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Where to host a picnic or outdoor event in Detroit

From state parks to historic sites

Belle Isle has a variety of options for events.
Photo by Michelle & Chris Gerard

In the Midwest, we have to take advantage of the good weather while it’s here. Detroit has many options for hosting an outdoor event, whether it’s a family reunion, picnic, or party. Of course, we listened to readers when we asked about their favorite parks a couple weeks ago. We also added a few of our own, plus some amenities in or around each one. Check with the city for rates and regulations if you’re planning a large event.

Milliken State Park

This 31-acre park along the riverfront has a replica lighthouse, plenty of tables and shelters, and a harbor for boats. Visitors get great river views, and the Outdoor Adventure Center and the Dequindre Cut are right across the street. Shelters can be reserved here.

Belle Isle
Flynn Pavillion
Photo by Michelle & Chris Gerard

Belle Isle offers plenty of space and options for hosting a big gathering. The island is also home to a large beach, the James Scott Fountain, and peddle boat, bike, and kayak rentals through RKC Adventures. The park is run through the DNR, so events need to go through the DNR process. For weddings and events held in any of the historic buildings, check here. For shelter reservations, check the state park reservation system.

Rouge Park

Detroit’s biggest park has a lot of space to spread out for your event. Rouge Park also has two Olympic-sized swimming pools, the Buffalo Soldier horse stables, and trails galore. The west side park will also host Open Streets on July 21 from 1 to 5 p.m., with food trucks, activities, and programs throughout the day.

Stoepel Park

This Grandmont-Rosedale park was brightened up with colorful Hubert Massey mosaics in recent years. It’s a small community park, but has tables and grills available for multiple events.

Chandler Park

This large east side park recently celebrated its 100th birthday and has had some big upgrades. It’s all about sports over here, with baseball fields, basketball courts, tennis courts, and more. For added fun, stop into the Wayne County Family Aquatic Center.

Gordon Park

For 50 years, this area has been known for its location as the epicenter for the ‘67 civil unrest. Gordon Park now has new benches, picnic tables, a playground, stage, and fitness equipment, plus a historical marker with details on the uprising. It’s expected that in the upcoming years, some of the surrounding area will be redeveloped.

Palmer Park

As one of the larger parks in the city, Palmer Park also has plenty of room for multiple and larger events. If it’s hot outside, kids can cool off and play in the splash pads. Palmer Park also has tennis courts, ball fields, trails, and the mounted police.

Clark Park

Southwest Detroit’s Clark Park will be undergoing some upgrades shortly—including a splash pad for the kids. Clark Park has picnic shelters available and some sports fields, and it’s surrounded by the thriving Southwest neighborhood.

Historic Fort Wayne

For a bigger or truly unique event, the grounds at Historic Fort Wayne are available for a variety of events. Choose from one of the historic buildings or anywhere on the grounds. Check in with the Historic Fort Wayne Coalition for venue availability and rates.

Historic Fort Wayne

650 S Livernois Avenue, Detroit, MI 48209