September 02, 2019

25 things to do in Michigan before the 'polar coaster' arrives

Here we go again. The 2020 Farmers’ Almanac’s extended weather forecast has predicted an upcoming "polar coaster winter" that will affect the majority of the country — including those in the Great Lakes region. In light of this, it's time to scramble and do some of our favorite warm-weather activities one last time before the "freezing, frigid, and frosty" winter sets in.

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Stroll the Cranbrook House and Gardens.
The Cranbrook House and Gardens in Bloomfield Hills combines a stunning example of Arts and Crafts architecture designed by Albert Kahn and an eclectic set of gardens laid out over 40 acres by the house’s first owner, George Booth. Highlights of the 20 distinct gardens include the Japanese garden, reflecting pool, herb garden, and sunken garden. The gardens are open May through October, and the house hosts seasonally themed tours throughout the year.
Photo via  Cranbrook House and Gardens / Facebook

Stroll the Cranbrook House and Gardens.

The Cranbrook House and Gardens in Bloomfield Hills combines a stunning example of Arts and Crafts architecture designed by Albert Kahn and an eclectic set of gardens laid out over 40 acres by the house’s first owner, George Booth. Highlights of the 20 distinct gardens include the Japanese garden, reflecting pool, herb garden, and sunken garden. The gardens are open May through October, and the house hosts seasonally themed tours throughout the year.

Photo via Cranbrook House and Gardens / Facebook
Go to the drive-in.
Drive-in movies are a fall staple, and luckily the Detroit area has multiple venues to choose from. Ford-Wyoming Drive-In in Dearborn dates to 1951 and boasts 5 screens, while the Compuware Arena Drive-In hosts 3 screens in Plymouth. Other options include the Capri Drive-In Theater in Coldwater and the US-23 Drive-in Theater near Flint. The theaters all show first-run movies, offering the perfect opportunity to catch a new release while enjoying a brisk fall evening. 
Photo via  Austin Evans Eighmey

Go to the drive-in.

Drive-in movies are a fall staple, and luckily the Detroit area has multiple venues to choose from. Ford-Wyoming Drive-In in Dearborn dates to 1951 and boasts 5 screens, while the Compuware Arena Drive-In hosts 3 screens in Plymouth. Other options include the Capri Drive-In Theater in Coldwater and the US-23 Drive-in Theater near Flint. The theaters all show first-run movies, offering the perfect opportunity to catch a new release while enjoying a brisk fall evening.

  Photo via Austin Evans Eighmey
Rent a tiki boat.
What’s kitschy and relaxing and thatched all over? A ride from Aloha Tiki Tours down the Detroit River or Lake St. Clair. Bring your own food and drinks for a two-hour excursion on one of their signature round, tiki-themed boats. Captain and a bluetooth speaker provided! This Polynesian-themed adventure is unlike any other floating tour in the Detroit area.
Photo via  Noah Elliott Morrison

Rent a tiki boat.

What’s kitschy and relaxing and thatched all over? A ride from Aloha Tiki Tours down the Detroit River or Lake St. Clair. Bring your own food and drinks for a two-hour excursion on one of their signature round, tiki-themed boats. Captain and a bluetooth speaker provided! This Polynesian-themed adventure is unlike any other floating tour in the Detroit area.

Photo via Noah Elliott Morrison
Go hiking.
The Detroit area is packed with nature preserves and trails that explode with seasonal color come autumn. Highlights include North Bay Trail in Ypsilanti, which contains fishing areas and a boardwalk, the views of the St. Clair River from Algonac State Park in Marine City, and the floating bog at Waterloo Recreation Center in Cedar Lake. For dog owners, the Lyon Oaks County Park offers a 13-acre fenced-in park as well as six miles of trails. Rolling Hills Park in Ypsilanti is beautiful and handicap-accessible, and Bald Eagle-Blue Heron Hike is the perfect spot to go bird watching. Check out a round up of the best hiking spots here.
Photo via  Photo via Instagram user @moment_capt_by_pj

Go hiking.

The Detroit area is packed with nature preserves and trails that explode with seasonal color come autumn. Highlights include North Bay Trail in Ypsilanti, which contains fishing areas and a boardwalk, the views of the St. Clair River from Algonac State Park in Marine City, and the floating bog at Waterloo Recreation Center in Cedar Lake. For dog owners, the Lyon Oaks County Park offers a 13-acre fenced-in park as well as six miles of trails. Rolling Hills Park in Ypsilanti is beautiful and handicap-accessible, and Bald Eagle-Blue Heron Hike is the perfect spot to go bird watching. Check out a round up of the best hiking spots here.

Photo via Photo via Instagram user @moment_capt_by_pj
Catch a sports game.
While the Tigers are approaching 2003-level losses this season, Comerica Park is still the best place to catch a baseball game. Settle in with one of the new concession offerings (Coney dog-stuffed egg roll, anyone?) and cheer on the home team. If soccer is more your speed, the Detroit City FC is playing at Keyworth Stadium in Hamtramck until mid-October. History buffs will find the stadium particularly interesting, since it was the first Works Progress Administration project in Michigan and was opened by former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt as part of his re-election campaign in 1936. 
Photo via  Jon Deboer / DCFC

Catch a sports game.

While the Tigers are approaching 2003-level losses this season, Comerica Park is still the best place to catch a baseball game. Settle in with one of the new concession offerings (Coney dog-stuffed egg roll, anyone?) and cheer on the home team. If soccer is more your speed, the Detroit City FC is playing at Keyworth Stadium in Hamtramck until mid-October. History buffs will find the stadium particularly interesting, since it was the first Works Progress Administration project in Michigan and was opened by former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt as part of his re-election campaign in 1936.

