Category: Michigan
Author: Michael DeFranceschi • Updated

The 10 Most Fun Things to Do in Downtown Northville, Michigan [in 2024]

#4 on this list is practically a 'must-do'
A clock in the center of Northville Town Square in downtown Northville, MI.

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Take it from someone who lives in Michigan and frequently visits this spot: this is the best list to use when looking for the most fun things to do in downtown Northville!

Northville is a city nearby Plymouth-- which also has an incredible downtown-- in a region Michiganders often refer to as "metro Detroit".

The city of Northville has a dense, affluent downtown packed with a horse-racing track, top-tier restaurants-- many of which offer outdoor dining and a full bar, charming local businesses, and talented street performers. It's a notable social district in the metro Detroit region.

As of April 2023, much of the streets in downtown Northville are closed off to cars, which is absolutely wonderful for pedestrians who love to walk. You can freely walk the streets without some annoying car beeping at you.

For the best things to do in downtown Northville, I got you covered right here. Let's explore the 10 best things to do in downtown Northville, MI in further detail:

IN THIS ARTICLE...
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For 2024, here are the 10 most fun things to do in downtown Northville, MI...

01 // Bet on some horses and dine at Northville Downs

Northville Downs is a top-tier attraction in downtown Northville.
Northville Downs.

Located on the edge of downtown Northville is Northville Downs-- an establishment centered around horsetrack racing. Northville Downs is one of only two horse raceways in the entire state so visiting Northville Downs is one of the most unique things someone exploring Michigan can do!

In 2023, racing resumed on April 7.

Gambling is a fixture of being a spectator of horse racing. If you want to immerse yourself in the full experience but don't want to spend a lot of money, you're in luck! You can drop as little as $2.00 for most wagers on which horse will win. Betting typically is done at a window but online wagering is now available to Michigan residents!

The indoor restaurant, Trotside, is one of the many incredible restaurants in downtown Northville (more on dining in Northville in a bit!). The restaurant serves dishes you'd expect to find in an upscale bar, such as burgers, salads, and fish. On Saturday, Trotside hosts an all-you-can-eat buffet.

Trotside seats well over 200 people and provides a stellar view of the racetrack. Plus, once you reserve the table, it's yours for the entire evening.

One final thing I feel compelled to mention... the parking lot here is frickin' huge! One thing I must give downtown Northville credit for is its wide availability of parking.

Address: 301 S Center St, Northville, MI 48167
Hours: 12:00 p.m - 12:00 a.m

02 // Check out a really beautiful and cool Starbucks

The exterior of the Starbucks in downtown Northville is covered in stone.
Those stone walls are exquisite. The most beautiful Starbucks I've ever seen!

As one of the most recognizable brands in the world, it's not necessary I spend any time convincing you that Starbucks is pretty dang good. But wait-- one thing you may not know-- if you are enrolled with Delta Skymiles, dining at Starbucks now gives you points towards your next flight!

Whereas most Starbucks are housed in typical commercial buildings, the Starbucks in Northville is next-level on aesthetic. The exterior walls are made of stone. There is some mild gardening around the establishment too adding some extra flair to the restaurant's appearance.

Inside, there are two levels-- something I also don't see at many Starbucks!

If you're "too cool" for Starbucks and want to support a local establishment, then I totally recommend checking out Red Dot. It's a terrific café with far more indoor seating for people wanting to do their work while they have their coffee.

Address: 302 E Main St, Northville, MI 48167
Hours: M-S 5:30 a.m - 9:00 p.m, Su 6:00 a.m - 8:00 p.m

03 // Hang out in Northville Town Square

A giant open picture frame in downtown Northville from The Northville Gallery for visitors to step in for a photo opportunity.
Thanks to The Northville Gallery for this fun photo opp in downtown Northville!

At the heart of downtown Northville off Main Street is the eclectic Northville Town Square. Street musicians often will set up in this part of town and delight folks with stellar covers of well-known hits and some even play original music.

As seen in my image for this recommendation, there is a large open photo frame for people to step in and take a fun photo. I'm not sure how long this will be up so you might want to head here as quick as possible!

If you need to sit and still want to relax outside, Northville Town Square has several tables with chairs-- with free wifi-- for you and your friends/family. You can also sit all around the beautiful fountain.

Northville Town Square isn't so much as a thing to do as much as it is a place to take in the charming small town vibes, people-watch, and have fun conversations with others. This spot has great energy-- enough to engage and hold your interest without being too loud nor overwhelming.

