Detroit Brings the Fun This Fall & Winter
It’s GO time Detroit! In fact, Thrillist recently named Detroit “One of America’s Most Fun Cities.” Read on for travel story topics and inspiration.
Three Great Attractions at The Henry Ford
Fall is the perfect time to visit The Henry Ford’s Greenfield Village, with 80-acres of immersive American history. While exploring seven historic districts, visitors can ride in a Model T or a real steam-powered locomotive, explore the Wright Brothers workshop or enjoy a meal from an 1830s lunch menu. Check out special seasonal programming like Fall Flavor Weekends, Hallowe’en in Greenfield Village or Holiday Nights. The Village is open daily through Nov. 3, Fridays and Saturdays Nov. 4 through Dec. 1 and select evenings Dec. 2 through Dec. 31. Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation inspires year-round with stories of America’s greatest inventors. The Ford Rouge Factory Tour gives visitors a peek behind the curtain at the Ford F-150 and a chance to explore modern manufacturing. Vacation packages that include overnight accommodations and admission tickets are available.
This Place is a Zoo
As the weather cools down, many animals become more active at the Detroit Zoo, making it an ideal time to plan a visit. Major exhibits at the largest paid family attraction in Michigan, with an average of 1.5 million attendees, include the Arctic Ring of Life, Australian Outback Adventure, Great Apes of Harambee, National Amphibian Conservation Center, Holden Reptile Conservation Center and Butterfly Garden. Meet African lions Asha and Amirah, 3-year-old sisters from the Buffalo Zoo, who joined “mane” man Simba, 10, in the African Grasslands at the Detroit Zoo in May 2019. Note: the Polk Penguin Conservation Center is closed through mid-June 2020 for needed repairs.
Motown Celebrates 60th Anniversary
2019 marked the 60th anniversary of the Motown sound. The Motown Museum is celebrating with special programming and exhibits all year long. Motown 60 Weekend is set for Sept. 21-23. The three-day event is packed full of music and star power converging on Detroit in true Motown style for an incredible not-to-be-missed celebration benefiting Motown Museum, including a Motown Gospel Concert on Sept. 21, Hitsville Honors: Celebrating Berry Gordy & 60 Years of Motown on Sept. 22 and Soul In One Celebrity Golf Classic on Sept. 23.
Additional programming this fall includes AMPLIFY: The Sound of Detroit Singing Competition, with preliminary rounds Oct. 3, Oct. 10, Oct. 17 and Oct. 24 at the Detroit Institute of Music Education and a Grand Finale Nov. 15 at the Garden Theater. The winner will win recording studio time and a $2,500 cash prize. On Dec. 7, join Santa and Mrs. Claus for Carols and Cocoa, including live music, holiday cheer and a chance to shop for unique gifts for music lovers.
Looking toward the future, the museum is in the planning stages of a $50-million-dollar expansion that will add 50,000 square feet of interactive exhibits, a performance theater, recording studios, meeting space and expanded retail space. The new Motown Museum will be designed and built around the current museum space and the historic Hitsville U.S.A. house.
Fall Sports in The D
Come see for yourself why Detroit is also known as Hockeytown. The Detroit Red Wings play NHL hockey at the new Little Caesars Arena (LCA), with a home opener Oct. 6 vs. the Dallas Stars. Adding to the excitement is the team’s new General Manager, Hall of Famer Steve Yzerman, former team captain and three-time Stanley Cup champion.
The Detroit Pistons compete in the NBA, led by fan favorites like center Andre Drummond and forward Blake Griffin. The Pistons also call LCA home. Experience the new, state-of-the-art facility and see several behind-the-scenes areas with a public tour.
Over at Ford Field, the Detroit Lions’ season is in full swing. The Thanksgiving Day game tradition continues as the Detroit Lions take on the Chicago Bears on Nov. 28. Behind-the-scenes public tours of the stadium are also a fun option.
Run over the Ambassador Bridge, through the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel and around the city at the Detroit Free Press TCF Bank Marathon. The event includes a 26-mile entry, a 5K, walks, relays and more Oct. 19-21.
On Dec. 7, Ford Field plays host to the MAC (Mid-American Conference) Football Championship–one of the most aggressive Division I conferences in the country, followed by the sixth annual Quick Lane Bowl— a premier college football bowl game–on Dec. 26. Over at LCA, the Great Lakes Invitational four team, single elimination college hockey tournament skates into town Dec. 30-31.
