23 Best & Fun Things to Do in Houghton (MI)

Looking for the best fun things to do in Houghton, Michigan?

Houghton, nestled on the Keweenaw Peninsula, is the biggest city in Michigan, United States, with a population of 8,386, as of the 2020 census.

Due to Houghton’s extensive winter and plenty of ski hillocks, Houghton is famous for holding winter sports activities.

Tourism is a significant industry in Houghton. The small city sees a large population of tourists every year, especially during the winter and summer seasons.

Houghton is the place where professional ice hockey began in the United States. In 1902, it held the first official ice hockey game in the United States. 

Are you planning on taking a trip to Houghton? Here are the top things to do in Houghton, MI

Things to Do in Houghton, MI

1. Portage Lake Lift Bridge

Portage Lake Lift Bridge
Credits: photo.eccles / Shutterstock
Portage Lake Lift Bridge

The Portage Lake Lift Bridge, also called the Houghton Hancock Bridge, is the only Bridge in Michigan to have two decks and is the heaviest lift-span bridge ever.

The deck below was designed for railroad traffic, while the above upper deck was for highway traffic.

Currently, the Bridge is one of Michigan’s most famous historic bridges.

The Bridge has been adequately maintained over the years by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT).

The Bridge features an attractive two-color paint scheme with an off-white color for the top part and sky blue for the lower leg.

Address: Michigan, United States

2. Nara Nature Park

Nara Nature Park
Credits: Jason Patrick Ross / Shutterstock
Nara Nature Park

The Nara Nature Park is one of the best places to visit in Houghton, MI. The Park was initially owned by Robert and Ruth Nara as private property until they decided to gift it to the local community in 1993 for the public to enjoy.

Since then, it has become a location frequented by both tourists and locals in the community.

The Park’s area has also expanded in recent times. In addition, provisions have been made to include a safe home for animals.

There are trails nearby in Nara Park that you can tour, so ensure to check them out. The Nature Chalet and Interpretive Center was created at Nara Nature Park.

Another fascinating feature of the Park is the 4,500-meter footbridge cutting across the Pilgrim River. The River is also home to several river-based activities like fishing, kayaking, and canoeing.

Address: 47375 US Hwy 41, Houghton, MI 49931, United States

3. John MacInnes Student Ice Arena

John MacInnes Student Ice Arena
Credits: ObiusX [CC BY-SA 3.0], Wikimedia Commons
John MacInnes Student Ice Arena
The John J. MacInnes Student Ice Arena is home to the Michigan Tech Huskies Men’s ice hockey team. The hockey arena has a 4,200-capacity.

The destination was named after the former head coach of the Huskies, John J. MacInnes (1956-1983); he was among the most successful coaches in college hockey history.

The John MacInnes Student Ice Arena is used to hold events and matches. The John MacInnes Student Ice Arena is also used for special occasions, like Michigan Tech’s commencements, concerts, circuses, etc.

Address: Sharon Ave, Houghton, MI 49931, United States

4. Mine Shaft and Rock House

Mine Shaft and Rock House
Credits: 977_ReX_977 / Shutterstock

The Mine Shaft is an incredible place to spend a warm afternoon with your loved ones. Visit Mine Shaft and rock house if you’re looking for one of the best things to do in Houston, MI.

Mineshaft has various features that guests will find interesting, challenging, and fun. They have an 18-lane bowling alley where visitors can go bowling. However, there’s also a mini golf course as another option for those who are a novice in bowling.

Mine Shaft has over 40 kinds of games for experts and novices gamers. After spending time in the Mine Shaft, you can head towards Rock House for a good meal and cold beverage to get you re-energized.

Address: 915 Razorback Dr, Houghton, MI 49931, United States

5. Chutes and Ladders

Chutes and Ladders
Credits: FamVeld / Shutterstock

Visiting this Playground is one of the fun things to do in Houghton, MI, especially for kids.

The view of the Playground is unique and captivating. The attraction will keep the kids occupied, especially when they start getting bored during the trip, as there are numerous activities they can enjoy.

However, these activities are not for only kids, as adults can participate. Chutes and Ladders have tube slides, climbing areas, and more.

There’s a waterfront a short distance from the Playground. Visitors can check it out and go swimming on the sandy beach. A fabulous time awaits you and your family at this destination.

Address: Houghton, MI 49931, United States

6. Keweenaw Brewing Company

Keweenaw Brewing Company
Credits: tb-photography / Shutterstock

Why not use this opportunity and visit the Keweenaw Brewing Company if you are curious about beer production?

