Ice is Nice: Doing Winter in Detroit

Modified: November 28, 2022 | Story by Michelle Fusco | Photos by Bill Bowen

It’s winter. In Michigan. It will be cold. There will be snow. But our Motor City Winter Wonderland still promises fun for all ages.

Fun for Families-

Fire side fun at Robert C. Valade Park

Outdoors: Embrace the season at Robert C. Valade Park, the newest addition to the Detroit Riverwalk. The park features oversized outdoor fire chimneys, warm drinks, marshmallow roasters, the Sled Shed (where you can borrow free sleds when it snows), synthetic ice curling and more. There’s a sandy beach, children’s playscape, and sushi and barbeque food options. Check the website for special event weekends.

In the evening, load the kids and some warm blankets into the car and catch a movie classic at the Monroe Street Drive-In Powered by Emagine. Onsite concessions are available, or have food delivered from your favorite local restaurant!

Indoors: Spend an afternoon at The Henry Ford Museum of Innovation, one of the world’s coolest history museums. Engaging exhibits and interactive experiences on planes, trains, automobiles and more are sure to inspire the minds of our next generation of inventors. Must see: the presidential limousines and the Rosa Parks bus.

Cozy Couples Outings-

Outdoors: What could be more romantic than skating under the stars at Campus Martius Park? The fresh air and exercise make for an invigorating evening. (Also popular for families.) Save time to stroll through the Hum and Glow of Winter: Art Installation in Beacon Park and the garden maze at Capitol Park.

Exploring the Detroit Institute of Art

Indoors: At the Detroit Institute of Arts, explore more than 100 galleries filled with masterpieces from American, European and African artists. Don’t miss the iconic Detroit Industry murals by Diego Rivera.

Great for Groups-

Outdoors: Bundle up to shop the sheds and stores of Eastern Market, which hosts year-round Saturday markets. Then take a brisk walk down the Dequindre Cut, a paved bike and pedestrian path adorned with graffiti murals built on the site of a former railroad line.

Support a local restaurant with creative dining options with tables of six or less, including igloos, chalets, life sized lanterns, fire pits and outdoor tents. Indoor dining reopens February 1 at 25 percent capacity.

Indoor: Try your luck at the slots or table games of the recently reopened Greektown Casino, MotorCity Casino or MGM Grand Casino Detroit. Or visit Two James Spirits or Detroit City Distillery to purchase bottles or cocktails to go. Watch for distillery tours to reopen February 1—along with the debut of Detroit City Distillery’s Paczki Day Vodka. I’ll drink to that!

Excitement for All-
Mark your calendar for the Plymouth Ice Festival, February 12-14, where more than 60 ice sculptures are the stars of the show. Watch teams transform blocks of ice into works of art live on February 12 at 7 p.m. Sculptures are available for viewing 24 hours a day.

Go Safely!
We recommend purchasing tickets or making reservations online in advance since many of these popular activities have capacity limits. Please remember to practice social distancing, wear masks, wash your hands and reduce contact by using credit or debit cards when possible. See some locations here, that have gone the extra mile ensure visitor and staff safety.


Bike riders on the Dequindre Cut

Bike riders on the Dequindre Cut


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Mentioned Attractions And Venues

  1. 1
    Detroit RiverFront Conservancy
    600 GM Renaissance Center, Ste. 1720, Detroit, MI 48243
  2. 2
    The Henry Ford
    20900 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn, MI 48124
  3. 3
    Campus Martius Park
    800 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48226
  4. 4
    Detroit Institute of Arts
    5200 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48202
  5. 5
    Eastern Market
    Russell Street between Mack Avenue and Gratiot Avenue, 2934 Russell St., Detroit, MI 48207
  6. 6
    Dequindre Cut Greenway
    Dequindre Cut Greenway, Detroit, MI 48207
  7. 7
    Hollywood Casino at Greektown
    555 E. Lafayette Blvd., Detroit, MI 48226
  8. 8
    MotorCity Casino
    2901 Grand River Ave., Detroit, MI 48201
  9. 9
    MGM Grand Detroit
    1777 Third Ave., Detroit, MI 48226
  10. 10
    Two James Spirits
    2445 Michigan Ave., Detroit, MI 48216
  11. 11
    Detroit City Distillery
    2462 Riopelle St., Detroit, MI 48207
  12. 12
  13. 13
    Plymouth Ice Festival
    Kellogg Park, Plymouth, MI, USA