Outdoor Adventure Center kid playing

Spend the summer having fun in metro Detroit

Story By: Max White


Summer in metro Detroit is usually filled with nonstop fun, as people try to pack in as many activities as they can before the winter starts. On top of many different places to see, there are also different things to do and festivals to attend that are unlike any other in Michigan. If you’re looking to spend some time and summer in metro Detroit, here are our suggestions.

Places to see

Campus Martius and the Monroe Street Midway

Right in the heart of Downtown Detroit, Campus Martius and the Monroe Street Midway can provide hours of both entertainment and calmness depending on what you want to do.

The Beach at Campus Martius includes a great outdoor bar with a beach vibe, where kids can play in the sand and adults can sit back and relax.

If you want to try some more fun stuff, head across the street to the Monroe Street Midway where you can go roller skating, play basketball, putt-putt, shop, eat, and more.

The Midway is free to enter and it runs through Labor Day, Sept. 5 on Wednesdays through Sundays.

Detroit Riverfront

The Detroit Riverfront has been named the best riverfront in the U.S. and it’s no surprise! The miles-long riverwalk along the Detroit River is filled with great sights and fun for all.

Cullen Plaza has a family carousel, a standing glass sculptured map of the St. Lawrence Seaway, a children’s playscape, and more. You can also rent bikes here.

Robert C. Valade Park has a beach where kids can play and climb, a children’s musical garden, Bob’s Barge which serves up drinks on the water, and The Shed, which serves up delicious food.

Other highlights along the riverfront include Milliken State Park and Lighthouse, Milliken State Park wetlands, the DNR Outdoor Adventure Center, GM Plaza, and more.

Belle Isle

The 982-acre island park in the middle of the Detroit River is one of the crown jewels of the city.

There is so much to do in the summer on Belle Isle, including just hanging out and grilling out.

If you want to do something more active, you can check out the Belle Isle Aquarium, Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory, Dossin Great Lakes Museum, Belle Isle Nature Center, and more.

You can spend an entire day on Belle Isle and not even know the day went away.

Huron-Clinton Metroparks

“13 parks. Endless fun.” That’s the slogan for Huron-Clinton Metroparks, which has the parks spread out throughout all of metro Detroit.

The Metroparks have a variety of different things to do for the summer. You can cool off and catch some rays at the beach, the pool, or the splash pad for kids.

If you’re looking to do something more active, many have golf courses, volleyball courts, pickleball and tennis courts, and more.

Finally, there are hundreds of miles of hiking trails if you’re just looking to get into the woods. The website has a breakdown of what each park has.

Greenfield Village

Go back in time at Greenfield Village, a historic village of 8 over 80 acres that has some buildings from the country’s history.

There are seven historic districts you can check out inside the village, including working farms, Liberty Craftworks, Main Street, Railroad Junction, and more.

You can take a ride on a steam engine train, ride in a historic Model T, step inside Thomas Edison’s lab, and more.

While you’re there, you can also check out The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation and the Ford Rouge Factory Tour if there’s time.

Brewery tours

If you’re one to enjoy spending time outdoors and enjoying a delicious, cold, local beer, then you have to check out the Detroit Brew Trail.

We have gathered some of the best breweries in metro Detroit and you can sign up for the trail for free and check in at different breweries.

Many of them have large outdoor patios, and as summer comes to a close, it’s all about spending as much time as we can outside.

There’s the rooftop Biergarten at Atwater Brewing Co., the patio filled with picnic tables at Founders Brewing Co., and the sidewalk patio at Jolly Pumpkin in the heart of Midtown.

Bicycle Tour

Another great way to see the city is by bicycle, and that’s where Wheelhouse Detroit comes in. The city has been working to improve and add bike lanes, making it easier for bicyclists to get around.

Wheelhouse offers a variety of tours from short ones to longer ones, or you can rent a bike for a couple of hours or even the whole day to see the city on your own terms.

Check out the Dequindre Cut, Belle Isle, Detroit Riverfront, and more by bicycle.

Detroit Zoo

The Detroit Zoo is open seven days a week and shows off some incredible animals in habitats that were designed to look like the areas the animals live in.

On top of their daily admission, there are events throughout the summer for kids, and some that are adults-only, where you can sip on a drink and stroll through the zoo.

Make sure to check out the penguinarium, which just reopened and is massive in size, and see the polar bear who was born in 2020 in the Arctic Ring of Life exhibit.

Photo by Robert Deek

Woodward Dream Cruise

Must-attend events

Armada Fair

The Armada Fair is celebrating its 150th year this year, and it runs between Aug. 15-21 in northern Macomb County, about an hour north of Detroit.

The fair kicks off with a parade on Aug. 14 and has nonstop events the entire week that are fun for the entire family.

Headliner events include a concert, monster trucks, demolition derby, a rodeo, and a tractor pull.

There’s also a carnival for the whole family, refreshment tents, livestock shows, and more.

Woodward Dream Cruise

The premier car event in the summer, the Woodward Dream Cruise brings nearly one million people from around the world to metro Detroit to check out cars on Saturday, Aug. 20.

The Dream Cruise stretches 16 miles through nine different cities in metro Detroit – Berkley, Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills, Bloomfield Township, Ferndale, Huntington Woods, Royal Oak, Pleasant Ridge, and Pontiac.

No matter how you take in the cruise – whether by walking or by car – you’re likely to see some of the most beautiful and historic cars in the world.

Photo by Bill Bowen

Arts, Beats & Eats

Tens of thousands of people flock to Royal Oak for Arts, Beats & Eats, which celebrates art, food, music, and community.

The four-day event over Labor Day weekend draws some of the best artists from around the state and the country, as well as national music artists and more.

Headliners this year include Flo Rida, 311, Fitz & The Tantrums, and more.

The festival runs from Friday, Sept. 2 through Monday, Sept. 5.

Photo by Jason Vaughn

Detroit Jazz Festival

For more than 40 years, some of the world’s best jazz musicians have come to Detroit for the annual Jazz festival.

The festival also takes place on Labor Day weekend – Sept. 2 through Sept. 5 – throughout Downtown Detroit.

There are stages at Hart Plaza and at Campus Martius Park, so you can take in jazz all day throughout the city.

Photo by Jason Vaughn

Romeo Peach Festival

When you think of peaches, you usually think of Georgia, but for many, they think of the Peach Festival in Romeo.

The festival runs Labor Day weekend in the Macomb County community, about 45 minutes north of Detroit.

This year is the 91st anniversary of the festival, which includes an art show, carnival rides, beers around the world tent, fireworks, and much more.

Mentioned Attractions And Venues

  1. 1
    Campus Martius Park
    800 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48226
  2. 2
    Detroit RiverFront Conservancy
    600 GM Renaissance Center, Ste. 1720, Detroit, MI 48243
  3. 3
    Belle Isle State Park
    99 Pleasure Drive, Detroit, MI 48207
  4. 4
    The Henry Ford
    20900 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn, MI 48124
  5. 5
    Wheelhouse Detroit - Rivertown
    1340 E. Atwater St., Detroit, MI 48207
  6. 6
    Detroit Zoo
    8450 W. 10 Mile Road, Royal Oak, MI 48067
  7. 7
    Woodward Dream Cruise
    Woodward Avenue from Ferndale to Pontiac, Royal Oak, MI 48073