Fun, free and uniquely Detroit events happening in September

September is an exciting time of year in Detroit, jam-packed with unique, fun and often free events.

First up, over Labor Day Weekend (Sept. 1 - 4) is the Detroit Jazz Festival. The Jazz Festival takes place downtown in Hart Plaza, along Woodward Avenue and in Campus Martius Park—a short QLine or DDOT ride from campus. The annual four-day event is the largest free premiere jazz festival in the world and has traditionally featured a variety of faculty, students and alumni from Wayne State’s Department of Music.

Attendees enjoy live music at the 2022 Detroit Jazz Festival in Hart Plaza
The Detroit Jazz Festival will take place Sept. 1-4, 2023, in Hart Plaza. 

The Saturday after Labor Day Weekend (Sept. 9), Dally in the Alley takes place just steps from campus. A Warrior favorite since its inception more than 40 years ago, Dally is produced entirely by volunteers. The event is free and offers local music on multiple stages, artists, entrepreneurs and food. Popular with students, Dally is also family-friendly boasting a kid zone with activities like face painting and arts and crafts.

The Detroit Auto Show will run from Sept. 13 - 24 this year. A metro Detroit tradition, the Auto Show takes place downtown in and around Huntington Place. The 2023 show will include brands like Ford, GM and Stellantis, plus strong representation from tech companies and startups. The overall emphasis will be on emerging mobility trends and technologies including electric vehicles. An adult ticket to the public show (Sept. 16-24) is $20.

Organized by Design Core, the Detroit Month of Design Festival lasts the entire month of September. Last year’s festival featured over 175 creatives and 80 individual events. Detroit Month of Design events take place in all corners of the city, highlighting the talent and innovation that make Detroit a UNESCO City of Design (the first and only UNESCO City of Design in the United States).

Dally in the Alley
Dally in the Alley is Saturday, Sept. 9, 2023.

There are also a number of smaller events happening in the Cultural Center including:

The fun continues throughout the fall semester with Octoberfest celebrations in the Downtown Detroit Parks and Dia de los Muertos events in Southwest Detroit and across the city. The 2023 America’s Thanksgiving Parade will march down Woodward Avenue from Warren Avenue to Campus Martius Park downtown on Nov. 23 and Noel Night — a neighborhood-wide holiday open house in Midtown — returns on Dec. 2. The Downtown Detroit Parks traditionally also host tree and menorah-lighting ceremonies and a Kwanzaa celebration in November and December.

Look for these events and more in Get Involved and

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