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15 free things to do in Detroit over summer

Detroit provides a lot of free things to do when you're bored over the summer. Photo via ClickOnDetroit.

Detroit provides a lot of free things to do when you're bored over the summer. Photo via ClickOnDetroit.

Detroit provides a lot of free things to do when you're bored over the summer. Photo via ClickOnDetroit.

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With nearly two and a half months of ahead not full of school, it is the perfect opportunity to go and see more of the city so close to Grosse Pointe. Detroit is a bustling and reviving city with so much to offer that some may not get to always see. Not only does it have a lot to offer but a lot to give away for free! This list of activities, events, and day trips in the city offers ideas for how to spend some of those summer days without spending money.

  1.   Pewabic Pottery House and Garden Show

This is the 27th Annual House & Garden Show, a fundraiser and ceramic showcase hosted at the historic Pewabic Pottery. The event is open to the public Friday through Sunday with activities ranging from ceramics making to live music. It will feature ceramic work from over 80 artists, free docent led tours, demonstrations by Pewabic artisans, drop-in workshops and a biergarten.

Friday, June 9 and Saturday, June 10, 10:00 AM – 6 PM

Sunday, June 11, 11:00 AM – 4 PM

10125, E. Jefferson Ave

Detroit, MI 48214

  1.                  Yoga and Summer Solstice

Yoga and Summer Solstice on Belle Isle is sponsored by NMKYoga with the goal of bringing together people from all over the city to celebrate the longest day of the year and the yoga community of the region and city. The one hour long Vinyasa session is free and open to anyone. Afterward, light refreshments will be provided.

Thursday, June 22, 7:00 PM

Sunset Point, Belle Isle Park

  1.                  River Days Festival

The three day festival features a carnival, zip lines over the River Walk, air show, boat tours, live music, and a freestyle jet skiing contest. The entry cost is just $3 before 3 p.m. and $5 after 3 p.m. and profits support the nonprofit Detroit Riverfront Conservancy. Some of the activities inside it may cost extra.

June 23-25, 11:00 AM –10:00 PM

Detroit River Walk

  1.                  The 59th Annual Ford Firework Show

One of the first firework displays of summer and one of the biggest of the summer for Detroit, Ford’s annual show is big crowd drawer. The fireworks are launched over the Detroit River and viewable from all along the waterfront with Hart Plaza being the central location for the celebration.

Monday, June 26, 8:00 PM –11:00 PM

  1.                  Volunteer with Summer In The City

Summer In The City is a nonprofit volunteer agency where young people from metropolitan Detroit can volunteer painting murals, playing with kids at their community day camps, and planting at urban gardens throughout Detroit. For students, it is an amazing way to get volunteer hours, get involved, get inspired, and get to see the city during the summer. Registration for volunteering is open all summer at

Tuesday — Friday, June 27-August 18, 8:45 AM –2:00 PM

  1.                  10,000 Scoops of Free Ice Cream Fundraiser

Denali Moose Tracks Ice Cream is coming to Campus Martius to scoop out free ice cream. For each scoop of Moose Tracks served out, they will be giving $1 to The Salvation Army Eastern Michigan Division to help fund ongoing projects. The goal is to raise 10,000 dollars or in other words eat 10,000 scoops of ice cream. The event is completely free and open to the community. Free ice cream is a great way to kick of the summer and to beat to summer heat!

Wednesday, June 28, 11:00 AM -3:00 PM

Cadillac Square and Campus Martius

800 Woodward Ave

Detroit, MI 48214

  1.                  Woodward Dream Cruise

Every year in August, thousands of immaculately maintained and modified classic cars makes its way down historic Woodward Ave in the largest one-day automotive event in the world, regularly drawing upwards of a million spectators. From muscle cars to Model T’s, the Dream Cruise helps maintain the reputation of Detroit as the Motor City. View of the Dream Cruise takes place all along Woodward, but the parks and shops located on Woodward in Midtown and Downtown Detroit make the heart of the city a great place to spectate from.

Friday, August 18

  1.                  New Center Park Theater

New this summer, New Center Park is hosting a summer-long entertainment series with weekly movie nights, theatre performances, community dinners, and more! New Center Park has a cafe and refreshments can be purchased at the park. Depending on the time of sunset movies may run later. A schedule of movies can be found at All events at New Center Park are free and open to the public. This green oasis in New Center is a great place to catch a free film and admire the lights of the towering Fisher Building that is right across from the park.

