What To Do In Livonia, MICHIGAN
A large suburb of Detroit, Livonia is located in Wayne County and, as of 2015, has a population of 96,942. Part of Metro Detroit, the city of Livonia is made up of traditional neighborhoods which are connected to the metro by freeways.
Livonia Township was first settled in March of 1835 with the first settlers largely hailing from New York and New England, with settlers from both Estonia and Latvia also following suit. The name of the township, Livonia, was chosen as a way to pay homage to Livonia, NY, Livonia Pennsylvania and Livonia which was a region of the Baltic Sea in present-day Latvia and Estonia. In May of 1950, Livonia was incorporated into a city as way to gain tax revenue from the Detroit Race Course (DRC). Although the DRC closed in 1998, it was formerly Michigan’s only thoroughbred horse race track.
During the first century after settlement, residents of Livonia grew grains and vegetables and raised dairy cattle and sheep. Although initial growth in the area was slow, roads soon emerged out of the dirt roads and hard surfaced highways were then built. The first major step toward commerce and industry came in 1948 when General Motors built an automatic transmission plant. Ford was soon to follow with their Ford Motor Company parts depot.
A proud recipient of numerous recognition’s, Livonia has been named one of the 50 Safest Cities in Michigan, been recognized as a Michigan Green Community and been given a nod as a Sustainable Community. Historic preservation has allowed the city to retain much of the original heritage. With over 1800 acres acquired and developed, there is now plenty of open space and park land to be found in Livonia. Combining both the historical preservation and the open space concepts is Greenmead Historical Village. Sitting on 103 acres this combination farm and museum showcase’s the history of Livonia and sits at the corner of 8 Mile and Newburgh Roads.
Boasting a strategic location that is second to none in the region, Livonia offers main roads fanning out in every direction and easy access running both east-west (via I-96) and north-south (via I-275). Proclaiming “Families First” as their motto, Livonia maintains hometown atmosphere with strong emphasis on both public service and public safety.
The 10th Happiest Mid-Sized City in the Country (as of 2016), the Second Best Kid Friendly Place in the Nation and the Second Least Economically Stressful City, Livonia is easily one of Michigan’s (if not the country’s) best places to raise a family and own a home. With an array of parks and over 1300 acres of green space, there is no shortage of recreational opportunities in Livonia. Six miles of nature trails, parks in 22 neighborhoods provide numerous places for people to gather for outdoor activities and picnics. In Livonia you can also find several major shopping centers and a state-of-the –art Community Recreation Center. A thriving cultural environment, Livonia celebrates and embraces music and the arts. There is also an annual birthday celebration in Livonia called Spree which is a 6 day carnival located at Ford Field.
Our Favorite Things to Do in Livonia
Enjoy And Get Inspired
If you’re a music lover, come enjoy the professional symphony orchestra located right here in Livonia Michigan. Livonia is also host to several historic community venues and to one of metro Detroit’s largest suburban fireworks displays.
Boasting three public libraries with many programs for children and adults, Livonia’s Civic Center and other city parks are home to outdoor, family concerts featuring various musical acts as part of the weekly “Music Under the Stars” series during the summer months.
Livonia’s community service organizations also produce a number of successful family and fundraising events, such as the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. So, don’t be left out! Come enjoy and get inspired by Livonia Michigan’s many cultural and philanthropic endeavors.
Dining Out In Livonia
Livonia offers plenty of choices when it comes to dining out. From cafes to bars and restaurants you’ll never run out of options when you’re ready for a bite to eat. Sine Livonia is best known for casual dining, we’ve listed some of our favorite local establishments in the list below.
33406 5 Mile Road
If you are looking for home cooking in a vintage diner then Bates Hamburgers is the place for you. Referred to as “Bates on the Boulevard” by the locals, Bates is family owned and operated, offering local culture and great service. This is a true Livonia landmark. It’s a simple menu with soups, burgers, fries and old-fashioned shakes that need a spoon. There’s even a drive through window. Word of caution: Bates does not take credit cards so be sure to have cash on hand, although $10 will easily get you all of the fixings for two.
Thomas’s Family Dining
33971 Plymouth Road
Thomas’s serves high quality homemade food at reasonable prices. They have a passion for quality and for community. Their food is authentic Polish cuisine coupled with seasonal specials. The menu is large and features Polish specialties like pierogis, kielbasa and stuffed cabbage. Never fear however because the menu also boasts staples salads, mac and cheese and broasted chicken in addition to Italian favorites like chicken or veal parmesan and spaghetti. There are also sandwiches, burgers and a full breakfast menu. There’s something for everyone at Thomas’s Family Dining. Wheelchair accessible.
