Winter is the time to celebrate with comfort foods, natural beauty, and local entertainment venues

As winter sweeps in, individuals of all ages retreat indoors, huddling away until the arrival of spring.

Sitting on the couch and doom-scrolling all winter is a swift way to encounter the dreaded cabin fever. Yet avoiding a Kubrick-inspired winter can be simple whether you prefer staying warm indoors or venturing out into the cold.

Here are a few of our favorite ways to enjoy the winter:

Amberlyn Hales’ goal is for everything at MI Table to represent the best Michigan has to offer. (Photo Credit: Ashley Brown)
  • Warm up with brunch at one of the many local eateries in town. Consider some local favorites such as MI Table, The Public House, and Uptown Grill.  
Situated at 213 Center Ave. and founded in 2019, MI Table has quickly become a downtown mainstay. Recognized on "America's Best Restaurants," MI Table stands out for its Michigan-themed menu and bar.

The restaurant also hosts themed events throughout the year and offers a popular brunch on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

To learn more about MI Table’s story, visit the restaurant’s website. For upcoming events, follow its Facebook page.

The Public House is known for its craft cocktails. (Photo Credit: Public House)Interested in a more intimate environment for brunch? Look no farther than The Public House, located at 811 Adams St., across from the Madonna mural.

The Public House is an artisan cocktail bar with locally-sourced fare. This cozy hidden gem of Bay City serves brunch every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., with the bar remaining open until 4 p.m.  

Visit The Public House website for full bar hours and follow it on Instagram for upcoming events.

If you prefer to start your days off early, head over to Uptown Grill at 3 E. Main St.

The eatery serves breakfast and lunch daily from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Boasting a wide variety of breakfast options, there is something for everyone. From the classic bacon-and-eggs to gourmet French toast and specialty pancakes, Uptown Grill is a great family outing for all to enjoy.

To see the full menu, visit its website.

If you visit Crazy Quarters Arcade, bring your quarters and dollars bills. None of the games are equipped for swipe cards. (Photo Credit: Adam Salgat)
  • Let loose at Crazy Quarters Arcade
Providing a family-friendly, timeless arcade adventure, Crazy Quarters is an ideal spot to unwind without braving the winter chill.

Staying true to the classics, this arcade exclusively operates machines on quarters, eschewing swipe cards. Offering a blend of modern and vintage arcade games, Crazy Quarters is guaranteed to re-ignite the joy of your inner child.

Located at 401 Center Ave., the venue houses more than 50 video games and more than 70 pinball machines. There’s even a free party room available for booking.

For arcade hours and more information visit its website.

The Delta College Planetarium in Downtown Bay City hosts family-friendly, fun events throughout the year. (Photo Credit: Ashley Brown)
  • See a show at the Delta College Planetarium
The Delta College Planetarium resumes public shows on Sat., Jan. 13, after being closed since Dec. 24 for a deep cleaning of the projection dome.

The dome was installed in 1997 and has stood the test of time remarkably well.

With the theater screen refurbished and its aluminum panels’ spot-cleaned, the dome promises even brighter visuals and an enhanced viewer experience. Upcoming shows include “Stars of the Pharaohs,” “The Enchanted Reef,” and “Eclipse: The Sun Revealed.”

For admission fees and a full list of upcoming showtimes, visit the Delta College Planetarium website.

A gallery on the first floor of the Historical Museum features the heritage of Bay County from pre-contact days through the present. (Photo Credit: Ashley Brown)

  • Visit the Historical Museum of Bay County
Spend a day visiting the Bay County Historical Society and its Museum at 321 Washington Ave. The museum is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Inside the museum, explore a captivating journey through time. The museum showcases Bay City's history from pre-contact era to the present, including the Michigan Rock and Roll Legends Hall of Fame and a maritime history exhibit.

Wander through the galleries at your own pace or opt for a guided tour by Educator Coordinator Sam Fitzpatrick. Guided tours are available for $1 per person.

If you're in the mood for some physical activity, the museum offers walking tours at historic sites around town. Climb the clock tower at City Hall, join a guided architecture tour through downtown, or, for those seeking a spookier experience, inquire about the Hell's Half Mile walking tour.

Bay City's quirky and unique history is sure to inject a lively spirit into any dreary day.

For tour and contact information, visit the museum website.
  • Fun for outdoor enthusiasts
For the outdoor nature lovers, there are plenty of trails and nature preserves open to the public year-round.

The Saginaw Basin Land Conservancy owns and helps manage nature preserves throughout the area. The Conservancy’s mission is to protect the natural areas and create spaces for people and families to enjoy.

Acquired in 2013, the Discovery Preserve and Nature Playground, previously known as Euclid Linear Park, offers a welcoming space. Located at 1701 S. Euclid Ave. and open daily to the public from dusk until dawn, this nature preserve features birdhouses, a spotting scope, pavilion, and a nature play area, fostering an environment for families to embrace the outdoors and engage in exploration.

Map courtesy of the Saginaw Basin Land ConservancyRiverbend West Nature Area is another way to get some fresh air. Acquired in the summer of 2022 and located at 480 Marquette St., Riverbend West is owned by Bay City and co-managed with the Saginaw Basin Land Conservancy. Riverbend West is a more rustic trail that leads to a viewing space overlooking the Saginaw River.

For more information about the Saginaw Basin Land Conservancy and nature preserves, visit its website.

Discover the newly renovated Saginaw Bay Visitor Center at Bay City State Park, scheduled to re-open on Sat., Feb. 3 after a $2 million makeover.

The 10,000-square-foot facility includes displays on the marsh's history, an audio-video theater, and an interactive exhibit to help you identify birds by their calls. The renovations feature a fully re-vamped exhibit area and a classroom for hands-on learning.

For a century, the Bay City State Park has been providing recreational opportunities along the Saginaw Bay. (Photo courtesy of Bay City State Park)Located at 3582 State Park Drive in Bangor Township, a recreation passport is required for park entrance. For hours, events, and updates, visit its website.

Can’t wait until Sat., Feb. 3? Tobico Marsh and its trails are open to the public all year. The nearly 2,000-square-foot wildlife refuge within Bay City State Park is home to deer, beavers, muskrats, and waterfowl.

No recreation passport is required for entrance to Tobico Marsh
  • Stop by the Family Winter Fun Fest 2024: Winter Fun for Everyone!
Enjoy a family-friendly winter event filled with games, crafts, and food. This event takes place on Sat., Feb. 17 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Bay City Town Center, 4101 E. Wilder Road.

Events begin at 11:30 a.m. with a diaper dash, followed by lunch and story time. The event offers a range of activities, including face-painting, crafts, and a dedicated 'kids' zone' equipped with a bounce house, laser tag, obstacle course, and complimentary food.

Follow the event on Facebook for updates on vendors and discussion.

Whether you prefer the cozy embrace of indoor comforts or the adventurous allure of the great outdoors, Bay City has just the remedy to keep your spirits shining all winter long. Top of Form

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Read more articles by Sarah Sexton.

Sarah Sexton moved to Bay City from Dallas, TX in 2005. After graduating from John Glenn High School in 2007, Sarah earned her BA from Michigan State          University in Social Science with a focus on the Black American Freedom Struggle. Sarah traveled extensively throughout her early 20s and eventually made her way back to Bay City in 2018 to be closer to family. Sarah began pursuing her passion for writing in 2020 and has worked with local magazines and online media sources as well as other freelancers. When Sarah is not writing or brushing up on her photography skills, she can be found bopping around Downtown Bay City, enjoying the nightlife and activities the city offers.