Located on the Keweenaw Peninsula, Houghton is the largest city in the Copper Country region. The Upper Peninsula community sits on the Keweenaw Waterway, a partly natural, partly artificial waterway that cuts across the peninsula, connecting at both ends to Lake Superior. The city is named for Douglass Houghton, an American geologist and physician, primarily known for his exploration of the Keweenaw Peninsula. Houghton is home to Michigan Technological University, a public research college founded in 1885. During its yearly Winter Carnival in February, the university draws thousands of visitors from around the world.
Considered one of North America’s premier mineral museums, the A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum is nationally and internationally recognized by mineral collectors and connoisseurs. It features the largest public exhibit and finest collection of minerals from the Great Lakes region and the world’s best collection of Michigan minerals. The museum was founded in 1902 and designated as the official mineral museum of Michigan in 1991. It draws thousands of visitors each year to the campus of Michigan Technological University, founded as the Michigan College of Mines in 1885.
This 100-acre nature park was donated to the city of Houghton by Bob and Ruth Nara. The park is two miles east of the Michigan Tech campus on the east end of Houghton's Waterfront Trail, and it has 50 miles of trails for hiking, running, biking, skiing and snowshoeing. It also draws anglers who fish the many ponds and lakes within the park. The Nara Nature Park is also home to the Copper Country Humane Society, where visitors can walk the dogs on the trails, play with the cats, and adopt an animal. The park has a chalet house with an interpretive display featuring different plant species and wildlife found in the Nara Nature Park. The building also has a fireplace, restrooms with showers, and a concession area.
The Houghton Hancock Bridge, officially known as the Portage Lake Lift Bridge, is the only bridge of its type in Michigan. Linking the cities of Hancock and Houghton, the bridge crosses Portage Lake, part of the Keweenaw Waterway. U.S. 41 and M-26 are both routed across the bridge. It is the only land-based link between the north (so-called Copper Island) and south sections of the Keweenaw Peninsula. In June 2022, it was dedicated as a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark. Hancock and Houghton hold an annual June celebration called Bridgefest to commemorate the opening of the bridge which united their communities.
This museum, which has changing exhibits about local cultural and natural history, is housed in a historical landmark. The building was erected in 1909 at the site originally occupied by the Armory Building for Company G of the Houghton Light Infantry, using a $15,000 grant from Andrew Carnegie, an American industrialist and philanthropist. A year later, it opened as a public library. The Carnegie Museum opened in 2006 after the Portage Lake District Library moved to its new location. The building was declared a Michigan State Historic Site in 1976. In 1987, the Shelden Avenue Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, with the library as a contributing property. In 2013, the two-story building with a red Jacobsville base of brick, built in the Classical Revival style, became a Heritage Site of the Keweenaw National Historical Park.
This tea room and gift shop is a destination for those who want a cozy cup of tea and homemade scones, savories and desserts. The Four Seasons Tea Room’s menu includes homemade quiche, soup, seasonal entrees, desserts and afternoon tea. The gift shop carries more than a hundred teas for sale, as well as teapots, bone China tea cups, mugs, infusers and other tea accessories along with fun seasonal decor, linens and a greeting card collection. In the fall and winter, the shop holds Holier Than Thou Sundays, with a 10% discount for customers who bring in a current church bulletin – "a reward for good behavior!"
There’s lots to see and do in Houghton in the fall. Check out the highlights in this video.