Events

Everything You Should Absolutely Do Around Detroit This Summer

Published On 05/19/2016 Published On 05/19/2016

You can tell by the lack of scowls and the general benevolent attitudes of Detroiters that summer has nearly arrived! This means that it’s time to open the windows, dig those tootsies out of your boots, put away the flannel (OK, sorry, that’s unthinkable for Michigan people -- keep the damn flannel), and get the hell outside. But what do when you're out in the open? Look no further, for here is a list to bookmark and refer back to when you're stumped on what to do. If you're more musically inclined, here's where to find all of the concerts and festivals around Detroit you should go to this summer.

Jon DeBoer/Courtesy of DCFC

May

Date

Event

Location

May 28-30

Dance your ass off Movement is a lot of sparkles, glitter, furry things, and unst unst, unst unst. This is one of the most vibrant, good-natured, and surprisingly tame festivals to be found in Detroit. On top of it all, Kraftwerk, OGs of the genre, is headlining this year.

Hart Plaza

Dance your ass off Hart Plaza Movement is a lot of sparkles, glitter, furry things, and unst unst, unst unst. This is one of the most vibrant, good-natured, and surprisingly tame festivals to be found in Detroit. On top of it all, Kraftwerk, OGs of the genre, is headlining this year.

Date

Event

Location

May 28-Sep 20

Kayak the Detroit River Get carried away by the current on this 28-mile-long river that connects the Great Lakes and serves as our only real line of defense from marauding Canadians.

Detroit River

Kayak the Detroit River Detroit River Get carried away by the current on this 28-mile-long river that connects the Great Lakes and serves as our only real line of defense from marauding Canadians.

Date

Event

Location

May 31-Jul 27

Get hooked on a new sport: soccer Don’t miss out on the borderline-excessive outpouring of local pride to be had at Detroit City FC games, which are less expensive and way more energetic than your average professional sports game.

Keyworth Stadium

Get hooked on a new sport: soccer Keyworth Stadium Don’t miss out on the borderline-excessive outpouring of local pride to be had at Detroit City FC games, which are less expensive and way more energetic than your average professional sports game.

Detroit Riverfront (edited)

June

Date

Event

Location

Jun 3-5

Watch the high-speed car race A motorsports event on a beautiful island in the middle of an international river? Yes, please. You can hear the engines of race cars at the Belle Isle Grand Prix zooming around the track for miles, so why not go and partake in the fun?

Belle Isle

Watch the high-speed car race Belle Isle A motorsports event on a beautiful island in the middle of an international river? Yes, please. You can hear the engines of race cars at the Belle Isle Grand Prix zooming around the track for miles, so why not go and partake in the fun?

Date

Event

Location

Jun 9-12

Do the Oktoberfest thing in June Getting out of town for the Frankenmuth Bavarian Festival after being cooped up indoors all March may just be on your radar. Here, the polka is the dance of choice, the wursts are the best, and lederhosen is a prerequisite for getting into that polka dance. Kegs of German beer are plentiful, as are cornhole and the Frankenmuth charm.

Frankenmuth, MI

Do the Oktoberfest thing in June Frankenmuth, MI Getting out of town for the Frankenmuth Bavarian Festival after being cooped up indoors all March may just be on your radar. Here, the polka is the dance of choice, the wursts are the best, and lederhosen is a prerequisite for getting into that polka dance. Kegs of German beer are plentiful, as are cornhole and the Frankenmuth charm.

Date

Event

Location

Jun 10-Jul 3

Watch movies, do yoga, watch live music Not quite as obnoxiously packed as the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair, the Ann Arbor Summer Festival brings in national touring musicians and features local artists, all while highlighting the city’s love of film in an outdoor party atmosphere.

Ann Arbor, MI

Watch movies, do yoga, watch live music Ann Arbor, MI Not quite as obnoxiously packed as the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair, the Ann Arbor Summer Festival brings in national touring musicians and features local artists, all while highlighting the city’s love of film in an outdoor party atmosphere.

Date

Event

Location

Jun 11-12

Celebrate the LGBT community It should be an everyday kind of thing, but Motor City Pride gives all of us a reason to go all-out for a weekend. Try it!

Hart Plaza

Celebrate the LGBT community Hart Plaza It should be an everyday kind of thing, but Motor City Pride gives all of us a reason to go all-out for a weekend. Try it!

Date

Event

Location

Jun 17-19

Eat your weight in strawberries The Belleville Strawberry Festival honors the sweet summer fruit -- it’s like eating an entire case of pink Starburst and living to tell about it.

Belleville, MI

Eat your weight in strawberries Belleville, MI The Belleville Strawberry Festival honors the sweet summer fruit -- it’s like eating an entire case of pink Starburst and living to tell about it.

