Roman philosopher Pliny the Elder once said, “Home is where the heart is,” and I can’t argue with him. Flint, otherwise known as “The Vehicle City,” holds a plethora of memories for me. Unfortunately, it’s easy for all of the negative misconceptions to overshadow what this town truly has to offer. Whenever people ask me where I’m from and I tell them, “Flint,” I get looks of disdain —pity even. I’ll then usually get questioned about the water crisis, the poverty or the crime rate; but it’s time we start focusing on the positive aspects. Flint has a strong and kind community, many working hard every single day to make this town “better and better,” as my grandfather used to say. We have new restaurants, a beautiful art institute and an incredible farmer’s market. We also have a growing college town, with the University of Michigan-Flint and Kettering University; I could go on and on. Flint is gradually being rebuilt into the flourishing town it once was, and as a local, I wanted to share some of my favorite places to visit:
Dean Yeotis, an attorney and businessman, founded Totem Books. He grew up in Flint, and even went to high school with my father. This new independent bookstore and café offers a wide selection of used books, food, art, films and vinyl records. The café serves healthy and organic products, including items such as soups, sandwiches and hot drinks. Totem Books also hosts a variety of events, like live performances, monthly open mic nights, poetry readings and book discussions. Cozy and aesthetically pleasing, it’s the perfect spot for avid readers to grab a cup of coffee and relax with a good book.
Did you know? The abandoned building was originally an old party store. Yeotis converted it to Totem Books in hopes of giving back and improving the neighborhood.
Location: 620 W Court St
Nearby: Whitehorse Tavern
Flint Cultural Center
The Flint Cultural Center is comprised of the Flint Institute of Arts, the Sloan Museum, Flint Institute of Music, Longway Planetarium, Flint Youth Theatre, Applewood, Buick Gallery and The Whiting. FCC focuses on bringing the community together through the history and education of various cultures. The center features an endless array of events, including the FIA’s annual art fair, Broadway performances at The Whiting and historical automobile exhibits at the Sloan Museum.
Did you know? The second largest art museum in Michigan is the Flint Institute of Arts!
Location: 1310 E Kearsley St
Nearby: Mott Community College
Flint Farmers’ Market
Every Saturday, I used to visit Flint’s old farmers’ market on E. Boulevard. Only one word could describe how I felt when the new market officially opened, and the old one became just a memory: nostalgic. But, that feeling of nostalgia has slowly transformed into a feeling of hope. I now think of the new farmers’ market as a symbol for the growth and restoration of Flint. Inside you’ll find 50 vendors featuring fresh produce, baked goods and more. Outside (on most days), there is live, local music. Other events include storytellers, cooking classes and annual festivals. The market is open on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
Did you know? The Flint Farmers’ Market was named one of the 15 Greatest Places in America, and it was also voted America’s Most Loved Farm Market in 2009!
Location: 300 E 1st St
Nearby: University of Michigan-Flint
501 Bar and Grill
501 Bar and Grill is a tapas bar located in downtown Flint. Its chic and modern interior makes it an incredible lunch spot. I like to sit by the window and people-watch while I enjoy my meal. The menus feature small plates, soups, salads, sushi, burgers, flatbreads and entrees. My personal favorite is the Mediterranean chopped salad. If you’re ever in town and looking for a place to eat, 501 is a great choice.
Did you know? 501 Bar and Grill also hosts a variety of tastings, ranging from beer and wine, to deep fried cheesecakes!
Location: 500 Saginaw St
Nearby: The Lunch Studio
Flint Crepe Company
For a hot coffee or delectable treat, look no further than the Flint Crepe Company. Located across the street from 501 Bar and Grill, its comforting, vintage atmosphere and great service will not disappoint. They offer a broad variety of crepes, such as egg and cheese, veggie, nutella and my personal favorite, cinnamon and sugar (especially tasty with a mocha or latte).
Did you know? Flint Crepe Company was voted the third-best coffee shop in Michigan!
Location: 555 Saginaw St
Nearby: Table and Tap
Reyna Hurand is a junior studying professional writing. You can usually find her curled up with a good book, her two adorable dogs and a hot cup of coffee. To learn more, you can follow her on Twitter and Instagram @reynasblogxo.