Thanksgiving Day in Detroit is a big holiday.
It’s one of the few days of the year the national spotlight gets put on the city and the Detroit Lions.
Along with the Lions hosting the Buffalo Bills, America’s Thanksgiving Parade will take place in downtown Detroit, as will a morning Turkey Trot.
With so much going on downtown, it’s important to plan ahead if expecting to be part of the day’s festivities.
Detroit Lions vs. Buffalo Bills Thanksgiving Game
The Detroit Lions will be hosting their 83rd annual Thanksgiving Day NFL game this year.
The Lions welcome in a Super Bowl contender to Ford Field in the Buffalo Bills.
Kickoff time for the contest is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. and it will air live on CBS.
Ford Field typically suggests arrival around two hours before kickoff to avoid delays. If you arrive within 30 minutes of kickoff, the Lions say expect to miss the start of the game.
Halftime of Thursday’s game will feature a special performance by Grammy nominated singer-songwriter Bebe Rehxa. She will be joined by DJ David Guetta for her performance.
Verizon will have an activation space inside Ford Field, and is joining forces with the Lions to enhance fans’ experience of the halftime show with a mobile lightshow.
Of course, the game is just the main event on a day filled with activity in the city.
Detroit Turkey Trot
Prior to the game and America’s Thanksgiving Parade, the annual Turkey Trot will be held in Detroit.
Taking place over the last 39 years, races of a 10K, 5K and 1 mile will be held, with entrants running along the streets of downtown.
The 10K and mile will begin at 7:30 a.m., while the 5K will be starting at 8:30 a.m.
America’s Thanksgiving Parade in Detroit
America’s Thanksgiving Parade is one of the country’s oldest parade events.
The parade will go down Woodward Avenue. Starting at 9 a.m., the parade will start on the corner of Wooward and Kirby and end at Woodward and Congress. It will run until Noon.
The parade is free to the public, unless you’re looking to purchase grandstand tickets.
For those unable to make the event, it will be broadcast live on WDIV Local 4 starting at 10 a.m. It will also be carried on 104.3 WOMC from 10 a.m. to noon.
Parking in Detroit on Thanksgiving Day
If just planning on going to the Lions game, the Lions recommend the Ford Field Parking Deck, which is conveniently located right next to the stadium on the East end. It even includes a skywalk to access the stadium without stepping outdoors.
Lots 4, 5 and 6 are also surrounding the stadium.
Other facilities like the Lions/Tigers Garage, The ‘D’ Garage and The Fox Garage are a short walk from Ford Field.
From there, there’s plenty of other public parking lots available for a range of prices. Two of Detroit’s three retail casinos – Hollywood Casino at Greektown and the MGM Grand Detroit – are also within walking distance.
If planning on attending America’s Thanksgiving Parade, consider the following parking garages
- The Z Garage
- One Campus Martius Garage
- Bricktown Garage
- Financial District Garage
- 1001 Woodward Garage
- Buhl Garage
- One Detroit Garage
- Two Detroit Garage
- Huntington Place Roof Deck
- Huntington Place Garage
- Millennium Garage
If looking to reserve a space ahead of time, Parking.com, SpotHero, ParkWhiz are mobile apps that you can use prior to heading to Detroit.
Detroit road closures on Thanksgiving Day
Due to the Thanksgiving Day events, road closures in downtown Detroit will be happening on Nov. 23 and Nov. 24.
Getting to Ford Field or some of the garages may require alternate routes than what is typically suggested.
- 9 a.m.: Woodward Ave. between Grand Blvd. and Warren Ave.
- Noon: Woodward Ave., a rolling road closure from Warren Ave. South to Larned St.
- 5 a.m.: Full closure of Woodward Ave. from Grand Blvd. to Jefferson
- 7 a.m.: Southbound exit of US 10 (Lodge Freeway) at Larned
- 7 a.m.: Full closure of Griswald from Grand River to Jefferson
- 9 a.m.: Full closure of Congress from Beaubein to Washington Blvd.
- 9 a.m.: Full closure of Larned from Beaubein to Washington Blvd.
Tailgating on Thanksgiving Day
Unless otherwise noted, traditional tailgating is prohibited in parking facilities adjacent to Ford Field.
- What that includes is:
- No grilling or cooking of any kind
- No trailers or oversized vehicles
- Vehicles are to occupy one space per vehicle
- No tents
- No unruly conduct
If looking for tailgating, the Eastern Market is a 10-minute walk from the stadium that allows for tailgating. It also runs a shuttle to the stadium. Tailgating passes cost $40 and can be purchased online or at the market’s office on game day.
Hollywood Casino at Greektown will be hosting a tailgating event at Detroit Music Hall on Thanksgiving Day, starting at 9 a.m. and running to 1 p.m. They will be giving away autographed sports memorabilia while providing live music and food trucks for patrons to enjoy. Admission to the tailgate is free.
Photos in illustration from Associated Press, Shutterstock.com.