Your Detroit Guide to Thanksgiving

If you’re planning on visiting friends or family in the area or are interested in checking out events happening downtown, Detroit has a lot going on this Thanksgiving season. Whether you’re looking to catch a sports game, entertain your little ones or jog off those extra holiday calories, the Motor City has you covered.


Family-Friendly Events


Detroit Turkey Trot

Looking for an excuse to earn an extra helping of mashed potatoes this year? The annual Detroit Turkey Trot offers a 10K race, and the event also hosts a 5K Stuffing Strut and two combination events including the Drumstick Double (10 km and 5 km) and Cranberry Combo (1 mile and 5 km). Races kick-off with staggered start times beginning at 6:30 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day following the costume judging contest. If you need a place to warm up or grab a bite to eat after the race, the GMRENCEN has a variety of food options.



America’s Thanksgiving Parade

Following the early morning races, thousands of people of all ages gather on both sides of historic Woodward Avenue to watch the iconic America’s Thanksgiving Parade presented by Art Van. A Detroit holiday tradition dating back to 1924, the procession kicks off at 8:45 a.m. from the corner of Kirby and Woodward and continues south along Woodward. The parade features elaborately decorated floats, local marching bands, dance teams and equestrian units.


Free Days at Michigan Science Center

If you’re sticking around the city for the weekend, don’t miss out on free admission offerings to the Michigan Science Center. On Wednesday, Nov. 21 and Friday, Nov. 23 the organization will offer free general admission which allows access to more than 250 hands-on exhibits, live stage shows, the STEM Playground, Kids Town gallery and more. To help with traffic flow, guests are encouraged to select an estimated arrival time online before their visit. Public parking is available in the DIA lot on John R. St. for $7.



Detroit Institute of Awesome: Thanksgiving Break

Another event perfect for families with children is the Detroit Institute of Awesome: Thanksgiving Break event on Friday, Nov. 23 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Detroit Institute of Arts. This event features a gallery adventure taking place in the Dutch galleries on the museum’s third floor. Gallery games are also available in Prentis Court, located at the center of the building. General admission is free for residents of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties, and the event is considered free with general admission.


The Nutcracker

Certain to be a show your whole family will never forget – The Nutcracker features Detroit’s Michigan Opera Theatre Orchestra. Treat your loved ones to a magical performance at the Detroit Opera House on Saturday, Nov. 24 at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. as well as Sunday, Nov. 25 at 2:30 p.m. Matinee shows offer a variety of additional activities including live reindeer, craft-making ice cream samples and more!



Ongoing Holiday Events

Whether you’ll be in the area for a couple days or the entire weekend, be sure to keep an eye for fun, continuing activities around the city. The Rink at Campus Martius Park offers outdoor skating seven days a week including holidays. While you’re close by, capture the holiday energy by taking photos of the sparkling, seasonal lights. If you’re looking to get in touch a certain jolly celebrity, you can swing by the GMRENCEN to visit with Santa. Come tell Santa what’s on your wish list Monday through Saturday between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. beginning on Nov. 23.


Sporting Events



Lions, Pistons and Red Wings, oh my!

If you’re a sports fan, there’s arguably no better city to be in than Detroit during Thanksgiving weekend. Catch the Detroit Red Wings as they battle the Boston Bruins the night before Thanksgiving and then head to Ford Field the next day for the Thanksgiving Day Classic to watch the Detroit Lions take on the Chicago Bears. This annual Thanksgiving Day game has been held in Detroit since 1934. Complete your sports-filled holiday weekend by going to see the Detroit Pistons play the Houston Rockets Friday, Nov. 23.


Dining Out



Granite City – Family Style Thanksgiving Dinner

Don’t stress yourself out with trying to cook the perfect Thanksgiving meal. Instead, let Granite City whip up a delicious holiday feast for you. From 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 22, Granite City will offer a family-style Thanksgiving Dinner. Early reservations are advised if you plan on attending. Granite City’s Detroit location is in Tower 100, Level 1, of the GMRENCEN.


Thanksgiving is a busy time, and there’s a lot to going on downtown. If you’re looking for comfortable place to rest at the end of those long, eventful days, the GMRENCEN offers two stunning hotels located in the center of all the holiday excitement.


Need help navigating around the bustling city? The Detroit People Mover will be offering free lifts on Thanksgiving Day from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.


Do you have any plans to visit Detroit this Thanksgiving? Let us know in the comment section below.

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