Weather in Detroit: Climate, Seasons, and Average Monthly Temperature

Detroit Aerial Panorama
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Blessed with a four-season climate, Detroit—one of America’s most northern metropolises—offers beautiful shoulder seasons in spring and fall. You’ll find fewer crowds at museums and attractions and you won't have to worry about sweating or freezing. Winter in Detroit can be intense, but don’t be scared off by the cold. Just like in cities such as Chicago and New York City, locals have navigated these blustery conditions for decades and you can, too, if you’re wearing the right clothes (read: layers and a puffy jacket). Winter is also usually when Detroit’s museums host world-class exhibits.

Summer is also a vibrant time to visit Detroit as this is when Michigan’s largest city (around 673,000 residents) comes alive with festivals and other events, plus the parks’ flowers and trees are at their most colorful state. Restaurants add outdoor seating on sidewalks and patios. And you can easily find a free outdoor concert nearly every night of the week.

  • Hottest Month: July (73 degrees F / 23 degrees C)
  • Coldest Month: January (25 degrees F / -4 degrees C)
  • Wettest Month: June (3.5 inches)

Winter in Detroit

With rock-bottom hotel rates and the fact that Detroit Metro Airport (DTW) is a major airline hub for Delta Airlines, you just might score a winter trip at a fraction of what you’d pay during the summer. A winter trip to Detroit will include mostly indoor activities but the city has a staggering number of museums and indoor cultural attractions, not to mention the burgeoning farm-to-table movement and all those chic new boutique hotels. Another perk is that you won’t have throngs of tourists. If you’re into winter sports, such as Nordic cross-country skiing, this is the best season to visit, with sporting opportunities in the Detroit metro area as well as day trips.

Take note of the Detroit Pistons’ (Detroit’s NBA team) and Detroit Red Wings’ (Detroit’s NHL team) home schedules as the influx of fans into the city can seriously increase hotel rates.

What to Pack: Don’t even think about going outside without a hat and gloves. You can probably do without a scarf if you’re walking outside and skip the face mask unless the wind chill is super low. A puffy, packable, winter jacket is ideal.

Average Temperatures by Month

December: 35 degrees F / 23 degrees F (2 degrees C / -5 degrees C)

January: 31 degrees F / 17 degrees F (-1 degree C / -8 degrees C)

February: 33 degrees F / 19 degrees F (1 degree C / -7 degrees C)

Spring in Detroit

Because winter can be brutal some years, Detroiters live for spring—and it shows. This is when daffodils poke out of the ground, knitwear is swapped out for floral patterns, and some of the city’s most stunning outdoor spaces really come alive. Fortunately, spring is also before crowds converge on Detroit, so you can enjoy museum galleries without elbowing your way through and even take a long walk in some of the most eclectic neighborhoods. If you can, avoid graduation weekends at local universities and colleges (including Wayne State University), as well as dining pretty much anywhere on Mother’s Day.

What to Pack: The Midwest, including Detroit, gets a lot of rain during spring. Showers can last for hours, unlike sporadic rain you’ll find in Florida or another tropical climate, and it’s not uncommon to experience snow through the first week of April. Definitely pack an umbrella, a purse or tote that zippers or snaps shut, and a water-resistant jacket or raincoat. Layers are key as temperature swings—sometimes within the same day—are practically guaranteed. Most hotels can lend out umbrellas but a small one to be on the safe side.

Average Temperatures by Month

March: 44 degrees F / 28 degrees F (6 degrees C / -2 degrees C)

April: 57 degrees F / 38 degrees F (14 degrees C / 3 degrees C)

May: 69 degrees F / 48 degrees F (20 degrees C / 9 degrees C)

Summer in Detroit

If you can swing a trip to Detroit during the summer you’ll never regret it. This is when the city comes alive. However, this season—particularly in July and August—is often accompanied by a heavy dose of humidity. Bring water with you wherever you go and stay hydrated, just in case. But just as every travel decision has a pro and con, the negative aspect here is that you’ll have to fight crowds during the summer in Detroit. With schools out of session, Detroit’s cultural institutions and attractions are a draw for both locals and visitors. But there is also much more to do than during the winter months. Book hotel and flights early if you want to save money.

What to Pack: Thin, breathable cotton clothing to wear during the day with a long-sleeve shirt or cardigan at night in case it’s chilly (particularly in June). You’ll be walking a lot—as any Detroit resident does this time of year—so comfortable walking shoes are crucial.

Average Temperatures by Month

June: 79 degrees F / 58 degrees F (26 degrees C / 15 degrees C)

July: 83 degrees F / 63 degrees F (28 degrees C / 17 degrees C)

August: 81 degrees F / 61 degrees F (27 degrees C / 16 degrees C)

Fall in Detroit

Every image you have of a Midwestern autumn—think stunning foliage and crisp, cool nights—is exactly what you’ll find in Detroit each fall. Temperatures can swing wildly, with September feeling like an Indian summer (and often warmer than June) and November sometimes welcoming the first snowfall. 

During the fall months, keep apprised of football schedules for the Detroit Lions (Detroit’s NFL team) because during home games—usually on a Sunday, Monday, or Thursday—the city can jam up with fans. If you adore craft beer, Detroit hosts quite a few craft-beer festivals each fall, including the Detroit Fall Beer Festival, a testament to the prolific number of Michigan breweries.

November can appear bleak, especially after daylight-savings time kicks in, and is a less preferred option than September or October.

What to Pack: Similar to spring, layers are your friend. Ditch the open-toe shoes and resist the idea to go sock-less (unless it’s a warm September day) and wear a medium-weight jacket (it’s okay to save a down jacket for the winter if you’re layered underneath). A hat feels great on a cool September or October night but a scarf and mittens may not yet be necessary.

Average Temperatures by Month

September: 73 degrees F / 54 degrees F (23 degrees C / 12 degrees C)

October: 73 degrees F / 43 degrees F (23 degrees C / 6 degrees C)

November: 45 degrees F / 34 degrees F (7 degrees C / 1 degree C)

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