Michigan tourist attractions

10 Must-Visit Places Near Detroit, Michigan: A Local’s Guide [2021]

10 Must-Visit Places Near Detroit, Michigan: A Local’s Guide [2021]

What are Some Places to Visit Near Detroit Michigan?

Places to visit near detroit michigan is a topic that offers plenty of opportunity for exploration and adventure. From charming towns dotted with historic architecture, to natural landscapes that beg outdoor enthusiasts, there’s something here for everyone.

  • The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn: One of the nation’s most expansive museums dedicated to American innovation, especially transportation and industry
  • Cranbrook House & Gardens in Bloomfield Hills: Acres of gardens and lush surroundings make this estate one not to miss.
  • Belle Isle Park: This urban park is located on an island situated within the Detroit River. The park features views of Canada as well as play areas and other leisure activities..

No matter whether you’re hoping for fun family outings or inspiration for outdoor adventures, exploring places around Detroit has much to offer visitors from all walks of life.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Visiting the Best Spots near Detroit, Michigan

Detroit, Michigan may be known for its automobile industry and Motown music scene, but there are plenty of natural wonders and cultural landmarks waiting to be discovered just beyond the city limits. Whether you’re a local or visiting from out of town, exploring these top spots near Detroit will give you a new appreciation for the beauty and diversity of this great state.

1. Detroit Riverfront

One of the best ways to experience Downtown Detroit is by taking a stroll along the riverfront path. You’ll get stunning views of Windsor, Canada across the water, plus access to parks like Milliken State Park with fishing piers and more. Grab some food at one of many waterfront restaurants nearby before sunset viewings.

2. Belle Isle

Take time away from urban life on this idyllic island park inside John Lake Tahoe Street where activities abound including kayaking tours leading you through scenic back waters while providing information about wildlife such as otters & osprey’s who call them home too!

3. The Henry Ford Museum

This museum located in Dearborn offers an academic-based trip down memory lane that celebrates iconic American history itself right up until present day! Its exhibits offer something fun or informative for visitors all ages come learn what really made America thrive as they explore everything innovation has had to offer our country throughout its past decades — even hop into a presidential vehicle collection finish off in gallery featuring famous faces art inspired films animation styles used by Pixar Animation Studios themselves.

4. Greenfield Village Located adjacent to The Henry Ford Museum this idealistic historical living village takes visitors back into History 1800s Settlement Style ‘Mainstreet’ skylines can visit buildings restored originality offering hands-on experiences living reminiscent times gone-by period actors added theatrics telling authentic stories revisiting early Americans lives.

5. Cranbrook Educational Community Cranbrook Art Academy was formed in 1904 based on principles promoting art mastery merging high quality teaching techniques with fine art craftsmanship. Today its also known as Cranbrook Educational Community and their 300-acre campus in Bloomfield Hills is home to a number of sites that bring history, culture, and education together.

6. Michigan Renaissance Festival Immerse yourself in the spirit of medieval times with knights, jousting competitions, puppeteering , food & drink offering! There are even themed weekends dedicated to things like pirates, fairies or wizards; where visitors dress up too!

7. Northern Oakland County’s Hiking Trails The northern parts of Oakland County offer plenty of opportunities for a trek through rolling hills lined with picturesque landscapes stunning foliage scenic backdrops perfect photo treasures an all around memorable experience you won’t forget easily…

8. Metro Beach Metropark Take advantage of this waterfront park located just outside Detroit by enjoying beautiful Lake St Clair views at sunset – kayaking tours available along shoreline giving paddlers peaceful outlooks across horizon.

9. The Urban Wine Trail Sampling locally crafted wines regionally sourced fruits given insight into how these delicious results fermented right here near Michigan will leave your taste buds singing happy tunes!.

10.Greektown Casino-Hotel / MGM Grand Detroit (Yes there are good reasons they’re one after another!) Gambling doesn’t appeal everybody but fact both Downtown Detroit Casinos have much more than gambling on offer including dining outlets bars nightclubs music venues spas shopping centers.

Whether you’re looking for natural beauty, cultural landmarks or entertainment options beyond the city’s limits visiting any spots listed above is certain to be an unforgettable experience filled with fun and adventure! Just pack some snacks & sunscreen hit road toward finding true nature soaking rich Culture among great state nature trails museums while still finding time let loose nightlife casinos that serve excellence anytime day all week long!

Discovering Hidden Gems: The Top Places to Visit Near Detroit, MI

Detroit is known for its rich automotive history, soulful music scene and iconic sports teams. But there’s more to see than meets the eye if you step off the beaten path and explore some of the hidden gems that this city has to offer.

We take a closer look at what makes Detroit such an incredible place to visit , with inspiring places just moments away from Motor City itself!

Here are some of our favourite spots within driving distance of Detroit:

1. Belle Isle Park

Belle Isle, located on the banks of the Detroit River between Michigan and Ontario, Canada is one of those under-the-radar local gems that every visitor should experience once in their lifetime. The park offers something for everyone: picnic areas with grills, walking trails through beautifully manicured gardens or natural woodlands where deer can be spotted grazing contentedly alongside bike paths meandering past fishing piers – not forgetting stunning views over Lake St Clair which leaves visitors mesmerised beyond belief.

2. Ann Arbor

Just an hour’s drive along I-94 West will take you out of busy downtown Detroit into a quaint college town called Ann Arbor – it might be small but it packs an academic punch! With spectacular architecture including grand old buildings like Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library mingling amidst trendy new shops (such as Zingerman’s Deli), restaurants & bars all woven effortlessly around campus life – this novel little destination truly embodies everything youthful & academically stimulating.

Ever wondered whether going “to hell” would make sense during your vacation? Well guess what? Within driving reach (a mere 62 miles west) lurks ‘Hell’ – yes you read right… Hell!! A tiny village regarded fondly by locals due to creative branding only present here; making for a great day-trip escape from ‘real life’. Highlights include seasonal festival events celebrating traditional American holidays & unique shopping options ranging from handmade items to Halloween-themed stores.

4. Frankenmuth

Approximately 1-hour’s drive north on I-75 brings you to the Bavarian town of Frankenmuth, full of year-round holiday cheer with its charming old-world architecture, central hub for chicken dinners freshly roasted and served traditionally family-style. Also look out for Margaritaville at Texas Station – this is a pirate/bar themed restaurant that serves over-the-top burgers topped with pulled pork & smoky BBQ sauce… you won’t know whether to eat your burger or take a photo first!

If you’re looking for an escape from busy downtown Detroit, then these hidden gems are definitely worth exploring! From beautiful parks to quaint college towns and quirky villages – there really is something for everyone in Michigan’s neighboring towns outside city limits. Don’t miss out on discovering these well-guarded secrets and creating memories that will last lifetime!

FAQs for Planning a Trip to Places Near Detroit, MI.

Detroit, Michigan is a fantastic town with plenty of exciting activities and events to keep visitors entertained all year round. However, some tourists prefer to take a break from the hustle and bustle of city life and explore nearby towns or attractions that surround Detroit. If you’re planning such a trip, this article will answer your frequently asked questions about exploring places near Detroit.

What are some popular nearby towns?

There are several great options for day trips near Detroit. Ann Arbor is an excellent choice for those who enjoy nature as it’s home to the University of Michigan campus and the Matthaei Botanical Gardens & Nichols Arboretum. Another option is Dearborn which features The Henry Ford Museum, Greenfield Village, Ford Rouge Factory Tour among others. Additionally,wine enthusiasts would appreciate taking a short drive north to check out one of Michigan’s award-winning wineries in Traverse City!

Are there any outdoor activity options near Detroit?

Yes! While the weather in Michigan can be unpredictable at times it still offers scenic natural landscapes perfect for hiking or biking adventures; how about visiting Roland Reserve located on Sylvan Lake-which provides eight miles of hiking trails through lush forests along streams-and spot some rare bird species? Kayaking on Huron River-where Ann Arbor typically offer kayak rentals-or paddle boarding at Belle Isle Park are also recreational options during summer months.

Any recommendations for family friendly activities?

Many local venues have reopened following closures due to Covid so be sure to verify hours ahead but there’s no shortage of family-friendly entertainment throughout metro-Detroit: Visit Sea Life Aquarium at Great Lakes Crossing Outlets offering educational experiences about marine creatures under their 20-foot long tunnel tank . Other choices include LEGOLAND Windsor Resort where kids can experience world landmarks built brick by brick using only Lego brand blocks. Another must stop destination that both adults and children could mutually agree on – visit Northern Oakland County‘s renaissance festival featuring jousting knights,characters dressed in medieval attire and everything that transports you back to the beginning of time.

When is the best time to plan a trip to places near Detroit?

The peak times would depend on what attractions youre going for! The summers offer many options but late spring or early falls can be less crowded, more comfortable for outdoor activities, and in some cases cheaper. Keep up with season schedules since peak fall colors can draw tourists during October while winter visits might also attract visitors checking out Little Caesars Arena for power-packed games within NHL Detriot Red Wings or NBA Pistons; warming souls at Detroit Institute of Arts through their 108th exhibition display – “Van Gogh in America”, Hockeytown Ice Rink located opposite the Comerica Park Stadium offering skating accompanied by live music played by local dj’s etc

What’s are foodie spots worth exploring nearby?

Any visit here isn’t complete without trying Coney Dog hotdogs- a sausage placed in buns topped with chili (Coney) sauce and mustard which draws crowds from all over Michigan . Can’t forget distilleries?? You have two choices depending on your preference either check out Two James Spirits situated off East Grand River Avenue leading a tour about whiskey making along with reliving historical elixirs served since prohibition era OR venture towards Ann Arbor Distilling Co. that offers small batch spirits aged ranging up to several years!

One thing is clear – Michigan has alot brewing under its sleeve when it comes visiting areas closeby metro-Detroit. There’s much fun waiting this summer so pack up those bags ,load google maps,get ready, set go because there won’t only be one hotspot worth navigating toward throughout Adventureland USA aka Southeastern Michigan!

