county seat of Saginaw County, Michigan, United States

Saginaw is a city in Central Michigan; it is the largest of the "Tri-Cities" of the Saginaw Bay area with Bay City and Midland. About 50,000 people (2019) live in this town, which survived an economic downturn when the logging industry ended at the turn of the 20th century. As with many Michigan cities, it is struggling to adapt to the challenges of having an economy based on the automobile industry.



Saginaw's population has declined from a peak of 91,000 in 1970, to fewer than 50,000 in 2019, as its economy has contracted.

Saginaw has built an impressive network of health care facilities - hospitals, specialists, cancer treatment centers - that serves residents from many of the surrounding counties.

Economic development is focused on comparative advantages in innovation, clean energy, and continued manufacturing exports. The city continues to have a higher proportion of manufacturing jobs than the US average.



Saginaw was a thriving lumber town in the 19th century and an important industrial city and manufacturing center throughout much of the 20th century. During the late 20th century, its industry and strong manufacturing presence declined, leading to increased unemployment, crime, and a population decline. The populations of neighboring communities, such as Saginaw Charter Township, have grown, and the metro area had almost 200,000 residents in 2019.

Get in

Map of Saginaw

By car


Interstate 75 runs east of the city and links Saginaw to Mackinaw City and the Upper Peninsula to the north, plus Flint, Detroit, and Ann Arbor (the latter via US-23) to the south. Interstate 675 links to I-75 and leads directly to Downtown Saginaw.

By plane


1 MBS International Airport (MBS IATA) is in nearby Freeland, about midway between Midland, Bay City, and Saginaw. The airport is served by United Express flights from Chicago-O'Hare, plus Delta Connection flights from Detroit and Minneapolis/St. Paul, plus seasonal flights from Atlanta.

Get around


You'll need a car. Public transportation is limited. The Saginaw Valley has five primary tourist areas: Birch Run, Chesaning, Frankenmuth, Saginaw City and Saginaw Township. These are spread out by as much as 25-30 minutes by car.


  • Andersen Enrichment Center, 120 Ezra Rust Dr, +1 989 759-1362.
  • Japanese Cultural Center and Tea House, 527 Ezra Rust Dr, +1 989 759-1618. Educational and cultural programs for guests of all ages. One of only five of its kind in the country.
  • 1 Saginaw Children's Zoo at Celebration Square, 1730 S. Washington Ave, +1 989 759-1408, . Zoological facility featuring hands-on exhibits where you can let the kid in you out, whether you're 2 or 92. Facility includes: train, playground, Awareness Amphitheater, gift shop, and concessions. Home of Michigan's only new hand-carved carousel. Seasonal with special weekends in October and December. Handicap accessible.    
  • 2 Theodore Roethke House, +1 989 799-0559. 1805 Gratiot. Visit the home of famed Pulitzer Prize-Winning Saginaw poet Theodore Roethke and view the historical marker. Educational and cultural tours, slide presentations for organizations, occasional picnics and concerts. Call to make arrangements and obtain information.    



Theater and concerts

  • [dead link] Chesaning Showboat, 218 N. Front St, toll-free: +1-800-844-3056. Chesaning. Variety show draws internationally acclaimed entertainers such as Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, Roy Clark, Randy Travis and Lee Greenwood. Outdoor theater seats 7,000. Shows are run during the second full week of July. Handicap accessible.
  • Pit & Balcony Theater, 805 N Hamilton St, +1 989 754-6587. Community theater.
  • Saginaw Bay Symphony Orchestra. See and hear some of the best musicians in the area performing in the Temple Theatre often.
  • Saginaw Valley State University Theatre, 7400 Bay Rd, +1 989 964-4261. University Center. Comprehensive season, including youth theater. Call for schedule. Handicap accessible.
  • Temple Theatre. Beautiful historic theatre in downtown on Washington. Concerts, films, plays, and more are shown here. It's been redone and the interior is absolutely breathtaking.
  • TheDow Event Center. Arena, theater, conference and hall complex in Downtown Saginaw. Formerly the Saginaw Civic Center.


  • Bowling Alleys
    • Crooked Creek, 9387 Gratiot Rd (M-46 in Shields, Michigan), +1 989 781-0050. Hours vary. 24 lanes, family-friendly environment.
  • Golf Courses
    • Crooked Creek, 9387 Gratiot Rd (M-46 in Shields, Michigan), +1 989 781-0050. Seasonal; hours vary. 18 holes, driving range, open to the public.
    • Swan Valley Golf Club, 9521 Highland Green Dr, +1 989 781-4653. Seasonal; hours vary. 18 holes, driving range, Grill on the Green lounge, open to the public.
  • Friday Night Live Morley Plaza (on N. Washington between Citizens Bank and The Temple Theatre). Summer concert series. Food vendors on site, beer tent, children's games. Free admission.
  • Lawn Chair Film Festival. Easily one of the coolest things to happen to this post-industrial town in quite some time. Weekly free showings of excellent domestic, independent, and foreign films during the summer months. Shows start at dusk; all that's required is your own lawn chair (hence the name of the festival!)
  • Pit & Balcony Theater, 805 N Hamilton St, +1 989 754-6587. Community theater.
  • Shiver On The River Annual walleye ice-fishing contest on the Saginaw River. Typically begins in late January and concludes in early February, but depends on ice and weather conditions.
  • WKCQ Country Fest Country music festival typically held on the third Saturday in June on Ojibway Island.


  • Many large and small antique shops to explore. The Antique Warehouse has more than a hundred stalls featuring uncommon treasures.

