What are some of the best things to do in Jackson, Michigan?
After all, when we think about the city of Jackson in Michigan, what typically comes to mind?
Well for starters, the city of Jackson is the only city and county seat of Jackson County. It’s located along Interstate 94 and U.S. Route 127, and is approximately 40 miles west of Ann Arbor and 35 miles south of Lansing.
The city is is a relatively small sized city as it spans only around 10.98 square miles. But even though it is small, it still has quite a bit of people living inside it. For instance, as of the 2019 census, it is estimated that around 32,440 people live inside this city.
The city of Jackson, Michigan is actually pretty well known historically as well.
It was founded back in the year of 1829 and was named after former President Andrew Jackson. And for the longest time, the city of Jackson, Michigan was known as the “Birthplace of the Republican Party”. However that has since been changed now, it still remains a relatively important city.
But aside from that information, the city of Jackson, Michigan is also a very tourist friendly destination for people to visit.
For instance, visitors who come here will find that it combines the perfect balance of downtown excitement, rich history, natural beauty, culture, outdoor fun and even accommodations.
From things like a famous prison to Cascade Falls or even Ella Sharp Museum and more, there is always something of interest here for people to see and explore.
Which is why, if you’re wondering exactly what there is to see or do here in the city of Jackson, Michigan, then you are in the right place.
In this post, we’ll be detailing all the best things to do in Jackson, Michigan.
So if you’re ready, lets get started!
- Things To Do In Jackson, Michigan
- Visit The Famous Cascade Falls
- Jog Around The Falling Waters Trail
- Check Out A Prison At Cell Block 7
- Drink Some Wine At Chateau Aeronautique Winery
- Explore The Ella Sharp Museum
- Eat The Famous Coney Dog
- Throw Some Axes At Axe Play
- Golf Around At The Ella Sharp Park
- Roam Around Dahlem – Jackson Nature Place
- View Some Art At Art 634
- Play Around With Animals At Imagine Planet
- Relax Around A Park At Bucky Harris Park
- Eat Some Delicious Sushi At AKA Sushi
- Learn Some History At Under The Oaks
- Check Out Some Trains At Lost Railway Museum
- Buy Some Things At Grand River Farmers Market
- Respect Some War Heroes At Michigan Military Heritage Museum
- Roam Around Sparks Foundation County Park
- Watch A Movie At Jackson 10
- Drink Some Brew At Grand River Brewery – Jackson
- FAQS About Jackson, Michigan
- Visit Jackson, Michigan
Things To Do In Jackson, Michigan
In no particular order, here are the best things to do in Jackson, Michigan.
Visit The Famous Cascade Falls
One of the most famous attractions here in the city of Jackson, Michigan that people can visit is called the “Cascade Falls“.
It was created back in 1932 as a result of a dream by William Sparks’ to do something positive for the people of Jackson, Michigan. He wanted to built an attraction that would provide locals and tourists with a positive impression of the city.
Cascade Falls is a man-made waterfall and is one of the most popular attractions here in Jackson. It is special because of how it was constructed. In fact, to many people it actually appears to be naturally made.
The falls have six fountains, three reflecting pools, each 30 feet by 90 feet and 16 falls, 11 of which are illuminated. And depending on when you visit, the falls are both illuminated and choreographed to music for people to enjoy.
Plus, the site is also home to a variety of concerts and special events during certain times of the year. For instance, during Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day, fireworks displays are shown at these falls along with a wide range of events.
Overall, it’s a really unique attraction to visit and one which everyone would love. Definitely one of the best places to visit here in Jackson, Michigan.
Jog Around The Falling Waters Trail
The city of Jackson, Michigan is a very beautiful place to visit. After all, it is surrounded by nature on all sides, which means one of the best things you can do is to simply roam around.
And the best place to do that here in Jackson, Michigan is at the “Falling Waters Trail”.
The Falling Waters Trail is a trail that was built on an abandoned stretch of the Michigan Central Railroad. It connects the village of Concord with the city of Jackson. The trail stretches for about 10.5-miles long and is 12-foot wide, making it suitable for walking, running or biking.
