Head to Southwest Michigan to soak up the last of summer this Labor Day weekend...we've got the full guide for you here!
THURSDAY, AUGUST 30th
If you’re arriving in town (or maybe you’re lucky enough to live in Southwest Michigan) on Thursday, take a tour with the Krasl Art Center! The Sculpture Walking Tour offers a unique way to see the Krasl's permanent collection in their new locations. Pick up the tour at the Whitcomb Tower (509 Ship Street).
After your walking tour, enjoy the season with some of the great outdoor seating available right in downtown St. Joseph. The Bistro on the Boulevard, The Buck Burgers & Brew, Ryebelle’s, Silver Beach Pizza, and Schu’s all offer seating with a peek at the lake. Silver Harbor's outdoor seating is pretty great, too, and their beer garden is an added bonus. If riverfront is more your scene, check out Plank’s Tavern on the Water (inside the Inn at Harbor Shores), or Clementine’s Too. We’d definitely recommend the Terrace at 221 - it’s one of the newest decks, boasting a second-floor vantage and a serious whisky list.
What’s better than dinner and a show? Check out “Tesoros” at 7:00pm (for free!) at the Box Factory for the Arts. Their Summer Films at the Box series, in partnership with the Coastline Children’s Film Festival, offers free screenings of amazing films enjoyable by all ages.
INSIDER TIP: The Lakehouse Restaurant is a few minute’s drive outside of downtown, but worth every minute for the unobstructed sunset view! Dinner and drinks on their patio offers one of the best views in Southwest Michigan.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 31st
We’ve got three “can’t miss” shopping destinations for Friday (and all weekend long!).
THREE OAKS - We want to be the first to “pick” at Blue Moon Vintage Market! This once-per-month vintage market in Three Oaks is restaged for each opening, offering an awesome selection of vintage, primitives, salvage and more from mother-daughter duo Jen and Vicki Kerr. Blue Moon Vintage Market happens all weekend for your treasure hunting pleasure.
BENTON HARBOR ARTS DISTRICT - Local artists at Aveline Art Gallery (158 Water Street) offer an awesome array of works, from sassy signs by local favorite Dave Smykal to wearables and jewelry. Nearby, Urban Garage Market ( is a boutique that specializes in vintage finds, painted furniture, recycled treasures, home decor & more. Be sure to see what classes are coming up, too!
DOWNTOWN ST. JOSEPH - Shop small in downtown St. Joseph on State Street! From family owned surf shops to toy stores to gourmet chocolates to clothing boutiques, it’s the ultimate small-town shopping destination.
For dinner, hit the winery and brewery scene. Vineyard 2121 offers woodfired pizza once per week, so Friday may just be your lucky day! Enjoy live music and vineyard seating with a glass of their wine (or even a frozen wine slushie, because there’s still plenty of summer left). Watermark Brewing offers a Sushi Night each Friday - between these, you’ve got a plan for Friday’s dinner!
INSIDER TIP: While you’re in downtown St. Joseph, catch the Friday Night Concert in the Howard Bandshell! We’ve got the Summer Reunion band playing at 7:30pm. This free concert is sponsored by the Boulevard Inn and Bistro, at the Howard Bandshell.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 1st
We’re excited to welcome over 50 crafters to the Lake Bluff Artisan Faire! Visit the show to find amazing work by local and traveling vendors. There’s woodworking, handmade soaps, repurposed crafts, and more. The event happens from 10:00am-5:00pm, right in Lake Bluff Park!
It’s also the weekly Farmers Market on the bluff (busy weekend for the park!). We’re headed into an amazing time of harvest in Southwest Michigan; explore the bounty of the season at the market! You’ll also find local wineries, dog treats, bakers, and fresh flowers, too.
Saturday is also the party at SJRYC Yacht Club for the Tri-State Regatta! The public is invited to their party of the year, with Libido Funk Circus playing at 8:00pm. Dance the night away, dockside!
INSIDER TIP: The public is invited to hang out at the SJRYC Yacht Club all day! They are serving breakfast and lunch, too; find the details here.
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 2nd
We’re back to the bluff on Sunday for Antiques on the Bluff! The monthly treasure hunt begins at 10:00am in Lake Bluff Park, with 50+ vendors bringing their finds in.
From the bluff, you’ll also be able to see the Tri-State Regatta heading out to Chicago! Early risers can catch the sailboats en route; viewing is awesome from the bluff, Silver Beach, or either pier (check out the insider tip!).
Just around the corner, we’re excited about the free Horse Drawn Trolley Rides (sponsored by a generous grant from the Frederick S. Upton Foundation). Hop aboard on State and Elm street from 11:00am-2:00pm for a ride around the block with Polly and Dolly, a pair of rescue horses that pull visitors around our picturesque downtown.
After a morning in St. Joseph, we’re headed to Baroda for Round Barn Winery’s Fruits of Our Labor Party! It’s a great way to kick back and relax on both Saturday and Sunday. There’s Round Barn’s full selection of great beverages, awesome music (including Slim Gypsy Baggage from 1:00pm-3:00pm on Sunday!), and family fun. Plus, with an outdoor seat in the vineyards, it’s a great way to soak up the last of summer.
INSIDER TIP: There’s special lighthouse open hours on Sunday, September 2nd! It will be open from 8:00am-11:00am for an awesome view of the boats heading out during the Tri-State Regatta.
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 3rd
Take a break today, and celebrate summer! We love this season for Lake Michigan swimming (we wrote about the glory of fall beaches here). While you’re exploring, it might be a great time to look at the rentals from Third Coast Paddling, St. Joseph Canoe & Kayak Livery, or Lake Life Sports!
Have a safe and happy Labor Day, and continue to enjoy summer in the Southwest.