Bustling Bay City at the tip of Saginaw Bay has a strong and ever growing artistic scene with a large group of great artists and people who are dedicated to both the historic architecture and the arts here. That includes the old State Theatre, now restored to its original Mayan-influenced architectural style, as one of the adornments of the downtown. The 550-seat theater that first opened in 1908 is described by those in the know as “gorgeous and gaudy in the best sense possible.”
Major attractions at the theater include movies and live entertainment, such as actor/writer and singer Jeff Daniels, a Michigan native who has performed there at least four times, and performances by the Bijou Orchestra. It also serves as a community gathering for those who support the arts and the city’s downtown development.
Another vital part of the city’s art domain is the Bay City Players, the longest continuously running community theater.
For more celestial adventures, visit the Delta College Planetarium in Bay City, which provides educational and entertaining shows for the public. Funded by NASA, the facility houses a state-of-the-art Planetarium Digital 360 theater, rooftop observation deck, computer lab and the two-story “Space Explorer’s Hall.” The planetarium also assists with astronomy courses for Delta College students.
Take a stroll along the Riverwalk on the Saginaw River as it winds its way through Bay City. Or view the city by water. Bay City Boat Lines offers public tours and cruises aboard the Princess Wenonah and Islander as well as private charter service for all types of events on both the Saginaw River and Saginaw Bay. In the summer public events include Friday Evening Cruises, Saturdays on the Saginaw Tours, Sip and Swirl Painting Events.The company also partners with local organizations and features Free History Tours. Private charters are available from mid-May through early October.
Sail aboard the Appledore IV. This tall ship is owned and operated by BaySail, a private non-profit organization dedicated to promoting environmental stewardship of the Saginaw Bay and the Great Lakes. In addition to MainSail, the youth half-day sail training program (may be a fun thing for the kids to do), they offer day and dinner sails aboard the two-masted schooner as it plies the waterways from downtown Bay City, along the Saginaw River and into the bay.
If you’re a boater, it’s about a 20-minute walk from both the 100-slip Liberty Harbor Marina, which can accommodate boats up to 60 feet, and Pier 7 Marina, Bay City’s oldest continuous operating marina, to the trendy downtown district and the Midland Street Business District. Both have a distinctive collection of shops, art galleries and restaurants housed in restored, commercial Victorian-era buildings.