Sault Ste. Marie (Michigan)

Travel Guide North America USA Midwestern United States Michigan Sault Ste. Marie

edit

Introduction

Sault Ste. Marie is a city in Michigan, across the river from its twin city Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada. The oldest city in the state brings visitors in from around the world to see ships pass through the Soo Locks, where international commerce ships make their way between Lake Superior and the lower Great Lakes. Sault Ste Marie derives its name from nearby rapids and the archaic French word of Sault, which means rapids, or waterfall. The locks and nearby four casinos, as well as the numerous inland lakes, large expanses of forests, wilderness and the Lake Superior shoreline all make for an interesting visit. Located directly across the St. Mary's River and the Canada/US border is its twin city, Sault Ste Marie, Ontario.

Top

edit

Sights and Activities

  • Edison-Soo Hydro-electric Power House. The world's longest canal-powered electric plant and dominates the shoreline east of the downtown area. Alford Park overlooks the St Mary's River, where you can relax for a picnic lunch to watch the big ships go by. Brady Park, established on the site of the original Ft. Brady, includes a tourist information center, a Japanese torii arch, the famous "musical fountain," and a comfortable atmosphere from which the big ships can be seen going through the locks. In the winter, the world’s biggest snowmobile racing event is held at the I-500 Snowmobile Track.
  • Soo Locks. The world’s largest system of locks, including the largest lock in the Western Hemisphere: it has been a major feature of Sault Ste. Marie since the first major lock was built in the mid-19th century.
  • River of History Museum, 531 Ashmun Street. Located in the former Federal Building right on the waterfront, contains exhibits that will guide you through the fascinating history of the area from the most ancient times to the present. It includes the “Ship’s Store” souvenir shop.
  • SS Valley Camp Museum, 326 E Portage Ave. Housed in a huge retired "laker" - an actual ore-carring ship. The museum contains many artifacts of maritime history on the Great Lakes, including mementos of the famed Edmund Fitzgerald wreck.
  • St. Mary’s Cathedral, 320 East Portage Avenue. The oldest church still in use in Sault Ste Marie, built in 1881. Next door to it is the Tower of History was built as a Catholic Church memorial to the early missionaries to the area. This 200-foot-tall tower is a terrific place to view the St. Mary’s River and the countryside for many miles around. It also includes museum displays.
  • Lake Superior State University. Located on the former grounds of the second Fort Brady and has a great hockey team. The campus is pretty and well worth a walk through, as it overlooks the wide St Mary's valley and has a view of the International Bridge over to Canada. Some beautiful views are at night, as the campus is elevated and you can see the distant lights of the Canadian side.
  • Tower of History Museum. A 210 foot (64m) tower explaining the history of the city and its famous Locks, as well as an observation deck to see them and other nearby landmarks and attractions.

Top

edit

Events and Festivals

===Holidays===

  • New Year’s Eve - The US celebrates the outgoing of the old year and incoming of the New Year quite dramatically. Every state boasts its own parties to ring in the New Year, but none is more extravagant than New York’s Time Square, which sees people overflowing into the neighboring restaurants, bars, parks, beaches, and neighborhoods.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day (officially Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. and sometimes referred to as MLK Day) is an American federal holiday marking the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. It is observed on the third Monday of January each year, which is around King's birthday, January 15. The holiday is similar to holidays set under the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. The earliest Monday for this holiday is January 15 and the latest is January 21. King was the chief spokesperson for nonviolent activism in the Civil Rights Movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law.
  • St Patrick’s Day - March 17 celebrates the US’s large Irish population. Many cities around the country boast boisterous parades and Irish-themed parties, especially New York and Chicago, where the river is dyed green. Be wary of the drunkenness that dominates as this is definitely a party-day.
  • Memorial Day - Memorial Day is an important holiday throughout the United States, but not for crazy festivities. Parades commemorating wartime heroes are often held and the day is also the ‘unofficial’ start of summer. Most visitors follow the crowds to parks and beaches, which are capped off with informal BBQs.
  • Independence Day - Also known as the Fourth of July, Independence Day celebrates the US’s break from the British during the 18th century. Barbecues, street parties, beach trips, and weekend getaways are commonplace to appreciate freedom.
  • Labor Day is a public holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, laws, and well-being of the country. It is the Monday of the long weekend known as Labor Day Weekend. It is recognized as a federal holiday. Beginning in the late 19th century, as the trade union and labor movements grew, trade unionists proposed that a day be set aside to celebrate labor.
  • Halloween - Halloween is a fun holiday on October 31 for all generations to dress up in costumes and relive their youth. Children walk around the neighborhood trick-or-treating for candy, while adults attend parties. Other seasonal events include haunted houses, pumpkin farms and carving, and corn mazes.
  • Thanksgiving - On the fourth Thursday in November, Thanksgiving is held in almost every home in the US. Tourists will have a hard time finding anything to do as the country essentially shuts down in observation. A typical Thanksgiving meal consists of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie commemorating the original Pilgrim’s feast at Plymouth Rock.
  • Christmas - On December 25, Christians celebrate Christmas as the pinnacle of their calendar by attending church and opening gifts from Santa Claus. Almost everything shuts down to promote family togetherness. The northern regions hope to experience a “white Christmas,” with trees and festive lights blanketed by snow.