The Ultimate Guide: How to Make the Most Out of Your Trip to Places Near Detroit, Michigan

Detroit, Michigan – the Motor City, a hub for art and music lovers alike, and also home to some of the most beautiful natural attractions you’ll find in North America. Set amidst an extraordinary landscape surrounded by verdant forests and gorgeous lakes; if you haven’t visited this fantastic city before or have recently been handed with that newfound freedom after lockdown has eased up some stateside travel restrictions, we present to you a no-holds-barred guide on making your trip to Detroit one that will remain etched in memory forever!

First things first – decide how long you want your vacation to be

Before planning out what kind of activities suited specifically for you during your visit , it is important when setting aside time so as not only can plan accordingly but make sure every day counts while here! Be realistic about what time frame works best – are two days enough? Or would four better suit individual requirements such as allowing more exploring adventures ?

Know which season fits each traveler’s personality

Michigan state enjoys various seasons throughout the year: spring brings beautifully colored cherry blossom trees along Woodward Avenue; summers offer stunning coastlines perfect for swimming and basking in streams (northern Michigan), great fairs like The Michigan State Fair or Hamtramck Labor Day Fest -anybody? Fall comes with pumpkin spice craze AND colorful woods patched outside Downtown perfect for enjoying sunny weekends taking autumnal strolls. Winter offers outdoor skating at Campus Martius Park ice rink plus cozy fireplace sipping hot chocolate aren’t too bad either.

Deciding on transportation options- because there are LOTS

Getting around Detroit does call upon multiple modes of transport depending on interests. Head downtown via smart bus tours or even fall cruises past iconic landmarks such as Belle Isle Aquarium where once tigers roamed fully freely welcomed visitors back within impressive cast iron buildings alongside summer concerts held around nearby waterfronts across far-flung scenic routes including AMC Theatre Popcorn Pickup & Drive-in movie theatres.

For those looking for some good ole sporty activity or outdoor vibes, cycling tours and romantic biking sessions by Sweet Bikes will take you on the most incredibly scenic rides highlighting historic buildings such as Michigan Central Station are especially enjoyable during months with mild temperatures.

Find out what places match your interests- there’s plenty to choose from!

The city is a melting pot of culture and creativity; no matter where you roam, it’s difficult not to see something new. History buffs can have their fill at Detroit Historical Museum or Motown Museum (perfect for music lovers!). Art enthusiasts can witness firsthand exhibits within Detroit Institute of Arts neighboring campus Chicago ambassador exposition galleries that boast world-famous works alongside hipster dream spots like the Heidelberg Project open-air arts space vibrantly playful in ideal photographs.

Foodies also handled like royalty given choices encapsulated across over 5000+ eateries scattered around town – try local pizza “Buddy’s Pizza,” ‘Honey Butter Chicken Tenders’ from Social Sloane dishes fit’ Metro Diner’, famous egg rolls at Pho Lucky’s Vietnamese Restaurant near Eastern Market… Are these enough options?

And don’t forget hitting up signature sites- because this cannot be ignored if visiting once-ever popular landmarks include Ford Piquette Avenue Plant – origin point behind one-of-a-kind Model T line-up production museum set against brick surroundings rendering contrast to interiors deep inside humming engineering starting an automotive story still-powerful today!

Finally yet importantly identify accommodations suitable while sticking close (or away!) possible transportation hubs closest any selected attraction site mentioned above. While carefully selecting downtown high-rises skyline views providing maximum chain-hotel glamour inherent enticing-sounding private enclosures better suited specifically solely ensuring tranquil hideaway quaint romantic getaways available too promoting friendly staff members dedicatedly fulfilling every visitor requirement.

In conclusion, plan ahead wisely and pick what resonates with individual traveler needs – this guide means each experience will be unique and satisfying that Detroit has to offer! Whether it’s for a quick weekend trip, or an extended stay, take in everything from the vast landscapes to precious Signature Dishes ultimately guaranteeing one heck of a memorable experience while exploring this fantastic city.

Top 5 Facts About the Incredible Attractions Near Detroit Michigan

Detroit, Michigan may be most famous for its automotive industry and Motown music scene, but the surrounding area boasts some incredible natural and cultural attractions to explore. From stunning lakeshores to historic landmarks, here are five must-see destinations near Detroit:

1. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore: Located just a few hours northwest of Detroit on the shores of Lake Michigan, this park is renowned for its breathtaking sand dunes that tower over 400 feet above the lake. Visitors can hike through forests and along beaches, kayak or paddleboard in crystal-clear waters, or even take a scenic drive on the iconic Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive.

2. Mackinac Island: Another must-visit spot located north of Detroit is Mackinac Island. This car-free island truly feels like stepping back in time; visitors can explore Victorian-era architecture, enjoy horse-drawn carriage rides around the island’s perimeter, and relax with fudge (a local specialty) from one of many quaint shops .

3. The Henry Ford Museum: Closer to home in Dearborn MI lies The Henry Ford Museum – one of America’s greatest history experiences! With exhibits covering everything from industrial revolution inventions and classic cars to civil rights movements, this museum has become a go-to attraction year after year iwith an annual attendance rate at almost two million people every single year.

4. Belle Isle Park: In addition to several well-known state parks throughout Michigan, locals love spending time at nearby Belle Isle Park Complete with plenty of activities such as hiking trails,museums water sports aquariums conservatory gardens & more . it provides an idyllic getaway for families who want something fun without having too much driving distance involved

5.The Lake Erie Metropark Nature Center: Situated right next door on beautiful Lake Erie ,the Lake Erie Metropark Nature Center offers magnificent birdwatching opportunities where birders can walk alone or be part of a group of professionals observate many types of species such as snowy owls, red-breasted nuthatches, and pine siskins – there’s never a dull moment inside this natural preserve. With 1300+ acres of land the park is great for hiking, walking & to explore native wildlife all year long.

In conclusion, Detroit may be famous for its cars and music but it has much more on offer if you’re willing to go exploring beyond city limits.A short drive takes visitors from sand beaches in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore or Mackinac Island’s car-free Victorian charm.The Henry Ford Museum offers fascinating insights into American history while Belle Isle Park offers plenty of outdoor activities closer home .The options are numerous around Detroit- these top five destinations can help anyone have their next bold adventure planned out in advance!

From Beaches to Wilderness: The Diversity of Destination Options near Detroit Michigan

Detroit, Michigan is known for many things; its rich history in the automotive industry, famous sports teams and music legends such as Motown. But did you know it’s also surrounded by a plethora of beautiful destinations to explore ? Whether you’re seeking the sun and sand or lush greenery and wildlife, there are countless options located just a short drive from downtown Detroit.

First up on this list is the highly coveted Great Lakes region. Located within minutes of Detroit lies Lake Erie – one of five Great Lakes that offer endless beach opportunities. From sandy beaches like Sterling State Park to rocky shores at Belle Isle Beach, there’s something for every type of swimmer or sunbather. If water sports interest you, look no further than family-friendly places like Kensington Metropark where visitors can rent paddle boats or kayaks for an exciting day on the lake.

Next on our destination must-see list is the urban oasis situated right in Detroit’s midst: The Eastern Market District. This neighborhood was once a hub for manufacturing now flourish with America’s largest open-air market featuring fresh produce vendors selling locally-grown fruits and vegetables all summer long! Artisan craftspeople selling handmade clothing pieces alongside farm-fresh honey & jams provide unique shopping experiences abound here.

This district is home to numerous art galleries showcasing local artists’ work and boutique shops offering eclectic finds perfect souvenirs befitting different tastes such as vintage record stores lining alleyways filled with funk & soul classics will make any avid music lover nostalgic

For nature enthusiasts seeking scenic country excursions should check out nearby recreation areas not far from Motown city life – Holly Recreation Area less than hours driving northwards down I-75 offers more than 7 thousand acres extensive parkland replete trails covered throughout various terrains meandering through copper-colored creeks overlooking rock bedded valleys sheltering various deer species amongst others smaller mammals endemic to Michigan wilderness,

Finally—the splendid serenity offered by Huron-Manistee National Forests — East of Lake Michigan towards Detroit Wilderness which is simultaneously protected under the ‘Wild and Scenic Rivers System”. With over 976,000 acres scattered across Michigan’s lower peninsula offering backcountry camping opportunities complemented by a chance to explore some of the largest dunes east of the Mississippi River.

As you can see, there are countless destinations waiting to be explored around Detroit. From sandy shorelines to rugged wilderness trails, this city’s surroundings offer something for all levels – whether you’re looking for ex citing outdoor activities or just want some peaceful downtime amid nature’s grand beauty!

Information from an expert

As a Michigan native and travel enthusiast , I can confidently recommend several places to visit near Detroit. For outdoor enthusiasts, the beautiful Belle Isle Park offers stunning views of both the city skyline and nature trails for hiking or biking. Art lovers will appreciate the Detroit Institute of Arts, which boasts one of the largest art collections in the country. A short drive north leads visitors to charming downtown Rochester, featuring boutique shops and restaurants nestled amongst scenic parks and historic landmarks. No matter what your interests may be, there is certainly no shortage of unique experiences waiting just outside of Motor City.

Historical Fact:

Near Detroit, Michigan lies the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village, which is home to the famous Rosa Parks Bus. Here visitors can learn about civil rights history and see the bus where Parks refused to give up her seat in 1955, sparking a major turning point in the movement.

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19 Top-Rated Attractions & Places to Visit in Detroit

Written by Lura Seavey and Lana Law Updated Dec 27, 2023 We may earn a commission from affiliate links ( )

Detroit, the largest city in the state of Michigan, lies on the northwest bank of the Detroit River and on Lake St. Clair, between Lakes Huron and Erie. Downtown Detroit sits at the water's edge and is packed with things to do, as well as restaurants, shops, and interesting neighborhoods like Greektown.

The Dearborn Neighborhood is a top place to visit for sightseeing and is best known for its association with automotive legend Henry Ford, and it is also home to several ethnic neighborhoods, including an Arab-American area that has excellent Middle Eastern dining options.

