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Travel Nurse Assignments: Live Like a Local – Bay City, MI!


Welcome to Bay City, MI! Located on the shores of Lake Huron, Bay City is one of the top tourist destinations of the Great Lakes region of Michigan. The city is part of the Tri-Cities of Central Michigan, along with Midland and Saginaw, which together have a population of over 200,000 people. In the summer, Bay City is abuzz with activity, and thousands of visitors flock to the area every year for world-class festivals, sailing, and other lake activities. In addition, the Historic Downtown provides ample opportunities for shopping, dining, and nightlife, and the healthcare sector is the city’s top employer. Experience the charm of the Great Lakes region, and visit Bay City!

Summer Festivals

Bay City has tons of activities and attractions to keep you busy. In the summertime, the city hosts numerous festivals that attract thousands of tourists every year. The Bay City Fireworks Festival is one of the most popular and is considered one of the best fireworks displays in the entire state. Of course, the fireworks show takes place on July 4th, but the festival begins on July 1st. There’s a carnival in Veterans Memorial Park and live music and events in Wenonah Park. Over 200,000 people are drawn to the Fireworks Festival, so it’s a great chance to mingle with local Michiganders!

The Rockin’, the River Festival, also takes place in July, a week after the Fireworks Festival. The main attraction at Rockin’ the River is the iconic hydroplane races on the Saginaw River. The race traverses the river on a 1.25 course and is guaranteed to get any spectator’s adrenaline pumping. Rockin’ the River also features live music, a pub crawl, and a car show. The Munger Potato Festival is another unique Bay City tradition that dates back over 60 years. The festival occurs from July 29-Aug 1, and the main event is the Demolition Derby, which features an assortment of motorized vehicles smashing into each other. This festival also includes live music and amusement park rides, and if you decide to check it out, you’ll likely have a SPUDTASTIC time! 😉


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City Attractions

Bay City’s Historic Downtown has been welcoming visitors since the nineteenth century, and they’ve kept most of their historic buildings intact. The light bridge on Third Street illuminates the area at night, and it’s the perfect spot for a nighttime walk. Also, in downtown, Bay City Sidewalk Days happens every July and allows local businesses to showcase their wares. Merchants offer special deals and discounts, and the event is mostly held outside to give you the feel of an open-air market. One of the mainstays at Sidewalk Days is City Market, a farmer’s market specializing in local and organic products. The market is open year-round and has a smorgasbord of unique vendors. It’s a great place to go if you’re looking for quality produce or a quick bite to eat.

Riverwalk Pier in Bay City’s Uptown neighborhood

In Uptown, the Riverwalk Pier is a lovely location for a walk. The walking paths are heated in the winter, and you can watch boats out in the harbor in the summer. Not to mention, fantastic restaurants and shops nearby. Also, mentioned earlier, Veterans Memorial Park boasts a slew of amenities, including walking trails, tennis courts and ball fields, and plenty of green space to sit and enjoy views of the river. Furthermore, just outside of town, Bay City State Park is the place to go if you’re looking to escape into nature. The park has the largest freshwater coastal wetlands on the Great Lakes and over 1000 ft. of sandy beach to enjoy.

History and Culture

Confirmed by the historic aesthetic of the downtown area, Bay City has a rich history and culture showcased in various attractions. The Center Avenue Historic District is one of the nicer parts of town and inspires visitors with its unique architecture. The neighborhood is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It consists of more than 875 unique structures featuring a wide range of architectural styles such as Gothic revival, Greek revival, Tudor revival, and more! So, if you’re into architecture or just want to look at some beautiful buildings, you have to check out this part of town!


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Moreover, the Historical Museum of Bay County is the place to learn about the history of Bay City. The Museum, run by the Bay County Historical Society, has an impressive collection of artifacts and exhibits, highlighting the city’s historical maritime and timber industries. The Robert & Anne Hatchel Theater plays 8 documentaries on various topics, including one on sunken treasure. It’s a must-see for Bay City and a great activity for a rainy day.

Sunrise over Lake Huron

Last but not least, the Saginaw Valley Naval Ship Museum is located on the outskirts of town. The museum is located in the USS Edson, a mighty warship that saw action during the Vietnam War. The ship and the crews that commanded her received numerous accolades during the Gulf of Tonkin incident and were involved in the evacuation of Saigon at the end of the war. You can tour the ship and talk to knowledgeable volunteers around the grounds and aboard the ship.

Where to Eat and Drink

Bay City has plenty of restaurants to satisfy your palette. Beaver’s Pub is a whiskey and bourbon dive bar that also has delicious pub cuisine. For something a bit more upscale, Real Seafood, located in uptown, has elegant seafood dishes at affordable prices. If you want some views with dinner, head to Riverfront Grille for traditional American favorites and a fantastic outdoor patio!

Fireworks over Lake Huron

For drinks, you can’t go wrong with any of Bay City’s many dive bars and taverns. Coonan’s Irish Hub is the place to go if you’re looking for a pint of Guinness or a Rueben sandwich. Retro Rocks is a quirky gastropub that is a local favorite for nightlife and has a party atmosphere. If you’re looking for craft beer, you’re in luck! Tri-City Brewing Company is the gold standard for the area and has dozens of different varieties on tap!

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