November 06, 2020

20 things to do and see in the Detroit area before it gets insanely cold out

Not to use an overused quote from a TV show that is now off the air, which was used in an overused and now stale meme format, but winter is, in fact, coming. It's coming for all of us in Michigan, and while, at times, snow can be enjoyable, we must remember the Seasonal Affective Disorder that is in our very near future. But not all hope is lost. Decent weather is here to stay a bit longer, and goddamnit, and we are going to enjoy every fleeting moment as if it were the last time we are going to be able to leave the house because, oh yeah, this will be Michigan's first COVID-19 winter. Anyway, there are plenty of things you can do before it gets insanely cold out. Many of the following activities are outdoors but some require a warm state of mind and/or heart, while others are ice cream. That's it. One of these slides is literally “eat ice cream.” Excuse us, as it has been a long year, folks. Creativity is drying up just like a pair of chapped, winter-kissed lips. If we can't get out and enjoy the final throes of fall, that doesn't mean you shouldn't. We're fine here. In front of our computers. Everything is fine.

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Cranbrook Gardens
380 Long Pine Rd., Bloomfield Hills; 248-645-3149; housegardens.cranbrook.edu
Welcome to Hogwarts, er, we mean Cranbrook. Though many of Cranbrook’s facilities are currently open including the Cranbrook House, art museum, and Institute of Science, now is the time to soak in the stunning sites of Cranbrook’s grounds including the ever-so-dreamy Japanese Garden. Or how about the reflecting pond where you can reflect on how quickly summer and fall passed us by as well as what the heck to do with your useless and very expensive college degree. 
Photo via Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research/Facebook

Cranbrook Gardens

380 Long Pine Rd., Bloomfield Hills; 248-645-3149; housegardens.cranbrook.edu
Welcome to Hogwarts, er, we mean Cranbrook. Though many of Cranbrook’s facilities are currently open including the Cranbrook House, art museum, and Institute of Science, now is the time to soak in the stunning sites of Cranbrook’s grounds including the ever-so-dreamy Japanese Garden. Or how about the reflecting pond where you can reflect on how quickly summer and fall passed us by as well as what the heck to do with your useless and very expensive college degree.

Photo via Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research/Facebook
 Detroit Zoo 
8450 W. 10 Mile Rd., Royal Oak; 248-541-5717; detroitzoo.org
This year has been, for a lack of a better word, wild, hasn’t it? No? Oh, right. We’ve been caged up for months and we’re feeling downright feral.Take a walk on the wild side where the deer and antelope roam — the Detroit Zoo. Though some of the zoo’s indoor exhibits are unavailable for guests, why not soak up the last bits of decent weather with some furry, feathery and, uh, scaly friends?  
Photo via Patti Truesdell/Detroit Zoological Society

Detroit Zoo


8450 W. 10 Mile Rd., Royal Oak; 248-541-5717; detroitzoo.org
This year has been, for a lack of a better word, wild, hasn’t it? No? Oh, right. We’ve been caged up for months and we’re feeling downright feral.Take a walk on the wild side where the deer and antelope roam — the Detroit Zoo. Though some of the zoo’s indoor exhibits are unavailable for guests, why not soak up the last bits of decent weather with some furry, feathery and, uh, scaly friends?

Photo via Patti Truesdell/Detroit Zoological Society
 Ford Wyoming Drive-in
10400 Ford Rd., Dearborn; 313-846-6910; forddrivein.com
Man, do we miss movies. Obviously, at-home streaming services are great and all but nothing beats a big screen and the adrenaline from smuggling in snacks and booze past the usher as if you have just stolen the Declaration of Independence. (Oh, like you haven’t shoved a couple of Taco Bell crunch wraps under your arms and crotched a bottle of wine to watch a larger-than-life Margot Robbie … literally do anything?) Well, thank bloody hell for metro Detroit’s drive-in theaters, which are saving us from our quarantine doldrums. Though places like Ford Wyoming Drive-in is open as long as weather permits and sneaking food is encouraged, the final fall weather means we won’t have to crank our car’s heater thus reducing the likelihood of having a set of dry makeout lips. Isn’t that what drive-ins are for?
Photo by Austin Evans Eighmey

Ford Wyoming Drive-in


10400 Ford Rd., Dearborn; 313-846-6910; forddrivein.com
Man, do we miss movies. Obviously, at-home streaming services are great and all but nothing beats a big screen and the adrenaline from smuggling in snacks and booze past the usher as if you have just stolen the Declaration of Independence. (Oh, like you haven’t shoved a couple of Taco Bell crunch wraps under your arms and crotched a bottle of wine to watch a larger-than-life Margot Robbie … literally do anything?) Well, thank bloody hell for metro Detroit’s drive-in theaters, which are saving us from our quarantine doldrums. Though places like Ford Wyoming Drive-in is open as long as weather permits and sneaking food is encouraged, the final fall weather means we won’t have to crank our car’s heater thus reducing the likelihood of having a set of dry makeout lips. Isn’t that what drive-ins are for?

