16 Ways to Have Fun During July in Metro Detroit

Think fireworks, outdoor music, water slides, and art fairs

July brings warm, humid days and long, balmy nights to the Metro-Detroit area. The month is also characterized by fireworks, music festivals, and marathons. The ultimate symbol of the season, though, is the Ann Arbor Art Fair. To help you plan your fun this July, here are some great, typically Detroit things to fill those sweltering days.

  • 01 of 16
    Detroit fireworks
    ••• Mike Kline (notkalvin) / Getty Images

    Nothing says summer like an explosion of colored lights, flames, stars, and crackles orchestrated by a professional. Michigan's largest fireworks display is Ford Fireworks, which lit up the sky above the Detroit RiverWalk on June 26. But there are plenty of other professional fireworks displays, before and after July 4, all over the Metro Detroit

     

  • 02 of 16
    Ann Arbor Summer Festival
    ••• VasenkaPhotography / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

    The Ann Arbor Summer Festival 2017, which takes place June 9 through July 2, celebrates the season with three weeks of circus and street arts, dance, comedy, music, film, and great summer food. Some 35 individual singers and music groups performed in the Top of the Park series, headlined by best-selling jazz artist Diana Krall, who kicked off the summer festival on June 6. Public radio fans geeked out over an appearance by Ira Glass, popular longtime host of the radio magazine program This American Life.

    The Ann Arbor Summer Festival calls itself an independent voice "dedicated to presenting a world-class celebration of arts and entertainment that enriches the cultural, economic, and social vitality of the region." That it does.

    For more details about the festival, email info@a2sf.org.

    Festival Office: 310 Depot Street, 
    Ann Arbor, Michigan 48104
    Ticket Office: (734) 764-2538

  • 03 of 16
    detroit july 4 concert
    ••• Salute to America symphony concert. Deb Nystrom / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

    There's plenty to do in Metro Detroit over this iconic holiday weekend celebration. In addition to multiple free fireworks displays, there are also festivals, parades, concerts, shows, picnics, and more. 

  • 04 of 16
    ElvisFest
    ••• Courtesy of Michigan ElvisFest Ypsilanti

    This loving homage to The King is on July 7 and 8 this year. From the first to the last act, Michigan ElvisFest is a true concert with spectacular performances by the best professional Elvis tribute artists in North America. The Chicago Tribune calls it "one of the best music festivals in the Midwest."  

    Not only does it showcase artists in live musical performances and impersonations, it also serves as a venue for the average Joe to dress up and play The King for a day. The festival, held at Riverside Park in Ypsilanti's Historic Depot Town, also features food, drink, and classic cars.

    Buy tickets online or at the gate.

     

     

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  • 05 of 16
    Plymouth Art in the Park
    ••• Courtesy of Plymouth Art in the Park

    Plymouth's Art in the Park has grown to rival Ann Arbor's, making it the second largest art festival in the state. Some 400 artists from around the U.S. offer paintings, sculpture, ceramics, jewelry, fiber, glass, woodwork, photography, folk art and much more at the festival.  

    In addition to the art and crafts showcased, Art in the Park features musical artists, kids activities, entertainment and great summer food.

  • 06 of 16
    Ann Arbor Art Fair
    ••• Courtesy of Ann Arbor Art Fair

    The Ann Arbor Art Fair, the centerpiece of Ann Arbor's summer returns July 20–23 with its 58th edition, bringing thousands of art lovers to the city's downtown.

     The Ann Arbor Art Fair is actually a composite of four different fairs held in different areas of downtown Ann Arbor. In addition to arts and crafts, the fair has live music, street performances, and art workshops.

    A Townie* Street Party with live music from area bands, food and drink from the townie pub kicks off the event on July 17.

    *For the uninitiated, "townie" is what college students call the permanent residents of the town where they study, an apt reference for Ann Arbor, which is home to the sprawling University of Michigan.

  • 07 of 16
    Bayview Mackinac Race
    ••• Courtesy of Bell's Beer

    The nearly century-old Bayview Mackinac Race on July 22, is one of only two large freshwater sailboat races in the world. More than 200 boats sail from Port Huron's Lakeside Park (a good place to watch the race) north of Detroit through Lake Huron to Mackinac Island at the northern tip of Michigan. Watching the race is free to the general public.

    The event kicks off July 19–22 at Blue Water Fest 2017 in Port Huron, where you can see a magnificent display of the racing sailboats lined up in advance of the Bayview Mackinac Race.

  • 08 of 16
    Saint Clair Riverfest and River Classic Offshore Powerboat Race
    ••• Courtesy of St. Clair's Riverfest

    St. Clair Riverfest 2017 and the River Classic Offshore Powerboat Race takes off July 28–30 in downtown St. Clair, Michigan. Watch the explosive action as powerboats race down the St. Clair in different classes as part of the Great Lakes Silver Cup Series and the Offshore Super Series. Organizers will keep fans informed about the status of the race.

