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Memorial Day weekend 2017: Where to go, what to do, how to get around

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Michelle & Chris Gerard

Update: We’ve added more Memorial Day-specific activities in the metro area to the original post.

Our first holiday weekend of Summer is here, and it’s always a big weekend in Detroit. It can get crazy busy downtown because of Movement, but there’s plenty to do and see in and around the Motor City. Here’s our guide to getting the most out of the three days.


Movement starts at 12 p.m. Saturday and the music goes until late Monday night in Hart Plaza. A full schedule for the electronic music festival can be found here. Love techno but not crazy about festivals? There are parties all over town.

Wheelhouse Detroit is also offering techno bike tours around the city.

Explore the city

Whether you’re visiting for the first time or you just want to get outside, it should be a good weekend to see the Motor City. Our Pocket Guide has 26 places to see, including historic neighborhoods, old movie theaters, and museums. Walking around downtown? We have an architecture guide for that. Love public art? We have so much here!

Heading out with the kiddos? We found 19 places in and around Detroit that are family-friendly.

Looking to join in a tour? Pure Detroit gives free tours of the Guardian and Fisher Buildings each Saturday. The Detroit Experience Factory has downtown walking tours, plus riverfront and cultural center tours this weekend.

A note on Belle Isle: The Grand Prix is the first weekend of June, and basically the west half of the island is blocked off right now. Cars are redirected to the east side of the island, and places like the Conservatory and Aquarium are still open.

Of course, there are plenty of green spaces to see around the area. Bike down the Dequindre Cut, pay respects at Elmwood Cemetery (an arboretum), jog down Hines Drive, have a picnic with neighborhood eats in Clark Park, pick up some produce at an urban farm, or hike out at Rouge Park.

Or get out of town

We all need an escape from the city sometimes. Our small town guide has quaint lakeside towns around the state to visit. Don’t wan to go that far? It might be a good weekend to visit the beautiful art and architecture of Cranbrook or the impressive Edsel and Eleanor Ford House. If you’re heading out of state, here’s a guide to historic architecture across the country (maybe use the weekend for planning?).

Greenfield Village will be holding a Civil War Remembrance weekend, which honors those who fought for our country and includes historic presentations, music, and more.

Memorial Day parades will be held Monday in Ferndale, Royal Oak, Birmingham, Lake Orion, Clawson, Farmington, Novi, Dearborn, and more.

Getting Around

There are two new options for getting around downtown, Midtown, and some of the surrounding areas. Of course, the QLINE is now open and it’s free to ride. We have a handy map of what landmarks to see near each station.

Also, MoGo Bike Share is now available. You might notice stations all around, from West Village to Southwest to New Center. Bikes are available for 30 minutes at a time to get to place to place. An $8 daily pass gives you unlimited rides for 24 hours.

Planning on driving? Keep in mind that if you’re going to be downtown and not going to Movement, it might be wise to park further out. The Tigers are out of town this weekend, so there should be more parking available near the stadiums.

And hey, the People Mover is always a good time.

Is there an event you’re looking forward to this weekend? Let us know in the comments or on the tip line.