The suburban Oakland district is home to the Detroit Zoo and also known for its upscale cafés and shops. Outlying neighborhoods include Detroit's "East side" of Macomb, known for its marinas, and the trendy Greater Noni neighborhood, with its golf courses and recreational facilities.

Plan your next trip to Motor City with our list of the best tourist attractions in Detroit.

1. Visit the Detroit Institute of Arts

2. see where it all began at the motown museum, 3. tour the ford piquette avenue plant, 4. visit the detroit zoo, 5. explore historic fort wayne, 6. spend a day on belle isle, 7. tour the henry ford museum & greenfield village, 8. catch a ballgame at comerica park, 9. masonic temple of detroit, 10. go shopping at eastern market, 11. explore the past at the charles h. wright museum of african-american history, 12. michigan science center, 13. stroll the detroit riverwalk, 14. take a cruise on the detroit princess riverboat, 15. detroit historical museum, 16. detroit public library, 17. pewabic pottery, 18. gm renaissance center, 19. explore fair lane, the henry ford estate, where to stay in detroit for sightseeing, map of attractions & things to do in detroit, detroit, mi - climate chart.

The Detroit Institute of Arts

The Detroit Institute of Arts displays a representative cross-section of man's artistic creation from the earliest cultures to the present day. Its permanent collection includes more than 65,000 works of art within more than 100 galleries. This includes pieces from Africa, Oceania, and the Indigenous Americas; art of the Near East and classical antiquity; collections from medieval Europe; and American art and culture.

Among the museum's most popular are masterpieces of European painting, including works by Rembrandt, Van Gogh (self-portrait), Matisse, and Picasso. There is also an extensive collection of Islamic art with pottery, bronze, stone, and other works that span from ancient to modern and a gallery dedicated to African American art, which includes a variety of media.

In addition to traditional art forms, the museum is home to a performing arts collection that includes film and theater memorabilia, as well as the Paul McPharlin Puppetry Collection .

Address: 5200 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, Michigan

Official site: http://www.dia.org/

Motown Museum

Also referred to as "Hitsville USA" for its iconic sign, the Motown Museum is a small shingle-clad building that was occupied from 1957 to 1972 by the studio where records of the "Motown sound" were produced. Visitors can see the actual recording studio where Marvin Gaye and others produced hit songs and the apartment where Motown founder Berry Gordy Jr. lived with his family.

The museum chronicles the history of the recording studio and the historic days of Detroit's rise to fame as the birthplace of some of the biggest hits of all time. Be sure to call ahead to reserve your tour - admission sells out quickly.

Address: 2648 West Grand Boulevard, Detroit, Michigan

Official site: http://www.motownmuseum.org/

The Ford Piquette Avenue Plant

The Ford Piquette Avenue Plant is where the Model T was born, revolutionizing the automotive industry and shaping the way for the future of personal transportation. The building is a National Historic Landmark, formerly the center of manufacturing for what was once the world's most popular car.

Visitors can walk through the plant on the original worn floorboards and admire dozens of beautifully maintained early model vehicles, including Ford's cars and his competitors. You can also see the "experimental room" just as it was when Ford and his team worked on developing and testing new ideas, including a drafting table, tools, and even his mother's rocking chair.

Address: 461 Piquette Street, Detroit, Michigan

Official site: https://www.fordpiquetteplant.org/

A polar bear swims at the Detroit Zoo

The Detroit Zoo occupies 125 acres just outside downtown Detroit, home to an astounding number of animals from around the world. The zoo is separated by habitat type, one of the most popular being the African habitats, which are home to exotic favorites like rhinos, lions, zebras, giraffes, as well as a South American favorite, the sloth. Located within this section is the four-acre ape habitat, which houses a dozen chimpanzees and three silverback gorillas.

The Asian Forest habitat is home to camels, tigers, lemurs, and red pandas, and there is an Australian Outback habitat, which has kangaroos and wallabies. There are also areas devoted to North American wildlife, and an Arctic region, which has polar bears, Arctic foxes, and several types of penguins. Visitors can also enjoy a peaceful visit to the indoor butterfly garden; a free-flight aviary; and the reptile conservation center, home to many types of snakes, frogs, and turtles.

A variety of animal encounters are available to visitors, including giraffe-feeding and penguin meet and greets. The park also has several playgrounds, a train ride, and a 4-D theater, as well as several picnic areas and a low-sensory zone for overstimulated kiddos.

Address: 8450 W 10 Mile Road, Royal Oak, Michigan

Official site: https://detroitzoo.org/

Historic Fort Wayne

The grounds of Fort Wayne feature a five-pointed bastion fortress built in the 1840s, which tourists enter through the Sally Port, a fortified wooden door made with three layers of wood. Inside the fort stands the large limestone barracks building, which was constructed in 1848. Visitors can tour the first floor to get a peek at what life was like for a soldier in the 1860s.

The fort's interior also includes its oldest building, the powder magazine, and the large open parade grounds. Other features include a restored officer's quarters; the Demilune, which once held the water-facing cannons; and a dry moat. The fort hosts a number of events throughout the summer, as well as several special tours, including nighttime ghost tours that explore the spookier side of the fort.

Address: 6325 West Jefferson, Detroit, Michigan

Official site: www.historicfortwaynecoalition.com

Belle Isle, Detroit with fall foliage

Belle Isle is an island in the Detroit River, approximately three miles long and up to one mile wide, laid out with beautiful parkland, hiking trails, and sports facilities. One of the primary features is the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory, which opened in 1904 and includes palms, cacti and desert plants, tropical plants, and a lily pond.

The island is also home to the Dossin Great Lakes Museum , which has numerous ship models and other exhibits illustrating the history of shipping on the Great Lakes, as well as reminders of the days of grand Great Lakes cruises, like the restored Gothic Room from the S.S. City of Detroit III.

Other attractions include the Belle Isle Nature Zoo , where visitors can feed deer, and the recently remodeled Belle Isle Aquarium . There are plenty of recreational opportunities on the island, including a driving range, bicycle and boat rentals, a giant slide, and plenty of swimming holes and hiking trails in and around the park's three lakes.

Official site: https://www.michigan.org/property/belle-isle-park

The Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village

About 11 miles west of the city center is the suburb of Dearborn, where the automobile manufacturer Henry Ford was born. In 1929, he established two exhibition complexes as memorials to himself: the 12-acre Henry Ford Museum and an open-air museum called Greenfield Village.

The Henry Ford Museum offers a general survey of the development of American life and technological advances from pioneering days to the present time. Among the most notable exhibits are George Stephenson's first steam locomotive (1829); some 200 automobiles, including the first Ford and the car in which John F. Kennedy was assassinated; and the Fokker in which Admiral Byrd made the first flight over the North Pole in 1926.

Just north of the Henry Ford Museum is the entrance to Greenfield Village, an open-air museum with some 100 historic buildings of the 18th and 19th centuries from all over the United States. Among them are a school, railroad station, and other public buildings, the house in which Henry Ford was born, Edison's laboratory, and the Wright brothers' bicycle factory. The numerous shops in the Village Craft Center sell the products of the various workshops in the village.

Address: 20900 Oakwood Boulevard, Dearborn, Michigan

Official site: www.thehenryford.org

Comerica Park

Comerica Park is a combination ballpark, theme park, and baseball museum. The park is most famous as the home of the Detroit Tigers baseball team whose history is celebrated along the main concourse in a series of exhibits that highlight the team's accomplishments and milestones, as well as a "Walk of Fame," which celebrates its most famous players.

Behind first base, families can enjoy a nice ride on the carousel, while in the third-base section there is a 50-foot Ferris wheel with seats that look like giant baseballs. If you have the chance to attend a game or event at the park, you will see the famous "liquid fireworks" in action on the center-field wall, where a colorfully lit fountain punctuates home runs and wows the crowd.

Address: 2100 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, Michigan

Official site: http://detroit.tigers.mlb.com/det/ballpark/

Masonic Temple of Detroit

The Masonic Temple of Detroit is classical Gothic architecture built with Indiana limestone. The temple was dedicated in 1926 and is the largest temple of its kind in the world. The building has three major divisions: the ritualistic tower, the auditorium, and the Shrine Club. The facility hosts concerts and other events. Visitors who would like a tour of this impressive building need to call ahead for a reservation.

Address: 500 Temple Avenue, Detroit, Michigan

Official site: http://themasonic.com/

Eastern Market, Detroit

The 4.5-acre Eastern Market has been operating since 1891, gradually growing to occupy several city blocks close to downtown Detroit. The market is open all year on Saturdays with vendors offering fresh local produce and animal products, preserves, baked goods, and other farmers market fare. Shoppers will also find plenty of handcrafted items, and artists that sell jewelry, clothing, and other unique items.

June through September, the market is also open on Tuesdays and Sundays, with Sundays designated for local craftspeople and artisans. The market shops are housed in several buildings designated as numbered "Sheds" which sit along Russell Street between Wilkins and Winder Streets. Visitors should start at the Welcome Center in Shed 3 on Adelaide Street to pick up a map and hit the ATM before making the rounds.

In addition to the 200-plus vendors located in the sheds, tourists can find dozens of excellent local shops, restaurants, and cafés on the streets surrounding the market. The Market area is also well-known for its public art, especially the murals that adorn several of the buildings in the district; tourists can see the majority of them along Orleans and Erskine Street near Shed 6.

Official site: www.easternmarket.org

Charles H. Wright Museum of African-American History

The Museum of African-American History illustrates the historical role of blacks in the United States and their position in the city of Detroit. Exhibits deal with a variety of topics, including a look at prominent African American scientists and technological leaders and Detroit's Underground Railroad that enabled slaves to flee from Michigan into Canada.

In addition to permanent and changing exhibits, the museum hosts a wide variety of events, including lectures, discussions, and films that touch upon social, political, and other issues.

Address: 315 East Warren Avenue, Detroit, Michigan

Official site: http://thewright.org/

Michigan Science Center

Located in Detroit's Cultural District, the Michigan Science Center offers a wide variety of exhibits, shows, and activities that engage and entertain all ages. Some of the top attractions within the center include an IMAX dome theater, a planetarium, and an immersive 4-D theater. There are also live stage shows, as well as more than 220 interactive exhibits within its selection of galleries.

