We use words like industrious, walkable and spirited to describe Detroit’s downtown. It’s full of scenic recreational spaces, old classics and newfound favorites for art, food, fun and festivities.
Belle Isle Park
Relax near the James Scott Memorial Fountain. Feed the fallow deer at the nature center. Have a picnic or rent kayaks along the Detroit River. Marvel at the fish at the island’s aquarium. Belle Isle Park hosts the annual Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix (May 31-June 2) and is a perfect spot to throw a blanket in the grass for the Ford Fireworks (June 24).
Detroit Princess Riverboat
Lunch, dinner, moonlight or themed cruises with music and entertainment all summer long. The Detroit Princess Riverboat is docked on the Detroit River near Cobo Center. Heated/cooled and five stories high, the vessel is a unique way to take in stunning views of The D.
Detroit Tigers game
Opening day at Comerica Park is April 4. Ride the Ferris wheel and Big Cat carousel. Start your own bar crawl at Detroit classics like Nemo’s, the Elwood and Bookie’s before and after the game. Fireworks after Friday night games on
select weekends, base running for kids on Sundays.
A city centerpiece, Hart Plaza is where the best of Detroit’s summer fests are staged — Movement (May 25-27), Arab & Chaldean Festival (July 27-28), Ribs & R&B Music Festival (Aug. 9-11) and Detroit Jazz Festival (Aug. 30-Sept. 2). Isamu Noguchi’s Horace E. Dodge and Son Memorial Fountain is the POI that leads you into the plaza.
DJs and a free summer concert series. Outdoor yoga and fitness jams. Football tailgates, face painting, food trucks and the latest craze called knockerball. Detroit’s newest public park, Beacon Park, is certainly one of the city’s most active. The park’s restaurant, Lumen, features a rooftop garden and dining space.
Campus Martius Park + Cadillac Square
Downtown Detroit’s official gathering spot. For the summer, 400,000 pounds of sand are spread in Campus Martius’ center. Build a sand castle, just chill or come hang during weekly beach parties with food trucks, drink specials and entertainment. At Cadillac Square, immediately east, find retail markets on Fridays, the pop-up Detroit Sports Zone, and last year’s beer garden is back for 2019.
One of the country’s oldest farmers markets, Eastern Market on a Saturday is full of fruit, veggies, flowers, food, music and more. This is diverse Detroit at its best. Awesome delis, boutiques and pizzerias border the market. Flower Day is May 19. Other weekday events are available June-October.
Splash Pad | Mt. Elliott Park
Refresh and recharge with a little freestyle splash time. Kids big and small can activate the cannons and duck through the cascades in the Great Lakes schooner-themed water feature at Mt. Elliott Park.
City Sculpture Park
Die-hard Detroiter and artist Robert Sestok rallied his neighbors and local government to support him, bought an empty lot on Alexandrine Street and created City Sculpture Park. A physical testament to Detroit’s DIY ethos, the public space rotates exhibitions and hosts visiting artists’ programs.
The Belt / The Z
An alley that links Gratiot and Grand River avenues, The Belt is an outdoor art installation and entertainment destination. Appreciate the murals and then slip into some of Detroit’s hippest, underground watering holes — The Skip, Standby and Deluxx Fluxx. Next door is The Z parking garage, a street art stop in its own right. Explore all 10 floors, which are covered with murals from artists all over the world.