Visitors who come to this trail will find that it travels through many natural springs and lakes that form the headwaters of four major Michigan rivers. Plus, at the western trailhead in Concord, the trail even crosses over the Kalamazoo River where you can see an abundance of wildlife and wetlands.
But the best part about this trail is that it is extremely peaceful to roam around in. Locals commonly bring their dogs or horses to enjoy the scenic nature of this area.
So if you enjoy nature and want to see it in a nice and calm setting, then the Falling Waters Trail is definitely the place to be.
Check Out A Prison At Cell Block 7
Did you know that the city of Jackson, Michigan actually has a real live prison that you can visit?
Known as “Cell Block 7“, it is a real prison that also acts as a museum for locals and tourists to see and explore. This prison is the real deal as it is still active with many of the states most terrible criminals being housed inside here.
Visitors who come to this prison will be able to see and learn so many interesting things. For instance, visitors will be able to learn about the old prison systems as well as how it works and what the daily life was like as well as see the new prison system as well.
While roaming around Cell Block 7, you will basically experience life as an inmate, you’ll live through the prison and see all the daily activities that a prisoner will experience. This is basically the closest you will ever experience to a real life prison, and this is life through the eyes of a prisoner.
The only difference is that the prisoners are not able to walk out of the prison, whereas you are able to roam freely around the area.
There are also several exhibits around the museum which you can see and learn from. Some of which includes how the prison site was selected, changes through the years, punishments and overcrowding and more. It’s a real insightful experience that everyone will love.
So if you have the time to spare and want to see something that is almost never shown in public, then this is one area you should definitely visit.
Drink Some Wine At Chateau Aeronautique Winery
Do you love wine?
If so, then one amazing place you definitely should visit is one called the “Chateau Aeronautique Winery“.
The Chateau Aeronautique Winery is a local winery located here in Jackson, Michigan, and is one of the most popular places to visit for drinking wine. The reason why it is called such an interesting name is because of the fact that it was founded in an airplane hangar known as the “Airpark”.
It has since moved in 2017 to a whole new 8,000 square foot facility in the Irish Hills. And now it focuses on serving the local community with some of the best wines available.
For instance, visitors who come to this winery will find that they offer so many different choices to choose from. From things like Dry Riesling to Pinot Noir or even Naked Chardonnay and more, they have it all.
But wines isn’t the only thing that they serve here.
In fact, they also serve a bunch of different beers and ciders as well. With things like low gravity beers, high gravity beers and even hard ciders, the choices are endless here.
And depending on when you come, the venue is also home to many different concerts, weddings, and other larger events too. All of which makes for a wonderful experience trying out all the amazing drinks that they have to offer.
So if you’re into trying wine or other types of alcohol, then the “Chateau Aeronautique Winery” is definitely the place to be.
Explore The Ella Sharp Museum
One of the most interesting and unique places you can ever visit here in the city of Jackson, Michigan, is called the “Ella Sharp Museum”.
The Ella Sharp Museum is a historical museum located in Ella Sharp Park in Jackson, Michigan.
It’s historical because the original structure that hosts the museum is actually an old nineteenth-century farmhouse that was at some point expanded by adding a Greek Revival front section. It has since gone under some more renovations and has been transformed into a museum that you see today.
In fact, this museum was even found to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places back in 1972.
Visitors who come to this museum will be able to explore it in its entirety and more. For instance, here at this museum visitors are able to stroll around the area and see all the historical buildings that make up this museum such as the 1875 Dibble School and even an 1840’s log cabin and country store.
Plus, there is even an on-site Planetarium which offers shows featuring a live presentation of the stars, virtual night sky tours, private planetarium events & shows, night sky observing programs, and is a virtual classroom resource for all parents and educators.
And depending on when you come, there are several exhibits that are on full display all throughout the year for visitors to see and learn.