Among the most popular galleries are the ones where kids get to be fully hands-on, like STEM Playground and the Smithsonian Spark!Lab. Others include topics of weather, math, health, space exploration, and even an exhibit on steel manufacturing and automation. Although there is no restaurant on-site, visitors are welcome to bring food and "picnic" in designated spaces.

Address: 5020 John R. Street, Detroit, Michigan

Official site: www.mi-sci.org

Detroit Riverwalk

Detroit's Riverfront area is emerging as a popular place to stroll and enjoy activities year-round. It stretches over three miles from Belle Isle to Rosa Parks Boulevard, with plans to expand west another two miles along the waterfront. Various sites along the Riverwalk host special events, including free concerts and seasonal celebrations.

The Riverwalk begins at Mt. Elliot Park , a recently revitalized green space that offers fully accessible amenities, including water-play stations for kids, a café, and restrooms, as well as a fishing pier. After passing Harbortown Marina , the wide path proceeds west along the water's edge, offering plenty of tree-shaded benches along the way.

Families will appreciate the playground at Robert C. Valade Park , and jazz lovers will want to catch a show at the Aretha Franklin Amphitheater . Farther west, the Riverwalk passes through the William G. Milliken State Park , a lovely area that features a lighthouse, covered picnic pavilions, and several public art installations. Just beyond here, tourists can branch onto alternate paths to walk through a wetland area, beyond which is the Cullen Family Carousel and the Riverfront Community Playground .

Beyond the GM Renaissance Center , tourists will find the International Memorial to the Underground Railroad , behind which sits a large, attractive public space that hosts many of the Riverwalk's big events. The Detroit Princess Riverboat dock sits nearby, and the walk proceeds west past Huntington Place to the Concrete Pyramid .

Part of the park's planned expansion to the west includes connecting the promenade to Ralph C. Wilson Centennial Park (West Riverfront Park), which currently provides a large green space where events are held.

Official site: https://detroitriverfront.org

The Detroit Princess

The Detroit Princess is a five-story 1500-passenger vessel that is docked at Hart Plaza on the Detroit Riverwalk near the GM Renaissance Center. Passengers get a different perspective of the city on two- to three-hour sightseeing cruises, providing opportunities for excellent photos. Tickets include either lunch or dinner, and there are sunset dinner cruises available several nights per week during the summer.

The Princess also offers themed events like Motown Memories and big band nights, as well as New Year's Eve celebrations and other holiday-themed events. The riverboat can also be chartered for private events, and offers rental of portions of the boat for smaller events.

Address: 1 Civic Center Drive, Detroit, Michigan

Detroit Historical Museum

The Detroit Historical Museum is dedicated to celebrating the motor city's fascinating past, including how the city got the nickname - and the reputation - as the center of the automotive industry. Exhibits include reconstructions of old Detroit streets, model railways, and dioramas that provide a general overview of the city and the events that shaped it.

Additional exhibits include details about the vital role that the city's factories and people played during World War II, Detroit's part in the Underground Railroad, and other defining features of the city. The Detroit Historical Society also operates the Dossin Great Lakes Museum on Belle Isle, which explores the city's maritime history.

Address: 5401 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, Michigan

Official site: http://detroithistorical.org/

Adam Strohm Hall, Detroit Public Library

The Detroit Public Library formally opened to the public on March 25, 1865. The initial collection included 5,000 books and was located in a room in the old Capitol High School. The library moved to its present location on March 21, 1921. There are currently 10 departments within the main library and 23 branches.

The building itself is the main attraction and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Visitors can take a free, one-hour, docent-led tour of the building, which explores the library's architecture, art, and history.

Address: 5201 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, Michigan

Official site: https://detroitpubliclibrary.org/

Pewabic Pottery

Pewabic Pottery was founded in 1903 by Mary Chase Perry Stratton and her partner, Horace Caulkins. The studio, operated by Stratton, continued until her death in 1961 and a few more years after that by her assistant. Today, Pewabic Pottery operates the ceramics museum, gallery workshop, and studio. The studio is a National Historic Landmark and houses an extensive collection of American ceramics in its museum.

There is also a gift shop, where tourists can purchase genuine Pewabic Pottery, from large pieces to a wide variety of Michigan and Detroit souvenir pieces. The museum is free and open to the public daily.

Address: 10125 East Jefferson Avenue, Detroit, Michigan

Official site: http://www.pewabic.org/

GM Renaissance Center

Along the Detroit River are huge skyscraper complexes, and dominating them all is the Renaissance Center, which poses as a central feature on the Detroit skyline. This seven-tower complex is a top sightseeing destination, housing the Detroit Marriott , offices, restaurants, and shops that are connected by a dizzying network of escalators and walkways.

There is an observation deck on the 72nd floor, which offers excellent views over the city. The center's most popular attraction is the massive GM showroom, which displays the company's vehicles, including mint-condition early cars and trucks through the newest models.

Address: 100 Renaissance Center, Detroit, Michigan

Official site: http://gmrencen.com/

Henry Ford Estate

Located in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn, Fair Lane is the former home of automaker Henry Ford and his wife Clara. The Fords settled into their new home in 1915 and lived there until their deaths in 1947 and 1950. The grounds of Fair Lane include a powerhouse hydropower plant, which gave the estate the independence to produce its own power, heat, and light.

The estate also included a summer house, man-made lake, staff cottages, gatehouse, pony barn, skating house, greenhouse, root cellar, vegetable garden, peony gardens, a "Santa's workshop," and five hundred birdhouses. Although the property is in the process of restoration, the grounds are accessible to visitors.

Address: 1 Fair Lane Drive, Dearborn, Michigan

Official site: www.henryfordfairlane.org

Most visitors to Detroit will want to stay downtown, near many of the key attractions and entertainment venues. The Detroit People Mover, operating in a 2.9-mile circuit, is an inexpensive and convenient way to get around the city center and explore the sights. Below is a list of highly-rated hotels in convenient locations:

Luxury Hotels:

  • Right downtown and near a People Mover stop, the Aloft Detroit at The David Whitney is housed in a fully restored 1915 Neo-Renaissance-style building with a spectacular four-story gold leaf atrium.
  • The MGM Grand Detroit is a huge complex, with large rooms, great views of the city skyline, and a variety of on-site entertainment options.
  • If you are in Detroit for a sporting event, the Westin Book Cadillac is in an ideal location, with all of the major stadiums less than a 15-minute walk from this hotel.

Mid-Range Hotels:

  • For something a little different, The Inn on Ferry Street is a beautifully restored, small hotel consisting of four Victorian homes and two carriage houses. Although it is a little outside the city center, it is close to the Detroit Institute of Art.
  • The Fort Pontchartrain Detroit, a Wyndham Hotel is a tall, sleek, modern hotel near the Riverwalk area and just minutes from the People Mover.
  • For families, the Doubletree Detroit Downtown - Fort Shelby is a good choice, with a variety of options, including large two-room suites.

Budget Hotels:

  • The Hotel Indigo Detroit Downtown is an upper-end budget hotel in the downtown area, with a pool on the top floor, and a complimentary breakfast.
  • To find better value budget options it's best to head outside of the city center. The Red Roof Inn Detroit Dearborn/Greenfield Village is 12 miles from downtown but only two miles from the Henry Ford Museum.
  • The Comfort Inn Near Greenfield Village is in the same area and features an indoor pool and a free shuttle to anywhere within five miles of the hotel.

Detroit Map - Tourist Attractions

More on Michigan

Michigan Travel Guide

32 Best & Fun Things To Do In Detroit (Michigan)

By: Author Jerric Chong

Posted on Published: February 18, 2020  - Last updated: October 15, 2023

Things To Do In Detroit

Detroit is a true jewel of the American midwest.

Famous for its music, cars, and people, this Michigan city gives visitors a multitude of experiences that they’ll always cherish.

These are the 32 best things to do in Detroit, Michigan.

Table of Contents

1. Detroit Masonic Temple

Detroit Masonic Temple

Belikova Oksana / Shutterstock

Visiting the Detroit Masonic Temple is one of the top things to do in Detroit, especially if you’re interested in buildings.

Whether you’re greatly interested in Masonic buildings or are completely unfamiliar with them, this can be a great experience.

Each part of its trio of sections can let you see how great of an attraction this is.

These three areas are known as the Shrine Club, ritualistic tower, and auditorium.

Said to. be the biggest masonic temple around the world, the Detroit Masonic Temple has been wowing guests since 1926.

The Detroit Temple is one of the finest things to see in the city.

Today, it’s primarily used as an event space.

However, it’s still available for tours, on the first/third Sunday of any month, at 3 p.m., as well as the first/third Friday of July and August, at 7 p.m.

Address:  500 Temple St, Detroit, MI 48201, United States

2. Motown Museum

Motown Museum

James R. Martin / Shutterstock

Any list of Detroit tourist attractions needs to include the Motown Museum .

Quintessential American artists like The Temptations can trace their origins to Detroit.

At the Motown Museum, you can really appreciate how pivotal Detroit, Michigan is to the greater story of popular music.

The finale of your hour-long tour is seeing the Motown recording studio, where countless classic soul songs were recorded.

You’ll also get to see where Motown Records founder Berry Gordy resided.

When you’re exploring these areas, close your eyes and really feel how amazing the history surrounding you is.

You cannot talk about music in Detroit, Michigan without mentioning Motown.

The Motown Museum gives you an incredibly rich experience.

Days of operation vary based on the season.

Admission is $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and youths, and free for children four and under.

Address:  2648 W Grand Blvd, Detroit, MI 48208, United States

3. Detroit Institute of Arts

Detroit Institute of Arts

EQRoy / Shutterstock

The Detroit Institute of Arts is one of the best art museums in the country today.

So many parts of the human creative experience can be recognized at this museum.

It’s a vast reservoir of culture in one of the most important cities in Michigan.

In the collection at the Detroit Institute of Arts are lots of great pieces from throughout the world, including ones from the Americas, Africa, Europe, and Asia.

