5 Outdoorsy Things to Do in Detroit

When you think of Detroit you often don’t think of natural sites and green spaces. Visions of factories spewing smoke come to mind, but Detroit is in Michigan: a state known for pristine beaches and lovely public land. While you might have to head further out of the city center to experience Michigan’s true natural beauty, Detroit and its surrounding areas do offer spots for reflection and relaxation. Here are our top five outdoor spaces in or near Detroit.

20145 Beck Rd, Northville, MI 48167, USA
With almost 1,000 acres of rolling hills, open meadows, and forest, and home to a variety of flora and fauna, Maybury State Park offers ample opportunities for hiking, biking, or horse riding. Horses can be rented from the riding stables. Before becoming a State Park, the site used to be a sanatorium and the original sign still stands.
For a respite from busy downtown Detroit, take a walk through Grand Circus Park. Established in 1850, the park is home to several statues and old-fashioned fountains, including the Russell Alger Memorial Fountain, which dates to 1921. A stroll through the park is attractive any time of year, whether the spring flowers are in bloom or there’s a dusting of snow on the trees. Take note of the surrounding buildings that boast different architectural styles, including beaux arts, neoclassical, and Gothic Revival.
5805-6037 Lincoln Street
Down a side street not far from MoTown Museum and the Wayne State University’s main campus is one of the city’s hidden art gems. Lincoln Street Art Park is an evolving community collaboration between local artists, the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, the Detroit Recreation department, and the adjacent recycling center. Visiting the outdoor site, particularly on a sunny day, is akin to walking into the rugged studio of an artist, complete with seating area, mini library, and house pet. In this case, a giant dinosaur twice the size of an average loft’s ceiling, but reminiscent of a pet nonetheless. I explored the park alone, but I think it would be a wonderful place to visit for a couple on a date and a really good option for kids to roam and explore at leisure. The outdoor exhibit is open rain or shine, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year and is free to the general public. The park is located at 5926 Lincoln Street, Detroit, Michigan 48208.
1900 Atwater Street
If you are looking for a quick escape from the bustle of the city, head for William G. Milliken State Park and Harbor, a green oasis in downtown Detroit. The harbor features a 63-foot replica of the Tawas Point lighthouse and offers several covered picnic areas as well as shoreline fishing. Over the last decade, much of the area has been redeveloped as wetlands and there are displays explaining how the wetlands clean and return water to the Detroit River. The RiverWalk passes all the way through the park, as does a bike path that links the park to Atwater Street.
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