Sport

  • Super Bowl Sunday - the world’s most watched sporting event and one of the highest grossing TV days of the year, Superbowl Sunday is a spectacular extravaganza. Held the first Sunday in February, the Superbowl is the final playoff game between the NFL’s top two teams. The venue rotates every year around America, yet the local parties seem to remain. Pubs, bars and restaurants are great places to enjoy the Superbowl or locals throw their own parties with different variations of betting.
  • The World Series is the annual championship series of Major League Baseball (MLB) in North America, contested since 1903 between the American League (AL) champion team and the National League (NL) champion team. The winner of the World Series championship is determined through a best-of-seven playoff, and the winning team is awarded the Commissioner's Trophy. As the series is played during the fall season in North America, it is sometimes referred to as the Fall Classic.

Top

edit

Weather

Under the Köppen climate classification, Sault Ste. Marie has a humid continental climate (Dfb) with cold, snowy winters and warm summers. Sault Ste. Marie is one of the snowiest places in Michigan, receiving an average of 3.3 m of snow a year, with a record year when 5.3 m fell. 1.6 m of snow fell in one five-day snowstorm, including 710 mm) in 24 hours, in December 1995. Over the winter of 2015, Sault Ste. Marie received 158.7 inches of snow, ranking it the most snowfall measured in the nation that year. Sault Ste. Marie receives an average annual 860 mm) of precipitation measured as equivalent rainfall. Its immediate region is also the cloudiest in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, having over 200 cloudy days a year.[citation needed]

Temperatures in Sault Ste. Marie have varied between a record low of -38 °C and a record high of 37 °C. Monthly average temperatures range from -11 °C in January to 18 °C in July. On average, only two out of every five years reaches 32 °C, while there are 85.5 days annually where the high remains at or below freezing and 26.5 nights with a low of -18 °C or colder.

Average monthly precipitation is lowest in February, and highest in September and October. This autumn maximum in precipitation, unusual for humid continental climates, owes to this area's Great Lakes location. From May through July (usually the year's wettest months in most of the upper Midwestern United States, away from large bodies of water), the lake waters surrounding Sault Ste. Marie are cooler than nearby land areas. This tends to stabilize the atmosphere, suppressing precipitation (especially showers and thunderstorms) somewhat, in May, June and July. In autumn, the lakes are releasing their stored heat from the summer, making them warmer than the surrounding land, and increasingly frequent and strong polar and Arctic air outbreaks pick up warmth and moisture during their over-water passage, resulting in clouds and instability showers. In Sault Ste. Marie, this phenomenon peaks in September and October, making these the wettest months of the year. Also noteworthy is that in Sault Ste. Marie, the year's third wettest month, on average, is November, and not any summer month.

Top

edit

Getting There

By Plane

The "Sault Ste. Marie Michigan" airport is about 22 miles south of town, a former air force base along I-75. A shuttle bus & rental cars are available. The airport is served by Delta Air Lines, which offers daily flights to and from Detroit Metro Airport. There is also another small airport right in town that used to be the main airport years ago. After a long period of closure, it was re-opened for private planes a few years ago.

