Lifestyle Things to do in Metro Detroit

50 Things to Do in Michigan This Summer

May 29, 2021

From brewery tours and art fairs to surfing The Great Lakes (yes, it can be done) and beyond, pack your calendar with these activities for kids, foodies, art enthusiasts, nature lovers and more

For Outdoor Aventures

Pictured Rocks

Pictured Rocks

Take in a stunning sunset over Lake Superior with a guided, 2.5-mile hike that passes through beaches and forests before reaching a prime viewing spot on the Pictured Rocks. Hiawathahiking.com

Headlands International Dark Sky Park

One of the first International Dark Sky Parks in the world — a designation given to spots with an exceptional quality of starry nights — the Headlands International Dark Sky Park in Mackinaw City is the best place around to catch unobstructed views of everything from the Milky Way to — if you’re lucky — the Northern Lights. Midarkskypark.org

Lavender Hill Farm

Lavender Hill Farm

Michigan’s largest of its kind, maybe the best smelling farm on Earth, thanks to the 29 varieties of the sweet-scented plant that it cultivates. The Boyne City locale is a delight for your ears, too: Lavender Hill’s century-old barn hosts a series of live music performances all summer. Lavenderhillfarm.com

Dequindre Cut

Dequindre Cut

Take your bike for a spin on the Dequindre Cut, a two-mile urban greenway just north of the Detroit riverfront. Flanked by street art and colorful graffiti, the paved path is perfect for riders (or walkers, or joggers), especially if you have little ones in tow — it runs below street level, which means there are no cars to worry about. detroitriverfront.org/riverfront#dequindre

Get Crafty

Hit the Art Fair Circut All Summer Long 

Get (Sky) High

Fly Balloons Michigan

Need a new date night idea? Call Ted Gauthier. The commercial licensed FAA pilot (who also happens to be the deputy fire chief of Bloomfield Village) hosts private hot air balloon tours for two, with flights that leave at sunrise or sunset — and end with a champagne toast once you’re back on the ground. Flyballoons.net

For Foodies And Boozers

Detroit Vineyards

In 2019, Detroit Vineyards became the first winery to open in the city in 60 years. Visit to taste its Michigan-grown, Detroit-made reds, whites, roses, and meads made from local honey. Detroitvineyards.com

Tour a Local Brewery in Grand Rapids 

Grand Rapids brewery tour

Grand Rapids boasts a bevy of breweries. See them for yourself on a private tour!

Grand Rapids is nicknamed “Beer City U.S.A.” for good reason: There are 60+ breweries within a 60-mile drive. Tour a local brewery (many offer them), or book a private tour and sample the suds at your own speed. Grbeertours.com

Motor City Brew Tour

Beer and history lessons: an odd pairing? Not when Stephen Johnson is involved. The author of Detroit Beer — A History of Brewing in the Motor City leads a two-hour walking tour around old brewery sites in the Eastern Market neighborhood while spouting off details about the city’s pre-and post-Prohibition breweries. Of course, the tour ends with a pint at Eastern Market Brewing. motorcitybrewtours.com/public-tours-detroit-michigan

Gut Busting Adventure

Detroit food scene

Ice-cream stores, doughnut shops and pizza joints … it seems like every week, a spot to sample delicious goodies opens up in Detroit. Why not try them all in one gut-busting adventure? On our list: Twist, which serves gourmet pretzels out of a walk-up window in Parker’s Alley, Yellow Light Coffee & Donuts in the Jefferson-Chalmers neighborhood, and Val’s Pizza, a pop-up that started out of the owners’ house in Old Redford. Calories don’t count when you’re having fun, right?

Get Architectural

Tour Some of Michigan’s Most Historic Homes

Get Patriotic

Visit Fort Mackinac

Know what really puts you in the July Fourth spirit? Ringing in the holiday in a fort. At the historic Fort Mackinac, they’re doing it 1880s style, with old-timey decorations, 38-gun salutes (honoring the number of states at that time) and Victorian children’s games. Mackinacparks.com

Get Festive

Kites, Polka, Boat Parades, oh my!