Overall, this museum is a really interesting place to visit and one that should definitely be on top of your list of places to visit in Jackson, Michigan.
Eat The Famous Coney Dog
Have you ever had a Coney Dog before?
The Coney Dog is a very popular hot dog that is served all around the country and is beloved by almost everyone who tries it.
For those that don’t know, it’s basically a hot dog that is covered in a meat sauce along with various other toppings.
And here in the city of Jackson, Michigan, they claim to be the first ones to invent it. However there are also other cities in Michigan that claim that as well but nobody really knows for sure who is actually the first. All we know is that it is delicious.
Fortunately for visitors that want to try it, there are actually many different locations that serve this amazing specialty. Jackson Coney Island being the most famous and also Virginia Coney are two of the big names that people love to visit to get this delicious food from.
But if I were you, I would definitely head to Virginia Coney first as it is said to give the fifth best Coney dog in the entire state of Michigan.
Either way, no matter where you visit in Jackson, Michigian, a Coney Dog should definitely be something on your list of foods to try.
Throw Some Axes At Axe Play
One of the most fun things you can ever see or do here in the area of Jackson, Michigan, is to simply go visit an axe throwing club.
Axe Throwing is one of the hottest trends in the country right now with thousands of new clubs opening up each and every year.
And here in the area of Jackson, Michigan, the best place to throw axes is at “Axe Play”.
Axe Play is a full fledged club primarily focused on the sport of axe throwing. Visitors can come here and simply pay a fee to throw some axes at a target. Visitors can choose from being taught how to participate in tournament style rounds or even just participate in free-throwing.
They even have league nights each and every week where visitors can come together and try to see who is the best of the best. It’s perfect for throwers of all skill levels and is a great way to have fun as well as burn off a few calories.
Plus, the best thing about this place is that they even have a fully stocked bar ready to serve you drinks. It’s the perfect match as you can simply drink as many delicious drinks as you want while throwing all the axes you can ever imagine.
Which is why, if you’re interested in doing something really fun and exciting, then axe throwing might just be the thing for you.
Golf Around At The Ella Sharp Park
Do you want to play some golf?
If so, then one amazing place for you to visit is called the “Ella Sharp Park“.
Now the name may have the word park in it, but it is actually a full fledged golf course waiting for people to play.
The golf course here at this park is one of the most beautiful you’ll ever see. In fact, it is insanely large with over 18 holes for you to play with. Not only that, but it is also extremely affordable and makes for a perfect place for visitors to come and simply have some fun with friends or family.
It’s beautifully designed where it has a lush green lawn that visitors can run across and enjoy. Plus, there are also many trees and even a small lake nearby which makes the entire place so much more enjoyable.
And because it is called a park, there are also many picnic tables laying around for people to use. Perfect for people who are wanting to relax and just enjoy nature at its finest.
Overall, it’s a beautiful park to visit and one where you’ll definitely enjoy your time. So breathe some fresh air or simply go golfing, whatever the reason may be, you will definitely love it.
Roam Around Dahlem – Jackson Nature Place
Dahlem is one of the best places to visit here in Jackson, Michigan if you are wanting to spend some time out with nature.
After all, this place is specifically built to be a natural history education center for kids. The main goal of this center is to try to bridge the gap between the human and the natural environment.
Dahlem is a huge scenic area for people to visit. Spread across a whopping 280 acres, visitors are able to see and learn so many different things from this area.
For instance, visitors who come here will find that it has over five miles of hiking trails that are surrounded by forests, fields, marshes and ponds. Visitors can go on a guided hiking tour or simply roam around on their own and explore all the beautiful wildlife and plants that live in the area.
Plus, the center is also known for having one of the largest bluebird trails in the country where visitors can come and listen to the songs of Eastern Bluebirds humming around the trail.
And depending on when you visit throughout the year, the center will also be home to a wide range of free events, workshops, public programs and more all wanting to teach the public more about nature in general.
With all of that being said, Dahlem is one of the best places to visit here in Jackson, Michigan if you are wanting to spend some time out in nature.