Photo by Austin Evans Eighmey
Glamp at Michigan State Parks
6573 State Park Rd., Caseville; 989-856-4411; ww2.dnr.state.mi.us
Ew, bugs. Ew, air. Ew, nature. If you’re someone who may not love the idea of sleeping or shitting on the ground, there are Michigan glamping spots, aka glamorous camping. Some Michigan State Parks have been paid a visit by the glamping fairy, including that of Sleeper State Park in Caseville, which is now equipped with select waterfront "Tentrr" sites. Each site has a spacious, safari-style, canvas-walled tent on a platform and includes a queen-size memory foam mattress on what is described as a “sturdy” bed frame, a propane stove, Adirondack chairs, a fire pit, a grill, and picnic tables with storage. The sites are near park facilities like showers and flush toilets. Guests will have to bring their own bedding, so don’t forget to pack your 200,000 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets, diva. 
Photo via Sleeper State Park/Facebook

Glamp at Michigan State Parks


6573 State Park Rd., Caseville; 989-856-4411; ww2.dnr.state.mi.us
Ew, bugs. Ew, air. Ew, nature. If you’re someone who may not love the idea of sleeping or shitting on the ground, there are Michigan glamping spots, aka glamorous camping. Some Michigan State Parks have been paid a visit by the glamping fairy, including that of Sleeper State Park in Caseville, which is now equipped with select waterfront "Tentrr" sites. Each site has a spacious, safari-style, canvas-walled tent on a platform and includes a queen-size memory foam mattress on what is described as a “sturdy” bed frame, a propane stove, Adirondack chairs, a fire pit, a grill, and picnic tables with storage. The sites are near park facilities like showers and flush toilets. Guests will have to bring their own bedding, so don’t forget to pack your 200,000 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets, diva.

Photo via Sleeper State Park/Facebook
Keep calm and eat ice cream 
We’re not sure why it is, but metro Detroit really likes ice cream. So much so that we’ve even made a round-up of all the area’s best custards, creams, and non-dairy treats, many of which are walk-up stands which may or may not be closing their doors at the first frost. But that certainly doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of year-round options to scream your cream dream. Don’t forget the Lactaid. 
Photo via Cook’s Dairy Farm/Facebook

Keep calm and eat ice cream


We’re not sure why it is, but metro Detroit really likes ice cream. So much so that we’ve even made a round-up of all the area’s best custards, creams, and non-dairy treats, many of which are walk-up stands which may or may not be closing their doors at the first frost. But that certainly doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of year-round options to scream your cream dream. Don’t forget the Lactaid.

Photo via Cook’s Dairy Farm/Facebook
Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum
1610 Washington Heights, Ann Arbor; 734-647-6700; mbgna.umich.edu
You might as well soak in some beauty before our landscape is converted into a slushy grey shithole and there is no better a place to soak in the sights than Matthei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum in Ann Arbor. In addition to the conservatory, the grounds offer scenic trails, gardens, exotic trees, sassy shrubs, and hidden dales, glens and other photogenic moments that will soon be covered by piles of that pesky cold and white stuff. 
Photo via Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum/Facebook
and hidden dales, glens and other photogenic moments that will soon be covered by piles of that pesky cold, wet  stuff. 
Photo via

Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum

1610 Washington Heights, Ann Arbor; 734-647-6700; mbgna.umich.edu
You might as well soak in some beauty before our landscape is converted into a slushy grey shithole and there is no better a place to soak in the sights than Matthei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum in Ann Arbor. In addition to the conservatory, the grounds offer scenic trails, gardens, exotic trees, sassy shrubs, and hidden dales, glens and other photogenic moments that will soon be covered by piles of that pesky cold and white stuff.

Photo via Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum/Facebook and hidden dales, glens and other photogenic moments that will soon be covered by piles of that pesky cold, wet stuff.

