Best Time to View Sunsets in Detroit

By Ashley Friedman

Dusk over Detroit: Catch the last rays of day in Motor City

Best Time to View Sunsets in Detroit

The Motor City has a lot to offer visitors, from national history to contemporary culture and even outdoor activities, depending on the weather and the season. A vibrant arts community and an up-and-coming food scene are making the birthplace of Motown a destination once again. Whatever you decide to do during your sojourn in Detroit, be sure to set aside at least one evening to watch the sun go down over this spectacular American city.

When does it happen?

In the summertime, following the summer solstice in June, the sunset in Detroit begins as late as 9:12 p.m. The sun continues to set after 8:30 for all of July and most of August. Following the autumnal equinox in late September, the sun begins to set earlier, and by mid-October the sunset starts around 6:45. Following daylight saving time in early November, you'll need to reach your viewing spot before 5:05. In the wintertime, daylight hours begin to increase gradually following the winter solstice on December 21, and by late February the sun starts making its exit around 6:15. Days lengthen as springtime approaches, and by mid-April the sunset doesn't begin until around 8:15.

Weather and seasonal considerations

Detroit is known for its cold Midwestern winters. Heavy snow, icy temperatures and frequent precipitation during the late fall and winter mean that overcast skies are likely. Cloud coverage can ruin your chances of viewing the sunset, so be sure to check the weather report if you're hoping to catch the view during gray months. In spring and summer, storms are possible, but a rainstorm can dissipate quickly, creating conditions for a clear, colorful sunset.

The best spots

Detroit's Belle Isle Park is a 982-acre island with cultural and environmental resources that make it a destination for any visitor to the city. The park's location in the Detroit River means its shores provide an excellent location for watching the sun go down, reflected against the water, any time of the year. Head to the aptly named Sunset Drive on the island's western shore for a front-row seat.

The Detroit River Walk, with restaurants, benches and amazing views of the Ambassador Bridge to Canada, is a choice spot for watching the sunset during the city's more temperate months. This is a family-oriented location with a heavy police presence, so if you're thinking about PDA or brown-bagging beers, think twice.

For views of the Ambassador Bridge and Canada in a more insulated environment, travel to Coach Insignia restaurant, a swanky steakhouse on the 72nd floor of the GM Renaissance Center. With great optics of downtown Detroit and the river and an excellent wine list, this is ideal for enjoying the sunset during cold winter months. But, it can get crowded, so make a reservation, remembering to ask for a table by the window.

About the Author

Ashley Friedman graduated from Sarah Lawrence College in 2003 with a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing and Social Sciences. She has experience writing copy for the websites of creative professionals, and regularly contributes to several blogs covering popular culture, travel, food, and social action.