Welcome back, Warriors: 10 fun and exciting things to see and do in Detroit

Wayne State is excited to welcome students, faculty and staff back to campus this fall. Whether you’re new to Midtown or getting reacquainted, there are a lot of fun and exciting things to see and do in and around our neighborhood. A city rich in arts, culture and entertainment, Detroit offers something for everyone. Here are a few of our favorite things to check out right now:

Roller skating at the Monroe Street Midwaythe place to be for outdoor fun through Sept. 25. Brought to you by RollerCade, the nation's oldest Black-owned roller rink, the Rollout Detroit roller rink is open Wednesday-Sunday. Go for a skate (sessions are $13, including skae rental) or play a free pickup game of basketball or mini golf at the Rocket Mortgage Sports Zone presented by Come Play Detroit. Not into sports? The Midway also features local music, art and food.

Going on a walking tour with an experienced guide. City Institute (formerly the Detroit Experience Factory) offers in-person tours of Downtown, the Riverfront and beyond (upcoming neighborhood tours include the Avenue of Fashion and East Warren Corridor), plus virtual experiences. City Institute guides live, work and engage in the city and offer an individualized perspective on each tour. Participants can also expect to hear from local businesses owners and residents. 

Robert C. Valade Park. Photo courtesy of the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy.
Valade Park. Photo courtesy of the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy.

Relaxing in Robert C. Valade Park. The newest addition to Detroit’s award-winning Riverwalk, Valade Park features an expansive sandy beach with lounge chairs and umbrellas, a children’s musical garden, colorful playscapes for kids to climb on, a community barbecue pavilion and Bob’s Barge—Detroit’s only floating bar! Formerly known as Atwater Beach, Valade Park is located on the East Riverfront near the Aretha Franklin Amphitheatre and open daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. all-year long.

Playing in a sports league. Looking to make new friends or blow off some steam after a long day of classes? Consider signing up for one of Detroit’s many intramural sports leagues! From softball on Belle Isle to sand volleyball in Campus Martius Park, organizations like Come Play Detroit, Stonewall Sports DetroitStay and Play Social and the Detroit City Futbol League offer something for everyone with year-round offerings, including basketball, kickball, tennis, bowling, and backyard and bar games like Euchre.

Spending a Saturday at Eastern Market. A short drive or bike ride from campus, Eastern Market is one of the oldest urban farmers markets in the country. The Saturday market is open year-round, features over 225 vendors and draws up to 40,000 visitors. June through September, Eastern Market also offers a scaled-down Tuesday market and Sunday street market, featuring Detroit and Michigan-made products. Plus, the market is ringed with a variety of shops and restaurants open throughout the week.

Grabbing a bite to eat downtown. The Downtown Parks have a lot to offer, including Michigan’s biggest and best daily food truck rally! Head to Cadillac Square or the Woodward Esplanade between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., weekdays (now-October) to sample Detroit classics and street food from around the world. The Downtown Street Eats program includes a rotating fleet of more than 80 food trucks. For a full lineup and schedule, visit the Downtown Parks events calendar.

Putting your toes in the sand in Campus Martius Park. The Beach at Campus Martius Park is an award-winning sun-soaked oasis that welcomes visitors May through October each year. This uniquely Detroit experience is a perfect place to build sandcastles with the kids, take in live music, people watch or enjoy a frozen cocktail with friends. Worried about fitting everything in by October? Don’t! The Downtown Parks are programmed year-round, with an outdoor ice skating rink in Campus Martius Park beginning in December.

Attending one of the many uniquely Detroit events. Fall boasts a number of special events near and dear to Wayne State, including: Dally in the Alley, an annual street fair just steps from campus featuring local music, food and more (Sept. 10); Tour de Troit, a leisurely, but large (Michigan’s largest), group bike ride through Detroit (Sept. 17); and Detroit Month of Design, a city-wide celebration of Detroit’s role as a national and global design capital featuring over 80 individual events (Sept. 1-30).

Exploring the Cultural Center. Wayne State is fortunate to be located in the heart of Detroit’s world-class Cultural Center. The Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit Historical Museum, Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History and Michigan Science Center are all within a 10-minute walk from the Student Center and offer free or low-cost admission and programming. A little further down Woodward, but still in Midtown, Warriors can also enjoy MOCAD and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

Supporting a small businesses. Long-standing Midtown businesses are excited to help welcome students, faculty and staff back to campus, as are the many new businesses that have opened. Looking for a new place to grab a bite to eat? Consider heading to New Center and checking out Baobab Fare, Cooking with Que, Joe Louis Southern Kitchen, Promenade Artisan Foods, Supino Pizzeria or Yum Village, and remember that many local businesses offer discounts through Show Your OneCard and Save.

These are just a few of the many exciting things going on in Midtown and Detroit. To stay up to date, consider following Midtown Detroit, Inc. (aka Visit Midtown), the Downtown Detroit Partnership, Let’s Detroit, Model D and Wayne State’s own Office of Economic Development on social media.

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