You can also delight at the temporary exhibitions, such as “Michigan’s Great Lakes: Photographs by Jeff Gaydash.”

All kinds of different cultural influences make the Detroit Institute of Arts and Detroit as a whole so incredible.

The Detroit Institute of Arts is open from Tuesday to Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., on Friday from 9 a.m to 10 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Address:  5200 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48202, United States

4. Belle Isle Park

Belle Isle Park

Harold Stiver / Shutterstock

Belle Isle Park is as fun as it is beautiful.

An island surrounded by the Detroit River, it’s got plenty of recreational opportunities.

Some of the best are going to the Belle Isle Aquarium, playing tennis, and going on a picnic.

At nearly 1,000 acres, Belle Isle Park is a great place for getting lost and not having any concerns.

You can spend time out on the water or just enjoying the land.

During the spring and summer, the park can be buzzing with people.

If you’re looking for stunning things to see in Detroit, Michigan, you need to come to Belle Isle Park.

Anyone needing evidence of Detroit being one of the most beautiful places in the USA can go here.

The good times at Belle Isle Park are ones you’ll keep close to your heart.

Address:  99 Pleasure Dr, Detroit, MI 48207, United States

5. Detroit Historical Museum

Detroit Historical Museum

Michigan State Historic Preservation Office / flickr

The Detroit Historical Museum is what to see if you’re looking to learn more about this great Michigan city.

Located right by the Detroit Institute of Arts, this museum gives visitors so much understanding about how Detroit, Michigan became an industrial powerhouse.

All the exhibitions at the Detroit Historical Museum give you a comprehensive understanding of how this city became so renowned.

Some of our favorite parts of this Michigan museum include “Frontiers to Factories: Detroiters at Work, 1701-1901” and “The Gallery of Innovation.”

Going to this museum will give you so much more appreciation for this city and how it flourished.

It’s open Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Admission costs $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, students, first responders, and military personnel, and $6 for children six and up.

Address:  5401 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48202, United States

Visiting other areas of Michigan? Why not check some of the things to do in Traverse City & some of the best things to do in Kalamazoo ?

6. Detroit Riverfront

Detroit riverfront

f11photo / Shutterstock

One of the most fun things to do in Detroit is spending an afternoon on the Detroit Riverfront .

Thanks to the efforts of the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, this whole area has become more lovely over time.

On a sunny day, full of smiling faces like yours, the effect becomes far greater.

Over a distance of fewer than six miles, the Riverfront offers treats for people who love being active.

Where else can you try out tai chi, go to a concert, and take one of the most leisurely strolls of your life?

Over time, we can expect even more, thanks to the Riverfront Conservancy.

Address:  588 Jefferson Ct, Detroit, MI 48207, United States

7. Detroit Public Library

Detroit Public Library

Nagel Photography / Shutterstock

When you’re researching how to plan a trip to Detroit, Michigan, you probably didn’t count on going to the public library.

However, this is one of the greatest libraries in all of Michigan.

Its shelves and walls are full of so much historical value.

While you might not have the time to check out and return a book from this library, you can definitely enjoy yourself.

There are lots of cool events at the various branches.

Among the best are talks with authors hosted by the library.

The Detroit Public Library serves as a reminder of the importance of education and understanding.

You might intend to only stop in for a moment but find yourself lost in how amazing it is.

There are more than a dozen branches, and you should try to see at least one of them.

Address (Main Branch):  5201 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48202, United States

8. The Henry Ford Experience

The Henry Ford Experience

Aldo91 / Shutterstock

If you’re scheduling a trip to Detroit this weekend, try to enjoy the Henry Ford Experience .

A name synonymous with the city, Henry Ford made an impact that’s far too big to be measured.

With the Henry Ford Experience, you can begin to understand why this man is so revered.

Getting the complete Henry Ford Experience means learning about Ford’s vision, seeing a functional Ford plant, and exploring the retro world of Greenfield Village.

This includes riding in an actual Model T.

Address:  20900 Oakwood Blvd, Dearborn, MI 48124, United States

9. Comerica Park

Comerica Park

anderm / Shutterstock

Comerica Park is fun and spellbinding.

This downtown Detroit baseball park hosts the Detroit Tigers.

You can come here for a great baseball game or just come for a tour.

Even non-baseball fans can love coming here, as Comerica Park sometimes hosts concerts.

During tours of Comerica Park, you’ll get to see different parts of the park that are off-limits to most people during games.

These include the dugout, the Party Suite, and the Champions Club.

For an hour-and-a-half, you can really see what makes this park so beloved.

If you’re a baseball fan looking for things to do in downtown Detroit, you should come to Comerica Park.

Tours cost $5 for everyone who’s four and up on Game Days, and $6 on non-Game Days.

On Game Days, tours are available on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

On non-Game Days, they’re conducted at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

Address:  2100 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48201, United States

10. Fort Wayne

Fort Wayne

NCPTT Media / flickr

One of the most historically important Detroit attractions is Fort Wayne .

Historical site seeing tours need to include a visit to Fort Wayne.

Originating in the mid-19th century, Fort Wayne displays Detroit’s military importance.

The first defense in the city to actually be built by American citizens, Fort Wayne has a remarkable story.

It ended up being used for many reasons, including training and lodging, but not combat.

This shows how vital military sites can be, even if they’re not used for actual fighting purposes.

Now, Fort Wayne belongs to the city, and Detroit’s done an incredible job of keeping it in good shape for all generations to adore.

It’s open on Saturdays and Sunday from May to October from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Guided walking tours cost $5 per guest.

Address:  6325 W Jefferson Ave, Detroit, MI 48209, United States

Exploring other parts of Michigan? Why not check out some of the fun things to do in Ann Arbor  & some of the best things to do in Grand Rapids ?

11. Automotive Hall of Fame

Automotive Hall of Fame

Located near Detroit in Dearborn, Michigan is the Automotive Hall of Fame .

If you consider yourself to be any kind of gearhead, you need to come here.

Your knowledge of cars could be as limited as knowing what one is, and you could still have a great time learning here.

Began in 1939, the Automotive Hall of Fame chronicles all kinds of important people and milestones in the world of cars.

You can learn about great individuals such as Harold T. Ames and Mary D. Allen.

Different installations like “Lincoln Highway: America’s First Interstate” really bring the lessons to life.

The Automotive Hall of Fame is definitely one of the most astounding tourist attractions in all of Michigan.

It’s open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., from Friday to Sunday from October through April, and from Wednesday to Sunday, May through October.

Admission is $10 for adults, $6 for seniors and students, and $4 for children, ages five to 12.

Address:  21400 Oakwood, Dearborn, MI 48124, United States

12. Cliff Bell’s

Cliff Bell's

Cliff Bell’s

Going to Cliff Bell’s can be one of your top Detroit experiences.

It’s fun to go to this restaurant, not only for the menu but also for the dining experience.

Bringing to mind the scenes of a classic 1930s club, it can feel like you’ve stepped into a time machine.

On the menu at Cliff Bell’s is delectable steaks, pasta, and more.

A perfect accompaniment to your meal is live music, which includes plenty of jazz.

You can have the time-honored tradition of dinner and a show all at once.

The ambiance of the restaurant also adds an exquisite touch.

Put your phones away and just let yourselves be really swept up by the mood and general positive energy of the place.

Cliff Bell’s is one of the most fun places in Detroit, Michigan.

When you’re looking for a good meal and a good time in the Detroit area, you need to come here.

Cliff Bell’s is open from Tuesday to Thursday from 5 p.m. to 12 a.m., Friday and Sunday from 5 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Address:  2030 Park Ave, Detroit, MI 48226, United States

13. Cornhole

cornhole

David Prahl / Shutterstock

A simple but incredibly addicting game is cornhole.

Detroit’s Woodward Avenue is a very active part of the city and includes many places to enjoy this recreational activity.

When the weather is right and you’ve got plenty of energy, let yourself unwind by enjoying the Michigan air and just letting a few bags fly.

When you’re getting a beer at a neighborhood bar, don’t be surprised if you see a cornhole setup that’s getting as much love as a darts board or a pool table.

It can definitely seem a little silly, especially if you haven’t played in a while.

But what would life be without some silliness?

There’s always an excuse to cut loose, especially when you’re on vacation.

Grab a corn bag, practice a few tosses, and put your aiming skills to the test.

14. Fisher Building

Fisher Building

Rachel Goad / Shutterstock

Among the many Detroit attractions notable for their architecture is the Fisher Building .

With its Art Deco design and close to 100 years of history, it’s a building made for marveling at.

This applies to both inside and outside.

From the outside, you can be in total awe of the Fisher Building’s size.

From the inside, you can be amazed by its corridors and views.

You can even get a chance to check out the lovely Fisher Theater.

Take as many photos as you’re able to.

You might even consider hosting a future special event at this building, such as your wedding.

Weekend tours can help you find out a lot about the Fisher Building.

Take a tour on a Saturday or Sunday at 1 p.m. or 3 p.m.

You’ll see why this attraction is so important.

Address:  3011 W Grand Blvd, Detroit, MI 48202, United States

15. Show Me Detroit Tours

Show Me Detroit Tours

ehrlif / Shutterstock

If you’re not sure about what to do in Detroit, go on one of the Show Me Detroit Tours .

You can see stunning sights around downtown Detroit and elsewhere.

For two hours, you’ll have your head filled with information, including about things you might’ve otherwise never been aware of.

The fun of these tours comes from seeing how diverse and innovative this city is.

There are places like Greektown, Corktown, and the Stadium and Entertainment District that are ready for you to lay your eyes upon them.

From the comfort of a van, you can be delighted.

Each part of the city possesses a distinct character.

On a tour, you’ll be able to really recognize this.

Don’t just stick with the most touristy spots of the city.

Take a tour, and you’ll feel like you’re a true local.

Address:  8200 E Jefferson Ave, Detroit, MI 48214, United States

16. The Charles H. Wright Museum of African-American History

Charles H. Wright Museum

Michael Bolden / flickr

A trip to the Charles H. Wright Museum of African-American History is what to do if you’re trying to become a more well-rounded person.

