Are you looking for the best things to do in Sault Ste Marie, Michigan?
Then you’ve come to the right place!
Saul Ste Marie is a beautiful city in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, which is one of my favorite places to visit in Michigan.
This beautiful waterfront city is full of interesting things to do in Michigan’s UP.
You’ll find everything from historic sites, museums, breweries, and unique architecture when you’re visiting Saul Ste Marie, MI.
The city is also known for having some of the best ski slopes in Michigan and its historic Bon Soo Winter Carnival.
No matter what time of year you decide to visit, you’ll find plenty of attractions in Sault Ste Marie.
So, let’s take a look at some of the best things to do in Sault Ste Marie, Michigan!
14 Best Things To Do In Sault Ste Marie MI
See The Engineering Marvel Known As The Soo Locks
The Soo Locks are one of the most popular Sault Ste Marie marine attractions.
Often called the “Linchpin of the Great Lakes”, the Soo Locks are engineering marvels in the heart of Sault Ste Marie.
Throughout the year, it’s estimated that over 500,000 come to admire these important Sault Ste Marie marine attractions.
There is a Visitor’s Center where you can learn all about the history of the locks and how they were built.
The locks were originally constructed in the mid-1800s, and have been updated over the decades.
They connect Lake Huron and Lake Superior and allow freighters to travel freely from the St. Mary’s River all the way to the Atlantic Ocean.
Each year, an estimated 7,000 vessels pass through the locks, hauling over 86 million tons of cargo.
So not only are they an engineering marvel, but they are also an important part of the local economy.
View Sault Ste Marie From The Tower Of History
The Tower of History was built in 1968 and at the time was the tallest observation tower in the UP.
From the top of the 210-foot observation tower, you’ll have 360-degree views of the Soo Locks, Lake Superior, and St. Mary’s River.
You can also see the city of Sault Ste Marie and cities just across the Canadian border.
The tower was constructed in a modernist design and is a unique piece of the Sault Ste Marie cityscape.
Inside the base of the tower, there is a museum that includes exhibits about local history, Native American history, and Catholic Missionary history from the area.
You can visit this Sault Ste Marie attraction from the middle of May to the middle of October.
Cross The Sault Ste Marie International Bridge
Because Sault Ste Marie is a city in Michigan near the Canadian border, you’ll find an International Bridge.
The Sault Ste Marie International Bridge connects the city of Sault Ste Marie, Michigan, to its sister city of the same name in Ontario, Canada.
This International Bridge is one of the busiest crossings from Canada to the US.
It’s also the only land crossing for 700 miles! This is one of the reasons it’s so busy.
The bridge is almost 3-miles in length and a portion of it crosses the Soo Locks.
A majority of the traffic on the bridge is cars.
However, you can bike across the bridge, but there are no dedicated bike lanes. So, if you want to do that, take proper precautions.
On weekdays, there is an International Bus that runs from 8 am to 4 pm and takes you across the bridge into Canada or back to Michigan.
Pack your passport so that you can experience this unique Sault Ste Marie attraction!
Even if you visit Michigan in winter, this is a must-do Sault Ste Marie attraction not to skip.
Explore The Historic District On Water Street
Sault Ste Marie is a historic waterfront town, so there are quite a few historic sites and attractions in the city.
One of the most popular places to visit is the Historic District on Water Street.
Water Street’s Historic District has several historic homes and offices.
Many of them are now house museums or museums dedicated to the history of the city of Sault Ste Marie.
You can tour the Johnston House, the Kemp Coal Dock Office, or the Henry Rowe Schoolcraft Office when you are on Water Street.
Each of these historic buildings has been restored to what they would have looked like when they were originally inhabited or open for business.
It’s a cool way to learn about the unique history of the city of Sault Ste Marie Michigan.
Check Out The Boats Docked At The George Kemp Downtown Marina
The George Kemp Downtown Marina is where many boats and vessels that pass through the Soo Locks dock when they are visiting the area.
It’s conveniently located in the heart of downtown Sault Ste Marie.
So, if you’re grabbing a bite to eat or shopping downtown, take a minute to stroll through the marina.
It’s a beautifully scenic part of the city and there are usually some unique vessels docked there.
