Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Sterling Heights, MI

  • Published 2022/12/09

Sterling Heights is a city in Macomb County, Michigan, one of the primary suburbs of Detroit.

Because it’s a suburb, many of Sterling Heights attractions are geared toward family activities.

Most of these are urban activities that boost the bustling economy of Sterling Heights and neighboring Detroit.

For instance, you’ll see a lot of shopping malls, recreational centers, sports facilities, and amusement parks in Sterling Heights.

However, it’s also famous for its gorgeous Clinton River, a local river that features scenic trails and rich flora and fauna.

Check out this list of the best things to do in Sterling Heights, Michigan.

Experience City Culture at Dodge Park

Along Utica Road, Dodge Park is one of the most iconic destinations in Sterling Heights that should be atop your priority list.

This is one of the most versatile parks in Michigan, boasting all sorts of recreational amenities and access to neighboring scenic parks along the Clinton River.

Some things you can do at Dodge Park include trekking, biking, or simply having a food adventure via picnic or through the seasonal food truck pop-ups and festivals.

Are you visiting during the hotter months? Dodge Park is home to a large splash park that many locals use.

The park also has an outdoor ice-skating rink during the winter season, making it a primary winter attraction.

As a city icon, Dodge Park has an amphitheater and pavilion used for various events and concerts throughout the year.

Explore North Clinton River Park

North Clinton River Park is easily accessible from Dodge Park, offering an immersive experience of the Clinton River.

While the atmosphere at Dodge Park is fun and festive, North Clinton River Park offers you a tranquil escape from the city’s bustling culture.

One of the most favorite activities at North Clinton River Park is kayaking and trekking its paved and unpaved trails.

The gentle and small river here gives it a serene ambiance as you explore its trails.

You can also spot wildlife in the dense woodlands surrounding Clinton River, such as turtles, deer, and all sorts of migratory birds.

This picturesque park has loads of overgrown flora and is a can’t-miss place for any adventurer.

Visit the Sterling Heights Nature Center

Sterling Heights Nature Center is along Clinton River, a couple of miles north of Clinton River North Park.

As a quaint and small nature center, this is a great place to bring children to see the small local wildlife found in the woodlands of Clinton River.

You can spot neatly organized aquariums here that house several amphibians and reptiles native to the river.

Larger animals like deer and coyotes are represented through artificial replicas and taxidermies, a fantastic addition that animal lovers love to see.

Educational and fun, Sterling Heights Nature Center is an excellent addition to your Clinton River exploration.

Watch a Live Concert at Michigan Lottery Amphitheater

While concerts and other events are held at Dodge Park, nothing beats the experience at Michigan Lottery Amphitheater, located along Metro Parkway.

This place is a sizeable open-air amphitheater in Freedom Hill County Park.

The Michigan Lottery Amphitheater is home to some of the city’s most fun concerts and musicals.

Before your visit, check for upcoming events to plan your dates accordingly.

Its state-of-the-art seating, food concessionaires, and pavilion area receive rave reviews from locals who regularly attend the events in this amphitheater.

Even if there are no events, visiting Freedom Hill County Park along with Michigan Lottery Amphitheater is an excellent addition to your itinerary, as it’s a great place to unwind.

See a Movie at MJR Marketplace Cinema 20

MJR Marketplace Cinema 20 is your best option to see an excellent movie at Sterling Heights.

Thanks to its cleanliness and state-of-the-art facilities, MJR Marketplace Cinema 20 is highly rated by locals for its superb comfort.

One of the best-selling points of this theater is its comfy reclining seats, perfect for a movie date.

There are also concession stands here that offer unlimited refills for your drink and delicious popcorn.

MJR Marketplace Cinema 20 is an excellent addition if you have some spare time during your trip, located along Tiffany Drive.

Have a Blast at Full Throttle Adrenaline Park

The Full Throttle Adrenaline Park is located along Van Dyke Avenue, close to Sterling Heights Nature Center, a locally renowned go-kart racing and axe-throwing center.

Equipped with a sizable go-kart racetrack, modern axe-throwing cages, and several foosball tables, Full Throttle Adrenaline Park is a haven for adults and teenagers looking for fun.

The go-kart racetrack here is lovely, as its spacious roads replicate the Formula 1 race atmosphere.

As for their axe-throwing, coaches are also available for the safety of first-timers.

Besides these facilities, the amusement center has several others that complement the experience, particularly pool tables, virtual reality games, and a bar for adults.

Jump High at Urban Air Trampoline Adventure Park

If you want an amusement center geared toward younger children, Urban Air Trampoline Adventure Park is one of the best options in Sterling Heights.

This trampoline park teems with all sorts of trampoline zones that are uniquely spread out throughout this vast facility.

The exciting trampolines are complemented by obstacle courses featuring climbing ropes, rope bridges, and hanging bars.

Kids can also enjoy playing extreme dodgeball here with others, making it a fun place to meet new friends.

One of the best places for children, Urban Air Trampoline Adventure Park, is a solid addition to your itinerary if you’re traveling with the family.

Go Shopping at Lakeside Mall

Situated at the eastern end of Sterling Heights is Lakeside Mall, the largest shopping mall in the city.