Date

Event

Location

Jun 24-26

Party on the riverfront Nautical extravaganzas, '70s music, and barbecue make up River Days, one of Detroit’s most iconic summer events. What more could you possibly want? Other than for summer to last for more than three months?

Detroit River Walk

Party on the riverfront Detroit River Walk Nautical extravaganzas, '70s music, and barbecue make up River Days, one of Detroit’s most iconic summer events. What more could you possibly want? Other than for summer to last for more than three months?

Date

Event

Location

Jun 24-Aug 28

Picnic at German Park All the things you think you’d like about Germany -- beer, wurst, lederhosen -- come together the last weekends of June, July, and August each summer at this shaded grove out in the sticks.

Ann Arbor

Picnic at German Park Ann Arbor All the things you think you’d like about Germany -- beer, wurst, lederhosen -- come together the last weekends of June, July, and August each summer at this shaded grove out in the sticks.

Pig & Whiskey Festival

July

Date

Event

Location

Jul 8-9

Dress up like the King Get your kitsch on at the annual Michigan ElvisFest, which leaves very little to the imagination. Hint: there are a lot of dudes dressed like Elvis.

Ypsilanti, MI

Dress up like the King Ypsilanti, MI Get your kitsch on at the annual Michigan ElvisFest, which leaves very little to the imagination. Hint: there are a lot of dudes dressed like Elvis.

Date

Event

Location

Jul 9-Aug 7

Hark! for ye olde Renaissance fest The BlackRock Medieval Fest is the ideal setting to tighten that corset or wear the green tights that usually sit in the back of your closet, where you hope your roommate won’t see. The thing about this fest is that it lasts for more than a month, so even if it takes a little doing to work up the courage to let your medieval fetish out in the open, you have some time to gather that courage.

The Olde World Village

Hark! for ye olde Renaissance fest The Olde World Village The BlackRock Medieval Fest is the ideal setting to tighten that corset or wear the green tights that usually sit in the back of your closet, where you hope your roommate won’t see. The thing about this fest is that it lasts for more than a month, so even if it takes a little doing to work up the courage to let your medieval fetish out in the open, you have some time to gather that courage.

Date

Event

Location

Jul 13-16

Check out what Wyandotte's art scene is up to Some of the shit that Downriver gets is understandable, but don’t let that deter you from checking out Wyandotte Street Art Fair, a true riverside gem. This 50-year-old arts & entertainment fest just might help you put to rest any negative connotation you may have about the drive down south.

Wyandotte, MI

Check out what Wyandotte's art scene is up to Wyandotte, MI Some of the shit that Downriver gets is understandable, but don’t let that deter you from checking out Wyandotte Street Art Fair, a true riverside gem. This 50-year-old arts & entertainment fest just might help you put to rest any negative connotation you may have about the drive down south.

Date

Event

Location

Jul 15-17

Eat ribs paired with whiskey What sounds better than standing in the middle of the hot sun drinking whiskey and eating barbecue? Maybe replace “hot sun” with pontoon boat, but hey, we digress. The Pig & Whiskey festival is a good time, with representation from some of the best bands, grub, and booze the Detroit area has to offer.

Ferndale

Eat ribs paired with whiskey Ferndale What sounds better than standing in the middle of the hot sun drinking whiskey and eating barbecue? Maybe replace “hot sun” with pontoon boat, but hey, we digress. The Pig & Whiskey festival is a good time, with representation from some of the best bands, grub, and booze the Detroit area has to offer.

Date

Event

Location

Jul 21-24

Elbow out a bunch of art-obsessed Ann Arborites If you can muster the courage to fight the crowds, you’ll be rewarded with the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair, a classic that’s graced the college town since 1960, thus introducing up-and-coming artists to the local masses.

Ann Arbor

Elbow out a bunch of art-obsessed Ann Arborites Ann Arbor If you can muster the courage to fight the crowds, you’ll be rewarded with the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair, a classic that’s graced the college town since 1960, thus introducing up-and-coming artists to the local masses.

Date

Event

Location

Jul 23 Sat

Break out the cutoffs for a car show Quake on the Lake is a classic car show that also features inboard hydroplane races and an early AC/DC tribute band -- all of which are pretty clear indicators that you’ve entered northern Oakland County. So why not go all out? Groom your mullet and live the lakebilly lifestyle.

Waterford, MI

Break out the cutoffs for a car show Waterford, MI Quake on the Lake is a classic car show that also features inboard hydroplane races and an early AC/DC tribute band -- all of which are pretty clear indicators that you’ve entered northern Oakland County. So why not go all out? Groom your mullet and live the lakebilly lifestyle.

Date

Event

Location

Jul 26-31

Watch films in TC Take our advice and reserve some TC time for the Traverse City Film Festival, founded by Michael Moore. You’ll find a mix of independent, foreign, and documentary cinema, set in a city known for the lustrous natural surroundings outside of its limits, and a culinary scene that’ll pair well with your cinephile sensibilities.

