The City of Niles, located in the southwestern corner of the state, boasts a history dating back more than 300 years. Niles is known as "The City of Four Flags" because four nations have controlled the area at different points in its 300 year history. This history is evident not only in the City's pride in being the oldest community in Michigan, but also in the neighborhoods, museums, downtown, and antique shops. Public buildings also provide evidence of the City's history, including City Hall, the Carnegie Library and several exceptional historical homes.
Niles offers residents and visitors many types of indoor and outdoor recreation activities. Opportunities for fishing, hunting, canoeing, hiking, and cross-country skiing abound. Organized sports such as baseball, softball, and soccer leagues and individual activities such as the Niles Triathlon provide athletic recreation. Community celebrations include the Niles Riverfest, the Bluegrass Festival and the Four Flags Area Apple Festival. The Niles Haunted House and Scream Park is the largest of its kind in the nation and a Bensidoun French Market along with several local farms provides an abundance of farm fresh fruit and vegetables. Free summer concerts at the amphitheater on the riverfront in downtown Niles provide entertainment and a focal point for the community. A five mile walking/jogging trail along the St. Joseph River offers a great opportunity to exercise and stay in shape and in Riverfront Park you will find the area's largest children's playground. In addition there is a 200' long boat dock/fishing pier on the riverfront near the amphitheater.
Rail services to Niles is offered by Norfolk-Southern for freight as well as Amtrak and South Shore Railroad for passenger service. A proposed high-speed rail connection to Chicago (making the trip in under 45 minutes) will open the door to many new possibilities for the area, both in terms of residential development and in business and industry. The city operates a small airport for private and charter use. Regular air passenger service is offered in nearby South Bend at the South Bend Regional Airport. Niles is served by major highways including I-94, I-80/90, (Indiana Toll Road), US 31, US12, M60, M140, and M51.
Four industrial corridors are home to more than 100 manufacturers with 4,200 employees. Bertrand Crossing, a new technical park, contains 86 acres in Phase I and is the home of high tech plastics and metal machining manufacturers. Lake Michigan College has built a 30,000 square foot facility in Bertrand Crossing to provide state-of-the-art training for industry. Four manufacturers currently have their international headquarters in Niles. Major area employers include French Paper Company, National-Standard Co., and Tem-Pace. French Paper Company is the oldest company in Niles and is also the oldest family-owned and operated business in Michigan.