Summer in the Parks

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There’s no better time to explore and enjoy Downtown Detroit’s award-winning parks than through a variety of free programs and events in the summer. Residents, employees and visitors can experience an exciting lineup of summer fun and free activities for families and individuals of all ages throughout the city, metro Detroit and beyond.

Since 2000, the Downtown Detroit Partnership has been at the forefront of Detroit’s transformation, creating, programming and managing seven award-winning and historically significant Downtown Detroit parks – Campus Martius Park, Cadillac Square, Capitol Park, Beacon Park, Grand Circus Park, Woodward Esplanade and Paradise Valley Beatrice Buck Park – and redefining urban innovation and community engagement.

Attracting more than 4.2 million visitors annually, these dynamic spaces come alive when the temperature rises with more than 1,400 innovative cultural experiences, programs, events and activations that set the standard for urban revitalization. This summer promises to be exciting with a vibrant lineup of new and beloved seasonal programming. Reflecting the rich diversity of Detroit’s neighborhoods and communities, these programs and events showcase local talent and celebrate the city’s indomitable spirit, making Downtown Detroit the ultimate destination for unforgettable experiences and community pride.

We proudly introduce the new Campus Kids Day presented by Corewell Health, where families can bring their little ones to enjoy a fantastic array of themed entertainment and hands-on activities at Campus Martius Park, voted the No. 1 Public Square in the U.S. They can dive into Sprout and Shout: A Go Green Gardening Adventure, revel at the Summer Fun Carnival, groove at the Back to School Bash, explore the Lil Pumpkin Patch and then wrap up with the Halloween Spooktacular featuring Thriller (40th Anniversary) dance lessons and costume contest.

Life is better at The Beach at Campus Martius Park, the first and original urban beach that offers a sun-soaked oasis in the heart of Downtown Detroit. Now through September, visitors can sit back, sink their feet into the sand, relax in one of the many comfortable seating options, or have fun building sandcastles with the kids in the sun.

Themed Beach Parties presented by Wana Brands and supported by Tito’s and Capital One Café, return to The Beach at Campus Martius Park, the hot spot for summer fun and live music from a rotating lineup of the best local and regional bands and DJs performing beachside on the MGM Grand Detroit Stage. This year’s kickoff event – Pride Beach Party on June 13 – will be a spectacular celebration of pride, community and fun. The night will come alive with free Drag Queen Bingo and DJ Myint, known for her electrifying performances and signature playlist. Attendees will be encouraged to bring a donation of personal care items, such as toothpaste, soap and shampoo, to support the Ruth Ellis Center, an organization that will have volunteer staff members onsite to share how they foster a supportive community and provide services for LGBTQ+ youth, particularly minority youth and those experiencing homelessness.

Campus Martius Park’s seasonal outdoor restaurant and bar, BrisaBar, returns this summer, offering a fresh, contemporary culinary experience with creative selections, specialty cocktails and Happy Hour, plus live entertainment and menu specials to enjoy as the sun sets on Downtown Detroit’s skyline.

Movie Nights in the D presented by Capital One Café and supported by Faygo return to Wednesday evenings. Everyone’s favorite, free outdoor movie series includes 10 weeks of movies on the big screen at Campus Martius Park and begins June 19 with a showing of “The Color Purple” (PG-13). New this year, the Downtown Detroit Partnership will screen “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” (PG-13) in Spanish with English subtitles, in partnership with Mi Ritmo Latin Arts Council and Edutainment and the W Buchanan Group. Attendees are encouraged to arrive early to enjoy live entertainment and giveaways before select movie screenings.

Summer Markets are back at Cadillac Square, this year from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. three days a week: Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays beginning June 11. Visitors can shop till they drop, support small business owners and entrepreneurs and grab takeaway foods from local food and beverage purveyors, artisans and other vendors.

Celebrating its 12th season, Downtown Street Eats, Michigan’s No. 1 food truck rally, will continue through October with a lineup of more than 80 food trucks rotating at Cadillac Square and the Woodward Esplanade weekdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and during special events.

The parks vibrant green spaces are the perfect backdrop for fitness and well-being, offering a dynamic mix of activities to keep people moving and motivated. Over at Capitol Park, Citizen Yoga will help attendees find their zen with free yoga sessions on Wednesdays at 6 p.m. and Sundays at 7 p.m. At Campus Martius Park, residents and visitors can participate in City Glow Yoga sessions for free. A 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. class will be offered on the second and fourth Monday of the month starting in June.

For the city’s four-legged friends and their humans, Grand Circus Park hosts a plethora of monthly themed events and activities on Saturdays, presented by Strategic Staffing Solutions and supported by Michigan Humane and Premier Pet Supply. An annual “Bones and Cones” ice cream social, “Wild Western Roundup,” “Tailgate Paw-ty” and “Howl-O-Ween” are some of the fun on tap where owners can have a howling good time with their furry friends and meet other pet people. At each event, musical entertainment by a DJ is provided and all attendees receive a doggie goodie bag courtesy of Premier Pet Supply.

Make this season unforgettable by attending Downtown Detroit Partnership’s annual summer fundraiser, Party in the Park, Thursday, Aug. 15 at 6:30 p.m. Benefitting the Downtown Detroit parks and public spaces, the party will be held at Campus Martius Park and will feature live music, specialty cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and networking opportunities with board members, stakeholders and Michigan leaders in business and government. VIP Pre-Party Presented by Moët & Chandon and General Admission tickets are available and on sale now.

This is just a sampling of things to do and there’s much more to discover and explore throughout the Downtown Detroit parks. Summer programs are free and welcoming to all. Plan your visit or drop by a Downtown Detroit park today. 

More details and a full schedule of events are available at DowntownDetroit.org/events.

See you around the parks.

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