Address: Near the intersection of W Main St & Center St
Hours: 24/7

04 // Dine at many of Northville's top-of-the-line restaurants

Koji-- a stellar sushi restaurant-- in downtown Northville.
Entrance to an amazing sushi & Japanese restaurant-- Koji.

As mentioned earlier when talking about the restaurant inside Northville Downs, there is no way to fully appreciate downtown Northville without going to a restaurant. Nearly all of the restaurants in this small downtown as some of the best eats in the state of Michigan.

Most of downtown Northville's best restaurants are located in the "social district"-- which is essentially anything neighboring Town Square.

Several of the restaurants in the warmer months offer glamarous outdoor seating. The seats will usually be in a tent or a covered patio area so you can block off sun exposure.

That being said, the city council of Northville wanted people to keep visiting during the colder months, and thus, created an initiative called "Heat in the Street". This gives customers covered spaces to eat and drink which are equipped with electric overhead heaters and lighting.

Some of my personal favorites & recommendations: Koji-- a marvelous sushi restaurant, Tirami Su (Italian), and Genitti's Hole-in-the-wall (also Italian). The delicious food of this western Wayne county city will motivate you to keep coming back! I know it sure gives me reason to!

05 // Taste wine by the glass at Simply Wine

The entrance to Simply Wine.
The entrance to Simply Wine.

Did you just have an amazing meal at one of downtown Northville's amazing restaurants but it's too late to grab a coffee at Starbucks or Red Dot? Instead, sample some wine (and take home a bottle) at Simply Wine!

When you enter this classy store and spot a bottle of wine you may like, there is a possibility you can try the wine in an either 4 oz or 8 oz glass. If you're on a budget, no worries-- the store has an extensive "$20-and-under" section of quality wines.

The store has a truly impressive selection of wine and the staff are all exceptionally friendly. Wine communities (in my limited experience) can be really pretentious and snooty. There is none of that attitude here.

If you aspire to be or are a wine connoisseur, you should join one of their two wine clubs!

Address: 109 N Center St, Northville, MI 48167
Hours: M-Th 11:00 a.m - 7:00 p.m, F-S 11:00 a.m - 8:00 p.m, Su 12:00 p.m - 5:00 p.m

06 // Buy your beloved pet some swag at Celebrity Pets

The entrance to Celebrity Pets.
There's a water dish outside for the doggos.

My parents own a havanese and have shopped here several times! They've purchased some cute sweaters, coats, and toys for their beloved puppy from the nice folks at Celebrity Pets Co.

The store caters primarily to dogs and cats. The store owners take pride in the products they sell, including but not limited to high quality pet food, treats, leashes, collars, apparel, and toys.

As a bonus recommendation for downtown Northville, dog owners can also take their cherished canine to Cady Street Dog Park (though I feel I should mention there are fees)! Address: 124 N Center St, Northville, MI 48167
Hours: M-Th 10:00 a.m - 7:00 p.m, F 10:00 a.m - 6:00 p.m, S 10:00 p.m - 5:00 p.m, Su closed

07 // Play the most midwestern game in the streets

A setup for the game Cornhole on a street in downtown Northville.
Do you know the name of this game? Well, if you don't, I'll tell you in a sec...

Stationed off Center Street is a setup for a game I've only seen people in the midwest play. The name of the game is... cornhole. I'm not making this up.

It's a very simple game with an easy objective to throw sacks into the slanted hole on the opposing player or team's side. You can play the game for free on the street here.

That's... about all I have to say on this one! I don't play it much but, hey, if you see me walking around downtown and want to challenge me to a game of cornhole, I'd be down!

08 // Tea lovers, rejoice! Check out Tea Gather and Spice & Tea Merchants

Standing on the balcony of Tea Gather.
Let's grab a drink... tea-gather!

Located right next to my favorite restaurant in downtown, Koji, is a cute little tea shop with the most clever name: Tea Gather!

Ever have avocado milk? Or papaya milk?? You can see what those taste like at Tea Gather!

Tea Gather sells milk teas, bubble teas, traditional, and assorted teas. It's a great place to grab a fun drink while exploring downtown!

Another business I want to give a shout-out too is Spice & Tea Merchants. Whereas Tea Gather is a shop you grab a drink to go, Spice & Tea Merchants is a place you can buy tea and tea accessories to take home. They have an excellent selection of loose leaf teas.