  Photo via Jon Deboer / DCFC
Tour the murals at Eastern Market.
Of the hundreds of murals in Detroit, some of the most vibrant can be found in the Eastern Market area. In addition to fresh food, produce, and handcrafted art pieces, Eastern Market is adorned with a variety of murals by local artists. In September, Eastern Market holds the Murals in the Market festival, a week-long celebration of public art that includes a block party, parade, international music festival, and other cultural events. Over 25 artists will descend on the area to create new murals, display sculptures and other installation art, and discuss the importance of public art to the culture of the city. 
Photo via  Courtesy of 1xRun

Tour the murals at Eastern Market.

Of the hundreds of murals in Detroit, some of the most vibrant can be found in the Eastern Market area. In addition to fresh food, produce, and handcrafted art pieces, Eastern Market is adorned with a variety of murals by local artists. In September, Eastern Market holds the Murals in the Market festival, a week-long celebration of public art that includes a block party, parade, international music festival, and other cultural events. Over 25 artists will descend on the area to create new murals, display sculptures and other installation art, and discuss the importance of public art to the culture of the city.

  Photo via Courtesy of 1xRun
Go to a dog park. 
Take your dog to a park designed for maximum fun. Dearborn Dog Park is outfitted with two separate parks (one for small dogs, one for big dogs), as well as a playground just for canines. Ferndale Dog Park is equipped with urine-resistant plants and dog-accessible water fountains, while Orion Oaks Dog Park has a dog-only lake. 
Photo via Shutterstock

Go to a dog park.

  Take your dog to a park designed for maximum fun. Dearborn Dog Park is outfitted with two separate parks (one for small dogs, one for big dogs), as well as a playground just for canines. Ferndale Dog Park is equipped with urine-resistant plants and dog-accessible water fountains, while Orion Oaks Dog Park has a dog-only lake.

Photo via Shutterstock
Grab a drink (and some rooftop views).
The Monarch Club, which opened on May 11, has panoramic views of the Detroit skyline from the 13th floor of the ornate, Gothic-style Metropolitan Building. Located near Grand Circus Park, the Monarch Club has an indoor area as well as three outdoor patios looking out over Comerica Park and Woodward Avenue. The menu includes inventive twists on classic cocktails (plus the drink of the summer, an Aperol spritz) as well as beer and wine. The selection of appetizers and dishes includes thoughtfully reimagined classics such as meatballs with micro basil, cauliflower steak, and brisket sliders. 
Photo via  Tom Perkins

Grab a drink (and some rooftop views).

The Monarch Club, which opened on May 11, has panoramic views of the Detroit skyline from the 13th floor of the ornate, Gothic-style Metropolitan Building. Located near Grand Circus Park, the Monarch Club has an indoor area as well as three outdoor patios looking out over Comerica Park and Woodward Avenue. The menu includes inventive twists on classic cocktails (plus the drink of the summer, an Aperol spritz) as well as beer and wine. The selection of appetizers and dishes includes thoughtfully reimagined classics such as meatballs with micro basil, cauliflower steak, and brisket sliders.

  Photo via Tom Perkins
Take a road trip.
Before the roads get icy, head out for a road trip and stop by some of Michigan’s  most unusual roadside attractions. Off M-68 in Indian River is the world’s biggest crucifix, standing thirty feet tall and weighing nearly seven tons. While you’re Up North, Traverse City hosts the world’s largest pie tin, and Da Yooper Tourist Trap in the Upper Peninsula has both the world’s largest working chainsaw as well as the world’s largest working rifle. Other attractions include a replica Eiffel Tower made out of bed frames and 25.5-foot statue of Paul Bunyan. 
Photo via  Daniel Morda / Facebook

Take a road trip.

Before the roads get icy, head out for a road trip and stop by some of Michigan’s most unusual roadside attractions. Off M-68 in Indian River is the world’s biggest crucifix, standing thirty feet tall and weighing nearly seven tons. While you’re Up North, Traverse City hosts the world’s largest pie tin, and Da Yooper Tourist Trap in the Upper Peninsula has both the world’s largest working chainsaw as well as the world’s largest working rifle. Other attractions include a replica Eiffel Tower made out of bed frames and 25.5-foot statue of Paul Bunyan.

  Photo via Daniel Morda / Facebook
Stop by a pool. 
The Detroit area has no shortage of pools to take advantage of before cold weather arrives. Waterford Oaks Waterpark in Waterford Township provides a variety of attractions, including a small faux beach, a wave pool, and an aquatic playground. For a more elegant experience, the MGM Detroit is a glassy indoor oasis with cabana-style seating. Pier Park in Grosse Pointe Farms is a well-maintained option, while the Family Aquatic Center at Chandler Woods holds the title of Wayne County’s largest waterpark.  
Photo via  Family Aquatic Center at Chandler Park / Facebook

Stop by a pool.

  The Detroit area has no shortage of pools to take advantage of before cold weather arrives. Waterford Oaks Waterpark in Waterford Township provides a variety of attractions, including a small faux beach, a wave pool, and an aquatic playground. For a more elegant experience, the MGM Detroit is a glassy indoor oasis with cabana-style seating. Pier Park in Grosse Pointe Farms is a well-maintained option, while the Family Aquatic Center at Chandler Woods holds the title of Wayne County’s largest waterpark.

  Photo via Family Aquatic Center at Chandler Park / Facebook