Founded in 1821 as the Town of Auburn at the corner of Squirrel Road and Auburn Road, the town later changed its name to Auburn Heights and in 1983 incorporated with Pontiac Township, becoming Auburn Hills.
Today, Auburn Hills is home to 24,686 residents, but as a major commercial, technological, and manufacturing hub of Southeast Michigan its daytime population can swell to 80,000 during the work-day.
It’s also a fun place to spend an evening or weekend exploring and seeing some sights closer to home. Here are some of the highlights you’ll find in Auburn Hills.
Great Lakes Crossing Outlets - Certainly no Auburn Hills conversation is complete without mentioning one of, if not the best, malls in the state of Michigan. And no trip to Great Lakes Crossing is complete seeing some of its attractions. Located off Baldwin Road and I-75, some of their more popular attractions are:
LEGOLAND Discovery Center - The discovery center is a 32,000 square-foot utopia of LEGO, but also a video-game laser ride, an interactive LEGO Detroit cityscape, LEGO earthquake shake-tables, race car design and testing, and more. LEGOLAND is an entire day of fun for you or your LEGO fan; kids do need adult supervision. Tickets cost $25, and you can couple them with other attractions to save.
SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium - At the largest aquarium in the state, you’ll find sharks, rays, green sea turtles, and an underwater ocean tunnel that goes beneath tropical fish. Admission starts at $24, but can be coupled with other attractions to save. This is a very different experience than the Belle Isle Aquarium, but still very much worth seeing.
Round 1 Bowling - Way more than bowling, at this bowling alley you can enjoy arcade games, billiards, ping pong, darts, and even karaoke. Food and beverages are also available. Prices vary by activity, but are under $10 an hour for most activities.
And that’s only the start of Great Lakes Crossing. On your trip here, you can also find outlet stores for many popular brands, a Rainforest Cafe, an AMC movie theater with 25 screens, a food court, an indoor playground, and a Peppa Pig World of Play.
Visit Downtown Auburn Hills - It may not be as well known as some other Oakland County downtowns, but Downtown Auburn Hills may be the most scenic. Located along the Clinton River at the intersection of Auburn and Squirrel Roads, downtown Auburn Hills is a walkable business district with stores, private event spaces, restaurants, and frequent public events. Adjacent Riverside Park is home to the Knight Amphitheater that features a free summer concert series, a summer splash park, and a network of trails. As you walk the brick sidewalks of Auburn Road, you can enjoy dining at the Haus of Brunch or have a drink at the Blue Skies Brewery, which also has a food menu. If wine is your preference, you can instead visit By the Bottle Tasting Room. Owing to its historical layout and integration with apartments and neighborhoods surrounding the district downtown Auburn Hills has a very home-town feel and is worth a visit.
Top Golf - Located at 500 Great Lakes Crossing Drive, Top Golf is so much more than a driving range. One of its biggest perks is that it’s a climate-controlled, all-weather facility. Even during a snowstorm, you can get out there and play one of their dozen different games with your group. No skill level is required here as the games range from casual to professional. You can bring your own clubs, but if you don’t have any, using theirs is included in your rental fee. This fee ranges from $30-55/hr., per bay, depending on the day and time. Each bay accommodates up to six players. Top Golf also offers a kitchen and drink menu, so you can have a burger and a beverage right in your bay and enjoy the company of your friends while you golf.
HUB Stadium - Located at 2550 Innovation Drive, off the I-75 University Drive, HUB Stadium is an axe-throwing and football-bowling, or “fowling,” event space with ten axe stalls, eight fowling lanes, and four private event rooms. HUB Stadium also features a full menu of food, draft and bottled beer, and craft cocktails. Rates to reserve your activity start at $100/hr, but that gets the whole group in so you can split the cost. If you want to throw some axes, but would prefer the party comes to you, HUB Stadium also has a Mobile Axe Trailer that brings twelve axe-throwing stalls to your party.
Meadow Brook Theater - Located on the Oakland University campus at 378 Meadow Brook Road, this is Michigan’s largest non-profit professional theater. It bills itself as “Michigan’s Answer to Broadway” and for over two decades has launched Michigan premieres for well-known musicals. Currently, a Christmas Carol is running through December 24, 2022 and the Michigan Premiere of Birthday Club will begin January 11, 2023, running through February 5, 2023. The structure is also home to the Oakland University Art Gallery, which is open Tuesday through Sunday, from Noon to 5.
Meadow Brook Theater, @rhmahin
Hawk Woods Park and Campground - Located at 3799 Bald Mountain Road, year-round recreational opportunities can be found at this 88-acre nature preserve. The facility includes six overnight camping cabins, a heated restroom and shower facility, and access to beautiful surrounding woods for outdoor recreation which can all be enjoyed summer or winter. Additionally, the facility includes an on-site lodge which hosts nature and educational programming year-round, and is available for rent through the City of Auburn Hills for events, weddings, or receptions.
Fieldstone Golf Club - With its club house located at 1984 Taylor Road, Fieldstone Golf Club is an 18-hole course and considered among the top courses in Oakland County. Inside the clubhouse you’ll find Arrowhead Grille and Patio where you can relax after a day on the greens. Fieldstone also includes a bent grass practice range, four target greens, and a practice green. Be sure to mention if you are an Auburn Hills resident, as this nets you a discount on your golf outing.
Brandon Alger is a professional geologist who moved from Salt Lake City to Metro Detroit in 2015. He has a wife, two kids, and a dog. He enjoys coffee, video games, science fiction, and helps to run various Detroit social media pages. He's passionate about urban reuse, local geography, and exploring the metro area which he now calls home.
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