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

May 31, 2017  |   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 9-11

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.

Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts exterior

Motor City Pride

When: June 10 from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. and June 11 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Where: Hart Plaza, Detroit

Admission: $5; 12 and under are free

Details: Be part of Motor City Pride, Michigan’s largest pride celebration. The weekend-long festival will be filled with activities for all, ranging from rallies, concerts, youth activities, a parade and a candlelight vigil to educational exhibits that celebrate LGBTQ life in all facets.

GM River Days

When: June 23–25

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! Performances are scheduled for 1 p.m. on June 23 and 3:30 p.m. on June 24 and 25.


When: July 27–29 from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Where: Dodge Park, Sterling Heights

Admission: Free

Details: Now in its 37th 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.

Armada Fair

When: Aug. 14–20 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 145th 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.

Woodward Dream Cruise

When: Aug. 19

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.

Woodward Dream Cruise cars Chevrolet SS

Michigan Renaissance Festival

When: Weekends and Labor Day from Aug. 19 to Oct. 2 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sept. 29 (Festival Friday) 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.

Arts, Beats & Eats

When: Sept. 1–3 from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sept. 4 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.

Detroit Jazz Festival

When: Sept. 1–4

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.

Detroit Jazz Festival stage

Art & Apples Festival

When: Sept. 8 from 4 p.m.–7:30 p.m., Sept. 9 from 9 a.m.–7:30 p.m., Sept. 10 from 9 a.m.–4 p.m.

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.


See more things to do in Detroit.

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 Renaissance Center, Ste. 1720, Detroit, MI 48243313-566-8200 Highlight on map | More Details
  5. Tuskegee Airmen National Historical Museum
    6325 W. Jefferson Ave., Detroit, MI 48209313-843-8849 Highlight on map | More Details
  6. Woodward Dream Cruise
    Woodward Avenue from Ferndale to Pontiac, Royal Oak, MI 48073248-672-6118 Highlight on map | More Details
  7. Detroit Jazz Festival
    1 Hart Plaza, Detroit, MI 48226 Highlight on map | More Details