Detroit is a city that has left its mark on American culture in more ways than one: with its role in the automotive industry, as well as being the home of Motown and techno music. The late 20th century hit Detroit hard — but the city has gotten a new life as a hub for artists and young professionals working to revitalize the place. The Lonely Planet travel guide calls Detroit America’s “most ambitious renovation project,” drawing new businesses and investments to the downtown core.
Today, you’ll find a range of popular team outing ideas in Detroit, from axe-throwing lanes to pedal pubs. We’ve tried to look outside the box a bit to find some lesser-known ideas that you may not have heard of — including an unconventional take on bowling that was invented in Detroit!
1. Go “fowling” at the Fowling Warehouse
This game has nothing to do with hunting ducks or chickens. It’s called “fowling” because it’s a combination of football and bowling, and it’s similar to lawn games like cornhole or horseshoes. In fowling, you use a football to knock down bowling pins and score points against the opposing team. If you’re in Detroit, head to the Fowling Warehouse to learn the official rules and break up into small teams to play. There’s a beer garden, live music, and food trucks on site, too.
2. Rent a unique venue on Peerspace
If you aren’t sure where to go for your team outing, why not rent a venue and design an activity of your own? Peerspace allows you to book event spaces from local hosts, giving you a range of venue types and team outing ideas in Detroit to choose from. Host a pop-up dinner at a mini-mansion, plan a company retreat at a private oasis, or rent a professional studio for team photos.
The best part is that you can have all of your on-site needs included, from equipment rentals to A/V gear to catering and bartending options. Just ask your host what’s available at your venue, or call up the Concierge service to have additional items delivered to your event space.
3. Learn about African art at the Bead Museum
The Dabls Mbad African Bead Museum began when a curator named Olayami Dabls left his job at the Museum of African American History, then started his own personal collection of authentic African artifacts. His project developed into a massive collection of beads, an outdoor sculpture garden with 18 installations, and a vibrant wall mural. One of the most educational team outing ideas in Detroit, you and your team can learn about the complexity of discussing (and curating) African history in America.
4. Visit the world’s fourth-largest bookstore
John King Books claims to have over one million books in stock. With four floors packed with bookshelves, you’ll need a map to find your way around (and don’t worry — you’ll get one!). We think a scavenger hunt, in which everyone on your team looks for the weirdest book you can find, sounds like fun. There’s also a rare book collection you can visit by appointment only.
5. Go kayaking with Detroit River Sports
Kayaks may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about Detroit, but the city’s location on the Detroit River makes kayaking the perfect team outing idea during the summer. A tour with Detroit River Sports is a great way to explore the city. Choose from a sunset canal tour or even a full moon tour after dark. Or, combine it with dinner on their Paddle to Table tour, which includes a farm-to-table dinner provided by the chefs at Coriander Kitchen & Farm.
6. Feed deer at the Belle Isle Nature Center
Belle Isle is one of Detroit’s most popular outdoor areas, and at the Nature Center, you’ll learn all about its native wildlife, including toads, turtles, snakes, and more. The Deer Encounter allows you to see the animals up close, and you may have the opportunity to feed them. The island is also home to an aquarium and observatory, making it a fun all-day team outing idea in Detroit. The Detroit Zoological Society also offers guided tours around the island once per month.
7. Ride the Dequindre Cut Greenway with MoGo bikes
The Dequindre Cut Greenway is a two-mile bike path that follows a former railroad line between the East Riverfront and Eastern Market neighborhoods. Its known for its street art, including a dozen murals you can see as you walk or ride along the path. The best way to explore it is by renting a bike, and the city’s MoGo bike share program is a great option that allows you to ride one way, then return the bike at any docking station or get a day pass for unlimited rides.
8. Learn spin art at Creative Arts Studio
Get out of the office for a craft session at Creative Arts Studio, where you can paint ceramics, create wax hands, or make spin art designs on T-shirts and tote bags. The studio also offers team building projects specifically for corporate teams. You can head to their studio in Royal Oak, or bring them to your office or Peerspace venue for an easy after work activity.
9. Visit the Outdoor Adventure Center
You don’t have to head out of the city to experience Michigan’s great outdoors during the middle of the work day. The Outdoor Adventure Center features a range of interactive exhibits, including kayak and snowmobile simulators, hunting and trapping exhibits, and more. You can also book team-building workshops to learn archery, snowshoeing, and other outdoors skills, followed by dinner at the on-site event space overlooking the Detroit River.
10. Head to the Detroit Roller Derby
If you’ve never been to a roller derby before, then Detroit Roller Derby is a great place to start! This affordable event is a fun team outing idea in Detroit that starts just when the work day ends: the doors open at 5 pm and the event starts at 6 pm. You don’t have to know anything about the game to cheer on a team — you may even get to see a local band play during halftime.
Detroit’s resurgence as a center for business, technology, and creativity means there are plenty of ways for your team to get out of the office to explore the city’s unique history and culture. We think you’ll find some great team outing ideas in Detroit on this list, but if you need more, take a look at the listings on Peerspace for dozens of venues available to rent from local hosts. Then, call up the Concierge to add on any additional items or services to your booking.