By Car

Sault Ste. Marie is served by Interstate 75 from the south. This is the same highway that links Lower Michigan to the Upper Peninsula via the Mackinac Bridge. Sault Ste. Marie is at the northern terminus of I-75, about 50 miles north of the Mackinac Bridge. Two exits will get you into the Sault. 3 Mile Road is the first (approaching from the south) and takes you through most of the town via Business I-75. This route covers the main thoroughfare in town (Ashmun Street) and eventually gets you to Portage Avenue and the Soo Locks. The second (and last in the USA) exit off of I-75 is Easterday Avenue. This puts you virtually on the campus of Lake Superior State University to the east, or gets you more directly to Portage Ave. and the Locks beyond that. The route is not quite as well-marked, however, and goes through some old and somewhat unattractive industrial areas. You bypass the downtown completely, which may not be so good, as you will miss lots of shopping, hotels and other amenities completely. But if you don't take this exit either, you will end up at the International Bridge toll and customs/immigration plaza for Canada. They will turn you around, without proper identification if you make this mistake. It's a hassle since traffic getting onto the bridge is often backed up in this area. Otherwise, crossing the border is reasonably easy. All you need is proper identification: a passport, passport card, Enhanced Driver's License, NEXUS, FAST, or SENTRI card, U.S. Merchant Mariner Documentation or U.S. Military Identification.

By Bus

Buses from the Indian Trails bus line service Sault Ste. Marie Michigan regularly. The Mackinaw Shuttle Service also offers bus and limo service from its headquarters in Mackinaw City to Sault Ste Marie. Major carrier bus services were discontinued some time ago.

Top

edit

Getting Around

By Public Transport

Taxi and local bus service are available, including buses into Canada.

Top

edit

Eat

  • The Lockview Restaurant, 329 W Portage Ave (Right across from Soo Locks main gate), ☎ +1 906-632-2772. Right in amidst all the kitschy tourist shops is this restaurant with its large plate-glass front offering views of the passing street traffic. Their Lake Superior whitefish is fresh and excellent! On those hot and muggy days, it is well air conditioned too.
  • Clyde's Drive-In, 1425 Riverside Dr (Follow E. Portage Av out of town until it becomes Riverside Dr. Clyde's is at the Sugar Island ferry dock, across from the golf course.), ☎ +1 906-632-2581. This 50s-style "hamburger stand" has good burgers and fries. It has a large parking area where you eat in your car, and can park facing the beautiful St. Mary's River and watch the lake freighters pass by up close. Closed in winter.
  • Antlers Restaurant is an oldschool classic. Steaks and fish. Tons of amazing taxidermy items and arcana hanging everywhere. Numerous steam whistles are mounted to the ceiling and are blown when a local dignitary enters (or whenever they feel the need). The whistles are painfully loud.
  • The Palace sports Americanized "Mexican" food. It is ot the best for the waistline, but oh-so-tasty.
  • Maloney's Irish Pub is a place to check out the atmosphere, try the nachos as the cheese dip is addicting!
  • West Pier Drive-In, 849 W Pier Dr (Turn left under bridge, or ask a local), ☎ +1 906 632-0444. Open seasonally, best burger in town, huge portions, a little hard to find. $5-10 per person.

Top

edit

Drink

  • Back Door Night Club, 313 Ashmun Street, ☎ +1 906 635-1547, fax: +1 906 635-1477. W-Su 8PM-2:30AM. Nightclub with music and dancing. Theme nights Wednesday-Saturday. Designated drivers program and special occasions.
  • Savoy Bar, 117 West Portage Ave, ☎ +1 906 632-2689. Open every day but Sunday, with music and dancing.
  • The Satisfied Frog, 209 W. Portage Avenue, ☎ +1 906 632-7280. Open 7 days-a-week. Karaokee Sunday to Tuesday, house band on Wednesday to Thursday and a feature band on Fridays and Saturdays (jukebox available when there is no band playing 25 cents a song) A great place to meet up with friends. Fun friendly staff, 4 televisions throughout the place. Try the squashed frog, a great shooter for a Satisfied Frog Rookie.
  • Frank's Place, 123 W. Portage Ave.. Huge menu of Italian and American foods, family owned and operated. Huge portion sizes and reasonable prices. Full menu, breakfast served all day, buffets, salad bar, homemade breads, soups, sauces and many other items.
  • Frank's Place, 123 W. Portage Ave., ☎ +1 906 632-7487. Open at 6AM 7 days a week. Full menu of Italian and American foods, plus a buffet and soup and salad bar. Family owned and operated, huge portion sizes, reasonable prices and many homemade items.

