What Everyone in the Upper Peninsula Should Experience at Least Once in Their Lifetime


    Marquette, MI – April 5th, 2020 – If you’re from the Upper Peninsula, you probably have a “bucket list” of different things that everyone should do if they move to or visit the U.P.  I’m a born and raised Yooper, and almost my entire family has lived here for generations.  Now me being 20 years old and from Negaunee, most of my “bucket list” items are close to home in Marquette County.

    Stop and grab some food for you U.P. Adventure!

    This might be the easiest part of the list to accomplish.  Almost any restaurant you go to in the Upper Peninsula most likely serves these dishes.

    Pasties are a very popular and delicious food in Upper Michigan
    Pasties are a very popular and delicious food in Upper Michigan

    If you are visiting or just moving into the U.P., it would be a crime to go without trying a pasty.  It’s essentially a calzone with chopped up potatoes, carrots, onions, and beef. Many places also offer pasties with other ingredients or vegetarian options.  It even has it’s own history in the U.P. being a very popular and easy to carry lunch for miners in the past.  It’s a hearty comfort food that’s good at any time of the year.

    Cudighi is also a staple food around here.  It’s beef or sometimes venison that’s seasoned with sweet spices and can sometimes be spicy.  It can be a sausage or served on a hard roll with mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce like a sandwich.

    Explore All the Scenic Nature That the Upper Peninsula has to Offer!

    Fun Fact: The Northern Lights usually make a rare appearance every year!
    Fun Fact: The Northern Lights usually make a rare appearance every year, and have been seen around Marquette!

    There’s so much nature to experience throughout the entire Upper Peninsula, it can be hard to find a place to start exploring!

    Right in Marquette you can take a ride around Presque Isle, also known as The Island.  Don’t be fooled, it’s not a literal island, but a peninsula!  It’s about a 5 minute, leisurely drive from start to finish, with several chances to park your car and take in the beautiful scenery!  There’s a natural cliff jump into Lake Superior, creatively named Black Rocks.  It’s a very popular way to cool off in the summer, and it could be classified as a sort of rite of passage if you ask the right people.

    If you’re driving through the Upper Peninsula, you very well might find some roadside trails that lead to waterfalls.  It’s the perfect opportunity to park the car and stretch your legs before continuing on your drive!  You also get to see some cool waterfalls too.  The Tahquamenon Falls for example are beautiful water falls that have a very short and easy trail to walk.  If you want more information on waterfalls we have a great article you can read here!

    Black Rocks is a popular spot for Yoopers and tourists alike in the summer!
    Black Rocks is a popular spot for Yoopers and tourists alike in the summer!

    There’s many mountains and hills around Upper Michigan that you can hike or even drive. Sugarloaf Mountain in Marquette has stairs up to the top, and has a spectacular view of the city of Marquette and Lake Superior.  Brockway Mountain in the Keweenaw is a great idea for a day trip.  Especially in the fall season, you’ll get a great view of the fall colors, on the drive up and at the top!

    The Iron Ore Heritage Trail is a trail that leads from Marquette to West Ishpeming.  It’s a wonderful trail that’s almost totally paved, and weaves through Ishpeming, Negaunee, and Marquette, showcasing different parts of the Upper Peninsula’s history.  For example, in Negaunee, it cuts through the Irontown Caving Grounds, and tells about the mining that happened there, including flooded mining pits!

    Be in the Right Place at the Right Time, and You’ll Experience These Unique Upper Michigan Events!

    Now this one is definitely the most unique on the list.  Lakenenland is a sculpture park about 15 miles east of the city of Marquette.  It’s all handmade sculptures made up of scrap metal and wood. You can see some of the sculptures from the road as you drive by, or you can stop and walk an easy, wooded trail to see all the art.  It’s open for free to the public every day of the week, and it’s a great place to bring the family!

    Everyone in the United States has celebrated the Fourth of July.  But in Negaunee, we have an entire week after the Fourth called Pioneer Days or Pioneer Week, just to celebrate Negaunee and it’s people.  There’s a high school alumni softball tournament, Firemen games, a parade, fireworks, and many more activities and events all week long.

    The Pioneer Days are a major part of Negaunee's 'small-town American' culture!
    The Pioneer Days are a major part of Negaunee’s ‘small-town American’ culture!

    It’s the perfect chance for people who grew up in Negaunee and are now visiting to catch up with friends from school.  If you happen to be near Negaunee during the Fourth of July and for some time after, this is a great community wide event to experience.

    If you happen to be way up in the Keweenaw in the winter, you might have a chance to see the ice sculptures the students at Michigan Tech University build every year for their Winter Carnival.  The final products are very impressive, and you begin to wonder how they can handle fragile ice and snow like that, then you remember most of them are Engineering students.

    Use this list as a starting point for your next visit to Upper Michigan!  Whether you have family and friends here, you’re looking for a new place to go camping, or you’re just driving through, it’ll be fun and beautiful!

    What did you think of this list? Was there something I missed? Something you’ll try the next time you’re in the Upper Peninsula? Let me know with a comment below!


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