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23 Top Detroit Summer Activities to Experience This Year

Michigan summers can run the gamut from being nice and cool to hot and humid. Yet, no matter the weather, there are always plenty of fun Detroit summer things to do!

There is quite possibly nowhere more diverse than the Motor City itself. Detroit offers new and exciting adventures around every corner. Whether you love being on the water, watching sports, eating good food, or shopping, Detroit has something for everyone.

Here are some fun Detroit summer activities you need to experience this summer

Comerica Park, Detroit - Spring In Metro Detroit
Comerica Park | photo via @drewhaack24

Watch a Detroit Tigers Baseball Game

Baseball is America’s pastime and there’s no better way to spend a perfect afternoon or evening than at a baseball game.

In Detroit, that means heading to Comerica Park to watch the Detroit Tigers. The views are fantastic from anywhere in the park, the food options are plentiful, and there’s just a fun vibe around the park.

Take a Tour of the City

The options for tours exploring the city are endless. If you’re a lover of architecture and history take in the beauty of such Detroit landmarks such as the Guardian Building or the Whitney Building.

If you’re looking for something more eclectic, The Detroit Bus Company gives several themed tours that offer really unique views of the city. Try the Drunks of Antiquity to see historic watering holes or the Michigan Central Station Tour.

Guardian Building - Detroit, Michigan
Guardian Building | photo via Brandi O’Granning

Take Your Own Tour Along the Riverfront

For nearly 20 years, nonprofit organizations have worked to transform and improve access to Detroit’s waterfront. As a result, there’s plenty to explore if you’re up for a walk.

Stroll the three miles of the RiverWalk, take breaks in the plazas, parks, and pavilions, or even hang out for some riverfront events. If you’re itching to get out of the office, it’s the perfect place to get some work done too and there’s even free Wi-Fi.

Soak Up History and Culture at a Museum

Detroit has so much to offer in the summer and one of the best things about exploring the city is all the museums there are to visit.

If you love art, you must stop at the Detroit Institute of Arts. It’s one of the most impressive art museums in the nation and has several floors to explore and many permanent and special exhibits to look at.

The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History is dedicated to exploring and celebrating the rich history of African Americans. Permanent exhibits include a look at music in Detroit, stories in stained glass, and And Still We Rise, a look at African American resilience.

On the topic of music, make sure to stop at the Motown Museum, where music legends like Marvin Gaye and Aretha Franklin recorded so many hit songs.

Detroit Institute Of Arts, Detroit - Spring In Metro Detroit
Detroit Institute of Arts | photo via @karen.swishermckee

Try Your Luck at the Casino

If you’re looking to beat the heat for a while this summer, stop into one of Detroit’s casinos to try your luck.

Detroit’s three major casinos are Motor City, MGM Grand, and Greektown, which offer plenty of slots, table games, and other activities to enjoy.

All three of them have lodging too, so if you’re coming to town for a concert or a game, they’re all great places to stay at.

Take a More Adventurous River Tour

If you want a more adventurous way to enjoy the beautiful Detroit views, try kayaking.

Riverside Kayak Connection has classes and events for all skill levels; though the boats launch from Wyandotte, just south of Detroit, events such as the Detroit Canal Tour offer an exciting perspective on the Motor City.

Explore the Wonders of Belle Isle

If being on the water sounds like a dream day, head to Belle Isle Beach to catch some rays. If you get bored of working on your tan, take a ride down the waterslide, walk the trails, or check out the wildlife at the Belle Isle Aquarium.

The Awesome Mitten-[Southerner In Michigan: Navigating The Wilds Of Belle Isle]
Belle Isle Aquarium | photo via Jennifer Bowman

Enjoy Some Great Live Music

The Motor City is known for its music and there are plenty of ways to enjoy live music in Detroit during the summer.

The Aretha Franklin Amphitheater is another great way to experience the Motor City waterfront. Performances include a Wednesday Night Jazz Series and many other awesome summer performances.

If live concerts are your thing, you can’t go wrong watching a show at Pine Knob in Clarkston. Though it’s outside Detroit, it’s one of the premier concert venues in the area and is a popular stop for national touring artists.

The Detroit Jazz Festival has been going strong for decades and is another great Detroit summer event held in Hart Plaza.

Detroit Jazz Festival - Detroit, Michigan
Detroit Jazz Festival | photo via Detroit Jazz Festival on Facebook

Enjoy Great Views and a Great Meal

There are plenty of fun Detroit summer events to experience, but if you get hungry on your adventures, the Motor City has lots of good spots for great food and great views.

Cadieux Cafe is a Belgian restaurant that draws patrons for two main reasons: mussels and feather bowling. After entering the restaurant doors and sampling the extensive beer list and delicious mussels, hop on over to the other side of Cadieux Cafe for some sport.

You’ll soon realize that two dirt lanes have never been so much fun: throwing giant stones that look like wheels of cheese toward a tiny feather may sound strange, but you’ll find yourself having a blast in no time.

Andiamo, located inside Detroit’s Renaissance Center, is a great place to enjoy from-scratch pasta and juicy steaks as you gaze out over the waterfront.

Joe Muer Seafood, also in the Renaissance Center, offers a unique mix of local fish and fresh ocean seafood as well as some twists on old favorites.

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Cadieux Cafe – Feather Bowling | photo via Brandi O’Granning

Go Bowling at a Historic Bowling Center

If more traditional bowling is more up your alley, Garden Bowl Detroit is the rainy day stop for you. It was built in 1913, it’s America’s oldest active bowling alley.

Garden Bowl has become home to Detroit’s original Rock n’ Bowl, with DJs spinning tunes for 16 lanes of glow bowling. Bowling is the perfect family activity and this is a great place to cool down on a hot day and have some fun.

Garden Bowl Detroit - Detroit, Michigan
Garden Bowl Detroit | photo via @aweslock

Experience the Magic of the Woodward Dream Cruise

What would a Motor City summer be without the Woodward Dream Cruise? The traffic it inevitably brings may make metro Detroiters want to pull their hair out, but the Dream Cruise is a truly cool tradition celebrating the nation’s automotive hub.

If you’re a classic car enthusiast, this is an annual Detroit summer celebration you don’t want to miss. Head down to Woodward Avenue to gaze at classic cars, get some good grub, run the Cruise in Shoes 5K, or cruise the strip in your own vintage wheels.

Plan Your Summer Trip to Detroit Today

As you can see, the Motor City absolutely buzzes with activity when the weather warms up. Detroit is one of the best places in Michigan to have a summer adventure and there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

So book tickets for a concert, take in a ballgame, explore the riverfront, and enjoy the view while you enjoy a great meal. The D is waiting for you to come and see all it has to offer, so make plans to visit Detroit this summer.

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