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The Beach at Campus Martius Park
The Beach at Campus Martius has been a major attraction since the park first opened.

The Beach at Campus Martius Park


Southwest Airlines and PPS collaborated with the Downtown Detroit Partnership to help bring a taste of the northern Michigan beaches to the center of downtown Detroit for all to enjoy. Building on other “Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper” Placemaking efforts in the area, we transformed an underutilized lawn in Campus Martius Park into a seasonal beach that includes a curved deck with colorful seating, a Beach Bar and Grille, and a large sand-filled area with lounge chairs, umbrellas, and an extra-long shared table. The beach serves as a fun and relaxing community gathering place for workers, visitors, families and children during the summer months. Programming at the beach includes aerobics classes, sand castle building, live musical performances, and lots of informal play in the sun and sand.

These Placemaking activities in Campus Martius Park support the Downtown Detroit Partnership’s broader efforts to activate public spaces in unique and creative ways to engage the local community and bring new energy to downtown Detroit.

“It’s all about activating public spaces, including parks, streets and sidewalks, so people have a great experience in the public space…The point of it is to revitalize downtown Detroit and the city of Detroit by getting people outside and enjoying their city…”

– Bob Gregory, senior vice president of the Downtown Detroit Partnership

“A traffic island in the heart of downtown Detroit has been transformed into an urban beach…”

– USA Today

Project Client: 
Southwest Airlines
The Beach at Campus Martius Park
The Beach at Campus Martius Park
The Beach at Campus Martius Park
The Beach at Campus Martius Park
Programming, like the winter tree lighting, accounts for much of the success of the park. Photo Credit: Ara Howrani for Campus Martius
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projects@pps.org or 212.620.5660
Tessa Rosenberry
Learn about PPS's Three-pronged Approach to Drive Change