city in the U.S. state of Michigan and is the county seat of Wexford County

Cadillac is a city in the state of Michigan. The community has a population of approximately 10,000 within city limits, and over 40,000 within the surrounding two counties. It was established as an industrial town known as the Village of Clam Lake. The village was incorporated into a city in 1877. It changed its name to Cadillac after the 17th and 18th century French explorer Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac (the car brand is also named after him). The area became a popular tourist destination following World War II, and remains so today.

The City Park, featuring the Kris Eggle Memorial Fountain and the Rotary Pavilion

Cadillac is the gateway to northwest Michigan. Nearly a million visitors come each year to the area, to enjoy the scenic lakes and quaint small town. While popular, Cadillac is quiet and makes a great Northern Michigan destination for summer and winter recreation enthusiasts.

Understand

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There are two large lakes in the Cadillac vicinity. Lake Cadillac lies entirely within the boundaries of the city; this has led to a geographically unique community, with most city commerce taking place on the east shore of the lake—the downtown—and many businesses catering to tourists located on the west shore. Locals refer to this western portion as Cadillac West. Knowing this terminology can be helpful if you plan to stay in the area.

The area north of the city limits at 13th Street is officially known as Haring Township, though residents generally consider it to be part of Cadillac; when differentiation is needed, locals will often refer to it simply as the north end. Generally speaking, Haring Township features most of the area's chain establishments: big box stores like Meijer and Walmart, chain restaurants, and fast food mainstays.

To the west of Lake Cadillac lies the larger Lake Mitchell. While both lakes offer public access, Lake Mitchell is more nearly surrounded by private residences and may be more difficult for non-homeowners to reach. The two lakes are connected by the small Clam Lake Canal which has an unusual feature: as winter approaches, the canal freezes over. But once the two lakes freeze over, the ice on the canal thaws and the canal remains unfrozen for the remainder of winter.

The residents of Cadillac and the surrounding area, like most Midwesterners, are open and friendly. If you need directions, locals will be happy to assist. Visitors are also welcome to ask for advice on where to get a tasty lunch or, if needed, a quick repair for their bicycle.

Get in

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By car

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Driving is the most practical means by which to visit Cadillac. The primary route, US-131, comes in from Grand Rapids. The state route MI-115 is used by visitors from the Detroit area. MI-55 comes in from Manistee and Lake Michigan, passing through Cadillac on its way to Lake Huron. Be sure to enjoy the scenery of Northern Michigan on your way to Cadillac.

By bus

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Indian Trails offers bus service to Cadillac from various Michigan cities.

By plane

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Get around

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By car

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Personal automobile is the most convenient means of getting around, with free parking available around the city. Parking downtown is convenient and plentiful, even during major events. The main street through Cadillac is called Mitchell Street, but business addresses sometimes refer to it by its highway designation of BR-131. If you ask for directions while driving in Cadillac, they'll likely involve Mitchell Street. North of Cadillac in Haring Township, the major east-west road is 34 Road, though locals seldom refer to it as anything except Boon Road. In Cadillac West, a brief portion of M-115 along the lake is occasionally referred to as Sunnyside Drive.

By bicycle

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Biking is highly recommended for those staying on or near the lakes. Cadillac has a bike path along the shores of Lake Cadillac, so east-west travel between the downtown and the Cadillac West is convenient. Biking on the local streets is safe, and there are a number of nature trails in the area that provide great off-roading. Bicycle sales, service and supplies are available at Einstein Cycle on Mitchell Street.

On foot

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Walking around the downtown area is easy and safe in the summer. As with most cities in the northern part of the country, winter conditions will vary from day to day; even sidewalks which have been shoveled clear will lead to street crossings filled with melting snow and ice, so winter footwear is advisable for walking farther than just to your parked car. Outside of the city limits, particularly in the retail-heavy Haring Township, sidewalks are not always present, and walkers may find themselves on the shoulders of a road.

By taxi

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Cadillac Taxi operates an on-demand taxi service within the city. Uber and Lyft rides are also available in the area.

By bus

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The Cadillac/Wexford Transit Authority runs a demand response bus service. In the summer the Authority runs a mid-day fixed-route service. The line runs between Cadillac West and the downtown.

By boat

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Cadillac surrounds Lake Cadillac and part of Lake Mitchell. The downtown is adjacent to the former, and public docks make it easy to tie up a boat and walk to shops and food.

Many of the restaurants around the lake provide docks.

Launching your own boat or renting is highly recommended. Renting a campsite at Mitchell State Park entitles you to dock your boat in the canal alongside the park.

By snowmobile

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The city of Cadillac is surrounded by more than 200 miles of snowmobile trails; visitors to the area should be aware that operating snowmobiles is illegal within the city limits.

The downtown, which includes a number of quaint shops, a movie theatre [1] and a park, is picturesque. It is popular with tourists year-round.

  • Courthouse Hill Historic District. Adjacent to the downtown, part of the original Village of Clam Lake. Many of the homes in the District are large, Victorian-style residences built by the lumber barons and businessmen who helped establish Cadillac more than a century ago.
  • 1 [dead link] Clam Lake Canal. Constructed to transport logs from Lake Mitchell to the mills on the shores of Lake Cadillac. It is now used exclusively by recreation lakecraft. With the canal, the two lakes comprise approximately 3700 acres of open water.    