View Some Art At Art 634
One of the best places to visit if you are a fan of art is a venue called “Art 634”.
Art 634 is one of the most beautiful places you can ever visit. In fact, locals and tourists all alike love to come visit this place for all the amazing things that it has to offer.
For instance, this venue acts sort of like an art museum where artists from all around can come and show their work. It hosts many different local and international artists where they put their display out for the public to see.
Not only that, but many photographers use this place as a studio where they’ll take many clients photos being surrounded by beautiful furnishings. Especially with Instagram, where many young folks love to come here and take some really eye popping pictures to post on their feeds.
But it’s not just that!
This venue also hosts many small workshops for people to experience and learn. From art lessons to sewing lessons and more, they have it all. Plus, there is also a dance studio here where visitors can enjoy some really great performances.
Overall, it’s a really interesting and unique venue where visitors can see and learn all kinds of different forms of art. Definitely worth a visit if you ever have the time to spare.
Play Around With Animals At Imagine Planet
If you’re going to be traveling around with kids to the city of Jackson, Michigan, then one place you might want to take them to is called the “Imagine Planet”.
Imagine Planet is the perfect place to take your kids to for some fun and excitement. After all, this place is known for having a huge range of cute animals being put on display.
Most of the animals they have here in this building are all rescued from the wild and have been put here to be taken cared for. Visitors can come and enjoy playing with all of these animals as they are just simply so cute and adorable.
But it’s not just playing with the animals that makes this place so amazing.
In fact, the staff here are also able to give various kinds of information pertaining to each of the animals that you play with. So it ends up being a learning experience as well which is simply amazing.
But the best thing of all is that this place is completely free to visit. You won’t have to spend a dime as all of the staff here are volunteers themselves and love for people to come visit.
So come on down and play with some animals. It’ll be an experience you’ll never forget.
Relax Around A Park At Bucky Harris Park
Sometimes traveling around and exploring a city or town might be kind of tiring.
Which is why, one of the best things to do is to simply visit a park and relax.
And here in the city of Jackson, Michigan, there is a park called “Bucky Harris Park“, that is absolutely a beauty of a place to visit.
Located right in the heart of downtown Jackson, Michigan, visitors can come to this park and walk along the many lush green trees while being so careful about the world around them. Although the park may be small, it still is a perfectly good area to come and enjoy.
For instance, here in this park there is a beautiful fountain which people can admire. Kids and adults can also play around in the fountain as well if they so wish. There is also some nice tables and open green spaces where visitors can come for a nice picnic and enjoy the day.
It’s a relatively simple park that has everything you can ever want for a nice and relaxing day.
So if you’re interested in taking a break from exploring, then a trip down to this park might just be something you’re interested in.
Eat Some Delicious Sushi At AKA Sushi
Eating at all the amazing restaurants that a city or town has to offer is probably one of the best things about traveling.
And here in the city of Jackson, Michigan, there is a restaurant called “AKA Sushi” that is unlike any other you have seen.
AKA Sushi is a restaurant specializing in serving up sushi and Japanese style dishes for you to enjoy. In fact, according to Yelp, they are one of the highest rated as well as being one of the most reviewed restaurants in the city.
Visitors who come here will find that there is simply so many food choices for them to choose from. Some of which includes handrolls like yellowtail, spicy scallop, spicy tuna, shrimp tempura, rolls like chicken tempura, beef teriyaki, Philadelphia, monster roll, maki 7, and more all made fresh for you to enjoy.
Plus, aside from sushi they also serve plenty of other Japanese related dishes as well. For instance, you can find things like agedashi tofu, gyoza, tuna tataki, tempura udon, nabe udon, miso ramen, unaju and more.
The only thing to note is that it can get kind of expensive as they are not really the cheapest restaurant around. But what you get is quality and care which is something that is always to be expected from a place like this.
So if you’re ever in the mood for some amazing sushi or Japanese style dishes, then this is one restaurant you definitely need to visit.
