Though it isn’t often thought of as a hot vacation destination, the Detroit area offers attractions for every taste. During the summer months, the city sparkles with energy. The newly revitalized downtown offers a wide variety of entertainment options, from outdoor festivals in the riverfront’s Hart Plaza to the excitement of Major League Baseball at the new Comerica Park.
Hart Plaza is host to some of the most entertaining and affordable events in the city. The 14-acre riverfront plaza features a stage and room for 40,000 to gather to enjoy great food, music, and views of the Detroit River and skyline. Located at the intersection of Jefferson and the storied Woodward Avenue, it is the hub of the spoked wheel of Detroit. Every weekend offers a different experience at the plaza, from premier music festivals to ethnic celebrations.
In mid-May, Hart Plaza is home to the Downtown Hoedown, American’s largest free country concert. This event showcases up and coming country acts as well as some time-honored favorites, and has featured many superstars on their rise to fame, including Garth Brooks and the Dixie Chicks.
As Memorial Day weekend kicks off the summer, Hart Plaza hosts the nationally recognized Detroit Electronic Music Festival, a celebration of techno and house music. The three-day festival draws bands and DJs from around the world.
Detroit celebrates America’s birthday and our close ties to our neighbor to the north with the International Freedom Festival, and the excitement centers on Hart Plaza. Family friendly musical acts take the stage throughout the afternoon, leading up to a spectacular fireworks display over the river.
As the summer winds to a close, Hart Plaza is home to another holiday weekend tradition, the Detroit Jazz Fest. The Labor Day weekend festival has showcased the best of jazz, blues, gospel, and of course, Motown for 27 years.
But the city’s summertime attractions aren’t limited to the riverfront. Throughout the city, summer means festivals, special events and good times.
Opened in 2000, Comerica Park is the new home to one of Major League Baseball’s oldest franchises, the Detroit Tigers. Located on Woodward in the heart of the city, this park is much more than the playing field of the red-hot Tigers. For children and the young at heart, the baseball themed carousel and Ferris wheel are sure to impress, and for the die-hard baseball fan, the concourse doubles as a pedestrian museum showcasing the best of Tigers’ history. And with tickets starting at just $5, it remains one of the most affordable places to take in a ballgame.
Detroit’s Cultural District is the home of the Detroit Festival of the Arts, an annual June event that features local artists, musicians, and storytelling. The Children’s Fair is an event within an event, which offers interactive children’s activities and a marketplace showcasing the works of young artists from around the area. Stages and attractions nestle between the campus of Wayne State University and the many museums in the area, including the Detroit Institute of Arts, The New Detroit Science Center, and the Detroit Historical Museum.
In the area of Detroit known as New Center, a short distance from downtown, summer means TasteFest. This five day event takes place over the 4th of July weekend, featuring eclectic musical acts on 4 different stages and booths from more than 40 Michigan restaurants where guests can try sample sized portions of a wide variety of cuisines.
As the August heat reaches its peak, Detroit’s Woodward Avenue plays host to a nostalgic weekend of fun on four wheels with the Dream Cruise. For one Saturday night, hot rod enthusiasts can take a step back in time to when Woodward was the place to see and be seen in the best muscle ever to roll off a Detroit assembly line. From downtown to the distant suburbs, classic cars line up along the boulevard, filling the streets with the rumble of high performance horsepower.
Whether your interest is music, food or motors, summertime in Detroit has something for you!