Top

edit

Sleep

  • Days Inn, 3651 I-75 Business Spur (exit 392, down 1 mile on right side), ☎ +1 906 635-5200. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Indoor pool/hot tub open till midnight. Free wireless access throughout. Fridge,microwave, coffee pot, 27" flat screen tv, free HBO in each room. Free local and toll free calls. Jacuzzi rooms available. Free Day Break breakfast from 6AM to 9:30AM.
  • Best Western, 4335 I-75 Business Spur, ☎ +1 906 632-2170. Free high speed wireless internet and deluxe breakfast in the morning.
  • Comfort Inn, ☎ +1 906 635-1118, fax: +1 906 635-1119. 4404 I-75 Business. Spur.
  • Park Inn, 3525 I-75 Business Spur (1 mile northeast of I-75 on I-75 Business Spur, exit 392), ☎ +1 906 632-6000, fax: +1 906 632-6666. Just minutes from all major attractions such as The Soo Locks, Tower of History, Kewadin Casino,LSSU, and the always popular Agawa Canyon Train Tours. Secure Online Reservations.
  • Quality Inn & Suites Conference Center, 3290 I-75 Business Spur, ☎ +1 906 635-6918, fax: +1 906 635-2941.
  • The Plaza Motor Motel, 3701 I-75 Business Spur, toll-free: +1 800-809-1881, e-mail: plaza@sault.com. Charming Rooms and wedding venue.
  • Soo Locks Campground, ☎ +1 906 632-3191. 1001 East Portage AvenueSault Ste. Marie, MI 49783, United States. Great place, campground kept clean, on river so you can go fishing, great views of ships coming by. There is a store in the middle of the campground where you can by firewood, food, souvenirs and more. It has a arcade, billiards and a swing set by and in that building. The Ojibway supply boat launches just to the right of the campground.

Top

edit

Keep Connected

Internet

There is a very small internet bar/cafe culture in the USA. Even then most of the internet bars/cafes tend be located in major urban centers. Accessible WiFi networks, however, are common. The most generally useful WiFi spots are in coffee shops, fast-food chains, and bookshops, but also restaurants and hotels more and more have a network to connect on. Some of them might require you to buy something and you might need a password too, especially in hotels.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The general emergency phone number is 911. The USA has a great landline phone system that is easy to use. The country code for the U.S. is +1. The rest of the telephone number consists of 10 digits: a 3-digit area code, and a 7-digit number. Any small grocery store or pharmacy has pre paid domestic or international phone cards. These phone cards are very cheap and offer good rates. The once ubiquitous pay phone is now much harder to find. Likely locations include in or near stores and restaurants, and near bus stops. The cellphone network in the states is slowly getting better but is still not as good when compared to other western countries. Cell phones tend to operate using different frequencies (850 MHz and 1900 MHz) from those used elsewhere in the world (2100 MHz). This used to prevent most foreign phones from working in America. Phones must be tri- or quad-band to work in the U.S. Fortunately, technology has meant that most phones should now be able to pick up one of the U.S. networks. Prepaid phones and top-up cards can be purchased at mobile phone boutiques and at many discount, electronics, office supply and convenience stores. A very basic handset with some credit can be had for under $40.

Post

The US Postal Service is a very good and well priced mail system. There are post offices in every small and large town for sending packages internationally or domestically. Although some might keep longer hours, most are open at least between 9:00am and 5:00pm. If wanting to send a letter or postcard it is best just to leave it in a blue mail box with the proper postage. First-class international airmail postcards and letters (up 28.5 grams) cost $1.10. There are also private postal services like FedEx, UPS, TNT and DHL, which might be better value sometimes and are generally very quick and reliable too.

Top

Sault Ste. Marie (Michigan) Travel Helpers

We don't currently have any Travel Helpers for Sault Ste. Marie (Michigan)

This is version 7. Last edited at 13:30 on Jun 14, 19 by Utrecht. 3 articles link to this page.

Creative Commons License
Except where otherwise noted, content of this article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License