The Keweenaw Brewing Company makes its beer locally. The Keweenaw Brewing Company was established in 2007 and has been functional to date. It has also been a regular visiting place for the locals and visitors aiming to have a first-hand taste of their

refined brew.

You should add a visit to this brewery to your checklist of the top things to do in Houghton, MI, if you want to taste the finest drinks in town, especially beer.

Another exciting aspect of visiting the Keweenaw Brewing Company is that you’ll experience how eight brews are created, packaged, and dispersed.

The Keweenaw Brewing Company is also responsible for shipping to most places in the state.

The Company also allows visitors to taste their freshest brew in the tasting rooms.

Address: 408 Shelden Ave, Houghton, MI 49931, United States

7. Keweenaw Food Tour

The Keweenaw Food Tour combines the local history and architecture with a delicious dining experience in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Keweenaw Food Tours, incepted in 2014, has grown to become the first and only culinary tour company in the Upper Peninsula.

The primary aim of this Food Tour is to celebrate culinary achievements and cultural heritage. The Tour fosters happy mouths, open minds, and caring communities.

Visitors are exposed to various foods ranging from Authentic Finnish Pasties to Chocolate Pastries. The savory experience gives both newcomers and experienced residents an eclectic insight into Houghton’s local history and architecture.

So, if you like food, Keweenaw Food Tour is one of the best things to do in Houghton, MI. Don’t miss the experience.

Address: 155 Gratiot St, Copper Harbor, MI 49918, United States

8. Coppertown USA Mining Museum

Coppertown USA Mining Museum
Credits: Fox Mining Books / Facebook
Coppertown USA Mining Museum

Houghton is a city with a lot of Copper mining history, so it’s expected that there will be a Museum to preserve all that history.

The Museum is 19 minutes from Houghton, MI. This attraction was created by converting the former Calumet & Hecia pattern-making shop.

The Museum has an intriguing architectural layout consisting of a single-story structure made of yellow bricks.

Visitors will find patterns of designs created by artisans for metal components casting in this destination. There are also exhibits in the Museum that displays the ancient methods of copper mining.

Address: 25815 Red Jacket Rd, Calumet, MI 49913, United States

Also check out our checklist of fun things to do in Frankfortthings to do in Marquette, and fun things to do in Muskegon, if you are planning a Michigan road trip.

9. Ray Kestner Waterfront Park

Ray Kestner Waterfront Park
Credits: Chris857 [CC BY-SA 4.0], Wikimedia Commons
Ray Kestner Waterfront Park
The Kestner Waterfront Park provides an avenue for fun for the whole family; therefore, while planning your family vacation, include it as one of the best places to visit in Houghton, MI.

The Ray Kestner Waterfront Park, situated on the shoreline of portage canal, Michigan, is perfect for a nice family stroll or picnic.

The Park comprises pavilions, tables, grills, and benches, making a wonderful picnic experience.

Another feature of the Park is a beach, which everyone can access. If you feel like cooling down, you can go swimming on the beach.

Don’t hesitate to explore this destination because you’ll have a pleasant time with friends and family.

Address: 1100 W Lakeshore Dr, Houghton, MI 49931, United States

10. Four Seasons Tea Room

Four Seasons Tea Room
Credits: OlegKovalevichh / Shutterstock

You have to check out Four-Season Tea Room if you love tea. The Four-Season Tea Room was formerly used as an apothecary room for nearly 100 years, until October 1st, 2002, when the tea room was officially established.

Although the Tea Room has been operating since 2002, the inside wall of the room still tells stories of the apothecary. Some of these stories come in the shape of objects such as the 100-year-old medicine closet and a large safe.

The Four-Season Tea Room is decorated with silk linens, ladies’ headpieces, ceramic figurines, and ceramic cups in different colors.

A good tea you have to try is cream tea; you can pair it with a delicious pastry.

Address: 606 Shelden Ave, Houghton, MI 49931, United States

11. Keweenaw Charters

Keweenaw Charters
Credits: Raissa Martins Nogueira / Shutterstock

Touring with Keweenaw Charters is one of the fun things to do in Houghton, MI. 

This Charter is a specialized guide service and charter boat operation cruising in the middle of Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula.

Their base is at Houghton, Michigan, where they access over 250 miles of Lake Superior shoreline within a 50-mile radius. In addition, they also explore Lake Superior’s most productive nearshore and offshore fisheries.

The Keweenaw Charters are famous for organizing nearshore and offshore fishing excursions on Lake Superior. You can’t afford to miss this part of Houghton.

