ambiance to adapt to evolving tastes and lifestyles. Win Schuler’s offers a diverse selection of dishes, including steaks, pasta, fish, and more. Additionally, visitors can unwind and enjoy a drink at the pub.

ketchum park

11. Explore the Beauty of Ketchum Park

Location: 731 Montgomery St, Marshall, MI 49068

Ketchum Park is a scenic destination situated on the banks of Rice Creek. It boasts expansive grounds featuring a sprawling kids’ playground, a skateboarding area, and a covered picnic spot. This park provides an idyllic setting for outdoor activities and leisurely enjoyment.

10. Discover the John Bellairs House with a Clock in Its Walls

Notable author of popular children’s mystery books, John Bellairs was born and raised in Marshall, MI. He drew inspiration from his hometown, setting his captivating mysteries within the confines of Marshall. One of his most renowned works, “The House with a Clock in Its Walls,” was even adapted into a motion picture starring Jack Black. The eerie tale finds its roots in the historic John Cronin Mansion located at 407 N. Madison St. Although it is currently a private residence, visitors can drive by and catch a glimpse of the informative historical markers outside the home.

9. Delight in Grandma’s Toys & Treats

Location: 146 W Michigan Ave, Marshall, MI 49068

Operating Hours: Monday – Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm

Grandma’s Toys & Treats is an enchanting destination perfect for families and those seeking delightful gifts. The shop boasts a wide variety of toys and games that cater to all ages. Visitors are encouraged to embrace their inner child and rediscover toys that evoke a sense of nostalgia. While there, guests can also enjoy delicious ice cream from the parlor within the shop.

8. Experience the Warmth of The Green Scene in Marshall MI

Location: 142 W Michigan Ave, Marshall, MI 49068

Operating Hours: Monday – Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm

Dedicated to providing a welcoming environment and a unique shopping experience, The Green Scene ensures every guest feels valued. As you step through the door, friendly shop owners or employees greet you warmly. The shop exudes a pleasant aroma, creating a relaxed and inviting ambiance. Guests are encouraged to browse freely without feeling pressured, unlike some other stores. If assistance is needed or questions arise, the shopkeepers are always available to help. The Green Scene offers a wide selection of fascinating gifts and antiques, catering to all interests and preferences.

7. Appreciate Art at Eastend Studio & Gallery

Location: 143 W Michigan Ave, Marshall, MI, 49068

Operating Hours: Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday from 11 am to 5 pm; Wednesday and Thursday from 10:30 am to 5:30 pm; Sunday from 12 pm to 4 pm (Closed on Mondays)

Unlike many other establishments in Marshall with deep-rooted traditions, Eastend Studio & Gallery is a more contemporary art gallery. Founded in 2006, it may be relatively new in this historically rich city, but it is no less remarkable. Since 2011, Eastend has operated as a non-profit organization, dedicated to educating, promoting, and nurturing the arts. The gallery brings together the creative community by showcasing local and regional artwork. Thanks to grant funding, this nonprofit hosts educational programs and workshops, allowing visitors to explore various artistic expressions and unleash their own creativity.

6. Immerse Yourself in Nature at Brooks Nature Area

Location: Stuart Lake Road, Marshall, MI 49068

Brooks Nature Area is an exquisite park that offers an ideal setting for hiking and immersing oneself in nature. It features a well-maintained network of trails spanning a total of 2.3 miles. Each trail is less than a mile long and includes the North Prairie Trail, Woodland Loop, South Prairie Trail, and Lakeshore Loop. While exploring these trails, visitors have the opportunity to encounter diverse woodland and wetland creatures. Additionally, the trailhead connecting to the North Prairie Trail provides a fantastic vantage point to observe sandhill cranes, Canadian geese, blue herons, and various duck species in Stuart Lake.

5. Catch a Film at the Historic Bogar Theatre

Location: 223 E Michigan Ave, Marshall, MI 49068

Step into the past and enjoy a movie screening at the Bogar Theatre. Established in 1939, this theater is housed within a building dating back to 1838. Despite its age, the Bogar Theatre remains modern, offering 3-D capabilities and comfortable seats complete with cupholders. Guests often commend the reasonable ticket prices and the quality of snacks and drinks available.

4. Attend a Show at the Great Escape Stage Company

Location: 110 E Michigan Ave, Marshall, MI 49068

Situated in downtown Marshall, the Great Escape Stage Company is a small local black-box theater. Led by Artistic Director Randy Lake, this company produces eight to ten captivating shows annually. From cabaret-style performances to comedies and classic dramas, there are numerous showtimes throughout the year to suit various interests. To plan your visit, check their website for show dates and ticket prices.

3. Experience the Vibrant Calhoun County Fair

Location: Calhoun County Fairgrounds, 720 Fair St, Marshall, MI 49068

Established in 1839, the Calhoun County Fair is the longest-running fair in Michigan, held annually since 1848. Taking place typically during the third week of August, this event offers an array of enjoyable activities. Attendees can indulge in fun games, win prizes, delight in carnival rides, and savor delicious food and drinks. The fairgrounds also provide camping facilities. As the week draws to a close, a live concert takes place on Friday evening, followed by an exhilarating demolition derby on Saturday.

2. Skeleton Fest and Marshall Pub & Grub Crawl

To commence the Halloween season, Marshall hosts two delightful events during the final weekend of September each year. The first event is the family-friendly Skeleton Fest, featuring live music playing spooky Halloween melodies, captivating balloon animals, captivating face painting, and an array of amusing skeletons with which you can capture selfies.

Moreover, there is a delectable assortment of food and treats available from various vendors.

Following the conclusion of Skeleton Fest, the Marshall Pub & Grub Crawl takes place in the evening, commencing at the Dark Horse Brewery. Participants have the opportunity to acquire a souvenir beer glass adorned with Skeleton Fest insignia, which unlocks special discounts at numerous bars and restaurants situated downtown, where creatively embellished skeletons are on display. Dark Horse will also be serving their specialty brew, crafted exclusively for Skeleton Fest.

1. Marshall Annual Christmas Parade

For nearly six decades, Marshall has faithfully maintained the tradition of organizing an annual Christmas parade, typically held towards the end of November. For many, this parade serves as the official commencement of the holiday season.

Immerse yourself in the mesmerizing display of lights adorning the downtown area, relish in the harmonious melodies of holiday music performed by local marching bands, and savor a cup of hot cocoa from local vendors as you marvel at the breathtaking floats and skilled flag twirlers. Additionally, there will be an abundance of enjoyable holiday shopping opportunities and captivating vintage decorations to admire.

marshall christmas parade

Further Attractions and Activities near Marshall, MI

  • Critchlow Alligator Sanctuary – Explore this public reptile rescue facility located just southwest of Marshall.
  • Visit the Animals at the Binder Park Zoo.
  • Experience the Excitement of Firekeepers Casino in Battle Creek.
  • Enjoy Family Fun at the Jungle Joes Family Fun Center in Portage, MI.
  • Visit Gull Meadows Farms in Richland, MI.

Marshall, Michigan Through the Seasons

Summer provides the ideal time to embark on walking tours throughout the city. Don’t miss the Marshall Area Farmers Market, acclaimed as one of the premier farmers markets in the state, operating year-round. In autumn, the vibrant fall foliage in the vicinity is truly awe-inspiring, and many farms near Marshall offer enthralling corn mazes and other enjoyable activities for children. As winter arrives, the city transforms into a holiday wonderland, with elaborate decorations illuminating Michigan Avenue, evoking a sense of enchantment during Thanksgiving and Christmas.