16 Reasons to Love Campus Martius Park

Modified: July 08, 2022 | Photos by Bill Bowen, Campus Martius Park

Campus Martius Park is considered the center of Detroit, and it definitely behaves like one. Between year-round programming, concerts and activities to nearby restaurants and attractions, no trip to downtown Detroit is complete without a stop at Detroit’s home base.

Campus Martius Highlights

1. The Beach

What’s not to love about sitting in a lounge chair and digging your feet into the warm sand — right in the middle of downtown?

2. The Fountain Detroit

Stop by for a bite, such as an Italian sandwich or stuffed jalapenos (open 11 a.m.-2 p.m. daily), or a drink ($3 and $4 beers and cocktails from 2-9 p.m. daily). Bring friends — there’s deck seating for 80!

3. Food Trucks Galore

Across from the park in Detroit’s Cadillac Square is an eclectic series of food trucks with deliciously local offerings. You can also find food trucks scattered down Woodward towards the river. You’ll never go hungry near the park!

4. Music

Like free concerts? You’ll love the Mid-Day Music Series and Sunset in the City series on Thursdays, or catch a tune at Cadillac Square’s Lunchtime Acoustics series.

5. Parc

Enjoy Parc in the park–a new restaurant right in the heart of Campus Martius with beautiful views of The D year round. Be sure to make a reservation here during the winter when you’ll be sitting right underneath the giant Christmas tree.

6. Weekend Events

Find your Zen on Saturdays with morning yoga and/or afternoon sand aerobics. Take the kids to see a show, or hit up The Market at CMP in Cadillac Square on the fourth Friday and Saturday of each month until Aug. 23. Fourth Fridays feature four great bands, food and drinks.

7. Year-Round Events and Activities

CMP hosts more than 250 activity days, including high-profile events, such as the Detroit Jazz Festival. During colder months, nearby Cadillac Square hosts dozens of local businesses to showcase their products in their holiday market, complete with a winter lodge. And don’t forget about Meridian Winter Blast!

8. Detroit Tree Lighting

Every November, metro Detroit gathers together to light up the city with a giant Christmas tree. Campus Martius ice skating commences on this night, and the city will be packed.

9. Games

In the warmer months, get your game on at Cadillac Square. Find a partner for foosball, checkers, chess, sand toys, the bean bag toss or washer toss.

10. Point of Origin

This spot determined the city of Detroit’s coordinate system, as it served as a point for measuring “true north” by Judge Woodward in the 1800s.

11. The Woodward Fountain

A 100-water-jet fountain — active all year round — that shoots water up to 100 feet in the air.

12. History

Meaning “military ground,” the park used to be a drill ground for training. And did you know that Woodward Avenue and Michigan Avenue mark the spot of the first-ever traffic tower?

13. Green Space

Enclosed by gardens galore, the park is quite a site in the spring and summer months. In the fall, scarecrows and seasonal decorations line the perimeter.

14. Monuments

The towering Michigan Soldiers & Sailors Monument is a must-see Civil War monument. CMP’s Corner Markers reflect the Arts and Culture (Monroe Marker) and Industry and Technology (Woodward Marker) of Detroit.

15. Proximity

CMP connects busy streets Woodward Avenue and Michigan Avenue, with businesses such as Texas de BrazilCadillac Square Diner, Grand Trunk Pub, Roasting Plant, the Detroit Shoppe, Somerset Collection’s CityLoft and others. The park is also a great spot for watching the Ford Fireworks and America’s Thanksgiving Parade.

16. Award-Winning

CMP won the ULI Amanda Burden Urban Open Space Award by the Urban Land Institute in 2010.

Was this article helpful?

Yes No
Mentioned Attractions And Venues

  1. 1
    Campus Martius Park
    800 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48226
  2. 2
    Detroit Jazz Festival
    1 Hart Plaza, Detroit, MI 48226
  3. 3
    Texas de Brazil
    1000 Woodward Ave., Suite 01B07A, Detroit, MI 48226
  4. 4
    Cadillac Square Diner
    111 Cadillac Square, Detroit, MI 48226
  5. 5
    Grand Trunk Pub
    612 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48226
  6. 6
    Roasting Plant
    660 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48226