NFL Draft Day in Detroit - Pure Detroit Blog - Woodward Avenue
March 30, 2024

NFL Draft Day in Detroit

by Pure Detroit

The 2024 NFL Draft  kicks off in Detroit in just a few weeks on April 25th at 12 noon. The three-day event has NFL fans and many Detroiters eagerly anticipating the first-of-its-kind event in the Motor City. All eyes will be on downtown Detroit, especially Campus Martius, Hart Plaza and the Detroit Riverfront, where much of the activity takes place. The coming excitement is catchy - According to City of Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan “The NFL Draft is going to be an incredible opportunity for hundreds of thousands of visitors to see the progress our city is making.”

NFL Draft in Detroit - Pure Detroit Blog - Image Courtesy of Visit Detroit

 Image courtesy of Visit Detroit

A little about the NFL Draft:

The Draft is an annual event in which the teams of the National Football League select eligible college football players to add to their rosters. It serves as a key mechanism for distributing new talent among the teams in an effort to maintain competitive balance within the league.

New York City hosted the NFL draft from 1965-2014 at various locations in the city, with Radio City Music Hall being the most notable and longest-running venue. However, things changed in 2015. The NFL became interested in growing its off-season appeal for sponsors and fans. With the growing appeal of the NFL draft, the league experimented by moving the draft to Chicago for two years. It worked. Interest and enthusiasm rose. The NFL then expanded on the idea by rotating the event between host cities. After two years in Chicago, the NFL Draft moved to Philadelphia in 2017, Dallas in 2018, Nashville in 2019, then Cleveland, Las Vegas, Kansas City and this year to Detroit in 2024.

The Draft has produced a long list of key players for the Detroit Lions. Many longtime fans may remember the number one overall pick of Hall of Fame running back Billy Sims in 1980 or when quarterback Matthew Stafford was taken as the number one overall pick in 2009. Other notable first round picks for the Detroit Lions are Barry Sanders (pick #3 in 1989), Calvin Johnson (#2 in 2007), Ndamukong Suh (#2 in 2010), Frank Ragnow (#20 in 2018) and more recently, Aidan Hutchenson (#2 in 2022) and Jahmyr Gibbs (#12 in 2023). This year, the Lions have the 29th pick in the first round. Coach Dan Campbell and the Lions’ brain trust will be hard at work to draft this years’ incoming class. 

Fun things to do at the NFL Draft:

NFL Draft Day in Detroit brings with it many fun activities for fans. First and foremost is the “ultimate fan festival” -  the NFL Draft Experience in Hart Plaza. it will take place during all three days of the Draft. Fans will be able to take photos with the Vince Lombardi Trophy, explore immersive exhibits, participate in games, meet and get autographs from current NFL players and former NFL greats at the Autograph Stage. Admission to the NFL Draft Experience is free, but you must register ahead of time at

Ford Field - Home of the Detroit Lions - Pure Detroit Blog

A few blocks away at Ford Field Detroit Lions season ticket holders are invited to the first night of the Draft for a special Draft party. Invitations will be emailed April 4th to season ticket holders. Fans can watch the Draft live at Ford Field and there will be games, prizes, special Ford Field tours and much more. The cost is $25.

Big Impact on local business:

The 2023 NFL Draft in Kansas City last year had impressive numbers. According to Forbes, 312,000 people attended and it generated more than $164 million in business for Kansas City. Local restaurants, bars, hotels and many small businesses experienced a boost in traffic and sales during the Draft.

Detroit is poised to attract an even greater number of visitors, creating an even bigger economic impact for the 2024 NFL Draft. Locals and visitors can explore the streets of downtown Detroit and find many interesting establishments. Long-time Detroiter favorites such as Lafayette Coney Island and American Coney Island will be bustling. The Checker Bar, Grand Trunk Pub, The Hudson Cafe and so many more places will be hopping. Increased foot traffic from fans, team representatives, media and others as they explore the downtown area will help boost activity at retail stores, restaurants and bars and make downtown Detroit a lively, bustling place.

Five fun things to do nearby:

If you plan to attend the Draft or not, there are plenty of fun things to do in Detroit on Draft weekend. Here are five that we recommend:

Cheer for the Detroit Tigers. Just a few blocks from the NFL Draft and right across the street from Ford Field, you can catch the Detroit Tigers vs the Kansas City Royals at Comerica Park. The Friday afternoon game starts at 1 pm and the Saturday game starts at 6 pm. With Detroit being such an epic sports town, it’s the perfect opportunity for fans to mix baseball and football. Get tickets here.

Walk the Detroit RiverWalk. Voted best riverwalk in the USA, the Detroit RiverWalk stretches 3.5 miles from Gabriel Richard Park at the Belle Isle Bridge west to Rosa Parks Blvd. You can walk, run, bike or just take in the beautiful views of Detroit and Canada along the way. Attractions include plazas, parks, pavilions, pathways and open green space.

Tour the fabulous Fisher Building with Pure Detroit. Take a tour of the stunning skyscraper known as Detroit’s ‘Largest Art Object’ - the fabulous Fisher Building. The 441-foot-tall masterpiece by legendary architect Albert Kahn, boasts a three-storey marble arcade adorned with stunning frescoes and mosaics. Pure Detroit offers tours led by expert tour guides on Saturdays at 11 am, 1 pm and 3 pm. Sign up here.

Enjoy Saturday Morning at Eastern Market. Detroit’s beloved Eastern Market is the place to be on Saturday mornings in Detroit. The market dates back to the 1840’s and is one of the oldest farmer’s markets in the United States. Historic sheds bustle with the activity of vendors selling fresh produce, meats, baked goods, flowers and art. The Market is home to many small businesses and family farms and customers are able to buy straight from the growers.

Take a spin around Belle Isle. Belle Isle, a Frederick Law Olmstead designed park is home to many attractions including the Belle Isle Aquarium, the Belle Isle Conservatory, the beautiful Scott Fountain and the recently-completed Piet Oudolf Garden. Views of Canada and downtown Detroit at sunset, especially from Sunset Point, can be spectacular.

In conclusion, the 2024 NFL Draft in Detroit is a great opportunity to experience the Draft in person and to be a part of some of the many exciting things that Detroit has to offer. Bring your friends, bring your family to Detroit for NFL Draft Day 2024 and immerse yourself in football and this great city.

If you are attending the 2024 NFL Draft, stop by Pure Detroit - The Original Local Culture Shop, with two locations in Detroit: Our flagship Pure Detroit store is located in the lobby of the fabulous Fisher Building and our Pure Detroit Midtown Strathmore shop located at 70 W. Alexandrine Street in Detroit's Midtown neighborhood. We offer authentic Detroit apparel, including t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats and hoodies. Plus, many unique gifts.

Here is just a taste of our latest offerings:

Pure Detroit Trucker Hat - Embroidered - Black / White - Pure Detroit

Detroit Foam Trucker Hat - Embroidered - Black / White - $32

Women's Detroit Love Premium Relaxed T-shirt - Red / Pink - $28.50

Spirit of Detroit Premium Sweatshirt - White / Lagoon - $55

Detroit Love Can-shaped glass - 16 oz - $19


313 Unisex T-shirt - White / Navy - $28.50