My Favorite Summertime Chill Spot in Detroit

Do you have a favorite spot in Detroit or the Metro area where you just like to chill? For me, I’m usually found at Eastern Market, but when I am in Downtown Detroit, I love to hang out at Campus Martius.

Campus Martius is my favorite summertime chill spot because there is so much to do and see. Plus, I love the food trucks and restaurants.

The very first time I visited Campus Martius Park was on New Year’s Eve in 2015. It was our first year living in Metro Detroit and we had wanted to do something fun with the kids. I was researching online what the NYE events were in the area and came across Campus Martius’ NYE event. They featured one for families before 11 P.M. and then a more adult-friendly celebration afterward.

At the time, we didn’t know anything about Downtown Detroit or Campus Martius, but we decided to give it a try and go check it out. I’m so glad we did because ever since then Campus Martius has become one of my favorite places to hang out in Downtown Detroit!

Campus Martius Park Great for Street Photography

As some of you may already know, I am very passionate about street photography. It’s one of the things I love to do when I’m in Detroit. As it turns out, Campus Martius is also one of my favorite spots in Detroit to do street photography.

On the weekends, the city park is always buzzing with people riding bikes, walking around, or joyriding in their cars. Sometimes you can even spot customized, luxury, and vintage cars cruising up and down Woodward Avenue.

Little Red Corvette
Pink Caprice (Such a sweet ride, too!)


Five City Parks in Downtown Detroit

Campus Martius Park is one of the five Downtown Detroit Parks which attracts many locals and visitors every year. Seasonal themes change for summer and winter. In the winter, an ice skating rink is open, while in the summertime the park is transformed into a beach with a big sandbox. Visitors enjoy dining on “the beach” while young children love playing with the sand toys in the sand.

Downtown Detroit Parks

  1. Campus Martius Park
  2. Cadillac Square
  3. Capitol Park
  4. Grand Circus Park
  5. Beacon Park (Opening July 20, 2017)
Visitors of Campus Martius Park enjoy dining and sipping on drinks in the summertime.
Young children love playing with the sand toys in the sand.

Games, Live Music, and More at Campus Martius!

There is always something to do at Campus Martius Park in the summertime. In the summer, they feature basketball, table tennis, foosball, and other fun games. Sometimes there is even a live band playing music, for instance on Thursdays Campus Martius features their “Mid-Day Music” segment from 12 P.M. to 2 P.M. It’s from June until August. I’m hoping the kids and I can catch a Mid-Day Music show before I have the baby.

I also found out there will be a “Faygo Movie Night in the D” starting in July. The outdoor movie series will be on Saturdays from July 1 to August 19. This Saturday’s movie will be Hidden Figures (July 1, 8 P.M. showtime). We just might have to bring a picnic dinner and catch a movie at the “Faygo Movie Night in the D”.

Foosball tables are now at Campus Martius for their summertime theme.
A Detroiter stops to play a game of Foosball at Campus Martius.

Detroit Water Ice & Slices Pizza

When the fam and I are hanging out at Campus Martius, one of our favorite things we like to do is grab a bite to eat at a food truck or buy pizza at Slices Pizza. Sometimes we even get a sweet treat at the Detroit Water Ice Factory, which is right across the street from Slices. My mom is from Philly and she told me water ice is also really popular there. I’m from the South, though, so discovering water ice for the first time in Detroit was a real treat for me.

Water ice is just like Italian ice. Detroit Water Ice Factory offers a plethora of flavors like, “The Chika Mango”, “Mr. Mitch’s Chocolate P.B.”, “The Grape Gatsby”, and “Corvette Cherry”. As of right now, my favorite flavor is the mango. I’m still working on trying more flavors, though. 🙂 Oh! And how could I forget? Detroit Water Ice Factory also makes Philly Pretzels, Belgian Crêpes, hot chocolate, and French Toast “Ta Ta”.

Detroit Water Ice Factory is one of our favorite chill spots in Downtown Detroit.
Slices is my go to spot for a large pepperoni pizza!
Slices Pizza– we love the pizza and the low cost!

Campus Martius Perfect Chill Spot When Pregnant

Being close to nine months pregnant, I now try to find places I can go to where everything I need is all in one location: bathrooms, food, and chairs. It’s kind of funny, but it’s the truth! Lately, walking in Downtown Detroit has become more challenging for me. I have to take frequent restroom breaks or just general breaks to rest.

That’s why Campus Martius is my favorite chill spot in Downtown Detroit. And now that the Spirit of Detroit Plaza is open, the area has become even more pedestrian-friendly. There is more seating available along Woodward and on into Cadillac Square. It’s perfect for me because I can just pick a place to sit, rest, and take my photos right from where I’m sitting!

Just One Little Complaint

My only complaint about going to Campus Martius Park is not all businesses in the area are willing to let a pregnant woman use their bathroom. I understand there are rules of “No Restrooms to the Public”, but for a pregnant woman? Something’s gotta give! How can you deny the bathroom to a pregnant woman? Seriously. Rant over.

My family and I love dining at Campus Martius on a summer evening.
Michala (daughter, 15) on a summer’s night at Campus Martius.

The City of Detroit unveiled their new Spirit of Detroit Plaza on June 12, 2017. A single block of Woodward Avenue between Jefferson Avenue and Larned was converted into a multi-purpose public space. For this summer, there are food trucks during the lunch-hour time block and sometimes live musical performances. For more information, visit the City of Detroit’s official website here.

I plan on checking out the new Spirit of Detroit Plaza soon. I want to go during lunchtime so we can eat lunch and listen to music at the plaza. After our visit to the Spirit of Detroit Plaza, I will write a blog post about our experience so keep an eye out for that.

If you get a chance this summer, check out Campus Martius! There is always summertime fun during the weekdays during the lunch time block (11 A.M. to 3 P.M.) and then sometimes in the evening time.

For more information about the summertime schedule of events at Campus Martius, please visit the Downtown Detroit Parks website here.


One of the servers at Slices gave Zhen pizza dough at one of our visits to the restaurant.
Zhen playing with pizza dough at Slices Pizza.
Slices Pizza is located in the Campus Martius block in Downtown Detroit.
Zechariah enjoying his yummy pizza from Slices.
Live music is often featured at Campus Martius in the summertime.
I love sitting and listening to the live bands at Campus Martius.
A young girl dancing to the music at Campus Martius.
A young boy enjoys skateboarding near Detroit Water Ice Factory.
A visitor takes a picture with a Detroit police officer at Campus Martius Park.
My husband and I love to watch (and sometimes photograph) the cool cars that pass by Campus Martius.
Pretty in Pink
Rickshaw Detroit Pedicab Service
Very talented face painter


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All photographs are courtesy of Jennifer Hamra for Good Life Detroit.

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