Wednesday and Friday, June-August, 8:00 PM -11:00 PM

2998 West Grand Boulevard

Detroit, MI 48214

  1.                  Detroit Experience Factory Tours

Detroit is a big city and while some may have already seen a lot of what it has to offer, the experts always know a little more about where to find hidden jem shops and restaurants and where the coolest spots in the city are. The Detroit Experience Factory offers free tours to give their expert opinions on the Detroit culture and entertainment scene for old timers and city novices alike. Conveniently located just down the block from Campus Martius, on weekends, their Best of Downtown tour is free at 2 p.m. and on Mondays there is an art and architecture tour at 6 p.m.

123 Monroe Street, Detroit

Detroit, MI 48214

  1.              Heidelberg Project

The Heidelberg Project is one of the most famous sites of Detroit but it is always worth a visit. Open to the public to walk in for free, use a sunny summer day to stroll around this outdoor art exhibit and marvel at the combination of visual art, community, and the beautifully weird that makes this place unique.

3600 Heidelberg St,

Detroit, MI, 48207

  1.              Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit

The Museum Of Contemporary Art and Detroit (MOCAD) offers a wide range of new exhibits, events, and experiences. The building itself boasts one of the most amazing murals in the city with the building covered in bright geometrics. MOCAD has not only to see art but brunches and dance parties throughout the summer. Students receive free admission.

Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday, 11:00 AM -5:00 PM

Thursday and Friday, 11:00 AM -8:00 PM

Closed Monday and Tuesday

4454 Woodward,

Detroit, MI, 48201

  1.              Eastern Market

Whether market days on Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday or for shopping, eating out, or sightseeing murals, there is always something to do at Eastern Market or at bustling shops and restaurants that surround it. With hundreds of vendors and thousands of visitors on market days, and a booming business district centered around it, it is easy to find whatever you need to buy from fresh roasted and ground coffee at DeVries, to art supplies at Signal Return, to fresh flowers and fruits at one of the countless vendors Eastern Market. This year all around the market, they have started adding fabulous murals as part of the Detroit Design Festival. Walking around you can still see work by Freddy Diaz, Hebru Brantley, and Nicole Macdonald and Heidelberg Project founding artist Tyree Guyton.

2934 Russell Street,

Detroit MI 48207

  1.              Bike the  Dequindre Cut

Extending from the waterfront to Eastern Market, the Dequindre Cut is a 1.35 path of public green space for biking, walking, running, rollerblading, skateboarding, scootering, anything but driving. It is a really fun ride and has been extended all the way to Eastern Market. The trail can be started at various points but the official starts are at Milliken State Park or at the Wilkins Street Plaza just east of Russell Street in Detroit. If ridden all the way to the end, it dead ends at Mack Ave.

Dequindre Cut Greenway,

Detroit, MI 48207

  1.              Detroit Institute of Art

With over 65 thousand works of art housed in the beautiful old Midtown building, the Detroit Institute of Art (DIA) has something for everyone. From Diego Rivera to suits of armor to arts and crafts stations, the DIA will entertain all who go. There are two restaurants in the DIA and live music is played in both on Fridays and Sundays. Residents of Wayne receive free admission.  

Tuesday-Thursday, 9:00 AM -4:00 PM

Friday, 9:00 AM -10:00 PM

Saturday and Sunday, 10:00 AM -5:00 PM

5200 Woodward Avenue,

Detroit 28202

  1.              Belle Isle

Detroit’s Central Park, Belle Isle is the largest park in the city and a great place to spend time on a nice summer day. Whether hanging a hammock from some trees, having a picnic, renting a kayak or canoe, there are countless things to do on the island. On Saturdays and Sundays, the Aquarium is open to visitors, one of America’s oldest continuously running aquariums, it was shut down for a while but it is finding new life thanks to a group of volunteers.  The Conservatory is open Wednesday-Friday from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Also on the island is a nature museum, a history museum, a golf course, a Frisbee golf range, beaches, and a giant slide.

All week, 5:00 AM-10:00 PM

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15 free things to do in Detroit over summer