Marquette’s not Southern California. If you want day after day of bright sunshine and predictable temperatures, this isn’t the place for you. But we do look forward to the warm season, counting every sunny, mild day as a blessing. As our trail networks, restaurant patios and outdoor festivals indicate, we love to spend time outdoors. Unfortunately, not every summer day is sunny and dry. When rain comes, we adapt.
Marquette’s frost-free season typically lasts from mid-May to sometime in October, and the height of summer – when cool days are rare – runs from early June through mid-September. Summer tends to be sunnier than winter, when cloud cover is common (even when it’s not snowing). But thunderstorms and, less frequently, all-day showers can complicate outdoor plans.
In the spirit of this uncertainty, we’ve put together a list of five fun activities to do in Marquette in the rain.
As the largest contiguous indoor space in Marquette, the Yooper Dome is the perfect place to visit on a rainy day. Many of Northern Michigan University’s sports teams practice and play here, so there’s a good chance you’ll see some sporting action if you come during the school year. Even if there’s nothing doing on the field in the middle, you can jog to your heart’s content around the perimeter or check out the NMU Hall of Fame Wall. The Yooper Dome also pays homage to locals who have made sacrifices for the good of the U.S. Olympic team. And there’s even a stylized recreation of an Upper Peninsula ecosystem, complete with taxidermied raccoon, foxes and moose, enclosed in a glass case. Before you leave, don’t forget to buy some official NMU apparel.
This one might require an umbrella, but it’ll be well worth it. From the fashions of Che Bello to the delectable sweets of Donckers, the heart of downtown Marquette has more than a dozen shops that cater to just about every taste. You’ll find every Yooper souvenir imaginable here, as well as smart, modern clothing and tasteful accessories for your home. To recharge, grab a cup of fro-yo from Yoop-Phoria or nibble on an appetizer at L’Attitude Cafe + Bistro.
The Vierling Restaurant & Marquette Harbor Brewery might be the oldest brewery in Marquette, but the Ore Dock is the biggest. If your outdoor plans are waylaid some rainy Saturday, don’t spend the afternoon sulking about it in your room. Head to Spring Street in downtown Marquette — just a block or two from the old iron structure that gives the Ore Dock its name — and grab a pint or two at the custom-made wooden bar, cozy downstairs seating space or cavernous upstairs event room (which used to be open only on weekend evenings, but now welcomes guests during regular hours). Like any self-respecting microbrewery, the Ore Dock offers a rotating menu of beers, from drinkable, low-alcohol lagers to warming, buzzy stouts, porters and Belgians.
Marquette Cinemas is a centrally located, 10 screen movie theater that shows first-run films and occasional re-releases. It’s located on Commerce Drive, near some of Marquette’s biggest retail outlets. All its screens are digital, so a great experience is guaranteed – even for films that have been out for a few weeks. And the theater is designed to accommodate the potential addition of four more screens, although there aren’t any definitive plans in the works. A special party room can accommodate up to 35 special guests, and an extra-large 35′ x 60′ screen provides an enhanced viewing experience. Stadium seating and special VIP sections make admission well worth it, too. Since this theater is open year-round, it’s a great activity for a dreary winter day as well.
Did you know that Marquette County is “the birthplace of organized skiing”? It’s also the sport’s cultural home. On the outskirts of Ishpeming, just off M-28/U.S. 41, the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame honors nearly 400 of the country’s finest skiers and snowboarders in a distinctive A-frame structure. You can read about all the inductees, view original artifacts and memorabilia (including trophies!), and watch inspiring sports footage in a modern theater. There’s also a gift shop, in case you want to bring home some branded merchandise — and support the Hall’s mission. If you’re around then, the Hall will celebrate the induction of its 2014 class on September 19-21.
What will you do on your next rainy day in Marquette County?