Learn Some History At Under The Oaks
Did you know that many people actually believe that the city of Jackson, Michigan was actually the birthplace of the Republican Party?
The reason for this is because of a legend that says that since the convention of the party was incredibly large, it was almost impossible to be held inside of a building. Which is why it was moved to an oak grove on “Morgan’s 40” which is where the “Under The Oaks” park is built today.
While that may or may not be true, the city of Jackson is definitely going along with this legend.
Which is why, when visitors come to this park, they’ll be able to see a really interesting plaque that is built into a boulder that honors this incredible event. By reading the plaque, visitors will be able to get a deeper insight onto the history of this city.
Aside from the plaque itself, the park is also a very beautiful park to visit. It’s maintained really well and is extremely peaceful to roam around in. Perfect for a relaxing day out in the sun.
So if you have the time to spare and want to see something truly interesting as well as learn about some history, then you will absolutely love this park.
Check Out Some Trains At Lost Railway Museum
Do you love trains and automobiles?
If so, then you’ll be pleased to know that here in the area of Jackson, Michigan, there is a museum dedicated to all things trains and automobiles.
Known as the “Lost Railway Museum“, it is located in a place called Grass Lake, Michigan which is only a few minutes away from the city of Jackson, Michigan.
This museum is unique because there isn’t too many museums like it anywhere else in the country. It houses many different kinds of automobile cars and railway engines from the decades past, including some from the 20th century.
Visitors who come to this museum will find that there are simply so many things for them to see or explore. For instance, there are many kinds of transport systems available on display, many of which have come before or after the creation of the railways. There is also a 1890’s style bicycle on display as well as a fully restored Model T which is showcased too.
Being as how this museum was only built in 2017, it is still relatively new to the scene. However it has since become one of the most popular tourist attractions here in the general area.
So if you have a love for all things automobiles or locomotives, then this is one museum you definitely have to visit.
Buy Some Things At Grand River Farmers Market
If you’re wanting to do some shopping for some fresh produce or household items, then one place you should definitely visit is the “Grand River Farmers Market”.
The Grand River Farmers Market is the premiere destination where locals and tourists go to buy all of their needs. It’s also one of the best ways to support the local community.
After all, every vendor at this farmers market is typically a local farmer or business who are trying to make a living selling things to the customers. Which is why buying from these vendors is important as you are putting money right back into the community.
Visitors who come to this farmers market will be able to find so many interesting things. For instance, the main thing you can find here includes fresh produce like lettuce, strawberries, grapes, corn, carrots and more all grown fresh for you to buy. They also have some cooked foods to buy as well.
And besides the food part of the market, there are also vendors who sell other things too. For instance, visitors can also find many household goods like towels, soaps, shampoo, toys, clothes and more all waiting for you to buy.
Visitors who are wanting to come here to buy things need to know that they are only open during the summer season. Primarily during the months of May through September. So do check your calendar before coming here.
Definitely an interesting place to check out for any and all goods you might need.
Respect Some War Heroes At Michigan Military Heritage Museum
One of the best things about America is that the people of the country really loves and respects war veterans.
And one place here in the city of Jackson, Michigan is actually dedicated to this specific event.
Known as the “Michigan Military Heritage Museum“, it is a museum that was built back in 2016 and is dedicated to be a reminder of the sacrifices of the brave souls who lost their lives during the many wars fought for America.
It’s one of the most interesting and unique museums you can ever visit. For instance, just walking on in through the doors, you’ll be met with several authentic uniform collections that are being put on display. It’ll feel as it they are welcoming you to war.
Inside the museum however, visitors will be able to find many kinds of artifacts and items relating to many of the different wars from all around the world. Although they do have a special focus which is on the soldiers who are from the state of Michigan.
Heck, they even have a life-sized World War One Trench which visitors can actually go in and explore.
With all the things this museum has to offer, it is definitely one of the best places to visit here in Jackson, Michigan.
Roam Around Sparks Foundation County Park
As you know, the city of Jackson, Michigan is actually home to a variety of different parks for people to visit.
