Fun Summer Activities in Detroit

Lee DeVito

The original post can be found on Detroit Metro Times.

Michigan’s warm season is mercilessly short, and its temperate spring is even shorter. It seems like not long after Memorial Day, we’re already in the thick of a Midwestern summer, with the hot sun beating down, sticky car seats, and humidity that makes the air feel like swimming through soup. Just existing can be painful, and doubly so without that sweet, sweet A/C.

But that all changes when the sun goes down. The temperature drops, the other nocturnal creatures come out to play, and metro Detroit is now buzzing with possibilities (and, well, mosquitos). Still, there’s nothing like a Detroit summer, and to help make sure you don’t waste a moonlit moment this season, we’ve come up with this list of after-dark events and adventures. Carpe noctem!

  • 1

    RiverWalk at Dequindre Cut Greenway

    Detroit - MI 48207, USA

    Detroit’s riverfront RiverWalk and the nearby Dequindre Cut Greenway are open seven days a week until 10 p.m., meaning you can enjoy a pleasant stroll after sunset.

  • 2

    Ford-Wyoming Drive-In

    10400 Ford Rd - Dearborn, MI USA

    This one’s a no-brainer. If you’re not catching a double-feature at the Motor City’s long-standing drive-in theater, you’re doing summer all wrong.

  • 3

    Glow in the Dark Bike Ride in Downtown Detroit

    Downtown Detroit - Detroit, MI USA

    In the summer, you’ll see Detroiters riding tricked-out bicycles outfitted with colorful LED lights and speakers cruising around town at night. Fire up monkeylectric.com, order some cool LED lights for your ride, and get out there and join them.

  • 4

    Monroe Street Midway

    32 Monroe St - Detroit, MI USA

    With construction on downtown’s Monroe Blocks development delayed, Bedrock Detroit has brought back its Monroe Street Midway to activate the site. The outdoor roller skating rink and basketball returns, along with DJ entertainment and the addition of a new miniature golf course this year. The activities are open to adults age 21 and older from 8-11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

  • 5

    Detroit Tigers game

    2100 Woodward Ave - Detroit, MI USA

    Nothing’s more summer than eating a hot dog and drinking a beer while you watch a baseball game under the lights of Comerica Park.

  • 6

    Movies at New Center Park

    2998 W Grand Blvd - Detroit, MI USA

    New Center Park’s free, outdoor, and family-friendly film series returns on Fridays. Up next is Luca on June 10, Respect on June 17, Sing 2 on June 24, Shaun the Sheep on July 1, The Mitchells vs. The Machines on July 8, Ghostbusters: Afterlife on July 15, Jungle Cruise on July 22, Tangled on July 29, Cruella on Aug. 5, In the Heights on Aug. 12, Spider-Man: No Way Home on Ag. 19, and The Batman on Aug. 26.

  • 7

    Glenlore Trails

    3860 Newton Road - Commerce Charter Township, MI USA

    When the pandemic hit, a company that makes displays for the North American International Auto Show found itself with free time on its hands. That’s when it had a eureka moment and pivoted to create Glenlore Trails, a family-friendly walking trail illuminated with playful, high-tech light installations. The folks behind it updated the trails in June with a new theme called Pulse, which they describe as an “all-new melodic experience with interactive moments, dazzling displays of light, sound, and wonder.”

  • 8

    View Detroit from Windsor

    Windsor - ON, Canada

    The best view of Detroit isn’t even in Detroit. You have to cross the Detroit River into Windsor, Ontario for the most picturesque glimpse of the city’s skyline — a breathtaking sight, especially on a summer night.

  • 9

    Catch an outdoor concert

    33 Bob Seger Dr - Independence charter Township, MI USA

    The only thing better than the magic of live music is the magic of live music at an outdoor amphitheater. Just in time for the summer concert season, Clarkston’s Pine Knob has been recently rechristened with its former boomer-era name to celebrate its 50th anniversary, harking back to the heyday of outdoor concerts from bands like Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band. Detroit’s Aretha Franklin Amphitheater and the Michigan Lottery Amphitheater at Freedom Hill in Sterling Heights also have a stacked lineup of outdoor concerts this season. Pine Knob is at 33 Bob Seger Dr, Village of Clarkston; 248- 377-0100; 313presents.com | Aretha Franklin Amphitheater is at 2600 Atwater St., Detroit; 313-393-0292; the aretha.com | Michigan Lottery Amphitheater at Freedom Hill is at 14900 Metro Pkwy., Sterling Heights; 248-377-0100; 313presents.com.

  • 10

    Cruisin’ Woodward

    300 E 9 Mile Rd - Ferndale, MI 48220 USA

    You can catch classic cars all along Woodward Avenue in Oakland County during the annual Woodward Dream Cruise, scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 20 this year. But in Royal Oak, people start gathering along the thoroughfare as soon as the warmer weather hits, parking their rides along the street or just posting up in a folding chair to admire the passersby.

