Summer has arrived in Michigan, and if you’re planning to explore southeast Michigan, you won’t want to miss the best summer things to do in Metro Detroit – a perfect addition to your Michigan summer bucket list!
A beach in the middle of the city serving local beer? Yes! It’s always hopping with live music and local food vendors, and the park hosts free movie nights on the weekends.
The urban beach was put in 2013 along with a foosball table, cozy beach chairs, and other amenities. It’s truly unique to Detroit.
A great place to go for a stroll or to connect with the Dequindre Cut for a beautiful bike ride along the Detroit River. The Detroit RiverWalk is a public-access walkway that extends over five miles from the Ambassador Bridge in the west to Belle Isle in the east.
Along the walkway, you’ll find a carousel and bike rentals at Rivard Plaza. You’ll also find outdoor art peeking out at every turn. If you’re feeling adventurous hop onto the Dequindre Cut Greenway which will connect you to another park in the city.
Whether you’re looking for fun, food, or a place to stay, Greektown has it all. Pegasus, Fishbones, or Nikki’s Pizza are definitely local favorites. You’ll have to make sure you stop by Astoria Bakery for a sweet treat. It’s one of the best in the city.
Enjoy a few games, live music, and drinks at the Greektown Casino.
Nothing says summer better than enjoying a game of baseball. Tiger fans get treated to a show of fireworks at the end of evening games.
The stadium is right by some great places to eat including Grand Trunk Pub, HockeyTown Café, or the more classy Cliff Bells.
Charles H. Wright Museum
The rich and interesting history of Detroit involves the majority population of African Americans in the city. Make a trip to the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History next time you are downtown and learn a little Detroit history along the way.
Visit the Animals at the Howell Nature Center
For more than five decades, the Howell Nature Center has been working to preserve the natural beauty of Livingston County while simultaneously caring for injured wildlife in need of rehabilitation.
Today, the nature center’s mission remains the same — to care for animals with the hope of releasing them into the wild once again. However, there are some animals that simply require full-time care, and you can head to the Howell Nature Center to meet them for yourself.
As you walk through the Wild Wonders Wildlife Park, you will be introduced to various creatures, including a majestic snowy owl and a portly porcupine.
Catch an Outdoor Concert in Downtown Plymouth
After a year of silence in Kellogg Park, Downtown Plymouth is ready to rock again this summer. The Friday night concert series, dubbed “Music in the Air,” begins in June and ends Labor Day weekend.
It’s free to attend the concerts, and most people come by with their lawn chairs and their favorite carry-out meal from one of the many local restaurants in town.
Consider grabbing a pizza from Compari’s On the Park or a slider from Park Place Gastropub, and enjoy the sounds of local rock, jazz, soul, and cover bands. If you are searching for dessert, you can walk down to the Dairy King before the show begins to get a sundae made with the best hot fudge around!
Note: Don’t mind the construction in the park this summer — there’s a brand new fountain in progress, which is sure to make next summer even better in the city.
Grab A Delicious Treat at Birmingham Chocolate
Downtown Birmingham is the place to see and be seen in Metro Detroit this summer. As the city prepares to make a comeback and as more people venture back into their normal routines, there is sure to be plenty to do in this walkable downtown community.
From its upscale shops and its luxurious hotels to its idyllic parks and recreational spaces, you will find that it’s easy to while away the hours in Birmingham.
No trip to Birmingham would be complete, however, without a stop at Birmingham Chocolate. Considered to be one of the best chocolate shops in the state, Birmingham Chocolate specializes in all-natural confections that are incredibly delicious.
Definitely make it a point to try the banana brûlée hand-crafted truffle — there’s nothing like it anyplace else in Metro Detroit.
Note: Love chocolate? Don’t miss this chocolate making experience in Dexter!
Explore the Falling Waters Trail in Jackson
Jackson County rests on the edge of Metro Detroit, and there, you can discover the beautiful wilds that define Southcentral Michigan.
The Falling Waters Trail is one of the premier recreational trails in the county. Having opened in 2007 as one of the rail-to-trail conversions, this 10-mile trail now connects the city of Jackson to the rural community of Concord.
Along the trail, you will pass through several parks where you can stop, play, picnic, and enjoy the sights and sounds of the area. The trail also winds alongside lakes and through marshes, allowing you to soak in the interesting landscape of this region.
Hold a Snake at the Reptarium
While there are several zoos that you can visit in Michigan, there are few in the state that focus almost exclusively on reptile species. The Reptarium in Utica is a reptile zoo that opened in 2018.
Not only is this zoo home to more than 200 animals, but visitors also have the opportunity to handle many of them. This zoo encourages safe interaction with its animals, allowing people of all ages to learn more about slithering snakes and scaly lizards.
Note: If you’re looking for a unique artistic experience this summer, be sure to venture into Detroit to explore Hamtramck Disneyland!
Drive Up for a Hot Dog at Monroe’s Original Hot Dog Stand
Summer is perhaps the most nostalgic season, as many often spend time reflecting on the wistful days of their childhood summers in Michigan. Fortunately, for those who are looking to showcase what life was like in the past, there’s Monroe’s Original Hot Dog Stand.
This drive-up hot dog stand resembles the iconic drive-up restaurants that were synonymous with the 1950s. When you pull into one of the bays, you can rest easy knowing that a delicious hot dog — made “all the way” — will arrive at your car window in a matter of moments.
Go Camping at Hayes State Park in Irish Hills
If you are looking for a place to camp that is close to Metro Detroit — yet feels like it is a million miles of away from the chaos of the suburbs — then you should head straight to Hayes State Park in Irish Hills.
This 78-acre park not only has a designated camping area with plenty of spaces, but it also has a swimming beach as well as two places to launch a boat.
In addition to being a convenient campground that is full of natural beauty, it’s also situated nearby the best attractions in Irish Hills.
Watch Historic Baseball at Greenfield Village in Dearborn
Baseball is the sport of summer, and of course, plenty of people in Michigan will spend their summer afternoons watching the Detroit Tigers play at Comerica Park.
However, did you know that you could watch baseball just as it was played in the 19th century?
At Greenfield Village in Dearborn, historic baseball games are played every weekend. In addition to riding a 100-year-old carousel or walking through the Sarah Jordan Boarding House, you also can watch the Lah-de-Dahs or the Nationals play baseball the way it was intended — without gloves.
More to Explore This Summer in Michigan
We know this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to building a Metro Detroit summer bucket list, and we’re excited to hear what fun summer things to do in Metro Detroit you’re most looking forward to enjoying!
Tell us about them in the comments…
P.S. If you’re looking for more Michigan summer things to do, don’t miss #MIAwesomeList – the ultimate Michigan summer bucket list!