Campus Martius – Cool Place to Visit in Detroit #9
Campus Martius is a beautiful park in the heart of Downtown Detroit. Located just a few blocks from the riverfront, Tigers Stadium, Ford Field, Greektown, and many businesses, Campus Martius is a natural gathering place. In fact, the park’s tagline is “Detroit’s Gathering Place,” and it is quite true.
History of Campus Martius
Image courtesy of Colin McConnell
Campus Martius means “military ground” and was named this because it was mainly used as a drill ground for militia training in 1788. In 1805, the city of Detroit was planned. Surveyors from Canada met with Judge Woodward to plan the streets, lots, and squares of the city. They began at the center of Campus Martius and to this day, it serves as the point of origin for the city. The 2.5 acres that now hold Campus Martius were marshy and undesirable for building, so the land was left alone and undeveloped. In 1999, Detroit 300 Inc. adopted the land and set out to turn it into a park with hopes of making it a lush green space. Rundell Ernstberger Associates were enlisted to design the park, began construction in May of 2003 and finished the construction in November of 2004. Since then, the park has served as a beautiful addition to the city and has become a central gathering place for many in Detroit and the surrounding suburbs.
Campus Martius Activities
The park is a hub for activities regardless of the season. For more information about all of these, please visit the Events section on the Campus Martius website.
Activities are a bit more sparse in the spring, but are still in full swing. Throughout the spring Campus Martius hosts Downtown Street Eats where there is a revolving door of meal options for lunch. Food trucks, local restaurants, and start-ups all flood the park to bring you the best lunch options.
The park is the most vibrant in the summer. There are colorful umbrellas and a sandy “beach” where you can grab a meal and relax during your lunch hour. The beautiful fountain is flowing and there is often music in the park. Food trucks often fill the lot across from Campus Martius with a wide variety of ethnic cuisines.
Flood to Campus Martius in the fall to watch Detroit’s fantastic Thanksgiving Day Parade. You can also grab a bite at the Fountain Bistro – a restaurant located within the park.
Despite the cold temperatures, Campus Martius is full of life in the winter. Some popular winter activities include Tree Lighting Ceremony, The Rink, Showcase D’ Holidays, Kidz Zone, Visit with Santa, and Carriage Rides. There are many rink side dining and drinking options as well.
Where can you find Campus Martius?
Campus Martius is located at 800 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48226.