Photo via
Elmwood Cemetery
1200 Elmwood St., Detroit; 313-567-3453; elmwoodhistoriccemetary.org
If you’re looking for a chilling experience before shit gets chilly look no further than Detroit’s historic Elmwood Cemetery. Erected in 1846, Elmwood Cemetery is one of the most beautiful places to contemplate death, existence, the afterlife, and whether Jeffery Epstein killed himself or not. Anyway, while it may seem morbid to choose the resting place of many notable Michiganders, it is also one of the area’s most breathtaking retreats from city craziness complete with winding, tree-lined pathways. 
Photo via Google Maps

Elmwood Cemetery


1200 Elmwood St., Detroit; 313-567-3453;
elmwoodhistoriccemetary.org
If you’re looking for a chilling experience before shit gets chilly look no further than Detroit’s historic Elmwood Cemetery. Erected in 1846, Elmwood Cemetery is one of the most beautiful places to contemplate death, existence, the afterlife, and whether Jeffery Epstein killed himself or not. Anyway, while it may seem morbid to choose the resting place of many notable Michiganders, it is also one of the area’s most breathtaking retreats from city craziness complete with winding, tree-lined pathways.

Photo via Google Maps
Take your workout outside
Working out at home sucks. Or at least that’s our excuse. Because of you-know-who, many of our favorite yoga studios and fitness centers have been forced to take the calorie-burning, spirit-centering practices to the streets. And, let’s be real, it’s only a matter of time before we’re able to use cold weather as an excuse to not work out at all. Citizen Yoga, Detroit Body Garage, and Jabs Gym are among some of the centers offering outdoor classes, some of which are free.
Photo via Jabs Gym/Facebook

Take your workout outside


Working out at home sucks. Or at least that’s our excuse. Because of you-know-who, many of our favorite yoga studios and fitness centers have been forced to take the calorie-burning, spirit-centering practices to the streets. And, let’s be real, it’s only a matter of time before we’re able to use cold weather as an excuse to not work out at all. Citizen Yoga, Detroit Body Garage, and Jabs Gym are among some of the centers offering outdoor classes, some of which are free.

Photo via Jabs Gym/Facebook
Headlands Dark Sky Park 
15675 Headlands Rd Mackinaw City; 231-427-1001; midarkskypark.org
If one thing is true of 2020, it’s that shit has been dark. Very friggin’ dark. We don’t have to tell you all the reasons why this is true, but things are looking up. OK — so maybe things aren’t looking up but you can look up at Michigan's internationally designated dark sky park, one of just a few in the world. Sure, it’s a bit of a drive but autumn is an ideal time to take a longer-than-usual hike to visit Headlands Dark Sky Park where natural darkness is preserved and celebrated and where, during certain times a year, one can watch the Northern Lights dance. Because of COVID-19, however, they are limiting how many guests can stargaze at once, so be patient. After all, the sky isn’t going anywhere.
Photo via Headlands Dark Sky Park/Facebook

Headlands Dark Sky Park


15675 Headlands Rd Mackinaw City; 231-427-1001; midarkskypark.org
If one thing is true of 2020, it’s that shit has been dark. Very friggin’ dark. We don’t have to tell you all the reasons why this is true, but things are looking up. OK — so maybe things aren’t looking up but you can look up at Michigan's internationally designated dark sky park, one of just a few in the world. Sure, it’s a bit of a drive but autumn is an ideal time to take a longer-than-usual hike to visit Headlands Dark Sky Park where natural darkness is preserved and celebrated and where, during certain times a year, one can watch the Northern Lights dance. Because of COVID-19, however, they are limiting how many guests can stargaze at once, so be patient. After all, the sky isn’t going anywhere.

Photo via Headlands Dark Sky Park/Facebook
Take a hike! No, really!
4300 Main Park Rd., Shelby Twp. 
The drive to Stony Creek Metropark is just as scenic as the 4,461-acre park itself, which spans Washington, Oakland, and Shelby Townships with hills, mills, orchards, and wide-open spaces and fresh air. You do remember fresh air, don't you? What we're getting at is log the eff off and take in the scenery before it's covered in snow because, yeah, snow is coming. 
Ken Lund/Flickr Commons

Take a hike! No, really!


4300 Main Park Rd., Shelby Twp.
The drive to Stony Creek Metropark is just as scenic as the 4,461-acre park itself, which spans Washington, Oakland, and Shelby Townships with hills, mills, orchards, and wide-open spaces and fresh air. You do remember fresh air, don't you? What we're getting at is log the eff off and take in the scenery before it's covered in snow because, yeah, snow is coming.

Ken Lund/Flickr Commons