Hidden Detroit – Sports & Activities


Part of our 2017 City Guide, Hidden Detroit

A Stone Left Unturned

Being so close to Canada, it’s no surprise that Detroit loves hockey. But here in Hockeytown, there’s also a smaller contingent of folks who love Canada’s other recreational import: curling.

Founded in 1885, the Detroit Curling Club stands as one of the oldest curling clubs in the United States. To date, the organization maintains a membership of close to 300 players, who compete in a variety of leagues: men’s, women’s, mixed, juniors, seniors, and collegiate. Offerings include both social and competitive play.

In addition to the regular season, which runs from mid-October to mid-April, the DCC also boasts a learn to curl program, which teaches the basics like how to score a game, how to slide a stone, and what exactly is going on with all the brooms and sweeping and yelling.

According to Eric Kortebein, ice technician at DCC, beginners need not be daunted.

“Curling’s not that difficult to learn,” Kortebein says. “But it’s quite difficult to get good at.”

Therein lies the sport’s appeal. On its website, the DCC issues fair warning to newcomers that curling can be “addicting.”

“Part of it is the challenge,” Kortebein says. “Depending on who you play, the more difficult it is. You have to make your shots count every time.”

Evidently, in Detroit, the curling addiction has been strong, if subtle, for years. This January, the DCC held its 105th annual men’s “bonspiel” — curling lingo for “tournament.” — Jeff Waraniak

For more information, visit detroitcurlingclub.com.

Yoga Rocks Ford Field, Come Play Detroit. 

Detroit Sports Central

Whether you’re a young professional entering the downtown workforce or a Detroit transplant learning to navigate the Motor City, finding friends and fun outside of work can be a challenge. Especially when the lure of a couch, Netflix, and an eight-corner Detroit-style pizza can be so strong. Thankfully, Come Play Detroit makes things easier.

Created in 2010, CPD was designed by then-27-year-old Justin Jacobs to bring Detroit’s young adults together through organized coed sports and events. In its inception, Jacobs, who had just moved back to Detroit from Chicago, merely wanted to organize a basketball league among friends. Word spread quickly about the league via Facebook, and a coed kickball league soon followed.

Fast-forward to 2017, and the group has grown to accommodate a dozen sports leagues with around 8,000 participants.

“It just goes to show how many more young adults are now living in the city and actively engaged in Detroit,” Jacobs says.

Throughout the year, CPD now organizes leagues in basketball, bowling, bubble soccer, flag football, golf, kickball, soccer, tennis, volleyball, and broomball. Games are played in and around the city of Detroit at venues like Joe Dumars Fieldhouse, Hartfield Lanes in Berkley, downtown’s Boll Family YMCA, and Belle Isle. For folks not interested in stick-and-ball sports, CPD also organizes a league for euchre, as well as the Yoga Rocks Ford Field.

And although light, competitive play is the main draw for some, others join simply to network, make new pals, and get involved in the community.

“It’s a great way to be active and social in a healthy way,” Jacobs says. “We provide opportunities to meet new friends as well as bond with old friends.”

Of course, some participants, somewhere between the sweat and competition, have even managed to find long-term love.

Leagues cost $40-$50 per player, or $550-$850 per team. Sessions last 8 to 12 weeks. — Joey Manuszak

Students practice aerial arts at the Detroit Flyhouse. Photograph by Martin Vecchio.

6 Ways to Get Moving

Under-the-radar activities for your to-do list.

Surf The Eastside
Grab a paddleboard (or kayak) and explore Detroit’s eastside canals, the Detroit River, or the shores of Belle Isle. Some take place at sunset, others launch under moonlight. detroitriversports.com

Jump Up and Get Down
With foam pits, dodgeball courts, and yes, plenty of trampolines, AirTime Trampoline and Game Park is the place to air it out. The group maintains four metro Detroit locations. airtimetrampoline.com

Bikes and Yoga
Organized by Detroit Community Yoga, this free event is every Thursday from spring to fall. Meets at Belle Isle’s Sunset Point, take a lap around the island, and head back at Sunset Point for a free yoga class. bikesandyoga.org

Let Loose With Salsa
Vicente’s Cuban Cuisine brings Havana to Detroit with salsa dancing every Friday and Saturday. Hint: The sangria helps to get the legs moving. vicentesdetroit.com

Join the Circus
Detroit Flyhouse, located in Eastern Market, offers classes in aerial silks, trapeze, acrobatics, fire performance, and more. detroitflyhouse.com

Pick Up a Sword
Maybe it was the Olympics. Maybe it was The Princess Bride. In any case, fencing’s the sport you’ve always wanted to try. With programs for beginners to advanced fencers, the Renaissance Fencing Club in Troy boasts fully equipped facilities to learn. renaissancefencing.com


OABI Festival
Date: Aug. 12
An acronym for Once Around Belle Isle, it’s a 7-mile paddleboard, kayak, and surfski race around our beloved island. Food trucks, craft beers, and live music are included. oabidetroit.com

Date: April 22
This inaugural duathlon is a 5K run followed by a 10K bike ride and another 5K run (phew!). Registration includes beer and pizza. Proceeds go toward Friends of Rouge Park. tour-de-troit.org

Tough Mudder Michigan
Date: June 3-4
This year’s thrilling course will be at Koenig Sand & Gravel in Oxford. In addition to over 20 obstacles, participants can expect to traverse lakes, hills, fields, and, yes, plenty of Michigan mud. toughmudder.com​