How to Spend a Perfect, Sunny Day in DetroitModified: July 08, 2022 | Story by Ian Waldie | Photos by Bill Bowen
Summer is coming.
Yes, that is a cute spin on a saying from a very popular television show that I won’t name. No, I’m not trying to scare you! With the spring rains of May letting up and the temperature finally rising, Detroit’s summer is sure to grace us with some sunny, pleasant days that put our worries at ease and have us thinking, “What a PERFECT day!”
Detroit becomes a sort of playground on a beautiful day. Everyone is outside. The energy is carefree and the collective goal is to have some FUN. From the calming Detroit Riverwalk to the energetic restaurants and bars, you’re sure to find the perfect way to spend the day outside.
Detroit’s Nature is Calling You
Downtown Detroit has towering buildings, venues and arenas, but you might be surprised to know that the city is quite committed to keeping its natural habitats clean and safe. Both residents and visitors alike are able to enjoy beautiful nature reserves because the city makes them a priority, rather than an afterthought. Nothing makes you appreciate nature like a sunny day to highlight all of the beauty.
Belle Isle is one of the city’s most well known parks with nature trails, an aquarium, a zoo and a conservatory. The Nature Center features about four acres of undisturbed forested wetland perfect for hiking and observing wildlife. Visitors can also rent kayaks through RKC Adventures. With a kayak you’ll be able to paddle your way down the river, taking in the wetlands and the overhanging willows above. Be sure to bring a cooler and some snacks for a picnic. There’s plenty of space to spread a blanket on the grass and gaze at the Detroit river and Detroit skyline.
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The Detroit International RiverWalk is one of Detroit’s greatest attractions. It spans several miles, and while the Detroit River is a gorgeous sight, the Riverwalk itself offers some beautiful natural habitats as well. Just near Cullen Plaza is Milliken State Park Wetlands, an area where you can both observe and learn about how wetlands “act as nature’s filtration system” (Detroit Riverfront Conservancy). It’s a rarity to enjoy 32 acres of greenery in a downtown area. On a sunny day there is no better place to go for a stroll and take in the beautiful sights of this state park.
Get Active: Sports & Biking in Detroit
Sometimes a sunny day is just the inspiration you need to get active.
The Dequindre Cut is a famous destination for long distance exercise in Detroit. Formerly the Grand Trunk Railroad Line, the path runs north of the Riverfront for two miles parallel to St. Aubin Street, between Mack Avenue and Atwater Street. Pedestrians can view murals and sculptures along the way. It is perfect for more focused exercise and there are even some manual workout machines set up along the path. Visitors can bring their own bikes or rent at a MoGo station or via Wheelhouse Detroit.
Beacon Park is small but beautiful park downtown that really packs a punch. Walk the paths and admire the awesome light installations or spread a yoga mat on the grass and get your zen on. Soul Cycle also regularly holds classes on Saturdays in the summer. It’s a great way to get a burst of energy to start your day.
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Food, Spirits and Fun
Sometimes the best thing to do on a sunny day is enjoy a refreshment, eat a delicious meal and take in the ambiance. From hot bustling spots downtown to some of the quaintest outdoor seating restaurants in the city, there is nothing more relaxing than treating yourself on a sunny day.
For an energetic vibe, Campus Martius is always eventful with plenty of options for food and drink in the midst of a lively park. You’re likely to find a line of food trucks during weekdays around lunchtime, offering some of the best street food in the city. Both Parc and Central Kitchen are fantastic options for Campus Martius restaurants. These restaurants keep the ambiance open with giant windows that allow for a spectacular view of the park.
Another iconic Detroit destination that pairs with a beautiful day is Eastern Market. Not only can you do some of the best Detroit shopping, but you can also eat some of the best food! Supino Pizzeria always draws a crowd with perfect pies so tasty you’ll feel like you’re in the heart of Italy. Bert’s Market Place is the hot spot for soul food and jazz with outdoor seating. The energy at Bert’s is infectious and the food is out-of-this-world fantastic. Pair a meal with a walk through the breezy farmers’ markets.
Corktown is a great area for patio dining and getting lots of sun. Motor City Wine has a patio so lovely you’ll want to stay into the late hours of the evening when the lights twinkle over a fun and laidback crowd. If you’re craving a classic burger and milkshake, Mercury burger & Bar has a large area for outdoor seating. Scarf down a burger under the sun and wash it down with an ice cold beverage, then take advantage of the shops and bars down Michigan Avenue. There’s always something to do in this corner of the city.
The options are endless on a sunny day in Detroit and this list just scratches the surface. Look out for historical landmarks and buildings like the Guardian Building or the Spirit Detroit. Every corner you turn there is something to admire in this beautiful city and what better way to appreciate that fact than when the sun is shining down on it for all to see.
1Belle Isle State Park99 Pleasure Drive, Detroit, MI 48207313-821-9844
2Detroit International RiverWalk1340 Atwater St., Detroit, MI 48207313-566-8200
3Detroit RiverFront Conservancy600 GM Renaissance Center, Ste. 1720, Detroit, MI 48243313-566-8200
4Dequindre Cut GreenwayDequindre Cut Greenway, Detroit, MI 48207313-566-8200
5Wheelhouse Detroit - Rivertown1340 E. Atwater St., Detroit, MI 48207313-656-2453
6Campus Martius Park800 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48226313-962-0101
7ParcCampus Martius Park, 800 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48226313-922-PARC
8Central Kitchen & Bar660 Woodward Ave., Ste. 4A, Detroit, MI 48226313-963-9000
9Eastern MarketRussell Street between Mack Avenue and Gratiot Avenue, 2934 Russell St., Detroit, MI 48207313-833-9300
10Supino Pizzeria2457 Russell St., Detroit, MI 48207313-567-7879
11Bert's Market Place2727 Russell St., Detroit, MI 48207313-567-2030
12Motor City Wine1949 Michigan Ave., Detroit, MI 48216313-483-7283
13Mercury Burger & Bar2163 Michigan Ave., Detroit, MI 48216313-964-5000