America owes so much of its culture and history to African-Americans.

When you’re at this museum, your mind can be stretched in so many ways.

First known as the International Afro-American Museum when it opened in 1966, this museum has become a cornerstone of Detroit’s ties to the black community.

Exhibitions like “And Still We Rise” and “Detroit Performs!” encapsulate how much bravery and determination a people can have.

There are plentiful stories to learn from a wide variety of people.

To keep these stories in our collective consciousness, we must continue to share them, passing them from one generation to the next.

Visiting The Charles H. Wright Museum of African-American History should be at the top of any historically-minded Detroit tourist’s to-do list.

It’s open from Tuesday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Mondays during Black History Month, as well as on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Admission is $10 for adults, $7 for seniors and youths, and free for members and children age three and younger.

Address:  315 E Warren Ave, Detroit, MI 48201, United States

17. The Guardian Building

The Guardian Building

The Guardian Building has fun throughout its space.

Completed not too long before the Great Depression hit, this is another brilliant showcase of Art Deco in Detroit.

All of the patterns and high-ceilings can be enough to elate anyone with even half-decent vision.

The Guardian Building is definitely one of the coolest places to visit in Detroit.

While it’s nearly a century old, it has a design that still looks fresh and innovative.

Access to the Guardian Building is available 24 hours a day.

It doesn’t cost anything to visit.

You might try booking it for a special occasion, such as a high-end party.

If you’re looking to start a business in the city, The Guardian Building could have the offices of your dreams.

Address:  500 Griswold St #1600, Detroit, MI 48226, United States

18. Michigan Science Center

Michigan Science Center

alisafarov / Shutterstock

Checking out the Michigan Science Center is what to do if you have a naturally curious mind.

If you’re traveling with your family, you need to bring your kids here.

It’s a place that has something for truly everyone.

There are lots of fun exhibitions and activities at the Michigan Science Center.

Many of these put scientific concepts into action.

A budding scientist could be in your midst after it’s time for you and your kids to leave.

In addition to all of the great exhibitions, such as ones on engineering, motion, and health, there’s also a wonderful planetarium,

It’s both fun and mentally invigorating to visit the Michigan Science Center.

It’s open from Tuesday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Admission prices depend on what sort of packages you purchase.

Address:  5020 John R St, Detroit, MI 48202, United States

19. Pewabic Pottery

Pewabic Pottery

Heather Kaiser / flickr

Spending time at Pewabic Pottery is a lot of fun.

You can find yourself at the top of your artistic craft.

Additionally, you can get a lot of knowledge about how important ceramics are to this city.

A nonprofit located in the same building for more than 100 years, Pewabic Pottery is a Detroit attraction that everyone with any kind of artistic interest knows about.

There are tours and classes hosted here.

Making a cool thing at Pewabic Pottery is a really good usage of your time during your trip.

You don’t need to be a wizard to make something nice.

All you need is to have the right attitude and a willingness to get your hands a little messy.

Check the website or call for more information about pricing and hours for tours and classes.

Address:  10125 E Jefferson Ave, Detroit, MI 48214, United States

20. Fox Theatre

Fox Theatre

Check the calendar for the Fox Theatre this weekend and see if there’s an exciting event happening.

There are few venues in Michigan that have as much clout as this one.

At the Fox Theatre, you can be reminded of why you love live music so much.

Lots of revered artists have performed at the Fox Theatre.

In the last few years, this includes Joe Bonamassa, Leon Bridges, and Paramore.

Go back even further, and names like Cab Calloway, Johnny Mathis, and Natalie Cole will pop up.

Since first opening in 1928, the Fox Theatre has gone through different owners and appearances, but, at its core, it’s always been a heavenly performing arts space.

Live entertainment is one of the most fun parts of visiting Detroit.

The Fox Theatre is one of the top venues in Michigan, and it hosts many of the best touring acts.

Should you be looking for awesome things to do in Detroit at night, you definitely should try and visit The Fox Theater.

Address:  2211 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48201, United States

Got more time? Why not check out some of the things to do in Frankenmuth ?

21. Joe Muer Seafood

Joe Muer Seafood

Joe Muer Seafood

Detroit attractions include plenty of great restaurants.

If you’re seeking some of the best seafood in Michigan, come to Joe Muer Seafood .

It’s got an incredible menu, full of incredible flavors.

Trying all the amazing catches at Joe Muer Seafood makes for a very fun Detroit meal.

While we don’t know exactly what sort of seafood you prefer, we promise you can’t go wrong with things like sushi, scallops, and lobster.

There are even great options for vegans and vegetarians.

Joe Muer Seafood shows off how versatile and flavorful seafood can be.

When you try these dishes, you can really give your palate an adventure.

Address:  400 Renaissance Center #1404, Detroit, MI 48243, United States

22. Renaissance Centre

Renaissance Center

Darlene Munro / Shutterstock

Among the many stunning tourist attractions here is the Renaissance Centre .

If you were coming to Michigan tomorrow, we would definitely urge you to come here.

It’s an attraction that’s hard to miss, as it’s a collection of s seven skyscrapers.

Sitting next to the Detroit River, the Renaissance Centre can truly feel like a place for renewal and inspiration.

If you’re looking for luxury accommodations, you can book a room at the Mariott Hotel, which is 73-level high and stands taller than any other building in Michigan.

Otherwise, the Renaissance Centre is great for shopping and eating.

A major point of pride for its owner, General Motors, the Renaissance Centre captures Detroit’s beauty and determination.

You should definitely come here, especially if you’re looking for something romantic to do.

Witnessing these amazing buildings will leave you speechless.

Address: Jefferson Ave, Detroit, MI 48243, United States

23. Eastern Market

Easter Market

Mike Osinski / Shutterstock

Going to the Eastern Market can be one of the most rewarding activities in Detroit.

If you have a weekend trip planned, you’ll have to come here.

All of the vendors and customers bring out a phenomenal blend of energy.

More than 200 vendors set up shop at the Eastern Market.

You can enjoy all kinds of treats, from amazing produce to robust meats.

Just come prepared with an appetite and a willingness to deal with crowds.

The Eastern Market should be considered one of the finest markets in the country.

You’ll see why so many people flock here on the weekends.

If you live close enough to the city, you might soon become a regular.

Address: 2934 Russell St, Detroit, MI 48207, United States

24. Detroit Princess Riverboat

Detroit Princess Riverboat

You can get a great glimpse at Detroit attractions by taking a ride on a Princess Riverboat .

All of the points of interest can really be admired from your vantage point.

If you only get one chance to get on the water, make it this one.

The Detroit sights look even more beautiful when you’re seeing them this way.

This isn’t some cheap, cramped ride.

On the contrary, the Detroit Princess Riverboat has four-tiers and can house up to 1,500 voyagers.

Sightseeing becomes especially magical when you’re on a Detroit Princess Riverboat.

Activities like this let you really see how impressive the Detroit area is.

You can also enjoy an intimate meal or have some drinks while you’re enjoying one of these trips.

Address:  1 Civic Center Dr, Detroit, MI 48226, United States

25. The Detroit Antique Mall

Detroit Antique Mall

Detroit Antique Mall

If you’re looking for one of the top antiquing experiences today, you should come to the Detroit Antique Mall .

This is one of the best points of interest with some of the best pieces of interest in the city.

When you’re done spending an afternoon at this Michigan attraction, you’ll see what all the fuss about antiquing is.

Coming here isn’t like stopping into a big-box store for something you need for the house.

When you’re inside this space, you should take the time to really appreciate the items and the people selling them.

Think about the journey that these items have taken over the course of their life, from first being constructed decades ago, to eventually making their way into your possession.

The Detroit Antique Mall is one of the most exciting places to visit if you love shopping.

You never know what cool thing you’ll encounter until you actually make the visit.

You’ll need to come prepared with spending money and room inside your home/heart for something that really speaks to you.

This mall is open from Tuesday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Address:  828 Fisher Fwy, Detroit, MI 48201, United States

26. Campus Martius Park

Campus Martius park

Kelleher Photography / Shutterstock

You can have all kinds of fun times at Campus Martius Park .

It’s Detroit at its best, a place for residents and visitors alike to enjoy nature and each other.

This is a park that’s beautiful to visit during the day and at night.

Going to Campus Martius Park can feel like spending a day at the beach while you’re miles away from the ocean.

A section is comprised of sand, and guests love to sunbathe here during the warmer months.

If you’re too full of energy to just sit around, this Michigan park has an ice skating rink, botanical gardens, and food trucks.

Campus Martius Park might not be all that large, but it’s got personality far bigger than its acreage.

Going here, during just about any time of year, lets you see how much community spirit is in Motown.

Do your part by adding to that spirit.

Address:  800 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48226, United States

27. The Rattlesnake Club

the rattlesnake club

The Rattlesnake Club

One of the best culinary institutions in the city is The Rattlesnake Club .

A restaurant with true integrity, The Rattlesnake Club, draws guests in for how it lets them see the river.

Then, it makes them lifetime fans through how indisputably amazing the menu is.

It’s not just that The Rattlesnake Club has things like scallops and filet of beef on them.

It’s also how it sources said ingredients.

Sustainability and freshness are key parts of the design.

You can really taste the difference compared to other restaurants.

Going to The Rattlesnake Club in Detroit is special in ways that can’t be easily replicated.

It’s one of the most spectacular points of interest in Michigan.

Even if you’re entering with only a modest appetite, your mouth will be watering when you first lay eyes on the menu.

Address:  300 River Pl Dr, Detroit, MI 48207, United States

28. Morley Candy Factory

Sanders Chocolate

Liza Lagman Sperl / flickr

Among the many fun things to do in Detroit is visiting the Morley Candy Factory .

If you’re a fan of Sanders Candy, you’ll be pleased to know this is where they’re headquartered.

For no cost, you can tour this factory and learn how some of your favorite sweet treats are made.

You’ll get a lot of firsthand knowledge, including seeing how different sorts of candies are made.

There’s also a very informative movie, which tells guests about how the company came about.

It’s really inspiring for anyone interested in starting their own business.

