Things to do in Bloomfield HillsModified: May 08, 2023 | Story by Brandon Alger
The hills in which Bloomfield Hills and the nearby charter township get their name were carved by glaciers with the most recent glacial retreat about 12,500 years ago. Bloomfield Township was one of the original townships of Oakland County, with its borders established in 1827. In 1932, five square miles of the township were established as the City of Bloomfield Hills, and later parts of Birmingham and Pontiac were carved out of Bloomfield Township. Today, the City of Bloomfield Hills and surrounding charter township are together home to about 50,000 Michiganders, many museums, private clubs, and recreation opportunities. Here are some of the highlights you’ll find in Bloomfield Hills:
Cranbrook Campus – With its main entrance located off Woodward, between Lone Pine and Long Lake, Cranbrook is the premier and most familiar destination in Bloomfield Hills for most Detroiters. It is world-renowned for its education, science, and art, and even has a famous pop-culture reference from the movie 8 Mile. Cranbrook can be a quick stop or an entire weekend, some of the top attractions on campus are:
- Cranbrook Institute of Science – This is one of my favorite memberships in Metro Detroit. Attractions here include a dome theater with science documentaries, a natural history section with interactive exhibits for all ages, an anthropology gallery spanning human civilization, and an exploration of how ice ages shaped and changed Michigan. A rotating exhibit inhabits the lowest floor of the institute. A trilobite exhibit will be on display from May 31, 2023, through September 8, 2023.
- Cranbrook House and Gardens – In 1904, George and Ellen Booth, founders of the Detroit News purchased a 174-acre farm in Bloomfield Hills. This farm later became the Cranbrook campus. A few years later the Booths worked with famed architect, Albert Kahn, to build the Cranbrook house. This was completed in 1908. Today, this home and its adjacent gardens are on display for the public to explore. Check the events calendar for opportunities to visit and explore the house. Optional guided tours of the gardens are offered July through September, but self-guided exploration is available all year round, with the fall/winter hours being between 8 and 5.
- Museum of Contemporary Art – Once described as, “the most enchanted and enchanting setting in America,” the Cranbrook Art Museum features both year-round and rotating exhibits of modern and contemporary art. Ongoing exhibitions include Constellation & Affinities and Saarinen in Michigan. Detroit Stories and The Eye or Horus will be on display until March 12, at which point they will be rotated out for future exhibits including 2023 graduate student art, which will join the collection on April 9, 2023.
- Dunstans Theater – 400 Lone Pine Road – Built in 1916, the theater was originally an open-air shelter for a Greek theater, but has since been enclosed into a building. St. Dunstan’s has operated a live theater here since 1932, with a new show every few months. As a public theater, auditions are also open for community members.
After exploring any of these destinations at Cranbrook, be sure to visit the trails for a hike or the archive center for collections and research. While the institute is an educational facility first and foremost, it is also a major attraction for Bloomfield Hills and the surrounding areas.
Detroit Skating Club – 888 Denison Ct – Learn the basics of ice skating, or advance your skills with figure skating and hockey at the Detroit Skating Club. You can register at any time in their beginner skating classes. The club also includes a gym focused on fitness and training for skaters and other athletes.
The Maple Theater – 4135 W Maple Road – Located behind Trader Joes, this classic cinema has three screens and is open daily from noon to 8pm. If you’re a regular, you can optionally join the Maple Club for $15, which provides complimentary popcorn, extra-wide seats, and various other deals throughout the year.
Eisenhower Dance Detroit – 450 Enterprise Ct – This contemporary dance company performs locally, nationally, and even internationally. Founded 32 years ago Eisenhower is both a dance school and a performance company. The school has opportunities for youth and for continuing artists who want to enhance their dancing skills. Summer camps are also available for children ages 3-8.
Bloomfield Open Hunt Club – 405 E Long Lake – The Bloomfield Open Hunt Club, or BOH, is a private equestrian club on 40 beautiful acres. First established in 1917, you will find a full-service equestrian facility with opportunities for riding and social events, and access to club sports such as racquetball, pickleball, an Olympic swimming pool, and a fitness center.
Franklin Cider Mill – 7450 Franklin Road – The Franklin Cider Mill originally opened in 1837, which makes the mill as old as Michigan’s statehood. Today it is open from September through November for cider, donuts, sweets, hot dogs, and for many in Oakland County is the closest fall destination for fresh cider. The cider mill now accepts credit and debit cards. Be sure to check out the monthly book hour which the mill offers in collaboration with the Franklin Village Library. And bring your leashed pet, as the mill is pet friendly.
Frank Lloyd Wright Affleck House – Located at 925 Bloomfield Woods, the Affleck House is owned by Lawrence Technology University and is on the National Register of Historic places. The house demonstrates the famous architect’s idea of what low-cost housing could look like outside of city centers. Tours of the house are offered monthly during the spring and summer and more details can be found on EventBrite.
Frank Lloyd Wright Smith House – 5045 Ponvalley Road – Originally built as an architectural example of the future house for the American middle class, this 1941 custom home was also designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Tours are offered Saturday and Sunday, from May to November.