One of the parks is known as the “Sparks Foundation County Park”.
The Sparks Foundation County Park which is also known as Sparks Park, is a beautiful park filled with all kinds of amazing things for people to see or do.
For instance, visitors who come to this park will find that it features many things such as the Cascades golf course, a basketball court, a baseball and softball field, a playground area, and a picnic shelter. There is even a large picnic gazebo for families and friends to come together and have some fun.
Not only that, but there is also a lake on site which allows people to do some fishing. In fact, there is even a fishing pier ready for people to use. Along with a walking path and informative signs, this park has everything you can ever want to have some fun in the sun.
Best of all is that all throughout the year, the park will also be home to a wide range of events. For instance, some of the featured events include things like the Midwest’s largest Cascades Civil War Muster and spectacular fireworks shows every year displaying the manmade waterfall,
With all of that being said, this park is definitely an amazing place to take your friends and family to have some fun.
Watch A Movie At Jackson 10
Sometimes roaming around the city of Jackson, Michigan can be quite tiring.
If that’s the case, why not spend some time relaxing and going to the movies?
After all, movies are some of the best things you can ever do as you’ll be able to sit in a comfy environment with your friends or family and enjoy a good time watching whatever movie it is you want.
And here in Jackson, Michigan, the best place for you to watch movies is at a place called the “Jackson 10“. Jackson 10 is a beautiful movie theater that has as many as 10 screens. These screens will display various kinds of feature films using digital projections.
Visitors will be able to watch the latest and greatest movies all at their own leisure. Plus, there is also a snack bar where you can go buy some amazing food or drinks which will elevate your movie watching experience.
Definitely something you should consider if you are trying to figure out what you should do in this city.
Drink Some Brew At Grand River Brewery – Jackson
One of the best things about visiting a new city or town is that you’ll get a chance to try out all the amazing local breweries that the area has to offer.
And here in the city of Jackson, Michigan, the best brewery you can ever visit is one called the “Grand River Brewery – Jackson”.
The Grand River Brewery – Jackson, is one of the most popular breweries around for people to visit. In fact, many locals and tourists all rave about this place for its amazing brews that they craft.
For instance, visitors who come to this brewery will find so many different brew options to choose from. From things like Airship cream Ale to Alchemist Amberale or even Belgian Strong and different Ciders, they have it all.
Plus, aside from the brews that they make, they are also a fantastic place to come eat some amazing foods. They serve things like BBQ Brisket Sammy, Heart Attack Mac, Smoked Pork Shoulder, BBQ Nachos and more, all made fresh for you to enjoy.
It’s one of the best places you can visit as both you and your entire family or friends will have a wonderful time drinking, eating, and enjoying the atmosphere.
Definitely one of the best places to visit here in Jackson, Michigan.
FAQS About Jackson, Michigan
The distance between Jackson, Michigan and Detroit is about 78 miles or 126 kilometers.
The distance between Jackson, Michigan and Adrian is about 30.47 miles or 35 miles by car.
The city of Jackson, Michigan is famous for being home to the first convention of the Republican Party back in July 6, 1854. It was also heavily argued to be the “Birthplace of the Republican Party”.
The distance between Jackson, Michigan and Traverse City, Michigan is about 184.34 miles or 215 miles by car.
Visit Jackson, Michigan
Overall the city of Jackson, Michigan may be small, but it definitely has a lot of amazing things for you to see and do.
So hopefully this post about the “20 Best Things To Do In Jackson, Michigan” was able to give you some ideas and help you out. This way if you are ever in the city of Jackson, Michigan, you will know exactly what you should do to have some fun.
Also if you’re going to be visiting the state of Michigan anytime soon, then you might be interested in some of my other Michigan posts:
- Things To Do In New Buffalo, Michigan
- Things To Do In Saugatuck, Michigan
- Things To Do In Midland, Michigan
Or you can check out all my blog posts by clicking this link.
Hope you have a safe and fun trip~