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21 BEST Things to Do in Marshall MI

marshall michigan at Christmas - best things to do in marshall mi
Downtown Marshall Mi at Christmas- photo by Visit Battle Creek

About Marshall Michigan

Looking for the best things to do in Marshall MI?

Marshall MI is filled with historic charm, natural beauty and iconic restaurants and unique museums.

This southwest Michigan city, not far from Battle Creek, MI, is home to many historical sites and is a great city for tourism and learning about Michigan’s history. Located just east of Battle Creek, Marshall has held the county seat of Calhoun County since the 1830s, within only a year after it was established by brothers Sidney and George Ketchum.

The city is well-known for its transportation history, as well as its preserved and restored 19th- and 20th-century buildings.

Downtown Marshall Michigan

Visiting charming downtown Marshall is like stepping onto an old-fashioned Main Street with boutiques, gift shops, and eateries. You’ll find iconic restaurants like Schuler’s and Dark Horse Brewing, a top Michigan craft brewery here.

If you’re interested in history, architecture, or antiques and gift shopping, Marshall offers a lot to explore. The Marshall Trolley Company offers complimentary rides to the public from 5 -11 p. on Friday and Saturday evenings.

I’ve put together a list of 21 things to do in Marshall that you can do or see when you visit.

Honolulu House in Marshall MI- things to do in marshall michigan
Honolulu House/ Photo by Trip Advisor user @wheels282

Take a Historical Tour in Marshall Michigan

If you’re visiting a historical town, you might be wondering where you can go to take an interesting and educational tour to explore and learn more about Marshall history.

You’re in luck: there are various self-guided routes you can take throughout the city of Marshall. You can visit the Marshall Welcome center to find maps and other detailed information on the sights along these tours. The Welcome Center is located at: 323 W Michigan Ave, Marshall, MI 49068.

21. Marshall Historic Home Tour: the Historic Homes Walk

Marshall has more than 15 homes listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and many of them are located within the Marshall Historic District. The District is nationally recognized for its well-preserved street plan and architecture, one of the largest such areas in the country.

Take the Historic Homes Walk (1.5 – 3 miles) where you can view all the 19th-century architecture, including examples of classic styles like Greek Revival and Queen Anne. You’ll even find Italianate mansions and some Colonial Revival homes, too.

20. The Capitol Hill Walk

Marshall was almost the capital of Michigan until that title was bestowed upon Lansing in 1847. However, in the years before that, a “Capitol Hill” and “Governor’s Mansion” were all completed. Take the Capital Hill Walk: historic markers tell the story of Marshall’s important role in Michigan history during the expansion of the United States.

19. The Marshall Riverwalk

Take the Riverwalk (less than a mile) along the Kalamazoo River, which is wheelchair accessible. The .85 mile walk takes you past bridges, boat launches and scenic overlooks where you can enjoy wildlife.

Visit One of Marshall’s Museums

With a lot of interesting preserved history, Marshall has many museums you can visit. The Marshall Historical Society oversees three of them including the Marshall Historical Museum, the Honolulu House and the Capitol Hill School. Here are some worth checking out.

18. The Honolulu House Museum

Address: 107 N Kalamazoo Ave, Marshall, MI 49068
Hours: Monday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday 12-4pm

Built in 1860 for a former U.S. diplomat hoping to bring a little bit of the South Pacific to the midwest, the Honolulu House is a unique and elaborate home with a Pagoda-topped tower featured prominently in the center of the home.

The Honolulu House also features beautiful architecture with a mix of Gothic Revival, Italianate, and Polynesian styles. It has gone through several restorations and is now a popular spot for tourists and 19th century architecture enthusiasts.

17. The Capitol Hill School Museum

Address: 602 E. Washington St
Hours: By appointment only
This two-room schoolhouse was built in 1861 and operated for 101 years. It is well-preserved and provides a glmpse in to life in the 19th century in Michigan.

16. American Museum of Magic

Address: 107 E Michigan Ave, Marshall, MI 49068
Hours: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday 10am-4pm; Sunday 12-4pm
Considered the “Smithsonian of American Magic,” the American Museum of Magic is home to thousands of artifacts that tell the stories of many magicians from around the world, including Houdini, Thurston, Blackstone, and many more.

Brooks Memorial Fountain - things to do in marshall mi
Brooks Memorial Water Fountain/ Trip Advisor GARedRooster

15. Brooks Memorial Fountain Park

Address: 323 W Michigan Ave, Marshall, MI 49068
This beautiful park located in the heart of Marshall features the city’s most famous landmark, the Brooks Memorial Fountain. This fountain, built in 1930 by Harold Brooks in memory of his father C. E. Brooks, was modeled after Marie Antoinette’s “Temple of Love” in Versailles, France.