  • Catch kite enthusiasts from all over the world showing off their flying skills at the Lyon Township International Kite Festival, June 5, New Hudson
  • From parades and polka to beer and Lederhosen, the Bavarian Festival has it all. June 10-13, Frankenmuth
  • After skipping 2020, the long-running National Cherry Festival is returning with a mix of virtual and in-person events that will delight fruit lovers everywhere. July 3-10, Traverse City
  • The festivities at the 91-year-old Venetian Festival are endless: boat parade, carnival, fireworks, events for the kids…take your pick. July 17-24, Charlevoix

For The Kids

Michigan’s Aventure 

Michigan's Aventure 

At Michigan’s Adventure, the newest attraction is a kids’ area called Camp Snoopy. Opposite page: Movie night at Detroit’s New Center Park.

Michigan’s Adventure in Muskegon — the state’s largest water park — is debuting a new kids’ area called Camp Snoopy, featuring five new rides including a family-friendly rollercoaster called the Woodstock Express. Miadventure.com

Reading & Rhythm on the Riverfront

Now in its 11th year, the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy’s Reading & Rhythm on the Riverfront program offers kids the chance to hear books read by local celebs and community leaders. detroitriverfront.org/readingandrhythm

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids features more than 200 works spread over the 158-acre main campus. Check them out, then hit the children’s garden to let the kiddos explore the interactive butterfly maze and epic wooden play structure. Meijergardens.org

New Center Park Outdoor Movies

Wednesday and Friday nights are movie time at New Center Park in Detroit, where you can catch free outdoor screenings of flicks including Trolls, The Croods, and Soul through August. BYO blanket. Newcenterpark.com

Detroit Farm & Cider

Cider mills aren’t just for fall: At Detroit Farm & Cider — the city’s first cider mill — you can pick the fruit from nearly 140 trees all summer long. Detroitfarmandcider.com

Get Cultured

Four New Exhibits Debuting this Summer

For Water Lovers

Surf The Great Lakes

Michigan surfing

Surfing in Michigan? It’s a thing. Great Lakes waves may be smaller than their oceanic counterparts, but they can still pack a punch. Catch a wave in popular surfing spots like Muskegon (home to the Great Lakes Surf Festival), Grand Haven, Empire (outside of Traverse City), and St. Joseph, on the state’s west side. Pro tip: Before you paddle out, make sure you’re well versed in surfing etiquette, equipment, and safety protocols.

Tour the City’s Waterways

You’ve no doubt driven by the Detroit River — why not see it by boat? Several local companies (among them Riverside Kayak Connection and Detroit River Sports) offer tours of the city’s waterways, from the Detroit River and Belle Isle to the canals on Detroit’s east side, where you’ll float by the historic Fisher Mansion.

Cool Off on the Platte River

Cool off on the Platte River, which runs for nearly 30-mile miles through Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore before emptying into Lake Michigan. Riverside Canoes, the only private business to operate inside the park, rents everything from tubes, rafts, and kayaks to stand-up paddleboards and, yes, canoes. Canoemichigan.com

Scuba Dive for Shipwrecks

Scuba dive for shipwrecks in Thunder Bay, a stretch of water near Alpena in Lake Huron that’s home to more than 70 shipwrecks across 65 miles — one of the largest concentrations of shipwrecks in the world. Don’t want to get wet? You can also tour the wrecks by boat. Tbscuba.com

Get Revved Up

Detroit Car Shows 2021

Celebrate Detroit’s Car Culture at These Shows:

Get Your Cowboy On

Double JJ Ranch and Resort

Go back to the Old West at Double JJ Ranch and Resort in Rothbury, which features activities like cattle drives and trail-ride cookouts where cowboys make breakfast over an open fire. The resort also has an 1800s-style town where you’ll find a General Store with hand-dipped ice cream, a campfire in the town square near the “jail” and a (modern-day) outdoor waterpark. Doublejj.com

Get Fancy

Charter a Yacht

Infinity and Ovation Detroit

Forget the French Riviera — you can party like a rock star closer to home. Charter a yacht for yourself and 100+ of your closest friends and dine, drink, and dance while cruising Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River. Infinityandovation.com

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