Destination Day Trip: Downtown Owosso | Greater Lansing Area Moms

Being from southwest Shiawassee county, Downtown Owosso has been a destination for fun, shopping, dining out and site-seeing.  And in recent years it has become a must see for community theatre and the arts.   

Owosso is located just a short drive from the Greater Lansing area, only about 30 minutes or less! 

If you have smaller children, it is just long enough for a quick nap on the way home after a day full of fun. 

You will find a variety of spots for lunch or pack your own and head to Curwood Castle Park to eat!  Then walk around the streets Downtown Owosso for some shopping, ice cream or a variety of other things to do.   And the locomotive from The Polar Express can be found at the Steam Railroading Institute and learn how the Pere Marquette 1225 was used in the making of this holiday classic!  

Seasonally Downtown Owosso hosts a robust farmers market weekly, annually, during the first week in June, Curwood Festival is a must see welcome to summer event!  And they host so many events throughout the year.  

Coming up yet this summer and beyond: 

  • Caly Bevier Concert (from America’s Got Talent on August 18)
  • Owosso Vintage Motorcycle Days (August 25-26)
  • On September 15, visit Mini Golf Madness where Downtown Owosso businesses transform into one big putt-putt course. Sign up HERE!
  • #ExploreOwosso – the entire month of October where there will be a social media scavenger hunt with prizes.
  • Ghoul’s Night Out – a spooktacular shopping experience (October 13)
  • Downtown Trick or Treating on October 28, 1-3pm
  • Glow – a light parade and lighting of the Downtown Owosso Christmas Tree (November 24)
  • New Years Eve Block Party (December 31 with a NYE ball drop at midnight)

Keep an eye out for updates to the Downtown Owosso event page or the Downtown Owosso Facebook Page

While it is impossible to share all of the spots in this lovely town we know we will be back to experience more and we will return often! 

Where is Owosso

Just about 30 minutes northeast of Greater Lansing in Shiawassee county. 

Travel eastbound on I-69, exit 105 (Perry, M-52), go north on M-52 and it will lead you into Owosso. 

Go east on M-21 and across the river you will be in Downtown Owosso.

Where to park Downtown Owosso

Parking is free downtown and there are two Electric Vehicle charging stations available in Main Street Plaza (by the red phone booth).  

Additional parking information can be found HERE.

Itsa Deli Thing

202 W. Main

Our first stop of the day.  We grabbed lunch and planned our Owosso visit.  

Offering sandwiches, salads, wraps, breakfast is also available. “Food that speaks for itself, small town deli.  Big time flavor.” 

And if you are crunched for time, call ahead and they will have your order waiting for you to dine in or carry out.

Round Midnight Records 

204 W. Main
After lunch, we headed out to explore Downtown Owosso and the first store we checked out was Round Midnight Records (RMR).  

RMR is a hot spot for in the know vinyl collectors! We reminisced about popular music during our teens and showed the girls Britney Spears and Debbie Gibson covers– they weren’t too sure of our selections 😉 

Round Midnight Records is a great place to find bargain titles from all genres and maybe even some fun glasses too!

Online browsing and shopping is also available. 

Murtle’s Handmade Chocolates 

112 W. Main

We needed a sweet treat to keep our energy up for shopping and stopped at the adorable Murtle’s Handmade Chocolates. The smells of chocolate reminded us of being on Mackinac Island!

Owner Melissa Wheeler makes over 100 items by hand – it’s impossible to pick just one! You will also find several Michigan candies, gifts and novelty candies. 

Looking for a unique gift? Murtle’s Handmade Chocolates can make a candy bouquet or gift basket, or even party trays and favors.

Blu Ashe

120 N. Washington St. 
Next up, Blu Ashe! An adorable boutique on Washington Street. We tried on cute dresses and tops, we basically wanted one of everything! Blu Ashe has women’s clothing, jewelry, hair accessories and even men’s clothing – and the prices can’t be beat. 

Two friends, Kylie and Jordyn started Blue Ashe out as an idea and grew it into a passion. They can’t wait to see where this adventure takes them and neither can we!

MiLi’s Boutique

221 N. Washington 
Why not continue shopping! We headed north on Washington and found MiLi’s Boutique. While we shopped, our girls took a rest on the fuzzy rug in the shoe section- we were told by owner,  Lisa Phelps that this is a favorite resting spot to many kids 🙂

This boutique has fun and very affordable fashion in sizes S-3x! You’ll find casual and athletic wear, sandals and more! One of our favorite finds here was cheetah athletic shorts – so cute! And the Stanley dupes – the popular water bottle at an affordable price.