Befitting to the name of its inspiration, weddings are often held here, with the fountain serving as a backdrop. There are several benches in the park to sit, relax, and view this magnificent structure and the surrounding nature. Stick around after dark sometime in May through mid-October and watch the fountain illuminate in an array of colors!

14. Stay at the National House Inn

Address: 102 Parkview, Marshall, MI 49068
Desk hours: 9am-8pm / Check-in hours: 3-7pm (Closed Sundays)
Right across the street from Brooks Memorial Fountain Park is the National House Inn Bed & Breakfast. Listed on the National Register of Historical Places, this inn has held onto its heritage and tradition which traces back all the way to 1835.

Many believe it to have been a stop on the Underground Railroad. The inn features polished antique furniture, a brick fireplace, and interior reflecting country charm of the 19th century. There are many attractions and things to do within walking distance, and the inn also features a gift shop with many antiques for sale.

Cornwells Turkeyville USA

13. Cornwell’s Turkeyville USA

Address: 18935 15 1/2 Mile Road, Marshall, MI 49068
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 11am-7pm; Sunday 11am-5pm
Come sit and enjoy a bite to eat at Cornwell’s Turkeyville USA, a fun and welcoming restaurant that the whole family can enjoy. All of the food served is homemade with real ingredients, made by recipes passed down through generations.

The establishment also features an ice cream parlor and gift shop, and many events are held here, including dinner theater! Reservations can be made online or by phone.

12. Win Schuler’s Restaurant & Pub

Address: 115 S Eagle Street, Marshall, MI 49068
Hours: Tuesday – Thursday, Sunday 11:30am-8pm; Friday and Saturday 11:30am-9pm
With a long line of history dating back to over a century, Schuler’s is a family-owned restaurant that has kept its long-time customers happy and returning for more. Grandparents bring their children and grandchildren to keep the tradition alive and flowing, and that’s what Schuler’s strives for.

While the restaurant embraces its history and tradition, it is constantly improving its menu, decor, and ambience to keep up with the times and ever-changing lifestyles. They offer a selection of steaks, pasta, fish, and more, as well as a pub to wind down with a nice drink.

Ketchum Park in Marshall MI
Kids Playground at Ketchum Park – photo by Trip Advisor user mattyinlansing

11. Visit Ketchum Park

Address: 731 Montgomery St, Marshall, MI 49068
You’ll find a sprawling kids playground, a skateboarding area and covered picnic area in this scenic park on the banks of Rice Creek.

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

Author of many popular children’s mystery books, John Bellairs was born and raised in Marshall, MI where he lived before leaving for college at Notre Dame. Forever fond of his hometown, he set his mysteries in Marshall, MI, including the popular “House with a Clock in Its Walls,” which was made into a motion picture starring Jack Black.

The spooky tale was inspired and set in the John Cronin Mansion at 407 N. Madison St.. Now a private residence, you can take a drive past and peek at the historic markers ourside the home to learn more.

9. Grandma’s Toys & Treats

Address: 146 W Michigan Ave, Marshall, MI 49068
Hours: Monday – Saturday 10am-6pm
Grandma’s Toys & Treats is a great place to bring the kids or buy a fun gift for a friend or loved one. With a wide variety of toys and games, the shop offers something for all ages.

Stop in and embrace your inner child as you’ll find something new and something old that’ll spark nostalgia. And while you’re there, grab a tasty cone at the shop’s ice cream parlor!

8. The Green Scene of Marshall MI

Address: 142 W Michigan Ave, Marshall, MI 49068
Hours: Monday – Saturday 10am-6pm
Dedicated to providing its guests with a welcoming environment and unique shopping experience, The Green Scene will make sure you feel valued. The moment you walk through the door, you will be greeted by the friendly shop owners or employees, as well as a pleasant aroma that gives the shop a relaxed and homey feel.

Because they care about you as a guest, they will let you feel free to browse to your heart’s content rather than making you feel pressured like some other shops. If you need assistance or have questions, the shopkeepers are always there to help. You will find many neat gifts and antiques, with something special for everyone.

7. Eastend Studio & Gallery

Address: 143 W Michigan Ave, Marshall, MI, 49068
Hours: Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday 11am-5pm; Wednesday and Thursday 10:30am-5:30pm; Sunday 12-4pm (Closed Mondays)
Contrary to many other establishments in Marshall having a long history and deep-held tradition, Eastend Studio & Gallery is much more modern, having been founded in 2006. While this art gallery is relatively new in this historical city, its age makes it no less great than the rest!

