Free Kid-Friendly Events in Metro Detroit and Ann Arbor

Searching for free things to do in southeast Michigan? Find great budget-friendly family fun in Livingston, Oakland, Macomb, Washtenaw and Wayne counties.

Photo via the Festival of Chariots Facebook page

With kids in tow, seeing the latest stage show or attending that super popular special event can put a real dent in the ol’ bank account.

It’s great once in a while, but geez, where are all of the free southeast Michigan events this weekend?

Actually, there are plenty if you know where to look! Every activity listed here will cost you absolutely nothing for admission. Zilch. Maybe you’ll have to splurge a buck or two for parking. But that’s it!

Want to attend events in Detroit that won’t cost you a fortune? Searching for activities in Livingston, Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties that won’t break the bank?

Then check back here regularly and mark your calendars so you don’t miss any of the free family fun happening over the next week or so.

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Note: Things change. We try our best to update details, but be sure to call ahead before attending just in case. Also, some events may require pre-registration. When noted, contact the organizer for more details.

Macomb County

Rosco’s Picnic Palooza at the Macomb Township Recreation Center

July 16 and 23, 2019

  • Address: Macomb Township Recreation Center, 20699 Macomb Drive, Macomb
  • Time: 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Contact and details: See the Metro Parent listing

Rosco the Clown entertains kids with themed comedy magic shows and water games.

Fraser Lions Carnival at Steffens Park 

July 18-21, 2019

  • Address: Steffens Park, 33000 Garfield Road, Fraser
  • Time: 4-11 p.m. Thursday, 4-11:30 p.m. Friday, noon-midnight Saturday, noon-11:30 p.m. Sunday
  • Contact and details: See the Metro Parent listing

Find midway rides, games, live entertainment and a huge fireworks display at this annual. Fees apply for rides and other activities.

SatARTdays at the Anton Art Center in Mount Clemens 

Aug. 10, 2019

Enjoy art installations by chalk artist, David Zinn, along with art activities and other fun.

Shelby Township Art Fair at the Shelby Township Municipal Grounds

Aug. 10-11, 2019

  • Address: Shelby Township Municipal Grounds, 52700 Van Dyke Ave., Shelby Township
  • Time: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday
  • Contact and details: See the Metro Parent listing

Check out artwork and products created by Michigan artists and vendor. Music, crafts and food, too.

Slovak Festival at Saints Cyril and Methodius Parish in Sterling Heights

Aug. 23-25, 2019

  • Address: Saints Cyril and Methodius Parish, 41233 Ryan Road, Sterling Heights
  • Time: 6-11 p.m. Friday, 1-11 p.m. Saturday, noon-9 p.m. Sunday
  • Contact and details: See the Metro Parent listing

This cultural fest offers up Slovak folk performances, Slovak and American eats, a children’s area full of games and activities, a celebration of mass, raffles and more.

Oakland County

Farmington Founders Festival at Shiawassee Park 

July 18-21, 2019

  • Address: Shiawassee Park, at Shiawassee St. and Power Road, Farmington
  • Time: 7-11 p.m. Thursday, 9 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday, noon-5 p.m. Sunday
  • Contact and details: See the Metro Parent listing

This annual fest features a parade, kids’ carnival, live musical performances, a pig roast and a Saturday evening fireworks display.

Pig & Whiskey in Downtown Ferndale

July 19-21, 2019

  • Address: Downtown Ferndale area
  • Time: 6 p.m.-midnight Friday, 11 a.m.-midnight Saturday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Sunday
  • Contact and details: See the Metro Parent listing

This annual offers up delicious barbecue, liquor and music. Open to all ages. Admission is free but additional fees may apply.

Festival of Chariots at the Novi Civic Center 

July 21, 2019

Experience Indian culture through food, music, art and fashion.

Big Rig Gig at Friendship Park in Lake Orion

Aug. 2, 2019 

Kids can climb behind the wheel of some of the coolest working rigs in the city.

Groveland Oaks Art Fair in Holly 

Aug. 3, 2019

Check out a variety of different artwork on display plus face painting, hot air balloons and clown performances. Admission is free, parking is $5/residents and $12/non-residents.

Washtenaw County

Ann Arbor Art Fairs 

July 18-21, 2019

  • Address: Downtown Ann Arbor area
  • Time: 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, noon-6 p.m. Sunday
  • Contact and details: See the Metro Parent listing

Peruse artwork at one of the four award-winning art fairs that make up one of the largest outdoor art fairs in the country.

Washtenaw County 4-H Youth Show at the Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds in Ann Arbor

July 21-27, 2019

  • Address: Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds, 5055 Ann Arbor-Saline Road, Ann Arbor
  • Time: 8 a.m.-10 p.m. daily
  • Contact and details: See the Metro Parent listing

Find artwork displays and livestock by area 4-H youth.

Sounds & Sights Festival in Downtown Chelsea 

July 25-27, 2019

  • Address: Downtown Chelsea area
  • Time: 6:30-11 p.m. Thursday, 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday, 8 a.m.-11 p.m.
  • Contact and details: See the Metro Parent listing

Find live music, a classic car show, art displays, an art market and much more.

Kerry Tales: A Peck of Pickled Peppers and Mother Goose at Kerrytown Market and Shops in Ann Arbor 

Aug. 4, 2019

Trudy Bulkley, aka Mother Goose, entertains kids with themed-stories and rhymes.

Dexter Daze in Downtown Dexter

Aug. 9-10, 2019

This 48-year fest entertains with art and craft vendors, live music and entertainment and a fireworks display

Wayne County

Downtown Wyandotte Street Art Fair

July 10-13, 2019

This fair features the work of more than 200 artists, food from 25 area restaurants and a variety of different vendors.

Concert of Colors in Detroit 

July 10-18, 2019

Celebrate diversity with a wide variety of ethnic music, food and crafts throughout the midtown area.

Beacon Park Family Fun Days in Detroit 

July 14, 21 and 28, 2019 

This summertime weekly offers make-and-take crafts, inflatables for kids, face painting and lawn games. Themes change each week.

Arab and Chaldean Festival at Hart Plaza in Detroit

July 27-28, 2019

Find cultural exhibits on Arab folklore, medicine and calligraphy, a fashion show, Hanna tattoo artists, food and more.

Sidewalk Festival at Artist Village in Detroit 

Aug. 1-3, 2019

  • Address: Artist Village, 17336 Lahser Road, Detroit
  • Time: 6-8 p.m. Thursday, 7-11 p.m. Friday, 3-10 p.m. Sunday
  • Contact and details: See the Metro Parent listing

Kids ages 8-15 gather for games, motivational lectures, sports clinics, contests and fun.

Livingston County 

Exotic Zoo at the Brighton District Library

Aug. 12, 2019

  • Address: Brighton District Library, 100 Library Drive, Brighton
  • Time: 10:15 -11:15 a.m.
  • Contact and details: See the Metro Parent listing

Meet a 100-pound tortoise, an arctic fox, 15-foot python, porcupine and other exotic critters at this pop-up zoo event. Ages 3-plus. Registration required.

Howell Melon Festival in Downtown Howell 

Aug. 16-18, 2019

  • Address: Downtown Howell area
  • Time: 5-11 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-midnight Saturday, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday
  • Contact and details: See the Metro Parent listing

Watermelons, cantaloupe, honeydew and all of their melon cousins take the center stage during this 59th annual celebration. Fees may apply for some activities.

This post is updated regularly.