Simple pleasures like hayrides make big memories for little kids. Hop on the hay and enjoy a short ride through…
Kids: Isaac (5)
My husband, Jason, and I met in law school in New Orleans, and we moved to Ann Arbor after graduation. After living there for a few years, Jason got a job in Detroit and we decided to make the move in 2008. We lived in the Leland Lofts building for four years and made some of our best friends. We also fell in love with Lafayette Park, and didn’t want to leave. Two days before Isaac was born, we moved down the street to our townhouse in the Mies Van der Rohe Co-ops. We’ve enjoyed experiencing the city’s growth along with our family’s over the last few years. Lafayette Park has been an especially great place to raise an active kid because there is so much to do right within walking distance—Tigers games, Eastern Market, the Dequindre Cut and Riverfront, and Downtown. We love hosting visitors and talking about Detroit and its virtues with anyone who will listen.
BATCH BREWING // CORKTOWN
Jason and I are giant beer nerds. One of our hobbies is travelling around the state (and the country) checking new breweries off our list. So when Batch opened we were excited for the beer, but even more excited that they were vocal about being family friendly right from the start. The long tables are great for big groups of friends, plus they have high chairs and a changing table. Parking is easy in the lot outside. Isaac loves the soft pretzels, and I love the beer slushies. There are actually a large number of great family-friendly restaurants in town. A few of our other favorites are Green Dot Stables (the sliders are the perfect size for kids), Jolly Pumpkin, and Honest John’s.
NEIGHBORHOOD PLAYGROUNDS // LAFAYETTE PARK
One of the best things about our Lafayette Park neighborhood is the tight knit community. The actual playgrounds in the co-ops aren’t anything special, but gathering there is one of our favorite family activities because of the people we see. On Friday evenings, a lot of the local families get together for pizza and conversation after a long week. It’s great for the kids to run wild with each other, and even better for the exhausted grownups to catch up over a few drinks. Some weeks it feels like our own little Utopia in the middle of the city.
MT ELLIOTT SPLASH PAD // RIVERFRONT
All of the Detroit Riverfront attractions are awesome for kids (the carousel at Rivard Plaza, the fountain in front of the RenCen, the long stretch of space to run and ride on the Dequindre Cut, and the DNR Outdoor Adventure Center to name a few), but the splash pad is probably our favorite. During the summer months the water comes on at 10am and stays on all day. There are waterfalls, spouts, cannon water-shooters, and things to climb all over. We love to run there together (our B.O.B. stroller actually still gets use!), but there’s also a parking lot right next door. It’s the perfect spot for a birthday party or other kids’ gathering because there are shaded tables and it’s 100% free.
DETROIT CITY FOOTBALL CLUB // HAMTRAMCK
Our family is obsessed with all things DCFC, and have fully adopted the team. We have season tickets and get to every match during the season. The Northern Guard Supporters (aka superfans) are loud (and not what you’d traditionally call family friendly) but if you’re willing to bend the language rules a little and jump into the fray it’s a blast. We like to park at the Fowling Warehouse and march over to the matches while chanting slightly censored versions of the cheers. You can sit with the NGS, or on the other side of the stadium where the language is slightly less colorful. During the matches, there are food trucks to suit every kid’s taste. The energy on the field and in the stands is incredible.
I’ve run the full and half marathon several times, starting way back before Isaac was born. Even on the years I’m not participating in one of the events, Marathon Sunday is a fun day for our family. We often have friends running, so we’ll post up on Lafayette with coffee and snacks. We also sometimes run over to Indian Village and cheer the runners on from our friends’ homes there. Isaac loves giving high fives and getting the chance to be loud and crazy. Running the course is a beautiful way to see the city, from the Ambassador Bridge at sunrise to the windy miles on Belle Isle to the historic neighborhoods.
“Retaining your personal identity and your identity as a couple is not impossible after you’re a parent; it just takes effort. I’ve been a runner for years, so I ran with Isaac as soon as I could. We loved going to Tiger’s games, so that became a family event. We love live music and brewery visits and going to brunch, so when Isaac was born he became a part of that too. I think a lot of times new parents assume that good parenting must involve constantly doing specifically “kid friendly” things like going to children’s museums or play places. That stuff is definitely a big part of it, but it doesn’t have to be everything. You can be a good parent and still be yourself!”
Bekah Page-Gourley is an attorney and contributing writer for LittleGuide Detroit. She lives with her husband, Jason, and son Isaac, in Lafayette Park, Detroit. They love experiencing the city’s growth, hosting visitors and talking about Detroit’s virtues with anyone who will listen. Bekah and her family love going to Detroit City Football Club and Tigers games, Eastern Market, the Riverfront, and Downtown.