Since 2011, Eastend has been a non-profit organization that strives to educate, promote, and cultivate the arts, and bring the creative community together through exhibition of local and regional art. Thanks to grant funding, this nonprofit is able to hold many educational programs and workshops where you can learn about the arts and let your creativity flow.

6. Brooks Nature Area

Address: Stuart Lake Road, Marshall, MI 49068
Brooks Nature Area is a gorgeous park that makes a great place for hiking and nature exploration. It has a variety of well-maintained trails spanning 2.3 miles (with each trail being less than a mile long), including the North Prairie Trail, the Woodland Loop, the South Prairie Trail, and the Lakeshore Loop.

You can see many woodland and wetland creatures here, and there’s even a good spot from the trailhead connecting to the North Prairie Trail to view the sandhill cranes, Canadian geese, blue herons, and many ducks in Stuart Lake.

5. Bogar Theatre

Address: 223 E Michigan Ave Marshall, MI 49068
Come catch a movie showing at this historical theater, established in 1939 and located in a building that was erected in 1838.

Despite its age, the theater manages to stay modern, with 3-D capabilities and comfortable seats with cupholders. Guests often claim that ticket prices are very reasonable, and the snacks and drinks are great!

4. See a Show at the Great Escape Stage Company

Address: 110 E Michigan Ave, Marshall, MI 49068
Located in downtown Marshall is a small local black-box theater known as the Great Escape Stage Company. With the hard work of Artistic Director Randy Lake, the company produces eight to ten entertaining shows each year.

From cabaret-style performances to comedies and classic dramas, there are numerous showtimes spread throughout the year to plan your trip around. Make sure to visit their website for dates and ticket prices.

3. Calhoun County Fair

Address of Calhoun County Fairgrounds: 720 Fair St, Marshall, MI 49068
First held in 1839, the Calhoun County Fair is the oldest continuously running fair in Michigan, being held every year since 1848, usually throughout the third week of August.

Each year, there are fun games and prizes, carnival rides, delicious food, and drinks, as well as space for camping. At the end of the week, a live concert is held Friday evening, finishing off with a demolition derby event on Saturday.

2. Skeleton Fest and Marshall Pub & Grub Crawl

To kick off into the Halloween season, Marshall holds two fun events during the last weekend of September each year. First is the family-friendly Skeleton Fest, featuring live music playing Halloween hits, balloon animals, face painting, and various fun skeletons you can take selfies with.

There are also tasty food and treats available from vendors.

After Skeleton Fest is the Marshall Pub & Grub Crawl, which begins in the evening at the Dark Horse Brewery. There, you can pick up a Skeleton Fest souvenir beer glass, which will bring you special discounts at many bars and restaurants downtown where the decorated skeletons are. Dark Horse will also serve their specialty Skeleton Fest brew.

Marshall Christmas parade

1. Marshall Annual Christmas Parade

For nearly 60 years, Marshall has held onto the tradition of hosting a Christmas parade every year near the end of November. For many, this parade officially marks the beginning of the holiday season.

Come see the beautiful lights strewn throughout the downtown area, enjoy holiday music played by the local marching bands, and drink hot cocoa from local retailers while you watch the fantastic floats and flag twirlers. There will also be a lot of fun holiday shopping and vintage decorations on display.

gull lake mi

More Things to See and Do Near Marshall MI

  • Critchlow Alligator Sanctuary – Visit this reptile rescue facility that is open to the public just southwest of Marshall
  • See the Animals at the Binder Park Zoo
  • Firekeepers Casino in Battle Creek
  • Jungle Joes Family Fun Center in Portage MI
  • Gull Meadows Farms in Richland MI

Marshall Michigan Through the Seasons

Summer is the best time to explore some of the walking tours throughout the city. The Marshall Area Farmers Market is one of the top farmers markets in the state, open year-round. In autumn the fall colors in the area are stunning, and many of the farms near Marshall have corn mazes and other fun kids’ activities. The winter brings the holidays and both Thanksgiving and Christmas are big in Marshall. You’ll see Michigan Avenue lit up with amazing holiday décor.

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Downtown market grand rapids

About the Author-
Aiden Peltier is a content writer for My Michigan Beach who is currently in their senior year studying at Grand Valley State University, with a major in Writing. They have enjoyed writing and drawing since they were a child, and they take a lot of inspiration from music and nature. They are currently exploring many opportunities in the writing field and plan to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree in December 2022.