Genesee County Gold: 7 Attractions Worth Visiting in Fenton 

By Lisa Green

November 17, 2022

Michigan is home to plenty of charming small cities—but Fenton stands out as both a foodie paradise and a historic wonder. Here are seven reasons to take a visit, and maybe stay awhile.

MICHIGAN—Traveling along US-23, Fenton is well worth a short pit stop—or maybe even a few-hour stroll through the charming small city along the banks of the Shiawassee River.

The city was once known as Dibbleville, in honor of one of the area’s first settlers, Clark Dibble. According to local legend, Dibble was originally looking for Grand Blanc, but missed the trail and stumbled his way into Fenton. So amazed with its beauty, he decided to stay.

The city’s current name came in after two land speculators bet the town’s name over a poker game in 1837. William M. Fenton (obviously) beat Robert LeRoy, but as a consolation to LeRoy, his name was put on the main thoroughfare through the city: LeRoy Street. 

Over the years, the city has retained its historical charm, and upgraded to some modern amenities. Aside from being a shopping destination, Fenton is filled with friendly neighborhoods and great restaurants—making it quite the Michigan foodie hotspot, too.

Here are just a few reasons Fenton is worth visiting for a day, or perhaps much longer:

Peabody Ice Climbing

12326 Foley Rd. 

(Courtesy/Peabody Ice Climbing)

Peabody Ice Climbing provides one of the world’s best training areas for ice climbing as the only permanent mixed climbing and dry tooling training facility in the United States.

In the winter months, Peabody’s icy towers offer one climb at 45 feet, and the other at 72 feet. Day passes are only $25 and gear rentals are available. It also hosts events such as the Peabody Ice Fest, drytooling clinics, self-rescue clinics, and more.

Click here for details. 

A.J. Phillips Fenton Museum

10 S. Leroy St. 

(Courtesy/Fenton Historical Society)

If you’re interested in local military memorabilia, you’ll love the A.J. Phillips Fenton Museum. The collection features items from the Civil War, Spanish-American War, both WWI and WWII, and the Vietnam War—including a sword formerly owned by Colonel William Fenton.

The building was constructed in 1900 as a library, but now houses a massive collection of vintage clothing, tools, televisions, and photography equipment. There is also an extensive genealogy room cataloging Fenton residents and cemetery records from Genesee County.

Click here for details. 

Spicer Orchards

10411 Clyde Rd. 

(Drink Traveller via Facebook)

It’s a Michigan tradition to head out to the apple orchard when autumn arrives, but Spicer Orchards is fortunately one that’s open year-round—even in the colder winter months.

Spicer Orchards has been family-owned for six generations and has a long history in the Fenton area. And not just with apples and cider, but also a sunflower field, corn maze, playground, doughnut shop, bakery, and winery. Pro tip: The Spicer family also makes homemade fudge that’s good enough to give Mackinac Island’s finest a run for their money.

Click here for details. 

Fenton Fire Hall

201 S. Leroy St. 

(Courtesy/Fenton Fire Hall)

Fenton Fire Hall is a side project of one of Michigan’s most iconic restaurants, the Clarkston Union—which is noted for their trademark dish, the “Most Macked Mac and Cheese.” Celebrity chef Guy Fieri even featured it on Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.”

The mac uses a bechamel sauce with Michigan’s trademark Pinconning cheese. And a fun variation on the Most Macked Mac and Cheese is also available at the Fenton Fire Hall. Pro tip: The Fire Hall also serves some of the best barbecue brisket and pulled pork in the city.

Click here for details. 

CRUST

104 W Caroline St, Fenton, MI 48430

(Courtesy/CRUST)

The small city of Fenton is home to one of the best bakeries in Michigan. Housed in a revitalized historic building downtown, Crust serves over 120 different varieties of baked goods—all made by hand. MLive even named Crust Michigan’s best bakery in 2018.

One of the most noteworthy features of the barkery is how visitors can peer into two open kitchens, where employees are always hard at work baking up fresh goodies. The best-selling products there include the “American Berry Pie” and the traditional apple pie.

Click here for details. 

The Vault Downtown

100 S Leroy St. 

(Courtesy/The Vault)

The Vault is among Fenton’s newest culinary additions to historic Dibbletown—it opened in September 2022 with a perfect blend of casual and fancy dining for just about all occasions.

The restaurant occupies the former location of Billmeier Camera. The owners hired artist Simo Vibart to beautify an outer wall with a floral mural. In addition to great steaks and seafood, the craft cocktail menu is full of specialty drinks named after famous TV shows.

Click here for details. 

Outdoor Sculpture Tour

Downtown Fenton

(Courtesy/Midwest Sculpture Initiative)

Thanks to the Midwest Sculpture Initiative project, Fenton is one of several cities that rents artwork for a year, with the option to purchase the pieces. Each sculpture is hand picked by committee members. Check out the latest map of the local artwork—right here.

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