Address: 200 5th St, Houghton, MI 49931, United States

12. Keweenaw National Park

Keweenaw National Park
Credits: melissamn / Shutterstock
Keweenaw National Park

One attraction you shouldn’t miss is the Keweenaw National Park. The National Park is a Historic location that lies close to the Keweenaw Peninsula, 18 minutes north of Houghton.

The goals of the Park are to protect the copper mines and share the history behind their existence.

Keweenaw National Park visitors will discover the Park is rich with several heritage sites and these sites are home to cultural and natural resources that are significant to the region. 

Visitors will learn about the significance of mining and the region’s previous inhabitants at the site.

Address: 25970 Red Jacket Rd, Calumet, MI 49913, United States

13. North Canal Township Park

North Canal Township Park
Credits: Chuck Ritola [CC BY-SA 3.0], Wikimedia Commons
North Canal Township Park
The North Canal Township Par is also called ‘The Breakers.’ This attraction lies across the Keweenaw Waterway.

The Park, encompassing 177 acres, has several country-styled campsites; however, it is currently practicing day-use only. The Park’s campsites are situated at an elevation of 633 feet. A breakwater in the Park protects the Keweenaw Waterway.

The shoreline is an open environment for visitors to lay and enjoy the scenery by the beach.

If you are looking for a relaxing place in Houghton, coming here is a great idea. Visitors can engage in sporting activities by the shore, such as cycling.

You can also explore the boat ramp and fishing area. If you’re on park benches at around 10 am, you might see the Ranger 111 heading to Isle Royale.

Address: Houghton Canal Rd, Houghton, MI 49931, United States

14. McLain State Park

McLain State Park
Credits: Lordcolus / Flickr
McLain State Park

McLain State Park is 17 minutes away from Houghton and is an excellent choice for you and your companions to visit for a fun-filled vacation.

The Park features incredible outdoor adventures, fishing areas, and windsurfing. The outdoor adventures include hiking, berry picking, and hunting at the Park.

There is a lighthouse near the Park that you can check out. This lighthouse has a breathtaking view of the sunset horizon.

There are cabins and campsites in the Park if you wish to stay over for a day,

Address: 18350 M-203, Hancock, MI 49930, United States

15. The Paavola Wetlands Nature Area

Paavola Wetlands Nature Area
Credits: lzf / Shutterstock

The Paavola Wetlands hold the secret to enjoying a mind-blowing nature reserve. Explore the Paavola Wetland Nature Area if you’re indecisive about what to do in Houghton, MI.

The region has several hiking trails extending multiple miles, accessible to guests. Aside from hiking the region, Visitors can also enjoy snowshoeing during the winter months.

If you are interested in seeing the farm clearing and the beaver pond, the hiking trails have the best position to view them.

As you follow the trails, you may see wildlife and other unique plant species growing in the area.

Address: No 9 Rd, Hancock, MI 49930, United States

Check out our checklist of fun things to do in Escanabathings to do in Grand Haven, and things to do in Midland, if you are planning a road trip to Michigan.

16. The Isle Royale Ranger III Ferry

Isle Royale Ranger III Ferry
Credits: attitudeflash / Flickr
Isle Royale Ranger III Ferry

The Isle Royale National Park is on an island and can’t be accessed by walking or vehicle, so the obvious mode of transportation will be a ship.

One of the ships you can use to visit the Isle Royale National Park is the Ranger 111. This small ship transports visitors from Houghton to the Park.

The Ranger 111 is 165 feet long and 34 feet wide, with the capacity to carry 128 people.

The atmosphere of the ship is relaxing. The ship also has nice seats, a grill, a lounge, and other amenities that will make your trip comfortable and easy.

In addition to transporting people to the Isle Royale National Park, the ship gives tours to people who want to view Michigan. 

Address: 800 E Lakeshore Dr, Houghton, MI 49931-1869

17. Portage Wake

Portage Wake
Credits: Mark_studio / Shutterstock

At portage Wake, you can rent a new jet ski to take a tour with, especially in the summer. You can also take wake lessons from an instructor or test the waters for yourself.

If you’re a Wake surfing enthusiast, don’t miss this destination for anything.

Portage Wake provides wake surfing, wake skating, wake skiing, and wakeboarding lessons to novice or first-timers interested in the sport.

The Portage was initially started by a small group of friends who wanted to share the water fun experience with other people in the area.

Portage Wake also makes its services available to everyone who is in good health and would like to have fun in the water.