The Cadillac area is very popular with tourists who favor active recreation activities. The city surrounds Lake Cadillac and is adjacent to Lake Mitchell. There are a number of public boat ramps; there is a launch on the northwest side of Lake Cadillac, in Kenwood Park, while on the northeast end of Lake Cadillac, next to City Park and the downtown, there is another ramp.

Outdoor

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  • 1 Adventure Island, +1 231 775-2527. 6083 E MI-115. Waterslides, mini-golf, batting cages and go-carts. Arcade activities indoors.
  • 2 Sound Garden. Truly unique hands-on sculpture on the shores of Lake Cadillac. Native materials, primarily silver maple, beach, and ironwood were used to make this set of sculptural instruments.
  • 3 Mitchell State Park, 6093 E MI-115, +1 231 775-7911. Located between the two lakes. It is home to the Carl T. Johnson Hunt and Fish Center, which documents the history of hunting and fishing in Michigan. The Center is open year-round. There is also a 2.5-mile (4.0 km) nature trail that leaves from the Hunting and Fishing Center.
  • 4 Cadillac Pathway. Lies east of Cadillac and is part of the Pere Marquette State Forest. The trails of the Pathway are well suited to biking, hiking and cross country skiing. Trail map.
  • 5 Manistee National Forest. Lies immediately to the west of Cadillac. The national forest is popular with ORVers.    

Golf

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  • 1 G & D Party Store, 319 N Mitchell St, +1 231 775-1229. Carry out and delivery. Locally famous for its pizza, sold whole or by the slice.
  • 2 Lakeside Charlie’s, 301 S Lake Mitchell Dr, +1 231 775-5332, . M-Th 11:30AM-9PM, F-Sat 11:30AM-10PM. American cuisine. Located in Cadillac West, on the shores of Lake Mitchell.
  • 3 House of Hunan, 505 N Mitchell St, +1 231 779-0988. American-style Chinese cuisine, a local favorite.
  • 4 Burke's Waterfront, 2403 Sunnyside Dr (M-115), +1 231 775-7555. M-W,F-Sa 7AM-8PM, Sun 7AM-3PM, Closed Th. American family restaurant. Pronounced "BURK-eez", not "BURKZ".
  • 5 After 26 Depot, 127 W Cass, +1 231 468-3526. Tu-F 7AM-2PM, Sa Su 8AM-2PM, closed Monday. Located inside a former railroad depot, this non-profit restaurant benefits adults with developmental disabilities and cognitive impairment
  • 6 Dockside Inn, 2404 Sunnyside Drive, +1 231 775-9322. W Th 4-9PM, F Sa 11AM-10PM, Su 10AM-6:30PM, closed M Tu. Upscale American food on the shore of Lake Cadillac.
  • 7 Herradura's, 1700 S Mitchell, +1 231 775-4575. M-Th 11AM-10PM, F Sa 11AM-10:30PM. Mexican restaurant with full bar
  • 8 Raven Social, 119 S Mitchell, +1 231 444-6396. Tu-Th 11AM-9PM, F Sa 11AM-10PM. American food with full bar

Drink

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  • 1 Clam Lake Beer Company, 106 S Mitchell, +1 231 775-6150. Brewpub features 40 different beers on tap plus a full menu.
  • 2 Cadillac Party Lounge, 516 N. Mitchell, +1 231 775-9073. Open until 2AM. Sports bar with a full kitchen. Easily the most upscale bar in town. Well lit.
  • 3 Roaring 20s Saloon, 210 S. Mitchell (next to Cadillac 5 movie theater), +1 231 775-8411. Open until 2AM. Loud music, usually crowded to the rafters on ladies' night. Go there to drink, not to talk.
  • 4 Curly's, 7880 Mackinaw Trail (Inside Evergreen Resort), +1 231 775-9947. Open until 1AM. Free popcorn. Features karaoke some nights.
  • 5 The Pines (Cadillac West), 5992 E. M-55, +1 231 775-6111. Attached bowling alley and pizza restaurant. Popular with the young folks (particularly the under-21 set).
  • 6 Coz's 8-Ball Lounge, 1341 N. Mitchell, +1 231 775-4494. Also known as "Stopless Topless". Topless dancing. Do not bring the girlfriend or kids.

Sleep

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Lodging

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Camping

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  • 8 Mitchell State Park, 6093 E MI-115. This state park lies between Lakes Cadillac and Mitchell and in fact straddles the canal connecting the two lakes. There 221 campsites, with modern toilet buildings, showers and sanitation stations. Eight campsites are wheelchair-accessible. A mini-cabin is also available for rent. Reservations are strongly recommended, especially for the sites along the canal.
  • 9 Camp Cadillac, 10621 E 34 Rd, +1 231 775-9724. Private campground, located 3 miles (5 km) to northeast of the city. It has a number of amenities including a petting zoo, a pool and internet access.

Go next

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Routes through Cadillac
PetoskeyKalkaska  N   S  Reed CityGrand Rapids
Manistee ← Jct    W   E  Lake CityHoughton Lake
Frankfort ← Jct    W   E  ClareEND


This city travel guide to Cadillac is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.