Welcome to Marquette, Michigan. An upper peninsula escape for some but a year round seasonal monster for others. Marquette is one of the main cities of the UP (Upper Peninsula) and provides ample opportunities to explore the great outdoors. Now, you have 36 hours here. What do you do? Let’s go
Marquette, Michigan: 36 hours in the UP Overview
Marquette is one of the UP’s most visited cities and for various reasons. Situated on the shores of Lake Superior, Marquette is ideally positioned for countless outdoor activities combined with a small Midwest city vibe.
After departing you will wish your trip was at least a week longer. Let’s take a look at how you should spend 36 hours in Marquette, Michigan.
Marquette, Michigan Arrival. Friday Night
You made it! Whether you are traveling a long ways from downstate or just across state lines, your UP experience begins now. If you are looking to grab a bite after you check in, here are some great local Marquette Food options
- DELFT – The DELFT serves up excellent American Fare meals in a converted movie theater right in the heart of downtown. The casual upscale ambiance, makes this place a gem. They also run a movie, or program on the giant projector in the middle of the restaurant.
- The Vierling – A classic joint located in downtown Marquette, The Vierling is one of Marquette’s oldest and established restaurants on the block. The Vierling also operates as a brewery and brews all of their beer on site.
Looking to unwind with a drink after your meal or long drive? Here are two popular Marquette MI bars
- The Wooden Nickel
- Remies Pub
Marquette Outdoors - Saturday
Breakfast is non negotiable and you are heading to my and to many others favorite, Java Bay Cafe. If you’re like myself and love Breakfast burritos, DO NOT SKIP on the opportunity to indulge in one of the best breakfast burritos in the game. Tip: Order Ahead as they make their food with love
Head down the street and pick up a cup of coffee from Contrast Coffee and get rolling into your Marquette journey. Dial in Presque Isle Park to your GPS and head to the isle for scenic viewpoints and some cliff jumping (if you dare). Drive,bike, hike the loop & make sure you visit the infamous Black Rocks cliff jumping spot into the frigid waters of Superior.
After getting your dose of mountain views, refuel with a bit of Yooper life with a stop at Phils 550. Grab an ice cream, water, and snacks before continuing on to Marquette’s best waterfall hike, Dead River Falls.
Follow the Dead River Falls trail to the Upper Falls for some cliff jumping if your heart desires. The hike is about 2 miles round trip and is pretty easy but very scenic along the river.
After circumventing the 2 mile loop its time to scale one of Marquette’s most infamous peaks, Sugarloaf Mountain. Drive down Big Bay Rd about 10 minutes and find the Sugarloaf parking lot roadside. Ascend the .5 mile trail up to one of the best views in Marquette county situated 280 feet above. Don’t sweat it, the hike is easy and most of the hike is apart of a stair system.
At this point of the day head back into town for a late lunch at one of Marquette’s most popular, Donckers. Grab a delicious sandwich and don’t forget their infamous chocolates on the way in or out. Post lunch navigate yourself to McCarty’s Cove for an afternoon hangout and recharge on the shores of Lake Superior.
Beer Fan? Beer lovers can’t miss one of the UP’s and Marquette’s best, Blackrocks Brewery. Enjoy a pint or two and revel in the beauty of the scenery that surrounds. After a full day of fun in the sun and beer, your appetites must be through the roof.
Dinner is up to you depending on your interests and budget. Here are some Marquette restaurants that make my favorites list
Dinner Options in Marquette:
- Steinhaus – Feeling like an excellent German experience? The Steinhaus ($20/entree) has all the goods you’d hope for.
- The Lagniappe – Looking to taste a bit of Creole? The Lagniappe is a renowned joint that serves up savory Cajun dishes.
- Portside Inn
- Iron Bay
- Border Grill
Marquette Michigan Last Day
If you have the energy after a long first day, wake up to catch, if fortunate enough, a Lake Superior sunrise. If not, no worries as most sunrises are very early here. Breakfast today is a quick yet tasty bagel from Third Street Bagel or a sit down at Bodega Cafe. Walk down the street to The Crib for a cup of coffee and your day is rolling in the right direction.
Head down to the Lower Harbor and treat yourself to the views of the historic Ore Dock. You won’t miss it. The city is rich in Mining History and this is one of the main and testaments to it.
Marquette has some of the best mountain biking in the country. If your party is looking to hit the trails, find your way to either of these areas:
- NTN (North Trail Network) – Beginner to Intermediate but scenic and loads of fun
- STN Trails (South Trail Network) – Advanced and very fun
If not, head back out for some more scenery along the shores of Superior. Cruise out to Wetmore landing and hang out at the beach or take the Shoreline Trail to Little Presque Isle and back.
Before leaving town, make sure to treat yourself to Babycakes Muffin Company. Babycakes makes some of the most tasty pastries/sweets in town and if you have any type of love for delectable coffee pairings, you can’t miss them. If you can’t swing it in the morning, make sure you stop before they sell out.
If Babycakes is closed or sold out, head over to 231 WEST for another AMAZING pastries option.
Marquette Hotel Options
- Landmark Inn – Most recognized and some of the best views of Lake Superior
- AirBnb – Find a range of cozy selections. Book early.
- Nestle down – B&B located just across the street from Lake Superior on Lakeshore Boulevard
- Ramada/Staybridge Suites/Holiday Inn – Other Popular Marquette hotels
Other Marquette Michigan Things to Consider
- 5 Breweries operate in Marquette – Get your fix here
- Summertime gets busy. Book early
- Food Trucks are abundant. Keep your eyes open for them while you’re out roaming
- Festivals are plenty. Check your calendars to see if there’s one when you visit
- Looking to save some money? Have a picnic or just grab some food at The Marquette Co-op and head out to a lake shore location or park. The deli serves up some great sandwiches as well.
- Pasties are a staple of the UP. Get one at Jean Kays at some point during your stay
- Marquette is not a Hidden gem in Michigan but it surely is a gem!
- Out of all Michigan Vacation Spots, Marquette might be one of the best and MOST VISITED!
- Visiting Marquette in Winter? There are ski resorts near Marquette and IN Marquette.
Michigan Vacation and more
If you need anything else when visiting Marquette, please reach out to me. For some of you on your Michigan Road trip, or your Upper Peninsula Road trip, you only have a small amount of time here. I would love for you to enjoy this city as much as possible. If you need anymore advice, contact me here or if you need a tour guide, reach out. I run 1/2 day tours and 1 hour photoshops.