Address: 135 E Cady St, Northville, MI 48167 (Tea-Gather), 134 Main Street, Northville, MI 48167 (Spice & Tea Merchants)
Hours: 11:00 a.m - 10:00 p.m except W-- 2:00 p.m - 10:00 p.m (Tea-Gather), M-S 10:00 a.m - 6:00 p.m, Su 12:00 p.m - 5:00 p.m (Spice & Tea Merchants)

09 // Explore the historic district (a.k.a the Mill Race Historical Village)

A setup for the game Cornhole on a street in downtown Northville.
Briefly step back in time in Northville.

The Northville Historic District is a quiet region of the town where you can see gorgeous homes and commercial properties dating before the 20th century.

Since downtown Northville is rather small and easily walkable in a matter of a few hours, don't pass up the Historic District. It's a great place to wander and admire the architecture.

There is also a museum you can visit providing information about Northville's history. Address: 215 Griswold St, Northville, MI 48167
Hours: (museum) M-W 9:00 a.m - 1:00 p.m

10 // Take a stroll through Maybury State Park

An abandoned old car deep inside Maybury State Park.
One of Maybury State Park's coolest secret findings!

Here we are, friends! The final item on our list: Maybury State Park!

Like I did in my article for downtown Plymouth, I'm sort of cheating this last one here. Maybury State Park is not technically in downtown Northville but it's only about a 10 minute drive from downtown and, frankly, I don't have any other contexts to mention this park so I'm throwing it in here!

This park I feel is one that even people who live nearby don't know about! Metro Detroit is not exactly revered for its natural scenery. Maybury State Park is stunning in the summer and fall, especially.

That image I posted of the abandoned and stripped car? No mistake-- that's one of the secret things you'll find as you walk further into the park! It's a really rewarding find for all the steps you take to get there!

One fascinating bit of trivia about the land: the land was once grounds for a sanatorium! However, in 1971, the sanatorium was closed and the land was revived to being a state park.

Remember how I mentioned earlier you can watch horses race at Northville Downs? Well, let me ask you this: have you ever riden a horse? If you've never riden a horse, guess what? You can ride a horse at Maybury State Park!

Last, there are trails for bikers here. Maybury State Park is a wonderful park with plenty to do and see and one of my favorite things to do in Northville!

Address: 49601 Eight Mile Road, Northville, MI 48167
Hours: 8:00 a.m - 10:00 p.m

Why is downtown Northville closed?

During the lockdowns in 2020, the mayor of Northville decided to close off downtown to traffic to give its restaurants a fighting chance. As of April 2023, the streets are still closed to traffic. However, on April 3, 2023, it was announced that traffic in downtown Northville would open up to cars starting in November 2023 and close May 2024-- essentially, cars would be allowed to drive in downtown during the late fall and mid part of spring.

As someone who loves exploring cities, I personally support this decision and think its a swell idea. Being able to walk freely in the streets during exploration is incredible and a policy I think more downtowns should put into legislation!

Where is Tunes on Tuesday downtown Northville?

Tunes on Tuesday is a free family-friendly concert series hosted in Northville Town Square and for the year 2023 will run from June 20th to August 15th. The time of the free concert is 10:30 a.m to 11:30 a.m.

Is Northville a good area?

Yes! Northville has a low crime rate so it is definitely a safe place to explore alone. The city is considered one of the best places to live in Michigan as most of its residens own their homes, the city has easy access to an amazing state park and outdoor scenery, as well as an active downtown.

What is Northville famous for?

While Northville certainly isn't "famous" on a national level, the city is known for having more natural scenery than other neighboring towns in the metro Detroit area. The Victorian-era architecture in its historic district and the well-kept-up status of its home are also highlights of Northville.

Is Northville expensive to live?

Yes-- as an area which embodies true downtown living, it also does come with a loftier price. If you're looking to rent, the apartments in Northville are quite expensive. Aside from the high rent, there aren't many apartments in the area to rent as it is. Most residents of Northville own their home.

Is Northville in the metro Detroit area?

Yes-- Northville is part of the "metro Detroit" area.

Is Northville a part of Oakland County?

Most of Northville is part of western Wayne county, with only a small portion of the city located in Oakland County.

Conclusion

Downtown Northville is a wonderful place that gives suburbanites an experience which embodies true downtown living. It's a great place to spend an afternoon and evening when you are visiting and exploring the metro Detroit region. I think the quantity of stellar restaurants alone will keep you coming back here!

City council did a tremendous job helping its local businesses and restaurants stay afloat during the pandemic which is why the area did not lose its luster once life began to regain some normalcy.

I hope you have enjoyed my list of the 10 best things to do in downtown Northville in 2024! Think I missed anything awesome? I love hearing from my readers and you are free to email me!


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