Today the U.P. is a popular tourist location, beloved by outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy boating, fishing, hunting, hiking, and golf. With an annual average snowfall exceeding 200 inches, winter sports, like snowmobiling and skiing, reign supreme. The peninsula enjoys long and beautiful coastlines along three of the Great Lakes, and is home to an abundance of inland waterways and lush forests. Picturesque lighthouses and resplendent fall colors make the U.P. a top destination for leaf-peeping in September and October. Dazzling shows in the night skies attract stargazers who marvel at viewing the Northern Lights without having to trek to Alaska. Other delights, such as craft breweries, casinos, unique shopping districts, and local cuisine, including the pasty and Finnish pannukakku, also draw tourists to the region.
Houghton is located on the south banks of the Keweenaw Waterway, a partly natural body of water that was dredged in the 1860s to provide a shorter route between north and south entry points of Lake Superior and enable easier transport of copper and other goods. The Portage Lake Lift Bridge (aka the Houghton—Hancock Bridge) provides the only land connection between the north and south sections of the Keweenaw Peninsula and is home to Bridgefest, an annual celebration of the communities joined by this unique structure.
Many of Houghton's most scenic parks and recreation areas, including Dee Stadium and Nara Nature Park, are located along its waterfront. For anyone seeking a wilder outdoor adventure, Isle Royale National Park beckons.
Lake Superior, rather unfortunately, is renowned for its large number of shipwrecks. In many cases, sunken ships remain remarkably well-preserved in the cool lake water. Explorations of the wrecks and interesting underwater geological structures are popular along the Keweenaw Peninsula and elsewhere in the U.P.
The region's fascinating history is told and celebrated through other area attractions, too, including the Keweenaw National Historical Park, Quincy Mine, the Carnegie Museum of the Keweenaw, A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum, Coppertown USA Mining Museum, and Houghton County Historical Society Museum.
Yoopers enjoy a variety of arts events and cultural festivals. Some of the best exhibits and performances may be found at the Finnish American Heritage Center, the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts, Pine Mountain Music Festival, Farm Block Fest, and Dam Jam. Through a variety of classes and exhibitions, the Copper Country Community Arts Center promotes and encourages the work of established and evolving artists, and provides arts enrichment to the community. The dead of winter merits a special celebration with the highly popular Winter Carnival, while the Houghton County Fair brings a festive end to summer.
Children in the community attend the highly-rated Houghton Portage Township Schools.
Higher education options include Michigan Tech University and Finlandia University.
For more information on the community, please visit these links:
Visit Houghton, MI
Keweenaw Convention & Visitors Bureau
Pure Michigan: Upper Peninsula
Photos courtesy of Keweenaw Convention & Visitors Bureau and Portage Lake District Library