Lefty’s Cheesesteak Hoagies
29407 Six Mile Road
Lefty’s is a simple eatery that packs a big punch and cheesesteak is their specialty. Considered a staple in the metro Detroit area, the sandwiches are made to order and the staff is both friendly and efficient. There are also burgers, Coney dogs and corned beef on their menu but you can’t leave lefty’s without a cheesesteak. From what we hear they even rival Philly for best cheesesteak on the planet.
If you think you’ll get bored in Livonia Michigan…think again! The City of Livonia has over 1,389 acres of land, which includes 3 full-size golf courses, an archery range, 60 park site and a large community recreation center. Livonia’s parks are a great place picnicking or just to hang out and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.
You like to get out and move your body? Well you’ve come to the right place! Livonia’s park system offers 32 tennis courts, 43 ball diamonds, 3 golf courses, 25 soccer fields, 3 outdoor swimming pools, 2 ice arenas, 11 picnic shelters, an archery range, 7 in-line skating courts, 1 skateboard park, 10 sand volleyball courts, 3 fitness clusters, 22 neighborhood parks with play structures and 11 designated nature preserve areas some with trails. Whew! I’m exhausted just thinking about it. The hardest part…where to begin!
Sightseeing in Livonia
With the second highest number of public parks and nature preserves in the state and a plethora of historical sights to visit, Livonia offers endless opportunities for recreation and fun. Learn about Livonia’s beginnings and explore a little piece of nature with some of our favorite choices listed below.
Greenmead Farms Park
20501 Newburgh Road
Purchased by the city of Livonia in 1976, this historic farm site serves to preserve the legacy of Michigan’s agricultural heritage. The park also plays host to a number of special events annually and is both a recreational and cultural facility. At Greenmead you will find a 95 acre park site which includes the original farm complex that belonged to the Livonia’s first pioneer, Joshua Simmons Greenmead also offers a community garden, walking paths a gift shop and a myriad of old buildings ripe for exploration. Guided tours are available on Sunday, June – October and again in early December.
Visitors can choose to take a self-guided tour any time the park is open by downloading an app at http://Livonia.tourspeher.com
32184 6 Mile Road
Simply a gem, located in the middle of the city, Rotary Park will make all of your wildest dreams come true. Surrounded by woods and streams, the park houses a garden, walking trails, picnic areas, volleyball courts and a dog park. Wildlife abounds at Rotary Park and it’s not uncommon to everything from deer to frogs as you explore the grounds.
29350 W Chicago Street
With a history dating back to 1888, Wilson Barn is now a National Historic Site. The barn served as an industry leader in dairy processing and products starting in 1919. The mission of the Wilson family was to serve families in the community and they were committed to using local resources and their own cows. The barn is currently maintained by “Friends of the Barn”, a volunteer community group responsible for upkeep and event planning. From June to October you’ll find a calendar full of multi-cultural experiences open to the public.
Livonia offers a treasure-trove of hidden gems if you’re looking for a unique way to spend an afternoon. Take a break from the ordinary and add these to your sightseeing list for an unforgettable experience.
Roush Automotive Collection
11851 Market Street
Calling all car buffs! Roush Automotive Collection features over 100 vehicles dedicated to the preservation of the Roush heritage. Founded in 1995 by Jack Roush, the company provides high performance parts for both street and competitive racing. Housed in a 30,000 square foot private facility, the collection boasts multi-media exhibits, displays, memorabilia and a gift shop. With over 40 years of motor sports accolades, Roush Racing is also represented in the collection. Roush race cars, trophies, photographs and team equipment can all be found here for your viewing pleasure. Tours are free and self-led but must be scheduled by appointment. Wheelchair accessible.
Dirt Burner Racing
38101 Schoolcraft Road
Nestled in one of the industrial parks along Schoolcraft Road, Dirtburner Racing at once appears to be an intriguing store, chock full of tires, kits and setups for RC (radio controlled) cars and trucks, but don’t let that fool you. The great find inside of the Dirtburner Racing complex is the indoor dirt track. The track itself is changed often and it’s free from road rage or texting while driving! Race schedules are posted on the Facebook page and if you have a hankering for racing your own RC car, you can practice and race on their track. Wheelchair accessible.
The Town Peddler Craft and Antique Mart
35323 Plymouth Road
Featuring over 24,000 square feet and 400+ booths to browse, The Town Peddler is the first and largest antiques and crafts mall in Michigan. Established in 1993 this family owned and operated extravaganza has been consistently voted ‘Best Antiques” by Michigan residents. New items are added daily so you’ll discover new treasures with each visit. From whimsical collectibles to handcrafted items to vintage and valuable antiques, The Town Peddler is a great place to go to just browse or find unique, one-of-a kind gifts and home décor.