Oliver Paper Co

113 E. Main
So many fun little things to look at as you browse Oliver Paper Co.  And it came to be when Stacey Jameson (Lader) gave up her corporate job and decided to do something she loved.  Pens, journals and all sorts of cards, stickers, paper and more make for perfect treats for you and unique gifts for others.  There is a lot of comic relief from reading some of the merchandise as you shop. 

And remember the pads of paper sitting next to the pens when you were a kid?  You can try before you buy and there are plenty to choose from.  They also have a Banned Book Club, and the title changes monthly.  The book club meets monthly in their Loft. 

Online shopping is also available.

Shiawassee Arts Center

206 Curwood Castle Drive

“The purpose of the Shiawassee Arts Center is to sponsor and encourage participation and appreciation of the arts in Shiawassee County and its surrounding area.”   Shiawassee Arts Center (SAC) is very active in Owosso and surrounding communities bringing local, state and world-renowned artists.  With changing exhibits, year-round classes for all ages as well as Summer Art Camps, SMARTS (Shiawassee Mobile ART for Seniors), other special events and much more –  Shiawassee Arts Center has something for everyone.

SAC is open to the public free of charge!

Monday – Friday 10am-5pm, weekends 12-3pm

When you visit Owosso, visit the SAC specialty gift shop and also preview current and upcoming exhibits that include works from artists K.W. Bell of Haslett and Mark Chatterly of Williamston from July 11 – August 27.

Next up is and exhibit featuring Jann Johnson Lardie, Gwen Sutton and Bobbi Kilty from September 6 and runs through October 9.

Also, just for a limited time, SAC Celebrated 50 years in 2022.  And part of their celebration is a SAC’s Pop Up Gallery, a special 14-week exhibit, “Pictorial History of Owosso“, May 6 – August 14 along with this limited-edition hardcover book that mirrors the free exhibit.

Check out a recently restored ghost mural.  What is a ghost mural?  In this case, a sign that serves as almost time capsules on display of something that was and also a reminder that some things were meant to last.  Check out the Quaker Oats Mural Restoration Project in Main Street Plaza.


Curwood Castle 

301 W. Main
Curwood Castle is located in Curwood Castle Park and stands on the banks of the Shiawassee River and is just a short walk from Main Street.  Curwood Castle served as the inspirational writing studio of Jame Oliver Curwood, a native of Owosso.   

A little about James Oliver Curwood from the Owosso Historical Commission, Curwood is said to be the first author to make 1 million dollars and his books were said to have been read by 7 million people. He was an early adventure novelist and an advocate for environmental conservation. He wrote at this location until his death in 1927. 

Today, Curwood Castle is open to the public year round.  Nearby you will find places to picnic, play and the Shiawassee Arts Center is just steps away. 

Cone Zone

300 N. Water 
Our last and final stop of the day was at Cone Zone for an ice cream treat.   Many options are available including Dole Whip, soft serve, floats, shakes, malts, sundaes and limited time specials and treats are also available and shared on The “Official” Prescott’s Cone Zone Facebook Page. 

There is outdoor seating.  Nearby we stopped at The Armory for a seat on their steps in the shade and talked about our fun visit to Downtown Owosso while we enjoyed our Cone Zone treat! 

Aviator Jayne

119 N. Washington
This recently renovated space is so much larger and the perfect place to wander.  Aviator Jayne owner Mandy Pidek shared, “inspire people to cultivate community in their home”.  They offer a lifestyle, homegoods, furniture and design services.  From plants and candles, to items for children – games, toys, clothing, you will find just what you are looking for. 

Upstairs, above the retail space they have the Aviator Studio, which is rental space they have for events.  This is also where classes and other community activities are hosted. 

Online shopping is also available.

Kaizen 113

113 N. Washington
Kaizen 113 is a baby and children’s clothing store that is nothing short of amazing.  Kaizen 113 space is full of adorable – new and gently used – items for babies and children alike. 

What does Kaizen 113 mean?  Kai = “change” and zen = “good” Kaizen = “change for the good, continuous improvement,” and 113 is where they are located, 113 N. Washington St.

Owosso Cookie Company

101 N. Washington
Owosso Cookie Company offers edible cookie dough, cookies, frozen yogurt, and more!   Creative and tasty limited time options for cookies like the Strawberry Lemonade, Cookie Monster (and it is blue), S’mores and the Buckeye are just a few that caught our eyes.  Also have a list of 20 different regularly made options!  YUM!

