Our favourite ways to spend summer in Detroit, MI

Motown! Detroit’s musical innovation in Jazz, Hip-Hop, Rock and its namesake, as well as its historic role in industry and car manufacture, has imbued the city with a unique character. Inspiring numerous artists and stories, Detroit’s dynamic environment and changing face continue to draw crowds. If you’ve also selected Detroit as your destination, read on for some of our favourite things to do in Detroit summertime. 

Belle Isle

Cross the MacArthur bridge over the Detroit River to Belle Isle, a green place outside of the city. In the river between Michigan and Canada, Belle Isle’s mix of serenity, nature and Twentieth Century architecture captures the aspirations of the city in its booming heyday. The small size of the island also makes it very conducive to a walking tour, from one end of the island to the other. Sunset point and the Blue Heron Lagoon trail offer beautiful views over the river and submersion in nature. The Belle Isle Aquarium and its green tile host a display of the local ecosystem, all inside of an exterior paying homage to its centenarian past. Aside from these, there are also Museums of local history, a beach to swim at and multiple sporting fields.

Detroit Institute of Arts

The Detroit Institute of Arts, centrally located in midtown, is the flagship location for the arts in Detroit. Over sixty-five thousand works of art among one hundred galleries contain Detroit’s self-reflections, highlights of American tradition, African American expression, dedications to printmaking and etching. Over half a million visitors wander through the white marble and the work of Jan van Eyck, Rembrandt, Degas, van Gogh, Picasso, Gauguin, Cezanne and ter Borch. On occasions, live music and lectures take place in the theatre, and the Institute is complemented by its own reference library and the Detroit Public Library across the street.

Windsor-Detroit International Freedom Festival

Owing to Detroit’s proximity to neighbouring Windsor, Ontario, a special transnational celebration of country and tradition occurs on both sides of the Detroit River that is the only of its size in the world. From July 1 to July 4, both Detroit and Windsor celebrate Canada Day and the Fourth of July. The cities coordinate for an impressive firework display and festivities. American citizens with a passport can make the quick trip over to Windsor and enjoy the Carnival on the Canadian side of the holidays with no need for a visa. We recommend catching America’s ( and Canada’s! ) birthdays among Detroit and Windsor if you can, for a truly unique experience.

Hotter Than July! 

Hotter Than July! is Detroit’s annual Black LGBT Pride festival, celebrating love and the LGBT community. Floats, live music performances, fashion competitions and the LGBT community take the week for festivities and fun. Attendees of all backgrounds are welcomed to enjoy the vibrant activity, whether picnicking or just experiencing the week with Detroit. Between educational purposes, sharing a meal or attending the arts on display, Hotter than July is a great addition to any trip to Detroit.

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