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Summertime in Detroit and lots to do!

“Drums, please!” Over 20 years later, as soon as I hear those words and that distinctive turntable scratch from DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, I immediately know what time it is.

“Summer, summer, summertime”

With my favorite season underway, it is too nice out to stay inside in front of my television. On a perfect sunny day, and with access to some of the city’s greatest amenities, you can’t go wrong with finding something fun to do.

As I compiled a random list of activities for the summer, the ideas continued to flow. The great thing is these activities can serve various purposes including family outings, date nights, those required company team building exercises or just hanging out with friends. As a matter of fact, if I missed something (and I know I did), let’s add some ideas to the comments section.

What’s that sound? Each time I visit the Motown Museum-Home of Hitsville USA, I can’t help but feel the energy and pride that created the sound that forced the world to sing and groove with a cool two-step. The always-impressive staff members offer great experiences as they take us down memory lane or the walls of 2648 W. Grand Boulevard to share some of the secrets that created a musical dynasty. Even if you aren’t a music nerd, you’ll leave this place saying “wow” and more than likely end up spending a few dollars downloading forgotten Motown hits on iTunes.

Checkmate. One of the things that I challenged myself to do is learn how to play Chess before I turn 30. OK, I might be one or two years late with that (don’t judge me), but at least I think I’m the Kobe Bryant of Checkers. Maybe I can get a few students from the national tournament winning teams at Chrysler or FLICS to teach me. However, if you are a chess player, check out the giant chess set over at 1001 Woodward Ave. near Campus Martius downtown.

Movie Night! Are you looking for a good movie to watch? Consider visiting New Center Park for Wednesday Night Movies. The great thing is if you happen to get too comfy and fall asleep, you’ll be on time for the Thursday Night Concert.

Hey, get off my lawn! (or not) One of the things I love most about Detroit is the fact that we have some amazing neighborhoods that are envied around the country. The Palmer Woods Garden Tour is a great way to enjoy this awesome neighborhood while spending some time with friends and family.

Where’s my lifejacket? Shout out to the good people over at Detroit River Sports. Before these awesome individuals made their pitch during the 2012 Hatch Detroit contest, I never considered canoeing. But somehow canoeing in Detroit seems pretty cool.

Good Music with Free Admission. The Annual Concert of Colors features talented performing artists from across the globe spanning five different stages. Just make sure to wear some good insoles because you might find yourself dancing, and if I’m there, I will immediately challenge you to a “dance off”. *Disclaimer – I warned you.

Want to get involved? Each year ARISE Detroit!, along with various businesses and community groups, come together to provide volunteer opportunities across the city for ARISE Detroit! Neighborhoods Day and you’re invited.

With a couple of months left for sunny days in the D, let’s remember to take time to “sit back and unwind” because it’s summertime. Check out the full list of activities:

ARISE Detroit! Neighborhoods Day

Belle Isle Aquarium

Cadillac Square

Capital Park Destination: Fridays

Charles H. Wright

Cliff Bells

Concert of Colors

D:Hive/Detroit Experience Factory Drive Detroit Bus Tour

Detroit City FC

Detroit International Jazzfest

Detroit River Sports

Giant Chess Set at the 1001 Woodward Building

Greektown District

Hitsville USA

MSU Detroit Center

New Center Park (Wednesday Night Movies/ Thursday Night Concerts)

Palmer Woods Garden Tour

RiverFront Splash Park


Roof Top Parties

Splash Park at Palmer Park

The Atrium Space in Southwest Detroit

The Belle Isle Practice Center

The Dequindre Cut

The N’Namdi Center For Contemporary Art

Third Thursdays at Eastern Market


Yoga and T’ai Chi at Palmer Park

Want to build on the list of summer fun in the D? Add some of your suggestions in the comment section. Ready. Set. Go!

Stefen J. Welch
Stefen J. Welch is the Assistant Director, Corporate Philanthropy at Wayne State University. A native of Detroit and believer in the city’s future, Welch is an active community engager and spends much of his time dedicated to various community organizations. An alum of Oakland University, Stefen is also an instructor within the Department of Communication and Journalism. Currently he sits on the Board of Directors at Black Family Development, Inc. and Community Health And Social Services (CHASS). He also holds a Master's in Community Development from the University of Detroit Mercy and is graduate of Leadership Detroit. Follow him @stefenj.