Summer in Detroit: Movies and Music Under the Stars

Weekly and Special Events All Season Long

Detroit Skyline
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The great thing about living in the Detroit area is that that a typical winter makes you appreciate the summer. A lot. After the snow, ice and generally cold weather of winter, Detroiters just want to bask in balmy summer nights. And there are plenty of free things to do to lure locals outside and keep them entertained while they are out there. Here's a list of the pick of the crop in Detroit for summer 2017. These are all in the downtown area; many suburbs in the Detroit area also put on summer concerts and show movies. 

Downtown Detroit Parks

Check out these live music events and movie screenings in Detroit's downtown parks, where you'll be surrounded by skyscrapers, monuments, gardens, fountains. And food and drinks are always on offer.

Campus Martius Park

  • Faygo Movie Night in the D: Movies on are shown on the big screen every Saturday night in July and August. Some of the titles for summer 2017 are "Hidden Figures," "Rogue One," "LaLa Land," "Lion," and "Sing." Bring your own blanket or lawn chair. No outside food is allowed, but snacks and drinks are available.
  • Fourth Friday Concert featuring Eddie Money:  Friday, July 28, 8 to 11 p.m. The Detroit band The Rockets opens the show. This concert is part of the Great Lakes Food Art and Music Festival.
  • Detroit Garlic & Music Festival: Friday, Aug. 25, noon to 11 p.m.
  • 38th Annual Detroit Jazz Festival: Labor Day weekend, Sept. 1 through Sept. 4, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. The world's largest free jazz festival welcomes saxophonist Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, DeeDee Bridgewater, Donny McCaslin, Regina Carter, and Kamasi Washington, among many others. Hart Plaza in Campus Martius Park on four stages.

Beacon Park
Beacon Park is a brand-spanking new park in west-central Detroit, with a grand opening July 20 through July 23. Special events for the grand opening:

  • Lord Huron music concert:  Friday, July 21, 8 p.m. to midnight
  • Gospel Brunch with Bishop Marvin Sapp, Sunday, July 23, noon to 3 p.m 
  • Special screening of "Back to the Future": Sunday, July 23, 6:30 p.m. Pre-movie concert with Sphinx Nonet.  Movie Music Spectacular with the  Michigan Philharmonic Orchestra, 3 p.m. 

Grand Circus Park

Summer Street Eats and Sounds:  Grab dinner from food trucks Thursdays from 4 to 10 p.m. and catch pianists and vocal duos from 7 to 9 p.m. July through Aug. 24. (Except July 27)

Michigan Opera Theater Summer Serenade: Food trucks for dinner and Detroit opera stars for entertainment. July 27; food trucks are there from 4 to 10 p.m.; opera stars perform from 7 to 9 p.m.

New Center Park

New Center Park, at 2998 West Grand Boulevard, is at the corner of Second Avenue and West Grand Boulevard.  The parking lot, which is just west of the park on West Grand, is open and free during movie showings. Free movies are screened throughout the summer on various nights. Check the website for the nightly schedule. Most showings begin at 8 p.m.; if there is a double feature, the first movie usually begins at 6:30 p.m., but check the schedule for specific times since they can vary. The park has bar and grill, so you can picnic while you watch. New Center Park provides chairs or you can bring your own blanket.

Rockin' on the Riverfront

These free classic rock concerts happen every Friday night starting July 14 and run through Aug. 18 on the Detroit RiverWalk on GM Plaza. The shows run from 7:30 to 10 p.m. The 2017 lineup features Night Ranger, George Thorogood and the Destroyers, Loverboy, Gin Blossoms, 38 Special and Everclear. Parking at St. Antoine and Atwater streets is $5; credit cards only.

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