There is always something new to see, experience, learn and taste in the Benton Harbor Arts District. Located in the heart of Benton Harbor, Michigan the Arts District has been at the forefront of the revival of the city center. The arts have been an integral part of the growing appeal of Benton Harbor, and new businesses and restaurants keep adding to the burgeoning excitement.
A great way to get familiar with the Benton Harbor Arts District is to attend one of the Art Hops organized by the Benton Harbor Arts Association (formerly New Territory Arts Association). Quarterly, local businesses, restaurants and galleries invite the public to celebrate art and local artists in this walkable downtown setting. Art Hops are free, family-friendly and open to everyone. Many of the participating organizations provide light refreshments for guests. Additionally, throughout the summer, visitors can enjoy Arts in the Park events which feature local artist’s booths, music and food.
Places to visit in and around the Benton Harbor Arts District:
Arts & Classes:
- 210 Water Street: Meet local artists working in their studios.
- ARS Gallery & Culture Center: While in the Arts District, you will probably notice a number of orange metal sculptures located on rooftops and walkways. These sculptures were created by Michigan-based artist John Suave for the “I Am The Greatest Project,” an ARS youth program inspired by boxer Muhammad Ali. The gallery features exhibits of both local and national artists, outreach programs, language and cultural classes and wine education classes.
- The Citadel Dance & Music Center: Dedicated to the performing arts, this organization is devoted to developing the skills and character of individuals through dance, performance, music and vocal lessons.
- The GhostLight Theatre: A theatre performance venue that seeks to illuminate the arts and culture of the area.
- Richard Hunt Studio Center: The Arts District is home to one of the studios of internationally acclaimed sculptor Richard Hunt. He has over 100 sculptures on public display in the United States. These include, “And You, Seas” located at Silver Beach, “Rising Crossing Tides” and “Slowly Toward the North,” both located at the Krasl Art Center.
- Water Street Glassworks: This nonprofit, studio, gallery and school is dedicated to the glass and metal arts. Visitors are invited to overlook the school's “hot shop” and watch students and artists glassblowing and casting. If you are interested in more than observing, a wide range of classes and workshops are open to the public. You can also purchase several of the artists’ glass-blown creations. Look for their pumpkins in the fall and festive jewelry around Halloween and the holiday season.
- 3 Pillars Music: This locally owned record store features a wealth of new and used vinyl, instruments, musical accessories, turntables, amps and speakers.
- NOBO: Medical and recreational cannabis products.
- Six Degrees Resale Store: This unique resale shop is a funky eclectic mix of clothing, household goods, furniture, toys, jewelry, antiques and more.
- Urban Garage: A home decor shop with a wide variety of events focused on arts and crafts.
- Wolf's Marine Inc: Marine products including boats, accessories, scuba equipment, clothing and more.
Experiences & Activities:
- The Golf Club at Harbor Shores: A Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course which also features a restaurant and a great wedding and event venue. The Golf Club also hosts the biannual KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship.
- Hawks Nest At The Harbor: A full service event and wedding venue.
- Morton House Museum: Located in the oldest building in Benton Harbor, the museum highlights local history.
- The Oak Room at The Citadel: A great location for public and private events including weddings, performances, celebrations and meetings.
- Pipestone Indoor Country Club: This indoor golf facility lets you play on premium simulators.
- The Livery: If it is craft beer and pizza you are interested in, The Livery offers a delicious selection. The Livery is also the place to go for concerts and entertainment featuring both regional and national musicians.
- North Pier Brewing Company: Serving great beer & and food, this microbrewery has a very light, friendly and inviting design, and we adore the fact that they have a shuffleboard table.
- Ben's Soft Pretzels: Fresh baked items inspired by Amish recipes including pretzels, sandwiches and pizzas.
- The Brick House: Smash burgers, sandwiches, salads and a unique selection of craft cocktails.
- Chatterbox: A local favorite featuring a wide range of burger styles.
- Clifford's Coffee Canal: Open seasonally, this cafe features a selection of coffees, smoothies, juices, breakfast, lunch and baked goods. In addition to their food and beverages this location is popular for its unique ambiance and location along the canal.
- Forté Coffee: A micro-roaster featuring single-origin and specialty coffees along with a selection of baked goods.
- Happy Poochie Eatery: Gourmet sandwiches, salads and soups.
- Houndstooth: Fine dining New American restaurant with an open kitchen design.
- Larks Bar-B-Que: A casual spot focused on smoked meats and classic comfort sides.
- Mason Jar Cafe: A homey friendly american restaurant open for breakfast and lunch with premium coffees and teas.
- North Shore Inn: Casual local favorite for burgers and hot sandwiches located conveniently close to the Harbor Shores golf course.
Plan your visit to the Benton Harbor Arts District
With plenty of stellar food options, great drinks, fun activities and shopping, there is something for everyone. Be sure to make the Arts District part of your next trip to the Benton Harbor and St. Joseph area.
If you take pictures and post them to social media during your visit to Benton Harbor be sure to tag them with #swmichigan. It's a great way to show other visitors how much fun they can have, too!