Things to Do in Detroit on Thanksgiving Weekend

Fun events planned for 2017

Whether you are visiting family in Detroit for Thanksgiving this year or the city is your hometown, it is never too early to start planning the holiday weekend. Fun things to do in Detroit during Thanksgiving weekend include concerts, musicals, sports, and expos. 

Keep in mind that Detroit is famous for mixing things up ​weather-wise, which means you can never rule out temperatures in the 70s and/or snow over the holiday weekend. That being said, if you are from out of town, you should pack for what is typical: temperatures around 40 degrees. 

  • 01 of 05

    Holiday Events and Activities

    Turkey Trot
    Turkey Trot. © Phil Roeder

    There are several Thanksgiving-related events scheduled in the metropolitan area, including Detroit's Turkey Trot (featuring the 10K Turkey Trot and 5K Stuffing Strut) and America's Thanksgiving Parade, one of the country's largest and most impressive parades.

    As might be expected, Thanksgiving also marks the beginning of the holiday season and cold-weather activities. The ​Rink at Campus Martius Park opens its gates Turkey Day weekend, offering ice skating for the entire family in the heart of downtown. The illuminated trees set the stage for a winter wonderland.

    Earlier in the month, the Detroit Zoo kicks off its annual Wild Lights, where more than five million LED lights illuminate the buildings, trees, and sculptures throughout the front of the zoo. Tickets are required.

  • 02 of 05


    Detroit Lions play their Thanksgiving game against the Miami Dolphins, 2006
    Al Messerschmidt / Getty Images

    Thanksgiving wouldn't be Thanksgiving if the Detroit Lions didn't play football. Since 1934, the Thanksgiving Day Classic has been held in Detroit. Tickets may be hard to come by, but attending the game is a fun way to bring some tradition to your holiday weekend. 

    If basketball is more your thing, cheer on Detroit's men's college team, the Titans, Saturday at Calihan Hall. Also, check the Detroit Pistons website for its current schedule.

    Or, if you're ready for the ice, head over to Little Caesars Arena—the Detroit Red Wings will match play a Saturday match-up.

  • 03 of 05
    The colosseum at Caesars Windsor
    Laura Sternberg

    There are several concerts in and around the Detroit area over the Thanksgiving weekend. If you love live music, here are a few featured artists.

    • Joe Bonamassa: November 24 at the Fox Theatre
    • Detroit Symphony Orchestra: The Music of Queen conducted by Brent Havens: November 25 and 26 at the Detroit Symphony Orchestra Hall 
    • Jeff Daniels: November 25  at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor, Michigan
    • Cannibal Corpse: November 25 at Saint Andrews Hall
    • Maxïmo Park: November 26 at The Magic Stick at The Majestic Theatre

  • 04 of 05
    Dorothy and Friends in the "The Wizard of Oz"
    Photo © Joan Marcus

    Taking in a show is another option over the holiday weekend. Detroit offers several venues where you can enjoy a play or musical. A few offerings include:

    • "Momma's Boy": November 22, 24–26 at the Fisher Theatre
    • "The Wizard of Oz": November 25 and 26 at the Fox Theatre
    • "Pike Street": November 24–26 at Allesee Rehearsal Hall 
    • "A Christmas Carol": November 24​–26 at Meadow Brook Theatre
    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05
    Shopping at International Gem & Jewelry Show
    International Gem & Jewelry Show / flickr

    The ​International Gem & Jewelry Show features an array of exotic gems, jewelry, and beads from hundreds of exhibitors. You may even find an item previously owned by a celebrity—who knows? The expo takes place November 24–26 at the Southfield Municipal Complex Pavilion in Southfield, Michigan.

    Sports Trade Shows: Gibraltar Trade Center in Mount Clemens hosts the Sports Cards Collectibles Show over the holiday weekend.