If you plan to dock your boat there, you’ll find tons of amenities.
There are private showers, a coin-operated laundry room, a comfy lounge with fresh coffee every morning, bikes you can rent, and a dog run.
It’s definitely a unique place to try glamping in the UP!
Go To A Brewery
While there aren’t a ton of breweries in Sault Ste Marie like there might be in other cities in Michigan, you can still find a few.
Right now, there are currently three breweries in the city or nearby.
The original brewery in the city is the Soo Brewing Company, which opened its doors in 2011.
There, you’ll find pews as seats, views of beautiful downtown Sault Ste Marie, and you can even view the brewing process.
Soo Brewing actually recently moved into the same building as another brewery in Michigan, the 1668 Winery and Lockside Brewery.
So, you can try two of the city’s breweries in one convenient spot.
It’s one of the best activities in Sault Ste Marie for adults.
The River Of History Museum Is One Of The Coolest Things To Do In Sault Ste Marie
The River of History Museum is a super unique Sault Ste. Marie marine attraction.
That’s because this museum is actually dedicated to the diverse history of the St. Mary’s River.
You’ll find the museum in the city’s downtown district, on the shores of the river.
Within the museum, you’ll learn all about the 8,000-year history of the river.
From its creation by a glacier to its impact on the industry in the surrounding areas.
The museum is open six days a week and the ticket fee is just $7.50 per adult.
All of the money from ticket sales goes toward continuing the museum since it is a non-profit.
If you’re looking for unique things to do in Sault Ste Marie, this is definitely a unique museum to visit.
Try Your Luck At The Kewadin Casino
In Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, one of the most popular things to do is to visit one of the Kewadin Casinos.
There are several Kewadin Casinos in the UP, and one of them is in Sault Ste. Marie.
The casinos are not just for gambling though! All of the casinos also have attached hotels, and they host events throughout the year.
Sault Ste Marie’s Kewadin Casino is a great place to catch a live show, watch the big game, enjoy a nice meal, and of course, gamble.
If you’re looking to enjoy a night out on the town, then head to the Kewadin Casino.
Exploring Rotary Island Park Is One Of The Best Things To Do In Sault Ste Marie
You’ll find Rotary Island Park about 3-miles away from the Soo Locks.
It’s a beautiful waterfront park in the city and locals and visitors agree that it’s one of the best places to visit in Sault Ste Marie.
There are walking trails that take you around the park and along the waterfront.
The park also has a playground, a charming gazebo, and benches where you can sit and enjoy the view.
If you want to, you can also bring your kayak, or rent one, and kayak on a nice day.
It’s also a great spot to watch for freighters coming crossing through the Soo Locks.
The Museum Ship Valley Camp Is A Cool Sault Ste Marie Marine Attraction
The SS Valley Camp is a lake freighter that is now retired in Sault Ste Marie.
It originally served the Great Lakes for over 50 years.
Now, it’s a ship museum that the public can tour and explore.
You can walk around the deck and see what it would’ve been like to work on a lake freighter.
Plus, in the ship’s cargo hold, there is a 20,000-square-foot museum that has over 100 different permanent and temporary exhibits.
The exhibits include shipwrecks, native fish species, crew’s quarters, and more.
The SS Valley Camp is a popular Sault Ste Marie tourist attraction that is really interesting.
Drive To The Point Iroquois Lighthouse
The Point Iroquois Lighthouse is one of the coolest lighthouses in Michigan.
It’s also just a short drive away from the heart of Sault Ste. Marie, in the same county.
To get there, you’ll take a short 30-minute drive, part of which is along the coast of Lake Superior.
While it’s not right in the city, it’s a pretty popular detour Sault Ste Marie tourist attraction.
The lighthouse marks the entry of the St. Mary’s River at Lake Superior.
Both bodies of water play an important part in Sault Ste Marie Michigan’s history.
Because of this, the Point Iroquois Lighthouse also plays a part in the city’s maritime history.
You can visit the museum in the lighthouse and climb up to the observation deck to get beautiful views of the surrounding area, including the Soo Locks.
Walk Around The Lake Superior State University Campus
Sault Ste Marie is actually a college town too!
