15 Memorial Day Weekend Ideas for Michiganders Not Heading North

By Isaac Constans

May 23, 2023

Skip the traffic. These are great ways to spend your weekend.

Memorial Day Weekend often points Michiganders in one direction: north. But as highways to lakes and wooded cabins back up ahead of the long weekend, there’s still plenty to do closer to home.

In fact, this weekend is a major one for performance art, a fantastic time for sports and competitions, and the perfect occasion to celebrate summer with outdoor festivals abound.

We’ve broken down the southern-more part of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula into three regions—West Michigan, Mid-Michigan, and Metro Detroit—and sourced some family-fun events in each place.

And we’ll also throw in a couple of recommendations for events worth your time if you’ll be up north.

Though there are too many to list in this article, parades in towns and cities across the state are part of the real reason for the long weekend. Memorial Day honors those who gave their lives while serving in the armed forces. We encourage you to contact your local officials for information on Memorial Day parades and ceremonies taking place in your community.

Please check websites for exact time and address.

Michigan’s Adventure

West Michigan

Michigan’s Adventure Opening Weekend

Date and Location: May 26-29, Muskegon

Price: $30+

It’s opening weekend at Michigan’s Adventure. Active and retired military get into the amusement park free for Memorial Day.

Click here for more. 

Grand Haven Musical Fountain

Date and Location: May 26-29 (and then through the summer), Lynne Sherwood Waterfront Stadium

Price: Free

The Grand Haven Musical Fountain is back. It syncs lights, water, and music like the Bellagio Fountain in Las Vegas. There are special performances on Saturday, its anniversary, and Monday night—with a patriotic theme for the Memorial Day shows.

Click here for more. 

Meyer May Home Tour

Date and Location: Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays (throughout summer and fall), Grand Rapids

Price: Free

Tour the Meyer May House throughout the summer and fall. This restored house honors Frank Lloyd Wright’s original vision.

Click here for more. 

Blessing of the Fleet

Date and Location: May 26, Michigan Maritime Museum, South Haven

Price: $15-20

The Michigan Maritime Museum will have its annual summer kickoff and blessing of the fleet. Located in South Haven’s stunning maritime district, the museum is also putting on a fish fry.

Click here for more. 

Greater Rochester Heritage Days

Metro Detroit

Grosse Ile Memorial Day Run

Date and Location: May 29 at 9:30 a.m., Grosse Ile High School

Price: $0-$40

The Grosse Ile Memorial Day Run is a 30-year-old tradition on one of the prettiest courses in Michigan. Join for the free fun run or a 5K.

Click here for more. 

Detroit Tigers Home Games

Date and Location: May 25-31, Comerica Park

Price: $10+

The Tigers have a six-game homestand, and the team’s been playing well recently. The ball club has events planned for the weekend and even a new food lineup.

Click here for more. 

Greater Rochester Heritage Days

Date and Location: May 27th-28th, Rochester Municipal Park

Price: Free

Greater Rochester Heritage Days includes a car show, plant sale, and events for the kids. The event celebrates the area’s culture and traditions. 

Click here for more. 

Love N Gospel Poetry and Open Mic Night

Date and Location: May 26, Gospel Music Cafe, Detroit

Price: Free

This is a uniquely Detroit open mic night with gospel performers, rappers, and poets all on stage. It’s free admission, but a minimum $15 food purchase or donation is required.

Click here for more.

Balloons Over Bavarian Inn

Mid-Michigan

Cristo Rey Fiesta

Date and Location: May 26-28, Cristo Rey Church, Lansing

Price: Free admission, $5 after 5 p.m.

Cristo Rey’s Fiesta celebration has been an annual tradition in Lansing for decades. The Latin American festival draws thousands of visitors and includes authentic Mexican food, live music and dancing, plus games. Don’t forget to stop by El Mercado for a souvenir.

Click here for more. 

Beats and Beers

Date and Location: May 26-28, Downtown Flint Flat Lot

Price: Free-$50

Beats and Beers features top-notch DJs, drinks, and food in downtown Flint. DJ Drama, a major figure in the world of hip-hop, headlines the event.

Click here for more. 

Balloons Over Bavarian Inn and Dog Bowl

Date and Location: May 26-29, Frankenmuth

Price: Free

Hot-air balloons will float over Frankenmuth. On the ground, you can see dogs from across the region compete Puppy-Bowl style.

Click here for more. 

Uncle John’s Craft Show

Date and Location: May 27-28, Uncle John’s Cider Mill

Price: Free

Make your way to the famous Uncle John’s Cider Mill for a craft show featuring 110 booths. Get donuts and cider while you’re at it. 

Click here for more. 

Wicked at Wharton Center

Date and Location: Now-May 28, Wharton Center

Price: Tickets from $65; students can get discounted tickets.

This is the last weekend to see the Broadway play “WICKED” at the Wharton Center. Students get a discount on tickets.

Click here for more information.

Bonus Up North Ideas

If you’re not spending your time relaxing, consider checking out these events.

Native American Festival

Date and Location: May 27, Museum of Ojibwa Culture, St. Ignace

Price: Free

All are welcome to attend this growing celebration of Indigenous culture, where there will be dancing, music, and great food.

Click here for more. 

Mackinac Island Memorial Day Events

Date and Location: May 27-29, Fort Mackinac and Colonial Michilimackinac

Price: Free

If you’re going to Mackinac Island for the weekend, there’s plenty to keep you entertained. Multiple reenactments throughout the weekend at Fort Michilimackinac will remember the events that took place between the British, French, and Indigenous tribes on June 2, 1763. There will also be a Memorial Day ceremony beginning at Fort Mackinac. 

Click here for more. 

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