Special flavors, offers and upcoming treats are shared on the Owosso Cookie Company Facebook Page and the Owosso Cookie Company is open daily through the summer.

Steam Railroading Institute

405 S. Washington

The Steam Railroading Institute (SRI) is located and is open to the public on specific days April – September for visitors and tours. The Steam Railroading Institute’s mission is to educate the public about steam era railroading in Michigan and the Great Lakes region.  The SRI is community focused and offers activities for families throughout the year! 

They just hosted  Christmas in JulyThis is an open house experience featuring miniature train rides, the Yard Goat Caboose Rides, a Santa Claus visit, a nighttime screening of THE POLAR EXPRESS™, and more!  Next up in September, the Maroon and Gold Express.  A trip to and from Mt. Pleasant via the rail for a Central Michigan Chippewas Football game.  Not into football? Take the same trip and visit Mt. Pleasant for a day of shopping, dining and enjoying the city.   

The Steam Railroading Institute is home of the Pere Marquette 1225, the famous locomotive you will recognize from The Polar Express (2004).   And most popular for the annual North Pole Express!  This is a 4.5 hour experience departing from Owosso, including a bit over an hour train ride to the Village of Ashley Country Christmas, time to shop, eat and take part in numerous winter inspired activities! And then a train ride returning to Owosso.  And this year, the North Pole Express sold out in ONE day!

Brumley & Bloom

118 S. Washington

Find the perfect gift!   Plants – from common to rare – curated collections, pottery, planters, and more.  They also share how to care for your plants and make suggestions based on what you are searching for. They also offer floral design services specializing in weddings. 

Brumley & Bloom is a team of plant fanatics, floral designers, and every type of creative-mind you can think of. They are a woman-owned, small business that has a passion for sharing their eye for design and endless collection of unique and rare plants.   They offer classes like DIY Terrarium Workshop, Propagation 101, Macrame, and Plants for BeginnersOnline shopping is also available.

Lebowsky Center for Performing Arts 

122 E. Main

The Lebowsky Center for Performing Arts is a beautiful theater located right on Main St in Downtown Owosso. You can’t miss the bright lights of the marquee sign as you drive by! This theater makes you feel like you are at a show in New York City, yet it’s quaint and there’s not a bad seat in the house! 

“The Lebowsky Center for Performing Arts, produces 4 musicals and 2 plays each season, and hosts a variety of other performing artists to expand the cultural offerings to the community and beyond.   As a nonprofit organization, the Lebowsky Center for Performing Arts is honored to play a part in the cultural and economic growth of Owosso.”

Niche Bar & Lounge

112 N. Washington

Niche Bar & Lounge is known for their unique pizzas, craft beers and cocktails.  They often have specials like Raspberry Brie Pizza, Coney Dog Pizza, Spin Dip Pizza, Shrimp Pesto Pizza, Olive Burger Pizza, Chicken & Waffle Pizza.  They also have a Dill Pickle Pizza and it is rumored the Southwest dressing substituted of the ranch is something to try!

They serve lunch and dinner with weekly live entertainment. Indoor and outdoor seating is available. For seasonally inspired menu items and specials,  keep an eye on the Niche Bar & Lounge Facebook Page. 

Niche is part of the Social District where you can get a drink to-go. A lot of people go there for dinner before seeing a show at the Lebowsky.   Also offer a Bloody Mary bar on Saturdays.

Downtown Owosso Farmers Market

214 N. Water

Downtown Owosso Farmers Market provides locally grown produce and artisan made goods from over 40 vendors, every Saturday from 9am-1pm,  May through October 29th in Downtown Owosso. 

Keep an eye on the Downtown Owosso Farmers Market Facebook Page for weekly updates of items at the market and more special events. 

If you are interested in learning more about Downtown Owosso visit their website to plan your day! 

A special thank you to Joe and Erica Matteson – better known in the area as The Mattesons.  Our visit was on a warm day and they did an incredible job not only capturing fun around town, they kept our girls (and us) engaged, sometimes entertained!  Thank you both!

And none of this would be possible without Lizzie Fredrick, Executive Director of Downtown Owosso and creative mind behind this year!   Thank you Lizzie!  We are honored to be part of the sharing more about Downtown Owosso and how your nearby gem is the perfect daytrip destination!  

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