This fall’s theater season in Detroit is packed with hot options. The lineup at the Fisher Theatre includes Come from Away, Oct. 1-3; Hello, Dolly, Nov. 19-Dec. 1; and A Bronx Tale, Jan. 21-Feb. 2. A plethora of holiday shows entertain at the Fox Theatre, such as Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas The Musical, Nov. 20-23; The Illusionist: Magic of the Holidays, Nov. 29-30; Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer: The Musical, Dec. 1; Cirque Dreams Holidaze, Dec. 13-15; Moscow Ballet’s “Great Russian Nutcracker,” Dec. 22 and The Spongebob Musical, Dec. 26-Jan. 5, 2020. Little Caesars Arena’s big name lineup features Phil Collins, Oct. 1; Disney on Ice Presents Big Dreams, Oct. 17-20; Carrie Underwood, Oct. 31; Celine Dion, Nov. 5; and Jurassic World Live Tour, Nov. 14-17.
A special exhibit at the Detroit Institute of Arts, featuring some of the best works of the Impressionist era, ends soon. Humble and Human: Impressionist Era Treasures closes October 13. The exhibition, featuring 44 works by Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas, Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet and others, is comprised of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works from the collections of the DIA and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. Note: The museum is closed on Mondays, but open until 10 p.m. on Fridays.
Step into a larger-than-life LEGO® wonderland featuring 20 of the world’s most iconic and astonishing skyscrapers at Towers of Tomorrow with LEGO® Bricks, a first-of-its-kind, limited-engagement exhibition, at Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation. Let these masterpieces unleash your inspiration, choose from over 200,000 LEGO® bricks to build your own Tower of Tomorrow and contribute to the growing LEGO® metropolis. The exhibit runs Oct. 12, 2019 – Jan. 5, 2020.
The Big House, the largest Super Smash Brothers event series of the fall, visits TCF Center (formerly Cobo Center) Oct. 4-6. This annual convention attracts fans from across the world for three days of tournament competition, demonstrations and sideline events.
Join the Michigan Brewers Guild at Eastern Market Oct. 25-26 for Detroit Fall Beer Festival, one of the largest all-Michigan beer tastings around. Enjoy food from Detroit area restaurants (available for purchase), listen to local musical acts and wash it all down with any of more than 800 craft beers from nearly 120 Michigan breweries.
Youmacon, a Michigan anime convention, takes over TCF Center (formerly Cobo Center) and the Detroit Marriott Renaissance Center Oct. 31-Nov. 3. The popular culture event is similar to Comic Cons, but focuses on Japanese popular culture instead of comic books.
Kick off the holiday season on Nov. 22 with a magical evening of stage and rink performances and the lighting of a Michigan-grown, 60-foot Norwegian Spruce wrapped in more than 19,000 multi-colored lights and ornaments at the 15th Annual Tree Lighting at Campus Park. In celebration of the 15th year, Beacon Park is throwing a holiday party with free shuttles between Beacon Park and Campus Martius Park the entire evening.
America’s Thanksgiving Parade, Nov. 28, is a longstanding Detroit holiday tradition. Colorful floats, marching bands, celebrities and gigantic character balloons wow the crowds along a three mile course on Woodward Avenue on Thanksgiving morning.
Holiday tours of Edsel & Eleanor Ford House dazzle visitors with spectacular historic holiday decorations Nov. 29-Jan. 5, 2020. Meadow Brook Hall will also be decked in holiday splendor with over 50 dazzling trees on display Nov. 29 – Dec. 23, 2019.
Big Bright Lights Show in charming downtown Rochester is a feast for the eyes and the perfect backdrop for your holiday shopping and special gatherings, Nov. 25, 2019 – Jan. 5, 2020.
Noel Night in Detroit’s Cultural Center on Dec. 7 is a holiday open house with more than 120 participating venues presenting free activities including: horse-drawn carriage rides, holiday shopping, family craft activities and performances by over 200 area music, theater, and dance groups, and other special performances.
The elaborate ice sculptures at the Plymouth Ice Festival are sure to amaze, especially the dueling chainsaw competition, Jan. 10-12, 2020.
Quicken Loans Winter Blast Weekends embrace the winter season with free snowshoeing, a 30-foot slide, Detroit-themed ice sculptures, free ice skating, food, kids carnival rides, musical acts, a zip line, heated tents and more in Campus Martius Park. This event typically takes place in January and February, but dates have not yet been released for 2020.
Stack on the Savings
Save 20 percent or more on popular Detroit attractions with The D Discount Pass. Current participants include Automotive Hall of Fame, City Tour Detroit, Community Bowling Centers, Detroit Experience Factory, Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit Repertory Theatre, Detroit Segway, Feet on the Street Tours, Ford Piquette Avenue Plant, The Henry Ford, Kart 2 Kart, Legoland Discovery Center Michigan, Little Caesars Arena, Michigan Science Center, Motown Museum, Outdoor Adventure Center, Riverside Kayak Connection, Sea Life Michigan Aquarium, Solanus Casey Center and TreeRunner Adventure Park at West Bloomfield. The D Discount Pass is accepted at participating venues through December 31, 2019.
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