50+ Free Things to Do This Summer In + Around Detroit


Looking for some entertainment this summer? How about something that is free for the whole family? Below you’ll find over 50 free things to do in and around Detroit. Each category expands when you click on it so you can read through them all or just click on what you are looking for today! If we missed something free you know other moms would absolutely love let us know. Leave a comment below and we’ll be sure to add it. Enjoy! 

  1. Travel back in time through the streets of old Detroit at the Detroit Historical Museum. Personal favorites include: watching a car assembly, creating your own music in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and viewing the impressive Glancy toy train collection.
  2. Detroit Institute of Arts has a world renowned art collection, and a Family Sunday program designed with kids in mind.
  3. After the DIA, you can head to the International Institute nearby. They have extensive collections of dolls, model ships, and more. They also have a great cafe in the basement.
  4. Campus Martius has lots of free fun, from a beach in the middle of Detroit, to checking out the beautiful Christmas tree in the winter, to free, live music many nights!
  5. Older kids will enjoy a free architectural tour of some of Detroit’s coolest buildings with Pure Detroit.
  6. Visit two blocks of open air art through one of Detroit’s most controversial and beloved works of art – The Heidelberg Project.
  7. Splash in its fountains, then stroll the Detroit Riverwalk.
  8. Take a trip to Belle Isle and visit the one of the oldest aquariums in the US. The architecture is even more amazing than the aquatic life inside.
  9. Then head next door to the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory and check out each of its five sections: The Palm House, The Showroom, The Fernery, The Cactus Room, and The Tropical House.
  10. Get up close with Michigan’s wildlife at Belle Isle Nature Zoo. Time your visit right, and you may get to feed one of the fallow deer!
  11. Hop aboard a simulated speedboat, head inside an old pilot house, and learn about Detroit’s role in maritime history at Dossin Great Lakes Museum.
  12. Reading & Rhythm on the Riverwalk brings a unique interactive literacy program to the beloved Riverwalk. Thursdays and Fridays, July 7-August 12 they have two sessions, one at 11am and one at 1:15pm.


  1. Use a library card to check out a FREE one day Michigan Activity Pass to any state park.
  2. In addition to your “traditional” public library, you can look up a Little Free Library near you, too!
  3. Check out a fishing pole and tackle box at Bacon Library in Wyandotte, then cast your reel and hope for the best!
  4. If it is a rainy day, check out our Ultimate Library Guide to find a new local library to check out!
  1. Both Home Depot and Lowe’s offer hands on building classes for kids.
  2. “Park It” Family Fun Nights are a great way to unwind outdoors, and catch a family friendly movie.
  3. Check out The Henry Ford Museum on a free day, sponsored by Target. dates are listed on their website.
  4. New Center Park hosts free movie screenings, live music, and performances June through August.
  5. Michigan Science Center offers free admission several times throughout the year- keep an eye out for dates!

Oakland County Family Concerts

  1. Auburn Hills on Friday Evenings, June 5 –  August 21 @ 7pm
  2. Birmingham on Wednesday Evenings, June 17 – August 12 @ 7pm
  3. Clarkston on Friday Evenings, June 12 –  July 24 @ 7pm
  4. Commerce on Friday Evenings, June 19, July 10 & July 24 @ 6pm
  5. Farmington Stars in the Park series on Friday Evenings, June 12 –  August 28 @ 7pm
  6. Lake Orion on Wednesday Evenings, July 8 –  August 26 @ 7pm
  7. Milford on Thursday Evenings, June 9 –  August 4 @ 7pm
  8. Novi on Wednesday Mornings, June 22 –  August 17 @ 10:30am
  9. Oakland Township on Friday Evenings, June 17, July 22 & August 19 @ 7pm
  10. Orion Township on Tuesday Evenings, June 28 –  August 2 @ 7pm
  11. Oxford on Thursday Evenings, June 16 –  August 25 @ 7pm 
  12. Rochester on Thursday Evenings, June 16 –  July 28 @ 7pm
  13. Royal Oak on Thursday Evenings, July 14 –  August 25 @ 6pm
  14. Southfield has two: Eat to the Beat Thursday Afternoons, June 9, July 14, August 11 & September 8 @ Noon and Gazebo Concert Series on Tuesday Evenings, July 5 –  August 16 @ 7pm
  15. South Lyon on Friday Evenings, June 10 –  August 5 @ 7pm
  16. West Bloomfield has Kids Komotion on Thursday July 21 @ 11am  & August 18 @ 7pm and Marshbank Concert Series on Wednesday Evenings, July 13 –  August 10 @ 7pm

Wayne & Macomb County Concerts can be found in our Free Family Concert Guide. 

  1. Climb and slide at The Commons at 242 Community Church. They have an impressive cafe in the same building if you work up an appetite and need lunch or a snack!
  2. The Mall at Partridge Creek has a great kids area and fountains!
  3. See the fish at the Bass Pro shop inside Great Lakes Crossing, then head toward their massive play place in the center of the mall!
  4. Check out free splash pads at: Heritage Park in Farmington Hills, McClumpha in Plymouth, or City Square in Waterford. You can also see our Guide to Splash Pads, Water Parks, and Pools here!
  5. Coming soon you can fill up on fun at Fuel Cafe and Playscape at Ignition Church. Fuel will feature a toddler play area and four story playscape, as well as specialty drinks w/beans from Great Lakes coffee, and kid friendly snacks. Opening Fall 2016.
  1. Visit Cranbrook Institute of Science in Bloomfield Hills, on the first Friday of the month between 5 and 10:00 PM for free admission.
  2. Want to see a Picasso live, in person? You can, at The University of Michigan Museum of Art!
  3. While you’re on campus, check out dinosaurs at The University of Michigan Museum of Natural History, and…
  4. Visit Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, where you can see tons of ancient artifacts, including a mummy!
  1. Few things are more “Ann Arbor” than their beloved fairy doors. Do your homework first, then bop around town to find these magical dwellings!
  2. Enjoy peony season (or any season!) in either Botanical Gardens or Nichols Arboretum.
  3. Fountains, flowers, and a feeling you’ve traveled back in time await at Cranbrook Gardens.
  4. Sports fans will love time traveling back to the days of early baseball. Check out a vintage baseball game!
  5. If you have a metro-parks pass, check out 250 acre Wolcott Farm, a working farm with a variety of animals.
  6. Another fun option if you have a metro-parks pass is the Farm Center at Kensington.
  7. Heritage Park features historic buildings and shops, a covered bridge over a catch and release fishing pond, and beautiful nature trails.
  8. Take a delicious tour of Sanders Choclate Factory (now Morley Candy Makers) in Clinton Township, and sample some sweets!
  9. Whether you’re a pro or throw mostly gutter balls, free summer bowling is fun for kids and adults!
  10. Have fun and get in a good work out with free roller skating during the summer!
  11. Twice a year, families can fish for free! More details can be found on the DNR website.


  1. Michael’s offers $2 Kids Club craft classes on Saturdays!

What else would you add to this list? What are your favorite free things to do with kids in metro-Detroit?


  1. Hi! Don’t forget Stage Nature Center in Troy, MI! We have nearly 1.5 miles of trails on our 100 acre preserve and they are always free! open to the public from dawn to dusk every day! visit our website for more information http://www.stagenaturecenter.org for info on our children’s programs and summer camps going on all summer!


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