  • 11

    Belle Isle after dark

    300 River Place Drive suite 2800 - Detroit, MI 48207 USA

    Detroit’s island park closes daily at 10 p.m., meaning you can watch the sunset and enjoy the river breeze for a little bit before Michigan State Police kick you out.

  • 12

    Detroit City FC

    3201 Roosevelt St - Hamtramck, MI USA

    If you haven’t caught a game by Detroit City FC, the Motor City’s grassroots pro soccer team, you’re missing out on a sports experience like no other. Le Rouge’s matches at Hamtramck’s Keyworth Stadium are electric, with the Northern Guard Supporters leading raucous chants, setting off colorful smoke bombs, and generally keeping things lively. You won’t get this experience at a Lions game, that’s for sure.

  • 13

    Greektown

    Greektown - Detroit, MI USA

    A bar in Detroit’s rowdiest entertainment district. Between institutions like the Old Shillelagh and newer rooftop nightclubs like Level Two and Exodos, this neighborhood buzzes with a party atmosphere during the summer months. Just, you know, behave yourselves.

  • 14

    Exercise after dark

    Detroit - MI, USA

    Detroit’s Beacon Park has a number of free evening fitness classes. That includes Fitness After Dark from 8-10 p.m. on Thursdays June 23, July 28, and Aug. 25, which includes a 60-minute ab workout amid strobing lights, and City Glow Yoga, held from 7:30-9 p.m. on Mondays, June 13 and 27, July 11 and 25, and Aug. 8 and 22, a combination of a yoga session and a silent disco.

  • 15

    See the Cosmos

    Detroit - MI, USA

    We have to be honest, we didn’t even know you could see the Milky Way until way later in life, when we went on a trip Up North, away from city lights, and were awestruck by the celestial beauty. Michigan has a number of dark sky parks worth a trek to behold this sight with your own eyes. Those include Lake Hudson Recreation Area in Lenawee County, Negwegon State Park in Alcona County, Port Crescent State Park in Huron County, Rockport Recreation Area in Presque Isle County, Thompson’s Harbor State Park in Presque Isle County, Wilderness State Park in Emmet County, Headlands Dark Sky Park in Emmet County. And Dr. T.K. Lawless Park in Cass County.

  • 16

    Drink on a Patio

    Detroit - MI, USA

    Summer is the time to enjoy our bars’ patios with some al fresco drinking. Some of our favorites include Spot Lite (pictured), the Alley Deck, the Belt, Motor City Wine, and the Old Miami; see our list “35 essential Detroit area patios that are perfect for warm weather” for more ideas.

  • 17

    Frame’s Big Top

    23839 John R Rd - Hazel Park, MI USA

    This Hazel Park spot has set up a big tent that will host a Pakistani food pop-up by Khana Detroit, along with alternating movies and live comedy on Thursdays. The film schedule includes Moonrise Kingdom on June 16, Do the Right Thing on June 30, The Virgin Suicides on July 14, Y tu mamá también on July 28, Dazed and Confused on Aug. 11, and The Endless Summer on Aug. 25, with comedy by Mike Geeter and Melanie Hearn on June 9, Bill Bushart and Ryan Brown on June 23, T. Barb and Kara Coraci on July 7, Cam Rowe and Camila Ballario on July 21, Tim Finkel and Robert Horton on Aug. 4, and Josh Adams and Brett Solferino on Aug. 18.

  • 18

    NightClubbing

    Detroit - MI, USA

    Clubbing is fun year-round, but especially so in the warmer months at clubs with both indoor and outdoor spaces like Marble Bar, Spot Lite, Exodos Lounge, and others. Some, like Marble Bar, are even known to throw the occasional all-nighters, so you can dance all night long and watch the sun rise.

  • 19

    Pedal Pubs

    Detroit - MI, USA

    Pedal Pubs are pretty fun, even though they make no sense. Whose bright idea was to combine a bar with a Peloton and set them loose in the streets of Detroit? We’re not sure, but there’s something deliciously subversive about drinking beers in public among the downtown traffic. Check out Detroit Rolling Pub & Pedal Bar (detroitrollingpub.com) or Handlebar Detroit (handlebardetroit.com).

  • 20

    Watch Fireworks

    Detroit - MI, USA

    Tis the season of endless local fireworks displays, many of which are returning this year for live audiences for the first time since 2019. That includes Detroit’s Ford Fireworks on Monday, June 27.

  • 21

    Have a Bonfire

    Detroit - MI, USA

    If you’ve got a backyard, set up a bonfire pit, get some firewood, and crack open some Oberons with friends around the flames. Plus, you can do this all summer long, and well into the autumn and beyond, too.

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