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Explore Jackson!

I’m a city girl, born and raised! I love exploring the coffee shops, restaurants, and numerous events that come to town, and in a city like Phoenix, AZ, that’s been pretty easy. So when I got to Spring Arbor, MI, I was in for a BIG change of pace. 

On campus, I was quickly able to make friends and participate in many campus activities  (post-COVID guidelines, that is). However, when I got that urge to get off campus, I realized that there was really not much to do, or so I thought. Spring Arbor itself has several pizza shops (Marino’s is my favorite) and even a few coffee shops to choose from, but outside of that, Jackson is the go-to. So I’m here to do the work for you and let you in on Jackson’s greatest gems!

Let’s start with what really matters in college — coffee! Jackson Coffee Co. has a warm and cozy feel on the corner of a street in Downtown Jackson. They have window seating downstairs where you can enjoy the scenery, or head upstairs to sit in a more comfortable setting with booths and couches to grind out your homework.

Every study break needs a good snack. One of my favorite places is Jackson Popcorn Company, next to T.J. Maxx in the Jackson Crossing Mall. Recently, the owners moved to this upgraded storefront that they filled to the brim with dozens of popcorn varieties, candy and snacks from around the world, and fridges upon fridges of fun soda flavors. It’s a must-stop if you go to Jackson Crossing. 

My favorite thing is getting all my friends together to go out for dinner or for a late-night snack, off-campus on Friday nights. In the past three years, I have taken considerable pride in finding the best spots in the Jackson area! As a college student, it has to be cheap, but still delicious. A list of some of my favorites are: 

  • Chilangos Burrito Bar
  • The Dirty Bird (everything chicken galore!)
  • City Crepes (sweet and savory crepes) 
  • Metropolitan Ice Cream (one-stop shop for food and sweets) 
  • Kibby Cobb Deli (the BEST sandwiches ever)
  • Roxy Cafe (cheap homestyle breakfast)
  • Yen King Chinese Restaurant

As for activities, there are plenty of Jackson staples!

  • In the early fall months, there’s an amazing farmers market downtown by the Grand River Brewery where local businesses, farms, and bakeries go to sell their products until October. While downtown, take a look at the dozens of murals decorating the Jackson architecture painted by local artists.
  • One of my favorite activities to experience with friends is Jackson’s famous haunted house, Jackson Underworld. It is three stories of fright and fun in an old war hospital. The building itself is beautiful and historic! 
  • If you are driving down the highway and see the big green dinosaur on the side of I-94, it’s actually the landmark of a fun mini-golf course that has been completely redone. No matter the weather, in addition to mini golf, you can enjoy plenty of activities at the Apex Sports & Entertainment center.
  • Until September, the Cascades waterfall is a must-see, but when snow hits the ground, the Cascades Hill is the best place to sled in the wintertime. 

As a senior, I encourage every student to get to know Jackson’s best features as soon as possible so you can enjoy your time in town! 

Written by SAU Marketing student Autumn Tingue.