    Alongside the race, hospitality tents, family-friendly activities, music, games and live entertainment will line the river. Big-name bands will regale the crowds from the St. Clair stage:

    • Skid Row on July 28
    • The Guess Who on July 29

    For more information, call 810-987-8687 or 800-852-4242 toll free.

    Continue to 9 of 16 below.
  • 09 of 16
    Vans Warped Tour Michigan
    ••• Chelsea Lauren/Getty Images

    Vans Warped Tour sponsored by the BMX/Skateboarding manufacturer Vans and other companies, stops this year on July 21 at The Palace of Auburn Hills. It features extreme sports merchandise and contests, as well as more than 60 bands, from Futuristic and Street Dogs to Attila and Jule Vera.

     

  • 10 of 16
    Concours D'Elegance
    ••• Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

    The 39th annual Concours d' Elegance takes place on July 30, 2017, beginning at the Inn at St. John's, Plymouth. The idea has morphed over the years, but the Concours d'Elegance at St. John's still features luxury collector cars, about $90 million worth. Addendum events include a motoring tour in vintage cars on July 28, an Italian date night on July 29, a vintage car auction, and many seminars. 

    The Concours d’Elegance of America originated at Oakland University’s Meadow Brook Hall, the historic home of Matilda Dodge Wilson, widow of automotive pioneer John Dodge. In 2011, this world-class event moved to the beautiful grounds of the Inn at St. John’s in historic Plymouth, Michigan.

  • 11 of 16
    Maker Faire
    ••• prettyemmy / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

    Maker Faire 2017, July 29 and 30, is a festival of sorts that showcases local inventors and arts-crafts-science enthusiasts. The idea started in San Mateo, California, but spread nationally in 2010 as a "wild two-day spectacle of maker inventions and creations at the home of American innovation," as organizers put it. The fair is located in the parking lot of The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn. Several related exhibits are also in various places inside the museum itself. 

  • 12 of 16
    St. Clair Metropark
    ••• Courtesy of Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority

    Detroit, Michigan's largest city, is situated on the Detroit River, which connects Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair, opposite Windsor, Ontario. 

    Downtown Detroit has RiverWalk, a wide, cement pathway for biking, skating, and walking with the Detroit River bordering one side and a greenway on the other. 

    But the real draw is the amazing number of park swimming holes and beaches, including the gorgeous, fine-sand kind along the Great Lakes. Either in the city itself or the metropolitan region, there are plenty of parks with rolling lawns of green, forested preserves, and playgrounds. Note that most beaches and parks in the Metro Detroit area require some kind of vehicle-entry permit.

    Michigan as a whole is blessed with great sandy beaches and grassy dunes, thanks to its geographic location bordering four Great Lakes, from east to west: Lake Erie, Lake Huron, Lake Michigan, and Lake Superior.

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  • 13 of 16
    Kensington Metro Park
    ••• Courtesy of Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority

    If natural ponds and lakes don't provide enough excitement for you this summer, check out the many Detroit-area water parks and slides in the city itself and the suburbs. They're open throughout the summer.

  • 14 of 16
    Detroit Tigers July 4
    ••• Former and current military personnel stand on the field to honor Independence Day prior to the Fourth of July game between the Detroit Tigers and the San Francisco Giants at Comerica Park on July 4, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. The Tigers defeated the Giants 5-3. Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images

    The Tigers battle it out in July 2017 against the Indians, the Giants, the Blue Jays, the Royals, the Twins, the Astros, and the Yankees. On July 11, the Tigers go to the 88th annual All-Star Game, at Marlins Park. Then there are home games at Detroit's Comerica Park on July 24, 25, 26 (versus the Royals) and 28, 29, 30 (versus the Astros). Refer to the July schedule online to see the multiple promotions available and to buy tickets.

  • 15 of 16
    Detroit Institute of Arts
    ••• Deb Perry / Getty Images

    The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) is always brimming with tours for adults and children, events, films, exhibits, and music, all of which is that much more pleasant in the wake of six and a half years of renovations. (The renewed DIA opened its doors in 2007 to show off a new design and new galleries. )

    Notable exhibitions in July 2017 include:

    • Art of Rebellion: Black Art of the Civil Rights Movement, July 23–Oct. 22, 2017
    • D-Cyphered: [Photographic] Portraits by Jenny Risher, Aug. 4, 2017–Feb. 18, 2018
  • 16 of 16
    Wayne Kramer
    ••• Wayne Kramer performs during the 21st Concert of Colors, 2013. Paul Warner/Getty Images

    At any given time during the summer, the Detroit area hosts a massive variety of shows and classical, jazz and rock music concerts; Broadway plays; comedy shows; county fairs; and dance events.