The city is home to the Lake Superior State University, a public university in Michigan.
It’s Michigan’s smallest public university, so many people haven’t even heard of it.
In fact, there are only about 2,000 students at this Michigan university.
However, this small university has a really pretty campus on the shores of Lake Superior!
There are wide-open green spaces, charming buildings, and the Regional Outdoor Center.
The Regional Outdoor Center is open to students and the community of Sault Ste. Marie.
At the center, you’ll find workshops and equipment rentals, and they offer guided outdoor adventure trips too.
Admire The Architecture At The Holy Name Of Mary Catholic Church
The Holy Name of Mary Catholic Church is a historic site in the city of Sault Ste. Marie, MI.
It was formerly a Cathedral Church, and it was actually the first Cathedral in the Diocese of Marquette.
The Parish is also the oldest Parish in Michigan and the third oldest Parish in all of the US.
In fact, the current Church was built in 1881, but the Parish originally started all the way back in 1668!
Today’s Church edifice was designed by a Canadian architect in the Gothic Revival architectural style.
It’s a designated National Historic Site, thanks to its status as the first Cathedral in the UP.
You can tour the church or attend services there throughout the week.
At the Tower of History, you’ll also find an exhibit detailing the history of the Parish and the current Church building.
When you visit, you’ll see why it’s one of the most popular Sault Ste Marie tourist attractions.
Eat At The Famous Lockview Restaurant
The Lockview Restaurant is a famous restaurant in Michigan’s UP.
It has been open since 1945 and quickly became known for selling the freshest whitefish in the area.
In the 1960s, the restaurant expanded to include an upstairs dining room with unobstructed views of the Soo Locks.
Today, you can still find the freshest wild-caught fish in the area at the restaurant.
They are open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Visitors and locals love enjoying a meal at this iconic UP restaurant.
If you’re looking for the best places to visit in Sault Ste. Marie, you can’t skip the Lockview Restaurant!
Packing List For Visiting Sault Ste Marie
If you are searching, here are some tips on how to pack lightly when packing when heading to Michigan.
A concealed travel pouch may be one of the most important items you bring along when attending any festivities in Sault Saint Marie.
It is always important to protect your personal information. Identity thieves are everywhere.
This unisex RFID blocking concealed travel pouch is lightweight and comes in several colors. It has lots of organization to give you peace of mind.
You can place it under your clothes next to your body to carry your ID safely.
If you have a pouch already that does not come with the RFID protection, as I do, these RFID sleeves are the perfect solution.
If you are planning on taking a lot of pictures with your phone you will definitely want to consider an external charging battery.
This Anker high-speed phone charging battery is the exact one I carry with me on all of my trips.
I like that it holds its charging capabilities for several uses so I do not have to worry about it while out and about, and if I forget to recharge it at night, it will still be good to go the next day.
My daughter gifted me with this FugeTek selfie stick and tripod setup for my birthday. I absolutely love it! It is made of lightweight aluminum and is so easy to use.
It has Bluetooth connectivity and is a breeze to use for taking Insta-worthy selfies all throughout your visit to Sault Ste Marie!
I never much believed in using packing cubes when traveling. That is until I tried them. Now I am hooked. These are the exact cubes I use to stay organized when I pack for a trip!
You will want to bring your own refillable water bottle with you.
I never leave home on a trip without my Bobble filtration bottle. The 18.5-ounce size is perfect for your adventures and it fits nicely in the pocket of a backpack.
Perhaps you are traveling a long distance and packing space is a premium in your suitcase, or in your car. Then this collapsible silicone foldable water bottle would work well for you. Would not take up much space at all.
You will want a backpack or daypack with you to store snacks, your water bottle, phone, extra clothes, etc.. . No matter the time of day or evening.
This foldable water-resistant backpack would be great. And it comes in many different colors!
Sault Ste Marie may be a small town in Michigan, but there are plenty of things to do there!
With a unique maritime history, a charming small-town atmosphere, and beautiful views, Sault Saint Marie is a great place to visit in Michigan.
Have you ever visited the city of Sault Ste Marie?
If so, I’d love to hear about your trip in the comments!