Take Kids on a Scenic Adventure Along the Detroit Riverfront

Discover kid-friendly hangouts, exciting activities, public art and more for the entire family on the Detroit Riverfront.

One of Detroit’s most known public places is the Detroit Riverfront. It spans more than three miles and lets visitors take in the breathtaking views of the city, Detroit River and Canada.

The Riverfront is right at the heart of Detroit’s cool urban revival. It’s packed with awesome spots like green parks, old monuments and fun, interactive installations, making it the perfect place to have a great time with the family.

Whether you’re looking to take some photos or explore somewhere, the Detroit Riverfront offers so much for metro Detroit kids.

This article was recently updated on May 3, 2024 by Metro Parent’s Audience Development Manager, Katina Beniaris. The update involved added new 2024 events happening on the Detroit Riverfront. Questions? Please reach out to katina@metroparent.com.

Quick details about the Detroit Riverfront

Detroit riverfront with kids
Photo credit: Alanna St. Laurent

  • Address: Detroit, Michigan
  • Hours: 6 a.m.-10 p.m.
  • Parking: There are plenty of parking structures along the riverfront that allow hourly parking. Limited free parking is available on the Riverfront’s western side at Rivard Plaza.

Tips for families when exploring the Detroit Riverfront

Detroit riverfront with kids
Photo credit: Joe Gall

  • Where are the restrooms? The restrooms along the Riverfront are at Cullen Plaza, Mt. Elliott Park, Valade Park and Gabriel Richard Park.
  • Dogs are allowed. You may bring your dog, but they must be leashed at all times.
  • Rent bikes from Wheelhouse Detroit or Segways from Detroit Segway.
  • Kids must be accompanied by adult. Children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult 21 years or older after 6 p.m.
  • Alcohol is not permitted along the Detroit Riverfront.

Things to do with kids on the Detroit Riverfront

Detroit riverfront with kids
Photo credit: Joe Gall

  • Cullen Plaza is a kid-friendly hangout spot, which has a carousel, fountains, a glass-sculpture map of the St. Lawrence Seaway and a children’s playscape.
  • Stop by the historic Hart Plaza for photo opportunities with skyscraper backgrounds. Come at night to see everything lit up, including the Horace E. Dodge and Son Memorial Fountain.
  • Head to William G. Milliken State Park and Harbor to go fishing, biking, walking, to see the lighthouse or for a family picnic.
  • Take your kids to play at Atwater Beach Playground or to enjoy the interactive water play feature at Mt. Elliott Park.
  • Enjoy the sandy beach with chairs and umbrellas and play area for kids at the Robert C. Valade Park.
  • Have fun at Gabriel Richard Park. The park features a whimsical fountain, butterfly gardens, fishing outlooks and more.
  • Explore Dequindre Cut Greenway. Walk or bike the two-mile-long trail. Take pictures of the art walk along the way.
  • Show your kids the historical landmark for the International Memorial to the Underground Railroad. This could open up the discussion to talk about race with your children.

Upcoming 2024 Detroit Riverfront events

Detroit Riverfront
Photo credit: Joe Gall

The Detroit Riverfront offers so many awesome events for the entire family. Find some upcoming events below or view their website’s calendar.

The Dequindre Cut Freight Yard Opening Night Party

May 17, 2024

The Dequindre Cut Freight Yard is kicking off the 2024 summer season with a bang on Friday, May 17! Come down for food, drinks and fun activities like karaoke and group roller rides.

Kids Fishing Fest

June 9, 2024

This free event, presented by the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy and partners, offers families a chance to fish together with free pole rentals, bait and snacks provided. Don’t forget to bring a picnic or grab something from the food truck on-site!

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Kari Zaffarano
Kari Zaffarano
Kari Zaffarano is a mom of one and Metro Parent's Audience Development Coordinator. She tracks down the best events every week and shares the inside scoop with families in print and online. She enjoys reading, traveling and exploring metro Detroit with her son.


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