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We all know there's fun in metro Detroit on a budget -- Tigers value packs, cheap lawn seats at DTE Energy Music Theatre or happy hour specials at favorites such as Roast, Cliff Bell's, Ottava Via and La Feria -- but what about those days when you want to do something, and you just don't feel like spending anything? No problem. Our Free in The D tips and to-dos let you leave your worries (and wallets) behind.
No trip to The D is complete without spending time at Eastern Market, where every Saturday (since 1891), thousands of people mingle amid six blocks of local goodness. With more than 250 independent vendors and merchants, you’ll find fresh vegetables, fruits, fish, meat, flowers and more. Sometimes you might score a vendor sample or two.
If art appreciation in the outdoors is your thing, Detroit has a great group of sculptures and unique art installations on street corners, in front of buildings and as focal points in urban parks. No cost for stopping, staring and admiring, of course.
Some of the city's most iconic must-sees:
Sometimes you might need a seasonal or daily pass to enjoy a gorgeous metro Detroit park, but many of our recreational spaces don’t cost a dime to enter and enjoy. Pack a picnic lunch, throw the bikes on the back and you've got a day of memory making.
Detroit International RiverWalk
Stroll or bike along it and enjoy water fountains, butterfly gardens, French bistros and a working carousel in warmer weather. Create a tranquil moment by watching the mega-sized freighters silently creep along the Detroit River. (DD)
Veterans Memorial Park
Barbecue on the shores of Lake St. Clair at this beautiful stop for east-siders. There's a splash pad for the kids, beach access, volleyball nets, a playground, shuffleboard, horseshoes and bocce ball. You can also drop a line and go fishing off the pier. (M)
Belle Isle Park, Detroit
Look out over the Detroit River to Canada. There's plenty of room for the whole family to bike, hike, barbecue and fish. Several park attractions offer free admission, including the Dossin Great Lakes Museum, Nature Zoo, Aquarium and the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory. This is a Michigan State Park, so a state recreational pass is required. (DD)
Dinosaur Hill Nature Preserve, Rochester
Take the kids to this unique dinosaur preserve and walk through the surrounding wooded hills of the nature trail. (O)
Elizabeth Park, Trenton
Bring your fishing pole or snack on a PBJ while you watch the boats pass by on 1,300 feet of Detroit River frontage. Elizabeth Park has bike and rollerblade paths, softball fields and hiking trails. (DW)
Fuerst Park, Novi
Watch a show in the 150-seat amphitheater or take a leisurely walk on the rolling hills. (GN)
Pack the bikes and a picnic lunch and head out to one of 13 metroparks. Free beaches, lots of hiking trails and boat rentals at some of these locations. Day or seasonal pass required.
Campus Martius Park, Detroit
In the heart of downtown, this oasis has a beautiful water fountain, plush botanicals and even a sandy beach in the summertime, and an ice rink in the winter. Look for Detroit’s Point of Origin (from which all the “mile” roads are measured), near the bistro. One of the city’s brightest spots. (DD)
New Center Park
Check out the free movie lineup every Wednesday and Friday night from June to August. There's also live music at this Midtown gem. (DD)
Summer Sounds at The Mall at Partridge Creek
Yeah, we know a shopping mall isn't a park, but we felt compelled to mention this outdoor, dog-friendly retail complex's free musical acts every day in the plaza through Sept. 7. (M)
The D Discount Pass
If you're looking to spend a little less money on some of the greatest events and attractions in town, sign up for The D Discount Pass. Save 20 percent or more on museum admission or gift shop purchases at your favorite attractions and receive up to four admissions per coupon. The available Henry Ford Museum coupon, for example, gives you 20 percent off admission for both the museum and The Henry Ford’s Greenfield Village. Other participants include the Motown Museum, Michigan Science Center and the Sea Life Michigan Aquarium.
Sign up for The D Discount Pass to start saving.
"I love Detroit because there is no other place like it on Earth! Happy #Detroit Day! #313DLove" – @Kels44
Book a dinner cruise or go for a late-night moonlight party aboard the Detroit Princess. The five-story riverboat is back in action for the season.
Fall is in full swing and that means Detroit Red Wings hockey at The Joe. No ticket? Cobo Joe's is a surefire hot spot on game days.
Watch Discover the D TV to learn all about the hidden gems and history that our city has to offer.