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At precisely 9:48 p.m. tonight, thousands of colorful, twinkling lights will illuminate the Detroit riverfront in a salute to progress and our city’s future. One million people are expected to head downtown to watch the 58th annual Ford Fireworks. Hart Plaza is undoubtedly the most popular place to watch the fireworks, though a lot of folks prefer Belle Isle.
If you’re not a fan of crowds, though, there are a few unexpectedly great spots where you can watch the show without being crammed elbow-to-elbow with fellow fireworks fans. We’ve rounded up a few spots you might not know about. Read on for our favorite spots to watch the fireworks.
Get a bird’s eye view of every sparkling burst of pyrotechnics from the rooftop of the Detroit Opera House. Sky Deck’s doors open at 5 p.m. and there will be no cover all evening (yea, that’s right, this is FREE). It’s a first come, first served situation, so we suggest arriving early to make sure you get in; it’s possible that they’ll fill up before the fireworks start. Children under age 21 are generally not admitted to the Sky Deck after 10 p.m. but if you’re already there prior to that time, the kiddos are welcome to stay for the whole show. It’s family friendly.
There are a few things you should know: there’s no outside food, drinks, folding chairs or other seating allowed in this event. But the Sky Deck offers a full bar, and they’ll have plenty of food to keep you and your fam satisfied. There’s typically a section of lounge-style seating up here (think stylish couches, armchairs and coffee tables), as well as a big section of bleachers overlooking Comerica Park. A DJ will keep the partying going all night long.
Erma Henderson and Owen Parks
While everyone else crams into Hart Plaza and Belle Isle, you could be enjoying a little extra elbow room at this pair of adjacent parks just a few blocks east of the entrance to Belle Isle, near Indian Village. If you’re coming from the east side, they’re a convenient spot to stop before you get to all the crazy traffic downtown. We’re especially fond of Erma Henderson’s pretty marina and walking paths. Bring your picnic blanket and find a spot close to the water. There are restrooms and parking nearby.
Grab your passport and head over to this pretty riverfront park in Windsor. The Canadian side of the river is notably less crowded during the fireworks. Located on Riverside Drive near Ouellette, you’ll have an unobstructed view of the pyrotechnics from Dieppe Gardens. Although it’s less crowded than the Motor City, you might still want to head over early to avoid bridge and tunnel traffic, which gets pretty hairy.
Don’t feel like making the trek back to Detroit in post-fireworks traffic? Book a room and stay overnight. As of this posting, there were still hotels with availability in the downtown Windsor area, like the Comfort Inn and the Howard Johnson just a five minute drive from the action.
Seven stories above the city streets, 3Fifty Terrace is hosting a Red, White and Boom barbecue with a spectacular view of the fireworks. Doors open at 4 p.m. and they’re planning a high energy party that is likely to last into the wee hours. Expect to see eight different DJs spinning the tables, mouthwatering BBQ provided by Ray Jay’s, and drink specials. Ray Jay’s is a Wyandotte-based catering business famous for their pulled pork. They also make some rocking good St. Louis style ribs, so grab a couple extra napkins and get ready to chow down.
If you want to make sure you have the best seat in the house, try booking a last-minute table reservation by calling 313.687.4350.
There’s something about fireworks that always makes us think of this scene from The Sandlot. Happy (Almost) 4th of July, friends. We hope yours is magical.