The Morley Candy Factory is one of the most joyful places to see in Michigan.

If you’re looking for things to do in Michigan with your family, you need to come here.

Make sure you don’t spoil your dinner with all the great samples you’ll get.

Address: 23770 Hall Rd, Clinton Township, MI 48036, United States

29. The BELT

The BELT

wiredforlego / flickr

The BELT is among the top attractions in Detroit.

If you’re looking for stuff to do with your friends, you should come here.

An example of urban renewal at its finest, The BELT is the sort of place that could be a best-kept secret, but which deserves to be shared with the world.

Residing inside an alley, The BELT features incredible artworks that work off the alleys existing designs.

Part of the city’s downtown, it’s a place that might catch your eye while looking for other attractions but ends up being so fun that you spend a lot of time there.

The BELT also hosts some seriously cool bars.

Grabbing a drink at The Skip or The Standby can really let you lose yourself in the wonders of the city.

The BELT shows a city that’s going to find inspiration wherever it can.

We hope that other city’s can come up with their versions of The BELT, in their own alleys.

30. Detroit Zoo

Detroit Zoo

NicoleTaklaPhotography / Shutterstock

If you’re looking for fun things to do in Detroit, come to the Detroit Zoo .

It’s full of entertainment and phenomenal learning.

It’s also very important to the development of zoos in the United States.

Before this one came along, there weren’t any zoos that didn’t use bars for their displays.

You can get great looks at majestic species, including gorillas, kangaroos, and flamingos.

There are thousands of animals across hundreds of species to be seen here.

By the end of the day, you might run out of ways to say “Wow.”

Going to the Detroit Zoo is fun for visitors across all age groups.

You can see some of the best animal exhibitions in the world here.

This zoo is open from Monday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Admission is $19 for adults, $15 for children, ages two and up, military personnel, and seniors.

Address:  8450 W 10 Mile Rd, Royal Oak, MI 48067, United States

31. New Centre Park

New Center Park

New Center Park

A day spent at New Centre Park can be one of your most fun experiences.

It’s one of the top parks around.

A day of activities can go by in a beautiful flash at New Centre Park.

It’s located very close to the Fisher Building, and both are top-notch places to visit.

If you love movies and live music, you’ll love coming to New Centre Park.

The park hosts movie screenings and concerts.

You can also grab some food and a drink.

Whether you’re arriving when the sun is barely out or when it’s descending, you can get something special out of going to New Centre Park.

You’ll be surrounded by people looking for good company.

Do all you can to provide that company to your greatest ability.

Address:  2998 W Grand Blvd, Detroit, MI 48202, United States

32. Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit

Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit

Kevin Chang / flickr

So much fun can be had at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit .

One of the top 10 art museums in the midwest, this attraction really gives you a lot to unlock in terms of Detroit’s artistic scene.

The pieces here might seem a bit unconventional, but they reveal their own blends of beauty, as striking as what you would see in a more traditional art museum.

The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD) is one of the finest places to go for culture in the city.

It resides inside of what was once a car lot.

Inside this Michigan institution have been fascinating exhibitions like “Crossing Night: Regional Identities x Global Context” and “Robolights Detroit.”

Museums like the MOCAD are so important because art is always evolving and needs to do so in order to stay fresh and relevant.

This museum is open Tuesday and Wednesday and Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Thursday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Admission is based on a self-chosen donation, but at least $5 is encouraged.

Address:  4454 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48201, United States

Start Planning Your Trip To Detroit

Detroit has so much fantastic sightseeing and amazing history to unravel.

Great opportunities are in downtown Detroit, suburbs, and other locations.

For a city that’s full of entertainment and enlightenment, you need to come to Detroit.

Consult your travel guide for more wonderful experiences.

Try to spend a week or longer if you can, as Detroit is one of the most special places to vacation in the U.S.

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Must-Visit Attractions in Detroit, Michigan

Detroit, Michigan, is a thriving metropolis with something for everyone

While Detroit may not be the most touristy city in the US , it has many attractions to excite and delight you. From world-class art museums and architecture to historical sites and beautiful public spaces, these are the spots you must visit during a trip to the Motor City.

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Detroit Institute of Arts

places to visit near detroit mi

The world-famous Detroit Institute of Arts has a collection of more than 65,000 artworks – one of the largest and most significant in the US – spanning the entire length of civilization. Its centerpiece is Mexican artist Diego Rivera’s Detroit Industry Murals , which depicts the city’s auto laborers across 27 panels. The creativity on display here will inspire you, leaving you ready to take on your next creative venture and maybe wanting to enroll in an art history class, too.

Learn the story behind the music and have a good time while you’re at it at Hitsville USA. Within the record label’s first and main building, including the legendary Studio A, passionate guides will show you where the magic happened and tell you how Berry Gordy turned an $800 loan into one of the most famous labels of all time. Diana Ross & the Supremes, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, Stevie Wonder, the Temptations, Marvin Gaye and Michael Jackson are just a few of the artists who have walked through these doors.

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places to visit near detroit mi

The Heidelberg Project

Constantly changing and evolving, Detroit’s most famous outdoor art project is the work of Tyree Guyton, who created it in response to the ongoing blight and decay in the neighborhood. In 2017, Guyton told Culture Trip about his plans to replace some of the famous installations with a new vision, called Heidelberg 3.0. Of course, there’s really only one way to find out what’s happening on Heidelberg Street: visit it yourself and prepare to be inspired.

places to visit near detroit mi

Eastern Market

One of the oldest and largest year-round markets in the US, Eastern Market takes place every Saturday (with two smaller markets on Sundays and Tuesdays), offering an eclectic mix of local food, art and music in a friendly community setting. The market is run by a non-profit that does a lot of work to give back to the neighborhood. It operates important programs that increase access to healthy food in the Detroit metro area and helps new food businesses in the city. Stopping by here will not only be delicious but also help a great cause.

Comerica Park

Home to the Detroit Tigers, the oldest continuous one-name, one-city franchise in the American League, Comerica Park is a great place to enjoy America’s favorite pastime in the heart of downtown Detroit. If you’re not a baseball fan, it’s still a perfect place to meet and mingle with the locals. The park is also home to a Ferris wheel and a diverse food court to quell your hunger between innings.

Guardian Building

places to visit near detroit mi

A National Historic Landmark and one of the finest art deco skyscrapers in the US, the Guardian Building was completed in 1929 when Detroit was a global hub. Construction involved many design and technology innovations, with the building’s designer, Wirt C Rowland, using Monel metal for all exposed metalwork instead of the usual brass and bronze. Its elevator system marks the first use of technology that automatically stopped the car at floor-level and opened the doors. Be sure to check out the amazingly colorful lobby that has been lovingly preserved.

People Mover

A quick and cheap ride on the city’s monorail, functionally titled the People Mover, is a great way to see the city’s resurgent downtown area. The entire loop is only 3mi (5km) long, with 13 stops, and takes less than 15 minutes to complete. While enjoying the tour, don’t miss checking out the original artworks installed throughout the stations, thanks to the Downtown Detroit People Mover Art Commission (now known as Art in the Stations), which raised $2m to finance the creative project.

Hart Plaza, named for late US senator Philip A Hart, is one of the city’s top riverfront destinations, featuring several historical markers and statues. Artworks on view include a 24ft (7m) sculpture of heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis’s fist and the Horace E Dodge and Son Memorial Fountain, designed by Isamu Noguchi in 1978. In the summer months, festivals, concerts and special events take place here, attracting residents and travelers alike.

Belle Isle is a leafy 982-acre (397ha) island on the Detroit River between the US and Canada. It’s home to various attractions, including a state park, a free aquarium open on weekends, a conservatory and the Detroit Yacht Club. Walking, biking or jogging the many miles of trails is a great way to get some exercise, see the island and enjoy views of the city and its Canadian counterpart, Windsor. Visiting this island on a warm and sunny day is a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.

Lafayette/American Coney Island

A Detroit culinary staple, the Coney Island hotdog is covered in chili and onions. The two most famous places to get one happen to be next door to each other on West Lafayette Boulevard, and they share a historic rivalry dating back to when each business was owned by a brother in the same family. Detroiters say that Lafayette is the hometown favorite and has a better atmosphere, but many feel American’s hotdogs and chili are superior. The only way to know where your loyalty lies is to try both.

The Henry Ford

places to visit near detroit mi

You can’t visit Motor City without learning more about the industry that gave it its name. In Dearborn, just outside the city, the Henry Ford is a museum that occupies over 250 acres (101ha) and has over 26m artefacts, including the bus where Rosa Parks took a stand against segregation by taking a seat. It’s among the world’s largest auto museums and is home to Greenfield Village, an outdoor living museum dedicated to the history of the United States.

Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit

This museum is quintessentially Detroit, from the graffiti-covered, repurposed auto dealership that serves as its premises to the adventurous nature of the contemporary visual, literary, music and performing arts inside. Exhibitions regularly change, and exciting events are a weekly occurrence. The museum has a “pay what you can” admission policy, so it’s especially great if you’re on a budget. An innovative addition to Detroit’s vibrant Midtown area, it’s both a hub for exploring emerging ideas in the contemporary art world and a meeting place for the community.

Third Man Records

Detroit’s foremost alternative musical export of the past 15 years may have moved to Nashville, but Jack White’s label, Third Man Records, was founded in Detroit, with a store lying off the Cass Corridor. Alongside the record store, it has a performance space, novelties lounge and a recording booth where you can record and press up to two minutes of audio. Let your inner rocker shine as you explore the history of a label that changed music history and go home with some great music as a souvenir.

GM Renaissance Center

Dominating the downtown skyline are the seven interconnected towers that make up the GM Renaissance Center. Originally built by Ford, it became the world headquarters of GM in 1996. Shops, restaurants and two hotels – the Marriott features high-end dining, elegant venues and beautiful river views – attract visitors year-round. You can also take a complimentary tour of the towers at noon or 2pm on weekdays.

