There's no denying it: There are a lot of colleges in Michigan. All these colleges mean a lot of college students, and those college students need some activities to do on the weekends, or just in general to help break away from the hard work of being a student. So grab your student ID and put on your walking shoes, because there's a lot of activities awaiting college students. Here are 15 of the best.
One of Mount Pleasant’s biggest attractions is also one of its most varied, the Soaring Eagle complex. Part waterpark, part hotel, part casino, those over 18—which is to say most college students—will have the opportunity to settle in and gamble in grand style.
Western Michigan University students have access to a major annual activity known as Marmalade Dog. An annual event now, it typically comes around at some point in the winter. That's good news, because Marmalade Dog is the largest gaming convention in southwest lower Michigan, featuring tabletop games, card games, board games and others with actual games being played during the event.
In a nod to the students at Northern Michigan University, one of the most common answers to the question "What will we do this weekend" seems to be "climb Sugarloaf Mountain." Not far from Marquette and NMU, this 470-foot rise above Lake Superior represents one of the best mountain challenges and spectacular views around.
Spartans at Michigan State University (MSU) are known for a lot of things, particularly sports and sports-related riots. In one of the stranger developments, though, there's also a store on the MSU campus that focuses on one thing: dairy. From several breeds of ice cream to a wide array of cheeses, the discriminating Spartan looking for an upscale party snack will be able to find a host of options right on hand at the MSU Dairy Store.
The University of Michigan (U of M) is commonly known as a technological haven, so it's not surprising that tech figures into their off hours. Pinball Pete's in Ann Arbor is widely known as one of the best arcades in Michigan, and given the state of the arcade industry as a whole, that's no mean feat. There's also a Pinball Pete's in East Lansing, so MSU students can get in on this too.
One of the most popular of watering holes for Central students is Wayside Central, a combination bar and nightclub that features a variety of special events. Costume contests, shows, and other unusual fare comes together to provide a unique experience for students, and everyone else, in the region.
Grand Valley State University students have a little something special to look forward to every year: The President's Ball. Described as "prom for college students," this event gives GVSU students the chance to reconnect to an event they might have only come in contact with once in high school: The formal dance.
While it's often difficult for college students to throw off the relaxed environment of summer vacation, Western Michigan University makes it easier with its annual Bronco Bash event. Bronco Bash gives space to the university's various clubs and groups to allow new students to see what's available and sign up accordingly. Throw in various vendor tables—often with free giveaway items—and live entertainment and it's an activity that many Broncos wouldn't dream of passing up.
Spartans who want to get in touch with the more martial connotations of their name and don't want to try kicking people into pits while not wearing a shirt instead have a new option in the Demmer Center, an institution devoted to mastering shooting sports. Offering indoor and outdoor archery ranges, a 3D walking course, and indoor firearms ranges, the Demmer Center can offer certification and licensing classes to take some of the mystery and danger out of shooting sports.
Going back to Central, we find that the college has its own improv troupe. Improv still being reasonably fresh in some memories thanks to things like Who's Line is it Anyway and various Drew Carey-based endeavors, going to a Trap Door Improv show will give ready access to the kind of high-speed comedy that only improv can provide.
There are two ways to take the arrival of winter in Michigan: The way that involves a lot of whining or the Wayne State University way. Starting when the weather gets cold, Wayne State and Campus Martius park get together to offer up an ice skating experience unlike few others. The 2015 version, for example, featured free skate rental, free shuttle bus service and hot chocolate service.
The University of Michigan offers a series of activities for its students known as UMix. Geared toward late-night fun—usually running between 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.—activities include everything from dances to movies and well beyond. Activities change weekly, and typically run every Friday night.
It's back to Western for another big event, or rather, a whole string of events. Western students are often seen at Miller Auditorium for a variety of musical theater events and the like. There's also something special for Western students: $1 and a student ID gets viewers in for Miller Movies, showing recently-run films on a huge screen. Titles shown include "Finding Dory," "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," and many more over the years.
Spartans aren't exactly known for their farming skills, but at Michigan State University, that's about to change in a big way. The MSU Student Organic Farm teaches Spartans how to raise their own crops, and potentially take a valuable skill with them when they leave campus, one largely unrelated to their degree path of choice. Even non-Spartans can enjoy the fruits of Spartan labor thanks to the farm's produce stand.
The “Arb,” as U of M students call it, isn't just an impressive place to see trees and plants, as well as one of the greatest landscapes in the region. The expanses of natural beauty are a great start, but so too is the potential for isolation. Great for thinking, for relaxing, or for getting acquainted with new friends, the Arb offers the perfect setting for just about anything.