Marquette, MI


Perched on the rocky shores of Lake Superior in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Marquette is a town endowed with the stout optimism of its Scandinavian fathers, with the vitality of its youth (Northern Michigan University is located there), and with a respect for its history.

I love strolling through downtown and the surrounding neighborhoods. Marquette takes care of its old buildings and is in no hurry to “modernize,” and the result is a thriving downtown that’s pleasant to spend an afternoon exploring.

Downtown Marquette

Local people support their city, according to Mona Lang, ex. director, Downtown Development Authority. So, even though the normal juggernaut of big box stores line US-41 on the city perimeter, its downtown remains vibrant and historic. Six buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places. 

Check out the Wells Fargo Bank or the Landmark Inn or City Hall. Do NOT miss Presque Isle Park, the Sweetwater Cafe on Third Street, or Snowbound Books, or Doncker’s, an old-fashioned soda fountain, where you can order a vanilla phosphate, a strawberry soda, or an authentic double-chocolate malt. Add the incredible natural beauty of Michigan’s lakes and forests, and Marquette is a perennial favorite of the “best of…” lists. It’s an “All American City,” U.S. News and World Reports’s “10 Great Places to Retire for Winter Sports Nuts,”  Historic Preservation’s “Dozen Distinctive Destinations,”Forbes’s “Best Small City to Raise a Family.”

Doncker's--an old-fashioned soda fountain

Northern Michigan University offers a solid, no-frills education to about 9500 students. Cheerleaders, preps, or fashionistas need not apply–these students aren’t worried about their hair or their wardrobe. The school has a killer hockey team, and its Superior Dome is the largest wooden structure of its kind in the world. (It’s made of Douglas fir.)

So, if you don’t mind below-zero temperatures or six feet of snow in the winter, (and I don’t) Marquette is the place to be.

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6 Responses to Marquette, MI

  1. MaryKat Parks Workinger 15 December, 2010 at 9:58 am #

    And of course, the amazingly lovely old library! And Dandelion Cottage (still there, I believe). A sweet, old fashioned (not PC) book for girls.

  2. Noel Seif 17 November, 2010 at 10:02 am #

    Did you check out St. Peter’s Cathedral while you were there? Its basement crypt houses the tombs of its many former bishops, most notably Bishop Baraga. (Bob and I stumbled on the crypt quite by accident–certainly an eerie place.)

    • Kate 17 November, 2010 at 12:15 pm #

      I found the crypt, too. I had done a story on Bishop Baraga once, so I was really moved when I found the crypt. (It is eerie, though.) Yup. The cathedral is really cool, especially when viewed from the top of the hill on Fourth St.

  3. B. Goda 12 November, 2010 at 4:50 pm #

    Hello Ms. Convissor!

    (I attended English Comp I and II at WSCC, Brittani Goda …)

    After I left West Shore I came to Michigan Tech (of all places for my liberal arts tendencies) and I am majoring in English….

    …mainly because of your guidance.

    If you are in the area you should e-mail me!

    I am glad to read that things have been exciting, I am quite jealous!

    Take Care,

    Brittani Goda

    • Kate 15 November, 2010 at 5:29 pm #

      Brittani! So good to hear from you!

      Michigan Tech for an English major? Brittani, I expect nothing less than the unexpected from you. Enjoy learning–it’s an adventure, too.

      Stay warm this winter!

  4. Cheryl Jay Blodgett 11 November, 2010 at 10:18 am #

    Kate! This is beautiful. This is also the first time I’ve experienced a blog, and I’m knocked out. Love you dearly, CherylJ