Bay Road Corridor

  • 1 Fashion Square Mall, +1 989 793-6723. 4787 Fashion Square Mall. The Tri-Cities' premier shopping destination. With great shopping destination like Macy's, JC Penney, Sears, over 100 specialty shops including Talbot's, Yankee Candle, Hollister, Children's Place and an eight-unit food court.    
  • Home to most of Saginaw's national retail outlets and chains.




  • 2 Bronner's Christmas Wonderland, 25 Christmas Ln, +1 989 652-9931. Located in Frankenmuth, claims it is the World's Largest Christmas Store.    
  • [formerly dead link] Frankenmuth River Place, 925 S. Main St, toll-free: +1-800-600-0105. Frankenmuth. Mini European hamlet with 30 shops and attractions including a laser show and the Bavarian Belle paddle wheel boat. Have fun at A-maze-n Mirrors mirror maze, BeeBee's Fun Place, A Magical Town sculpture and hologram village or enjoy time at the Day Spa.
  • St. Julian Winery, 127 S. Main St, +1 989 652-3281. Frankenmuth. Michigan's oldest and largest wine company. Best selection. Free tastings of Michigan's best wines, champagnes and sparkling juices.
  • Prime Outlets at Birch Run, 12240 S. Beyer Rd (Birch Run, Michigan), toll-free: +1-888-901-7467. The Midwest's largest outlet center, with 170 shops, with discounts of 25-65% off manufacturers' prices. Stop by the Customer Service Center in Fir Run to receive a current listing of discounts available to shoppers. I-75 adjacent.


  • Spencer's, 5530 Gratiot Rd, +1 989 793-4500. Fine dining and spirits. Classy, upscale restaurant. Italian and American food. The service and the food is excellent.
  • Frália's, 422 Hancock St, +1 989 799-0111. Newer sandwich shop located in Old Town Saginaw. Absolutely fantastic sandwiches, utilizing fresh and quality ingredients.
  • Panda House, 1010 N Niagara St, +1 989 755-5394. Excellent Chinese cuisine. The sesame tofu is absolutely outstanding. Highly recommended. Locally owned and operated.
  • Pasongs, Great Asian food. All food is made in a single wok, so wait times can be lengthy. Only open Monday through Friday, 11AM - 7PM.
  • Tonys Original Restaurants, 2525 E Genesee Ave, +1 989 753-4321. Legendary steak sandwiches. Breakfasts are also amazing.
  • Bringer Inn, 516 W Genesee Ave, +1 989 753-1462. Looking for a good old diner with home cooked meals - all fresh, not frozen? Bringers is not fancy but there's a reason it's always packed. Good food and low prices. Order the Big Mike (with mayo and green olives). Also have great steak sandwiches (see above). Many homemade pies made daily.
  • Intermission Deli, 2128 Bay St, +1 989 790-6777.
  • Red Eye Coffee House, 205 N. Hamilton St, +1 989 793-1411. Has placed two years in Torani's National Barista (Coffee Bartender) contest. Serving Manhattan-style bagels, scones, pastry. Entertainment includes poetry readings, and local art. Not a full service restaurant.
  • Spatz's Hot Bread The ubiquitous bread of Mid-Michigan. Available at almost any grocery store, this bakery product is produced locally and is the great secret of the area. It has a distinctive wax wrap in solid white and red. People as far away as Marin County, California have it shipped to them. The bread is best described as 'Your Grandmother's Bread'. It is heavy, turns rock hard in about three days (great for toasting then), but it is the closest to fresh baked bread you will find. Many locals don't say they're going to get a loaf of bread, instead they say, 'I need to pick up some Spatz's.'


  • Glen Rowan Estate Coffee Roasters, 212 S. Washington Ave, +1 989 921-0340, toll-free: +1-866-753-7417. Absolutely excellent coffee (roasted before your eyes), amazing tea, and all kinds of other coffee-ish drinks. Friendly staff, great service, nice environment.
  • Len & Gerry's Pub, 6220 State St, +1 989 793-3010. In Saginaw Township. Bar inside LeFevre's Family Bowl. Known for its Happy Hour prices.

Hamilton Street in Old Town Saginaw City has a variety of bars and taverns that attract drinkers of all ages.



Check out the Montague Inn, a restored lumber baron's mansion. A very popular place for summer weddings, with beautiful grounds and a lovely honeymoon suite and guest cottage.

Most of the hotels lie outside the city limits. There are many national chains available.

Stay safe


Like many cities in the U.S., Saginaw does have its challenges with crime, most of it related to drug and gang activity. Fortunately for Saginaw, these areas for crime are largely centered in areas not frequented by visitors to the area. Visitors unfamiliar with the area would be wise to avoid residential neighborhoods in the city of Saginaw, especially east of the river and particularly at night. Old Town Saginaw can also get a bit rough, especially late at night when the bars clear out. It is highly advisable to travel in groups and avoid poorly lit or deserted areas as the occasional mugging, while hardly commonplace, is not unheard of. That being said, if you exercise common sense and don't go looking for trouble, you'll be fine.



Go next

  • Flint -- The home of the modern labor union movement in the US. Flint has a great art scene for a city of its size and is much less pretentious.
  • Bay City -- Less than 20 minutes from downtown Saginaw, downtown Bay City is known for diverse local eateries and shopping. Also visit the scenic Riverwalk and other public parks along the Saginaw River.
Routes through Saginaw
Mackinaw City/AlpenaBay City  N    S  → Jct N  Flint
AlmaSt. Louis  W   E  → Jct   SSanduskyPort Sanilac
ENDMidland  N   S  END

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