Traverse City, MI

Watch films in TC Traverse City, MI Take our advice and reserve some TC time for the Traverse City Film Festival, founded by Michael Moore. You’ll find a mix of independent, foreign, and documentary cinema, set in a city known for the lustrous natural surroundings outside of its limits, and a culinary scene that’ll pair well with your cinephile sensibilities.

Date

Event

Location

Jul 30-31

See the innovative side of Detroit Tinkerers, nerds, and wannabe nerds, get in on Maker Faire. Easily one of Detroit’s most interesting festivals, this one is good for an array of ages.

Dearborn

See the innovative side of Detroit Dearborn Tinkerers, nerds, and wannabe nerds, get in on Maker Faire. Easily one of Detroit’s most interesting festivals, this one is good for an array of ages.

Cheryl Willard Photography/Courtesy of Sidewalk Detroit

August

Date

Event

Location

Aug 5-6

Dance around NW Detroit during Sidewalk A grassroots performance and sculpture festival on Detroit’s west side, Sidewalk Art Festival aims to bring the local community together, and grows each year with more and more artists, food, and retailers.

Detroit’s Northwest side

Dance around NW Detroit during Sidewalk Detroit’s Northwest side A grassroots performance and sculpture festival on Detroit’s west side, Sidewalk Art Festival aims to bring the local community together, and grows each year with more and more artists, food, and retailers.

Date

Event

Location

Aug 13-14

Write your ode to the pierogi We love pierogi so much that some of us have written songs about them. It might be the most perfect food, and definitely one of the most beloved in all of Detroit. Do not miss out on your chance to tour pierogi heaven at Sweetest Heart of Mary Pierogi Festival this summer.

Detroit

Write your ode to the pierogi Detroit We love pierogi so much that some of us have written songs about them. It might be the most perfect food, and definitely one of the most beloved in all of Detroit. Do not miss out on your chance to tour pierogi heaven at Sweetest Heart of Mary Pierogi Festival this summer.

Date

Event

Location

Aug 19-21

Celebrate all things Africa African drumming and dancing, African foods, African art! Some of the continent’s vibrant cultures and offerings will be represented at the African World Festival.

Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History

Celebrate all things Africa Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History African drumming and dancing, African foods, African art! Some of the continent’s vibrant cultures and offerings will be represented at the African World Festival.

Date

Event

Location

Aug 20 Sat

Head to the biggest classic car show of all Haters gonna hate, but the Woodward Dream Cruise continues to be the biggest classic car event in the WORLD, and of course the passion of the (former) automobile capital only makes the appeal more charming.

Along Woodward Ave, from Pontiac through Ferndale

Head to the biggest classic car show of all Along Woodward Ave, from Pontiac through Ferndale Haters gonna hate, but the Woodward Dream Cruise continues to be the biggest classic car event in the WORLD, and of course the passion of the (former) automobile capital only makes the appeal more charming.

Hamtramck Labor Day Festival

September

Date

Event

Location

Sep 5-7

Do Labor Day the right way in Hamtramck Quite possibly the state’s most comprehensive collection of weirdoes, rock ‘n’ roll, hoodlums, and carnies that you could possibly hope to find on one street, Downtown Hamtramck is transformed every Labor Day weekend into a haven for local bands, artists, beer vendors, cornholers, canoe-racers, fowlers, and every kind of human you can imagine.

Downtown Hamtramck

Do Labor Day the right way in Hamtramck Downtown Hamtramck Quite possibly the state’s most comprehensive collection of weirdoes, rock ‘n’ roll, hoodlums, and carnies that you could possibly hope to find on one street, Downtown Hamtramck is transformed every Labor Day weekend into a haven for local bands, artists, beer vendors, cornholers, canoe-racers, fowlers, and every kind of human you can imagine.

Date

Event

Location

Sep 10 Sat

Dally in the Alley Always a favorite, the Dally caters to everyone, with a family-friendly vibe overtaking Midtown in the day -- good for checking out artwork and an ever-expanding array of Detroit-themed T-shirts -- and the city’s wild side coming out later for stacks of good bands and, of course, rivers of Ghettoblaster.

Midtown

Dally in the Alley Midtown Always a favorite, the Dally caters to everyone, with a family-friendly vibe overtaking Midtown in the day -- good for checking out artwork and an ever-expanding array of Detroit-themed T-shirts -- and the city’s wild side coming out later for stacks of good bands and, of course, rivers of Ghettoblaster.

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Megan Frye is a writer based in Detroit and Mexico City. You can usually find her where the mullets are. Tweet her about how you plan to spend your Super Seger Summer at @Fryechild.

Serena Maria Daniels also contributed to this calendar.

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