Although it’s pretty big, Lakeside Mall is quite laid back, making it a perfect place to do some quiet shopping or get some errands out of the way.

You can see a giant two-story carousel here, too.

It’s a ride that has become the icon of this mall for many years now.

Lakeside Mall is also a great place to check out local businesses and shops in Michigan, along with its food court, where you can get some exciting bites.

What’s also strategic about Lakeside Mall is that it’s surrounded by other shopping centers that you can easily reach in just a few minutes, either by foot or by car.

Play Indoor Sports at Sterling Heights Community Center

Sterling Heights Community Center is a great place to break a sweat, offering several sporting facilities.

Located just across Dodge Park along Dodge Road, Sterling Heights Community Center has an indoor track field where you can do light jogging or more intense sprints.

There’s an indoor basketball court here if you want to shoot hoops with your buddies or the friendly locals.

You can also play volleyball on these courts, as the gym has high ceilings that make it ideal for the sport.

Sterling Heights Community Center makes for a great add-on to your trip if you have some downtime to play sports or go for an indoor run.

Take a Scenic Stroll at James C. Nelson Park

James C. Nelson Park is a laid-back park that suits the interests of families just looking for a place to relax while being close to nature.

The most popular attraction here is its paved trails that lead to the park’s surrounding woodlands.

You can take a scenic stroll while seeing a nice little creek here.

These forested trails are some of the best in Sterling Heights, blending the beautiful aesthetics of the woodlands with the park.

James C. Nelson Park is also home to a playground, a soccer field, and an open-air basketball court, adding good variety for the kids.

You can access James C. Nelson Park along 15 Mile Road.

Play All Sorts of Games at Zap Zone

Zap Zone is another famed amusement center in Sterling Heights, known for its laser tag, mini golf, and bumper car rides.

Their dark and murky laser tag facility is perfect for older kids, while younger kids can enjoy their varied arcade games.

The bumper cars there are also lots of fun for kids of all ages, offering a safe but exciting way to get some adrenaline going.

Other activities, such as their mini golf and bowling centers, enable parents and adults to experience the fun at Zap Zone.

Zap Zone has tons of great prizes and food concessionaires, so you won’t have trouble spending hours in this great facility along Van Dyke Avenue.

Play a Round of Golf at Maple Lane Golf Club

Are you looking for an excellent golf course during your visit? Consider Maple Lane Golf Club, located along Maple Lane Drive.

Maple Lane Golf Club is famous beyond the borders of Sterling Heights, as it’s a renowned golf course among Detroit and Michigan golfers.

The highly-rated golf course is always in pristine condition, offering good layouts of the holes that don’t put too much pressure on the golfer.

This makes Maple Lane Golf Club a good course for beginners and a fun one for veteran players.

There’s also a tiki bar and a pro shop here to complete your golfing experience.

Earning high ratings for its golf course and professional staff, Maple Lane Golf Club is a must-try if you’re an avid golfer.

Play Bowling and Shop at Bowling IQ By BowlersMart

If golf isn’t your thing, take a trip to Bowling IQ By BowlersMart, along 14 Mile Road.

As a go-to bowling alley, Bowling IQ By BowlersMart is a great hang-out spot for friends and family.

While not as big as typical bowling centers that include lounges and bars, Bowling IQ By BowlersMart makes up for it by doubling as a large pro shop.

You can find everything connected to bowling here, from bowling balls to shoes and bags.

This place is an ideal stopover for shopping for bowling-related items.

Bowling IQ By BowlersMart also offers training for beginners, making it an excellent all-around place to immerse yourself in the sport.

Take Your Toddler to Bounce House

Bounce House focuses on little kids aged three to five.

As a classic inflatable indoor park, Bounce House is sprawling with giant inflatable obstacles for toddlers to explore.

Besides inflatable slides and castles, Bounce House has an arcade facility featuring games like simulated racing and basketball hoops.

Safe and teeming with all sorts of fun, your toddler would be giddy if you included this as a short detour in your itinerary.

Bounce House is conveniently found along Van Dyke Avenue.

Try Skateboarding at Sterling Heights Skate Park

Sterling Heights is home to one of Michigan’s best skate parks, Sterling Heights Skate Park.

It’s a large outdoor park where casual and serious skaters congregate to practice their skateboarding skills.

The park is much more complex than the country’s usual ones, boasting intricate slopes and varied lines and flows.

Sterling Heights Skate Park has also become a famous destination for BMX bikers looking to practice neat bike tricks.

Located along Dodge Park Road, a couple of blocks from Sterling Heights Community Center, this skate park is in the heart of the community.

Final Thoughts

Sterling Heights has plenty of family-oriented destinations and various establishments that complement your travel goals.

From all sorts of fun amusement centers to convenient city parks and shopping malls, you can get a complete suburban experience at Sterling Heights.

The presence of the Clinton River makes the trip to this city worth it, as you can also experience a bit of the outdoors without traveling far from Detroit.

Don’t miss the best things to do in Sterling Heights, Michigan, on your trip to the Wolverine State!

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