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 for you 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 rollerblade 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.
Hayden Park – This college-owned park is just a half-mile away from campus and features miles of trails, sand volleyball courts, a driving range, and an 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.
Slayton Arboretum – Great for impromptu picnics and productions of Shakespeare, the Slayton Arboretum features an outdoor amphitheatre, 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.
Hillsdale Lanes – 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.
Premiere Theatre – Catch the latest blockbusters on a college-student budget. With tickets just five dollars on Tuesdays, the local movie theatre provides reasonable rates and the newest movies.
Something for Every Taste
Jilly Beans – A cozy coffee shop in downtown Hillsdale, Jilly Beans serves a variety of drinks and baked goods. There’s a “secret garden” tucked away in the back that adds a little mystery to the unassuming cafe. Come with friends for a breakfast date, or get your caffeine fix and hit the books amidst the aroma of coffee beans.
Checker Records – Checker Records is an eclectic mix between a coffee bar and music store. In addition to their specialty drinks, they offer a variety of beans for purchase and an even wider array of classic records on vinyl. 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 thirty 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).
Broad Street & The Underground – Broad Street serves a broad spectrum of fare, from salads to sushi. Several nights a week they host live music in the lower level, often with student bands from the college.
Dutch Uncle – You’ll inevitably make a trip to the Dutch Uncle donut shop at least once in your time at Hillsdale, usually at midnight and packed into a car full of your best friends, desperate for a break from studying. Open (nearly) twenty-four 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.
El Cerrito – If the mood is for Mexican food, El Cerrito 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.
Olivia’s – For those times you’re looking for classic steakhouse fare, check out Olivia’s Steakhouse in Jonesville.
The House of Pizza & BBQ – This is the best barbeque 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 slow-cooked ribs, BBQ chicken sandwiches, pulled pork, and more.
Saucy Dog’s – This is the other best barbecue in Hillsdale County. You’ll find all the typical BBQ fare, in addition to amazing hot dogs.
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 Palace Cafe – A late-night favorite, The Palace serves breakfast twenty-four hours on Fridays and Saturdays. The food is good, and the atmosphere is perfect for a hungry group of friends.
Toasted Mud – 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 relieve some stress on a Saturday afternoon with friends.
Volume One – 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.
Maribeth’s – The main street of Hillsdale’s downtown area wouldn’t be complete without some cute boutiques, and Maribeth’s is definitely cute. A women’s clothing store, Maribeth’s also sells stationery and home decor.