Sledding at Milliken State Park

D sledding feature 1

There are a lot of fabulous things about living in downtown Detroit – but sledding?


Against all odds, Detroit’s riverfront has become a choice spot for careening down a snow-covered hill.

Milliken State Park, just east of the Renaissance Center and at the foot of the Dequindre Cut, features a 50-foot mound across from the Globe Building that is near-perfect for sledding. I assume the hill was created when the harbor was dug at the park.

My kids had a blast sliding down and then walking back up for about an hour. I kept marveling at how much life in the city has changed since I was a kid. I grew up downtown, in and around Lafayette Park, and we never really went down to the riverfront to play. It was all industrial. Dirty. Dangerous.

Now, most of the east riverfront is a grand promenade park, and it’s the centerpiece of my kids’ outdoor play area. It’s where they ride their bikes and scooters, and where we take summer evening walks along the waterfront.

Each summer, it seems there are more and more people along the River Walk; eventually, it’ll be like waterfront parks in other cities, packed to the gills with people and events.

When we got to Milliken, there was one other family sledding down the hill. When they left, we had it to ourselves.

I suspect this may be the last year for that kind of exclusivity. The Globe Building is being renovated as an indoor “adventure and discovery” center, with a “rock-climbing wall with zip lines, an interpretive forest, archery range and classroom space.”

The hill across the street? It’ll likely draw many more people’s attention, and inspire families from all over to come to downtown Detroit for sledding.

I can’t wait – and neither can my kids!

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