Address: 99 Navy St, Hancock, MI 49930, United States

18. The Michigan Tech Trails

Michigan Tech Trails
Credits: Pavel1964 / Shutterstock

The Michigan Tech Trails is a great location if you don’t know what to do in Houghton, MI, but craving an adventurous outdoor experience.

The Trails, which are one of Houghton’s top Nordic skiing facilities, accommodates all levels of skiers, bikers, and hikers. It has hosted numerous U.S. Ski Association (USSA) Cross Country National Championships.

Now, about 40 kilometers of groomed trails are available for Biking, Dog walking, running during the summer and skiing, snowboarding, skijoring, etc. during the winter.

In addition, some Tech Trails acreage is also used for paintball and high ropes courses.

Address: Mill Rd, Houghton, MI 49931, United States

19. The Quincy Mine

Quincy Mine
Credits: James.Pintar / Shutterstock
Quincy Mine

Another historical Mining site you should see is the Quincy Mine, located just 5 minutes from the center of Houghton.

The Mine is known as a historical copper mine. Although the mining operations here were stopped in 1945, the facility has been kept in good condition to enable those that visit to learn and explore its history.

You can explore the Shafthouse, the Nordberg Steam Hoist engine, and the Miner’s Memorial House, all located near the Quincy mine.

In addition, visitors can admire the picturesque scenery of the Portage Lake Lift Bridge and the extraordinary view of Houghton, close to the Huron Mountains.

Address: 49750 US Hwy 41, Hancock, MI 49930, United States

20. Keweenaw Boat Tour

Keweenaw Boat Tour
Credits: Olesia Bilkei / Shutterstock

The Keweenaw Boat Tour gives you a whole new experience. You’ll get the opportunity to tour the aquatic world and see wildlife, lighthouses, and geological features over 1 billion years old!

The Boat is a 24ft South Bay Pontoon Luxury series with plenty of room for all your gear and whatever you wish to carry.

The Boat also provides a cooler and ice to store food and drinks and a Bluetooth speaker for your entertainment.

The boat size is perfect for navigating close to land, allowing you to observe the lighthouses or the sandstone cliffs up close and see numerous other outstanding natural attractions. 

Address: Bridge view Park, Houghton, MI 49931, United States

21. The A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum of Michigan

A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum of Michigan
Credits: Hilton Lieberum / Flickr
A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum of Michigan

 The A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum of Michigan is a fantastic attraction you must see when visiting Houghton, MI.

The Museum was commissioned in 1991 as the state’s official Mineral Museum and has been a tourist attraction, attracting thousands of visitors and locals annually.

The Museum houses about 4000 specimens of minerals exhibited in their showroom. It also has a more extensive collection of more than 50,000 minerals.

The Museum has three main display categories: the Copper Pavilion, The Phylis and John Seaman Garden, and the Thomas D. Shaffner Exhibit Hall.

Address: 1404 Sharon Ave, Houghton, MI 49931, United States

22. The Carnegie Museum

Carnegie Museum
Credits: Chris857 [CC BY-SA 3.0], Wikimedia Commons
Carnegie Museum
Thus Museum houses exhibit about the region’s local culture and natural history.

The building was named after Andrew Carnegie in 1908. It was initially used as a Public Library when it was opened in 1910.

The facility was converted into a Museum in 2006, as the Library was later moved to a new location.

Presently, the Museum features an exhibit of old postcards, a display of basalt rocks, and paintings by local artists. It also features several alternating exhibits attached to the local town and more from the natural history of Keweenaw.

Address: 105 Huron St, Houghton, MI 49931, United States

23. Portage Paddle Sport

Portage Paddle Sport
Credits: phototravelua / Shutterstock

Paddling is an excellent way to enjoy summer vacations in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Paddling a Kayak or paddle boards in Hancock and Houghton along the Canal is popular around summer.

At Portage Paddle Sports, you are offered all your favorite water equipment, including kayaks, float tubes, and stand-up paddle boards.

Visitors are also offered free delivery to your vacation rental or home.

For an exceptional water adventure, you should check out the various kayaks, paddle boards, cruiser bikes, and float tubes.

Address: 1100 W Lakeshore Dr, Houghton, MI 49931, United States

Want more of Michigan? do check out our list of things to do in Kalamazoothings to do in East Lansing, and things to do in New Buffalo for a memorable vacation.

Plan Your Trip to Houghton

Houghton, located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, is a city where you’ll find a mix of great outdoor activities and a rich history, despite its small size.

Come along with your friends and family, for a fascinating experience awaits you.