The NFL Draft in Detroit: What Families Can Do Downtown

A super exciting event is happening within our city of Detroit during this last week of April. We’re hosting the NFL Draft from April 25-27! The Draft itself is free, as are many of the activities, though you do need to sign up for attendance on the app. Each adult may sign up individually, as well as for their kids. So while I was able to sign up with my kids, my husband had to sign up separately. 

The Draft will be taking place at Hart Plaza and Campus Martius in downtown Detroit. And, kids activities will be taking place at Corner Ballpark in Corktown. Both locations are beautiful, not only for the fun downtown Detroit atmosphere coupled with all the sports happenings, but the weather is perfect this time of year to be downtown! 

Whether you’re from out of town or you’re a Detroit native, there is so much happening in our gorgeous city. Read on for some ideas of family-friendly places to visit in downtown Detroit, close to where the NFL Draft is taking place. 

Places for Fun Photo Ops

There are some incredible photo opportunities taking place because of the NFL Draft. At the Draft location fans young and old can take photos with the Vince Lombardi trophy along with many other fun football spots. Plus there are a myriad of other photo opportunities available. I can only imagine how fun these pictures are going to turn out!  

Hart Plaza itself has a lot of natural photo opportunities as well, including the gorgeous Detroit skyline. This beautiful background has made some of my family’s most picturesque photo backgrounds over the years. Hart Plaza is also located along the Detroit River, which boasts its own naturally beautiful scenery. 

This area is also close to Campus Martius, which is one of our personal favorite spots in the city. We love walking around among the hustle and bustle of this spot. It’s also been known to host some of the best seasonal and event activities. Right now it’s decorated both for spring and the NFL Draft. There are so many fun photo spots and walking destinations to snap some pictures! 

Places to Eat

One of the best things my family and I love to do in downtown Detroit is EAT! There is such a variety of cuisines and delicacies available. From date nights to family fun, there’s truly something for anybody at any time. Metro Detroit is a melting pot of cultures, and our cuisine definitely reflects this in a plethora of delicious food choices! 

Many local Detroit restaurants have amped up their food game in anticipation of all the Draft crowds attending. Detroit has been busy as of late getting ready for the upcoming crowds among the food scene. In fact, according to local news sources, it’s estimated that at least a dozen new restaurants have either opened brand new, or have expanded their spaces to accommodate! 

Some of my family’s favorites in the Hart Plaza area that I can count on my kids eating and loving are Cannelle Pastry, Chipotle, Andiamo, Buddy’s Pizza, Coney Islands, and a plethora of fast food, pizza, and coffee places. There’s definitely something kids of all ages will find! 

There are also a ton of food trucks that are going to be available near the Draft locations. From right outside Hart Plaza, to around the parks and districts surrounding, dozens of food truck vendors can be found. Many are locally owned by favorite Metro Detroit restaurants! More information about this can be found in the NFL Draft app or on their website

If you’re looking for a date night spot before or after the Draft, some of my and my husband’s favorite restaurants include The Apparatus Room, Selden Standard, Andiamo, Maru Sushi, Leila, Shewolf Detroit, and Joe Muer Seafood.  

Draft-Related Activities

My kids and I will be catching all the kids activities that are taking place for the Draft that weekend. Some things we plan to do are see the Lombardi trophy, as well as many of the sports and football activities they have going on. More information with exact times and locations of all the kids events can be found on their website. We’re so excited for all the fun things coming! 

Other Places to Play

Besides just being there to play and hang at the NFL Draft in Detroit, maybe you’re also looking for other family-friendly places to hang out while you’re here? Perhaps you want to take your kiddos to see more of what Detroit has to offer besides just an incredible food scene, gorgeous scenery, and masses of football fans?

There is so much to do in downtown Detroit that boredom won’t even be an option! Which is perfect for Draft weekend, which takes place over multiple days. My kids love visiting the Michigan Science Center—which was actually voted one of the top ten museums in the country by USA Today this year! If you have little art lovers you could also visit the Detroit Institute of Arts next door. If you want to catch another favorite Detroit sport outside of football, head over to Comerica Park where the Detroit Tigers will also be playing during the same weekend! 

My family and I also plan on catching the music and entertainment that has been prepared for the Draft weekend. There are many musicians and entertainers planning to perform in the “Draft Theater”, a special stage that has been erected in Campus Martius specifically for the Draft itself. More information with exact times and performers can be found on their website. Some of the performers are local Detroit favorites! It should also be noted that viewing is limited to a first-come basis.

The Detroit NFL Draft experience promises to be one of the highlights of the year. Whether you catch the Draft, or the surrounding activities and local adventures downtown Detroit has to offer, the weekend is sure to be a super fun and memorable one!

Thinking of heading to Corktown during the NFL Draft in Detroit? Annie shares a guide to the area and includes her best options for a date night or family-friendly day!


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