Welcome to your second home.
When you first drive into the city of Hillsdale, you might see a sign that reads, “Hillsdale – It’s the People.” Both the campus and the town are so welcoming that you’ll feel at home here pretty quickly.
The City of Hillsdale is filled with interesting places to explore and fun things to do with friends. Established in 1839, Hillsdale’s downtown area and quiet neighborhoods retain much of their historic charm and Victorian beauty. And if you seek adventures in the great outdoors, there are a plethora of trails, parks, and other areas of natural beauty located just outside the city.
Whether you’re craving a hot cup of coffee, looking to get some fresh air after a study session, or searching for that knickknack to fill up the empty space on your bookshelf, you’ll find something in and around Hillsdale.
The best part? You get to explore everything Hillsdale has to offer in the company of great friends. Hillsdale – it’s the people.
Fun in the Sun
Baw Beese Trail
The community rail-to-trail path stretches from Hillsdale to Jonesville. Our tip? Walk, jog, bike, or even roller blade the trail along lake Baw Beese. It’s one of the most scenic areas in Hillsdale County. Lake Baw Beese beach is also a great place for a soak in the sun or a round of frisbee golf.
This college-owned park is just a half-mile away from campus, and features miles of trails, sand volleyball courts, a driving range, and obstacle course. The paths that weave through the woods are prime for mountain biking in the fall and spring, and cross-country skiing in the winter. Best of all, bikes, skis, snowshoes, and more are all free to borrow from the club house, so there’s no reason not to get out and explore the acres and acres of Hayden Park’s beautiful woodland and fields, no matter the season.
Great for impromptu picnics and productions of Shakespeare alike, the Slayton Arboretum features an outdoor amphitheater, a gazebo, water features, and pond. Numerous varieties of trees and plants fill “the Arb,” and winding paths allow visitors to explore to the farthest corners.
Stadium Roller Rink
Roller skating may sound old-school, but don’t dismiss it before you try it. With quads and inlines, the “cha cha slide” and the “Y.M.C.A.,” going to the rink with a group of friends is a blast.
The bowling alley is a popular spot not only for knocking down pins / sending ball after ball into the gutter, but also for grabbing a pretzel burger. Several times a semester, The Student Activities Board sponsors free bowling nights. Get a bunch of friends together and start getting strikes.
Catch the latest blockbusters on a college student budget. With tickets just $5 on Tuesdays, the local movie theatre provides reasonable rates and the newest movies.
Something for Every Taste
A cozy coffee shop in downtown Hillsdale, Jilly Beans serves a variety of drinks and baked goods. Come with friends for a breakfast date, or get your caffeine fix and hit the books amidst the aroma of coffee beans.
Checker Records is an eclectic mix between a coffee bar and classic music store. In addition to their specialty drinks, they offer a varieties of beans for purchase, and an even wider array of classic rock vinyl records. Where else can you get a hazelnut mocha, acoustic guitar, and Pink Floyd t-shirt all in the same place?
The Udder Side
This ice cream shop in Jonesville serves over 30 flavors of homemade hard ice cream, with rotating seasonal flavors, including their popular “Cow Manure” sundae (don’t be put off by the name, it’s amazingly good).
You’ll inevitably make a trip to the Dutch Uncle donut shop at least once in your time at Hillsdale, usually at midnight packed into a car full of your best friends desperate for a break from studying. Open (nearly) 24 hours, Dutch Uncle is located in nearby Coldwater. Get a bunch of friends together, drag that stressed-out person away from his or her research paper, bond over the drive, and enjoy fresh donuts of all varieties.
If the mood is for Mexican food, El Cerritos is the place to go. With endless chips and salsa, tons of choices from fajitas, enchiladas, and burritos, to sampler platters, there’s no way to leave hungry.
For those times you’re looking for some classic steakhouse fare, check out Olivia’s Steakhouse in Jonesville.
This is the best burger place in Hillsdale County, period. It’s located conveniently close to campus – maybe a bit too conveniently! The short walk will help you burn off all those delicious calories from bacon burgers, onion petals, cajun fries, and more.
This is the other best barbecue in Hillsdale County. You’ll find all the typical BBQ fare, in addition to amazing hot dogs.
The Coffee Cup Diner
Known for its eclectic mix of foods, the Coffee Cup Diner offers authentic Thai dishes, in addition to the usual breakfast diner menu.
The Local Eatery
A town favorite, The Local Eatery serves brunch and cafe style food to its customers. The food is good and the atmosphere is perfect for a hungry group of friends.
You could buy a mug from Walmart, but where’s the fun in that? Paint your own at Toasted Mud instead. A paint-your-own pottery studio, it’s a great way to relieve some stress on a Saturday afternoon with friends.
This funky used bookstore has lots of quirky books and cats. You may not be able to find a specific title, but you are bound to stumble upon a fascinating stack of books. Oh, and you can also do karaoke here.
The main street of Hillsdale’s downtown area wouldn’t be complete without some cute boutiques, and Maribeth’s is no exception. A women’s clothing store, they also sell jewelry, stationery and home decor.
Time for a Study Break
“There comes a point in every college student’s week when a fifteen-minute break scrolling through Instagram just does not cut it.” – Josh Bailey, ’19
Discover Hillsdale in the Fall
“Hillsdale is full of small-town charm and wide-open spaces. Don’t wait and miss the beauty. Grab a friend and find your adventure!” – Klara Holscher, ’17
You’ll Never Find Me in a Big City
“Never in a big city will you find people acting so neighborly to one another, yet alone to complete strangers. This air of amity, I found, persists throughout town.” – James Millius, ’20
Become Part of our Community!
We can’t wait to explore Hillsdale with you!
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