9 Can’t-Miss Michigan Summer Festivals in Metro Detroit

June 1, 2018  |   Story by Lori Bremerkamp  |   Photos by Jason Vaughn, Bill Bowen

From a traveling car show spanning 16 miles to music along the Detroit riverfront, there are plenty of summer festivals to enjoy in Metro Detroit. Here are 10 of our faves to add some fun to your calendar.

Michigan Summer Festivals in Detroit

Detroit Music Weekend

When: June 14-17

Where: Music Hall and surrounding venues.

Admission: Varies by concert. Free admission on Saturday.

Details: Detroit Music Weekend brings some of Detroit’s brightest stars back to their home stage — including headliner Aretha Franklin. The weekend will also include cultural exhibits from Detroit’s museums and galleries, and will feature new restaurants and retail in downtown Detroit.

Where to Stay: Hilton Garden Inn Detroit Downtown

GM River Days

When: June 22-24

Where: Detroit Riverfront

Admission: $3 before 3 p.m.; $5 after 3 p.m.; FREE to enter on Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.  

Details: River Days is a celebration of Detroit’s International RiverWalk, with activities on land and water — and even in the air! Experience all the RiverWalk offers, from the jet-ski demos and riverboat tours to live music, sand sculptures, delicious eats and more.

Plus, the Tuskegee Airmen Detroit River Days Airshow will be back with aerobatics, jets and a military demo team — and the festival site is the best place to see the show! 

Where to Stay: Detroit Marriott at The Renaissance Center

River Days Detroit carnival ride

River Days carnival ride by Bill Bowen

Sterlingfest

When: July 26-28 from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Where: Dodge Park, Sterling Heights

Admission: Free

Details: Now in its 38th year, Sterlingfest Art & Music Fair is a much-loved summer extravaganza. The event features three exciting days of entertainment, great food from area restaurants and attractions, such as a family midway, refreshment tent, Kidzfest Stage/Tent and the wares of more than 100 arts and crafts vendors.

Where to Stay: Wyndham Garden Sterling Heights

Armada Fair

When: Aug. 13-19 from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Where: 74280 Fair St., Armada

Admission: Age 13+ $8;  Ages 9-12 $2; Age 8 and under are free

Details: Kick up your heels for the country-style Armada Fair, which celebrates its 146th year this summer. Livestock, prize produce, a tractor pull and dozens of rides and games on the carnival midway and fair festivities are all planned.

Where to Stay: Holiday Inn Express Inn & Suites Utica

Woodward Dream Cruise

When: Aug. 18

Where: A 16-mile stretch of legendary Woodward Avenue, from Ferndale to Pontiac

Admission: Free

Details: The Woodward Dream Cruise packs in more than 1.5 million visitors and more than 40,000 muscle cars, street rods, custom, collector and special-interest vehicles from around the globe. You can drive in it or simply marvel from the sidelines.

Along with the cars, enjoy music performances, activity tents and displays from auto manufacturers, food vendors and more. If you want a good curbside seat, get there in the early morning.

Where to Stay: Holiday Inn Express Birmingham

Woodward Dream Cruise cars Chevrolet SS

Woodward Dream Cruise cars Chevrolet SS by Bill Bowen

Michigan Renaissance Festival

When: Weekends and Labor Day from Aug. 18 to Sept. 30 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Where: 12600 Dixie Highway, Holly

Admission: Adults $22.95; Children 5-12 years old $13.95; Seniors 65+ $20.95

Details: Take a time-travel adventure into a 16th-century English village at the annual Michigan Renaissance Festival. Rub elbows with pirates, wizards, gypsies, fantasy characters and more who take over the fictional village of Hollygrove each year. Music, sword-swallowing, comedy, fire-juggling and, of course, the costumes of a bygone era will all be on display.

Where to Stay: Hyatt Place Detroit Auburn Hills

Arts, Beats & Eats

When: Aug. 31– Sept. 3 from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sept. 3 from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Where: South Main Street, Downtown Royal Oak

Admission: $3 until 3 p.m. and $5 after 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

Details: The 20th annual Arts, Beats & Eats will offer more than 200 performances on nine stages, a Juried Fine Arts Show and local restaurants with some of the finest cuisine in metro Detroit.

Local, national and international acts are slated to play everything from the blues and country to indie rock. Food tents will be everywhere. And rows of diverse artisans will present their work, which will include paintings, sculptures and photography. Plus, there will be rides, games and fun stuff for the kids.

Where to Stay: Hotel Royal Oak

Detroit Jazz Festival

When: Aug. 31 Sept. 3

Where: Hart PlazaDetroit

Admission: Free

Details: The Detroit Jazz Festival happens over Labor Day weekend and takes over several city blocks in downtown Detroit, from Hart Plaza to Campus Martius Park. Expect to see hundreds of acts on multiple stages over the four days. The jazz fest also offers educational activities for adults and children, fireworks, late-night jam sessions, opportunities to meet the artists and more.

Where to Stay: DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Detroit Downtown

Detroit Jazz Festival in downtown Detroit

Art & Apples Festival

When: Sept. 7-9

Where: Rochester Municipal Park, Rochester

Admission: Free 

Details: For 50 years, the Art & Apples Festival has transformed the 30-acre Rochester Park into one of the nation’s top fine art fairs, with more than 290 exhibiting artists from across the country. From fine artwork to fresh apple treats and the fun and energy of the Kids Art Zone, there is something for everyone.

Where to Stay: SpringHill Suites by Marriott Detroit Auburn Hills

Mentioned Attractions And Venues
  1. Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts
    350 Madison Ave., Detroit, MI 48226313-887-8500 Highlight on map | More Details
  2. Hart Plaza
    1 Hart Plaza, Jefferson Avenue at Woodward Avenue, Detroit, MI 48226313-877-8057 Highlight on map | More Details
  3. Detroit International RiverWalk
    1340 Atwater St., Detroit, MI 48207313-566-8200 Highlight on map | More Details
  4. Detroit RiverFront Conservancy
    600 GM Renaissance Center, Ste. 1720, Detroit, MI 48243313-566-8200 Highlight on map | More Details
  5. Woodward Dream Cruise
    Woodward Avenue from Ferndale to Pontiac, Royal Oak, MI 48073248-672-6118 Highlight on map | More Details
  6. Detroit Jazz Festival
    1 Hart Plaza, Detroit, MI 48226 Highlight on map | More Details
  7. Hilton Garden Inn - Detroit Downtown
    351 Gratiot Ave., Detroit, MI 48226313-967-0900 Highlight on map | More Details
  8. Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center
    400 GM Renaissance Center, Detroit, MI 48243313-568-8000 Highlight on map | More Details
  9. Wyndham Garden - Sterling Heights
    34911 Van Dyke Ave., Sterling Heights, MI 48312586-979-1400 Highlight on map | More Details
  10. Holiday Inn Express & Suites - Utica
    45555 Utica Park Blvd., Utica, MI 48315586-803-0400 Highlight on map | More Details
  11. Holiday Inn Express - Birmingham
    35270 Woodward Ave., Birmingham, MI 48009248-642-6200 Highlight on map | More Details
  12. Hotel Royal Oak
    811 E. 11 Mile Road, Royal Oak, MI 48067248-547-9770 Highlight on map | More Details
  13. DoubleTree Suites by Hilton - Detroit Downtown
    525 W. Lafayette Blvd., Detroit, MI 48226313-963-5600 Highlight on map | More Details
  14. SpringHill Suites by Marriott - Detroit Auburn Hills
    4919 Interpark Drive N., Orion Twp., MI 48359248-475-4700 Highlight on map | More Details