August is an amazing time to visit Michigan to soak up the rest of summer. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, history buff, or food lover, there is something for everyone to enjoy in this beautiful state. In this article, I will provide you with a comprehensive list of the best things to do in Michigan in August.
1. Michigan State Fair
Enjoy old-fashioned family fun at the Michigan State Fair returning to the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi this August.
This classic state fair includes carnival rides, games, agriculture and livestock exhibitions, live music, pig races, acrobatic circus acts, magic shows, a lumberjack show, demolition derby, locally made food and crafts, and so much more during 11 days of festivities.
2. Ann Arbor Hot Air Balloon Festival
See colorful hot air balloons fill the skies at the Ann Arbor Balloon Fest held at Barton Park. This family-friendly event happens over 3 days in late August and includes launches of over 20 hot air balloons, weather permitting.
In the evenings, the balloons glow with lights. Guests can wander the field, enjoy live music, kids activities, and food vendors. Ticket proceeds support local charities.
3. Woodward Dream Cruise
Classic car lovers of all ages flock to Detroit’s Woodward Avenue on the 3rd Saturday of August for the world’s largest one-day automotive event – the Woodward Dream Cruise.
For 24 hours, over 1 million spectators watch 40,000 classic cars cruise down the avenue. Fans can view the rolling car museum for free from designated viewing areas all along Woodward. It’s an iconic Detroit event for motoring enthusiasts!
4. St. Ignace Car Show
See incredible classic vehicles and muscle cars at the annual St. Ignace Car Show located where Lake Huron meets Lake Michigan.
Known as one of the top car shows in the Midwest, this 3-day event draws over 1,000 show vehicles and 30,000 spectators. Fans of vintage cars and trucks will love checking out the gleaming paint, chrome details, and mint condition of these beauties by the Mackinac Bridge.
5. Michigan Renaissance Festival
Immerse yourself in 16th century merriment at the Michigan Renaissance Festival! For weekends August through October, a Holly village transforms into a Renaissance amusement fair with swordfighting knights, musicians, theater, food, shopping, rides and free entertainment.
Costumed characters fill the streets as visitors enjoy turkey legs, mead, people watching and activities. Each weekend has fun themes too like fairies and fantasy or pirates. Huzzah!
6. National Cherry Festival
Enjoy sweet cherry fun at Traverse City’s world-famous National Cherry Festival each July/August.
This lively event celebrates the region’s iconic tart cherries through airshows, concerts, a cherry pit spit competition, parades, pie eating contests, fireworks, and indulging in amazing cherry foods, wines, and beers.
Additional activities include an arts fair, midway rides, running races, and the crowning of the National Cherry Queen! It’s a Michigan summer highlight.
Experience the charm of Bavarian-inspired Frankenmuth, Michigan’s “Little Bavaria” town. The city goes all-in on its German roots with beautiful floral decor everywhere, Fraktur signage, traditional architecture, and hearty family-style chicken dinners complete with live polka music.
Popular stops include the world’s largest Christmas store at Bronner’s, the Historical Museum, covered bridge over the Cass River, and sampling fudge shops galore. It’s like a little slice of Europe in Michigan!
8. St. Joseph County Fair
Ride thrilling carnival rides, watch livestock shows, see exciting motorsports, and indulge in classic fair food at the St. Joseph County Grange Fair in Centreville.
The second-to-last county fair of the year in Michigan is set to offer a range of traditional attractions that have been enjoyed by long-time attendees. The fair is known for its focus on agriculture and usually attracts a dedicated following from the 4-H community.
Fair-goers can look forward to around 60 food vendors, over 250 business vendors, exciting carnival rides and games provided by Mid America Shows, as well as nightly entertainment at the grandstand.
This immersive, old-fashioned county fair has tractor and truck pulls, demolition derbies, bull riding, magic shows, live music, 4H exhibits, baked goods competitions, a car show, and a rodeo. Fun for the whole family!
9. Detroit Jazz Festival
Jam out to incredible live jazz music for free at the Detroit Jazz Festival! This vibrant event held downtown over Labor Day weekend brings top jazz performers across multiple stages.
Over 100 acclaimed artists play genres like swing, blues, Latin, funk, and classic jazz. Pack a picnic, dance along, take in the music at one of the world’s biggest free jazz festivals, and celebrate Detroit’s jazz legacy.
10. Ann Arbor Art Fair
One of America’s best and most prestigious outdoor art fairs happens annually in Ann Arbor in late July.
Over 1,000 talented artists turn 15 downtown blocks into an outdoor art gallery filled with incredible ceramics, drawings, glasswork, paintings, fiber art, photos, jewelry, metalwork, mixed media, and more.
Artists are present to discuss techniques and inspirations. The vibrant street fair also has live music stages, fantastic food vendors, and cold beverages to enjoy while admiring all the amazing artworks. It’s an incredibly inspiring event for art lovers and creators!
11. Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival
Celebrate the U.S. Coast Guard at Grand Haven’s annual Coast Guard Festival! This lively event includes a carnival, Grande Parade with floats, kids activities, car shows, live entertainment, contests, fireworks, waterfront tours, and the moving Memorial Service honoring lost Coast Guard members.
The festival culminates with the thrilling USCG Demonstrations on Lake Michigan showcasing helicopter rescues, emergency flares, and a Coast Guard cutter.
12. Museum Ship Valley Camp Tall Ship Tours
Address: 501 E Water St, Sault Ste. Marie, MI 49783
Visit the retired icebreaking U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw and other tall ships docked right along the riverfront in Sault Ste Marie.
Daily self-guided and guided tours are available to walk the historic decks and bridges of these impressive vessels.
A highlight is hearing stories from the guides who served on the Mackinaw and learning about Great Lakes shipwrecks at the on-board museum. It’s a unique maritime experience.
13. Detroit Riverfront Fireworks
Watch incredible fireworks displays light up Detroit’s downtown riverfront skyline this August! Two to catch are the huge annual Ford Fireworks show with fireworks choreographed to music or the Detroit Symphony Orchestra playing live at their River Lights Celebration around July 4th.
Arrive early to claim waterfront spots for dazzling views, with shows lasting 25-60 minutes. It’s pure Detroit summertime magic!
14. Lakes of the North Outdoor Adventure Show
Adventure enthusiasts will love this huge outdoor sports expo at Otsego County Fairgrounds featuring 200+ vendors of boats, RVs, ATVs, kayaks, fishing gear, hunting supplies, outdoor apparel, and more.
The 3-day show has shopping deals along with speakers, demos, a kids zone, antique snowmobiles, and a craft beer festival. Camp right on site and enjoy live music and events into the evenings too.