Dequindre Cut

places to visit near detroit mi

Connecting the riverfront with the Eastern Market area for pedestrians, the Dequindre Cut is a revitalized greenway and recreational path popular with residents and visitors alike. Formerly a railroad, it now features a wide pathway and urban art and graffiti. You can rent bikes from Wheelhouse Detroit and explore the area on two wheels instead of two legs. It’s the perfect activity for a warm day or evening. Make sure to stop along your ride so that you can soak in all the innovative and colorful street art.

Detroit RiverWalk

Adjacent to the GM Renaissance Center is the Detroit RiverWalk , connecting a series of areas to make the most of the city’s east riverfront. The nearly 4mi (6km) stretch from the Joe Louis Arena to Gabriel Richard Park is more than 80 percent complete and offers parks, plazas and pavilions to enjoy. Strolling along the river, you’ll also be able to admire panoramic views of both Detroit and Windsor. Go for dinner nearby, and then enjoy a post-meal walk around these parts for some great photo ops and to feel the vibe of the city.

Charles H Wright Museum of African American History

Part of the Wayne State University campus, the Charles H Wright Museum, founded in 1965, explores and celebrates African-American culture and history. Home to more than 35,000 artefacts, the museum’s core exhibit is the largest display on African-American history in the world. Rotating exhibitions, events and educational resources are all available to enhance your visit, so prepare to spend a few hours here to make the best of it.

Edsel and Eleanor Ford House

Whether you want a look behind the curtain at the home life of one of Detroit’s most famous families or to experience an impressive and authentic piece of period architecture, the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House is a must-visit. The son of Henry Ford and his wife moved into their home on Gaukler Pointe near Grosse Pointe Shores in 1929, and Eleanor gifted it to a trust for the benefit of the public when she died in 1976.

Detroit Historical Museum

The Detroit Historical Society’s free museum has been preserving the city’s history for more than 85 years. With permanent exhibitions featuring cobblestone streets, an auto assembly line and a fur trading post from the 1700s, there’s something to enjoy no matter your interests. A visit here is a great way to dig into the city’s culture and learn some fun facts.

Detroit Zoo

places to visit near detroit mi

The Detroit Zoo, in Royal Oak and Huntington Woods, is about 2mi (3km) north of the city. Operated by the non-profit Detroit Zoological Society and the Belle Isle Nature Center, it’s one of Michigan’s most popular family attractions, with 125 acres (51ha) of naturalistic habitats housing 2,100 animals from 230 different species. It also boasts a simulator ride, 4D theater, the Tauber Family Railroad and a custom-made carousel.

Cliff Bell’s Jazz Club

After a long day of exploring the city, you’re going to need a drink or two. And what better to accompany that drink than some good old-fashioned live music. Cliff Bell’s is a legendary jazz club dating to the 1930s. Years later, the art deco hangout still carries that old-school roaring vibe with its nightly performances, tasty food menu and classic cocktails. It can also host special events. A night here will have you feeling like you’ve stepped back in time, and you probably won’t want to leave.

Fox Theatre

Designed by theater architect C Howard Crane, this historic performing arts center in downtown Detroit dates back to 1928 when it first opened as a flagship movie palace. It was the largest theater in the city at the time, with more than 5,000 seats. In 1985, it earned a spot on the National Register of Historic Places and became a National Historic Landmark in 1989. Visit the building to see its lavish interior and check out a show – it will be well worth your time.

Campus Martius Park

Campus Martius Park (Latin for “field of Mars”) lies in downtown Detroit. In 1805, following the fire that nearly destroyed the city, the park became the focal point for rebuilding the city. It’s a great place to hang out and comprises two performance stages, monumental sculptures, public spaces and a seasonal ice-skating rink.

Michigan Science Center

If you love science, you won’t want to miss the Michigan Science Center. Highlights include a dome theater where you can catch educational shows, a planetarium, live science demonstrations in exhibit laboratories and an awesome children’s gallery for the mini scientists among you. After-dark events are also available for those who want to enjoy the museum in a livelier atmosphere. Who knew science could be so much fun?

places to visit near detroit mi

Do a bit of gambling at the MGM Grand Detroit, one of three casino resort hotels in the city. This luxury spot opened in 1999 – the first luxury casino resort hotel to open in a major metropolis outside Las Vegas. The casino will offer you an exciting experience, with slots and table games, many food and drink choices, a host of entertainment options, a spa and much more. Interested in exploring more of the US? Check out our eight-day adventure to Colorado and Utah – highlights include hiking in Arches National Park and whitewater rafting down the Colorado River. Alternately, browse our collections of Epic Trips , Mini Trips and Sailing Trips to find your next exciting destination. Additional reporting by Alice Johnston .

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places to visit near detroit mi

Places to Stay

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See & Do

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Top Things to Do in Detroit, MI

Places to visit in detroit, explore popular experiences, tours in and around detroit.

places to visit near detroit mi

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Top Attractions in Detroit

places to visit near detroit mi

1. Detroit Institute of Arts

places to visit near detroit mi

2. Motown Museum

places to visit near detroit mi

3. Comerica Park

places to visit near detroit mi

4. Detroit RiverFront

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5. The Ford Piquette Avenue Plant

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6. The Guardian Building

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7. Ford Field

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8. Belle Isle Park

places to visit near detroit mi

9. Detroit Historical Museum

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10. Eastern Market

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11. Fox Theatre

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12. Greektown

Tours & sightseeing.

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Cultural & Theme Tours

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What travellers are saying

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  • Detroit Institute of Arts
  • Motown Museum
  • Detroit RiverFront
  • Eastern Market
  • The Ford Piquette Avenue Plant
  • Belle Isle Park
  • Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory
  • Belle Isle Aquarium
  • William G. Milliken State Park and Harbor
  • Dequindre Cut
  • Let’s See Detroit
  • Show Me Detroit Tours
  • City Tour Detroit
  • Antique Touring Company
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Detroit Attractions Information

18 best things to do in Detroit: street art, architecture and Americana

Karla Zimmerman

Jan 31, 2022 • 7 min read

The Heidelberg Project in Detroit, Michigan, USA.

Spot the dots in the Heidelberg Project in Detroit © dannyjameslane / 500px

It's the mega Institute of Arts and the Henry Ford Museum, where the car magnate stockpiled his amazing cultural relics, that usually grab the headlines for Detroit visitors. And while they are worthy must-sees, there’s so much more to explore when you arrive: cycling routes, time-capsule jazz clubs, Black history sights, brilliant bakeries, and street art galore.  Here are 18 top things to do in the Motor City.

Mosey around Eastern Market

Detroiters of all types gather every Saturday at Eastern Market to hobnob in the big brick halls overflowing with fruits, veggies, cheeses, pies and more from-the-farm fare – a tradition that has been going on here since 1891. Graze through the bounty, and then check out the murals splashed across the area’s warehouses. Eastern Market is a globally renowned hot spot for street art, with more than 100 cool works on walls. Smaller markets add to the action on Tuesdays and Sundays in summer.

Feast your eyes on world-class art

The sprawling Detroit Institute of Arts is a great place to get lost for an afternoon. First thing to do is step into the sky-lit hall where Diego Rivera's Detroit Industry surrounds you on 27 panels. He's the city's original muralist, and his whopping work tells Detroit's blue-collar labor history in vivid color. Caravaggios, Picassos, puppets and an esteemed collection of modern African American art help fill out the 100-plus galleries beyond.

Musicians playing in jazz band on stage

Bebop through the jazz clubs

Detroit’s jazz scene has been swinging hard since the 1920s. Baker's Keyboard Lounge has been open from the get-go, welcoming everyone from Louis Armstrong to John Coltrane, Ella Fitzgerald, and Nina Simone to groove on its little stage. Settle in at the curved, piano-key-shaped bar, and you can feel their ghosts urging you to stay for one more set. Elegant Cliff Bell’s is another classic that time warps you back to the jazz heyday. Check the Metro Times for other clubs around town.

Pedal along the Riverwalk and Dequindre Cut

The 3-mile Riverwalk unfurls along the Detroit River downtown, while the 1.5-mile Dequindre Cut Greenway intersects it and heads north to Eastern Market. The flat paths are prime for cycling, putting you right in the thick of it as you roll past parks, giant boats, funky sculptures, fountains, murals, abandoned buildings and graffitied overpasses. Bicycles are easy to rent from Wheelhouse Detroit or the MoGo bike share program .

Third Man Records occupies a former factory in Midtown

Take a tour

Options abound for in-the-know excursions. Preservation Detroit leads architecture buffs on two-hour walking tours. RiDetroit offers jaunts by electric bicycle that focus on the mural scene and revitalizing neighborhoods. Detroit Experience Factory changes it up with everything from walking tours of Black-owned businesses to bus tours of the city’s music history. Wheelhouse Detroit leads bike tours covering themes like public art, auto heritage, and urban agriculture.

Escape to Belle Isle

Belle Isle floats a stone’s throw from downtown, but it feels a world away. Just cross over the MacArthur Bridge, and you drop into a 2.5-mile-long realm of wooded parkland. The pace slows way down as you meander past lagoons and warbling birds on the trails, lounge on the beach, and explore the glass-domed conservatory and aquarium.

Get dotty at the Heidelberg Project

Houses painted in wild-colored polka dots, dolls stacked in the yards, hand-drawn faces staring up from the sidewalks – when you first see the Heidelberg Project , you’ll think someone slipped psychedelic drugs into your drink. But it’s actually an ever-changing, multi-block arts project by artist Tyree Guyton, who wanted to beautify his run-down community. He’s been at it since 1986. The result is a wonder to behold.

Immerse in the street art scene

The whole city is a canvas. The aforementioned Heidelberg Project, Dequindre Cut and Eastern Market are some of the best-known sights, but there are loads more. Check out the Grand River Creative Corridor , sporting 100 murals in a short stretch of road, and the African Bead Museum and its glittering art installations, which lie a bit beyond the corridor. Near downtown, The Belt occupies an alley filled with murals and hidden doors that lead to cocktail bars.

Gather with locals at Campus Martius

Set in the heart of downtown, Campus Martius is Detroit’s public square. In summer it’s the site of free concerts, movie nights, and a makeshift sandy beach. In winter it morphs into a popular ice skating rink. Throughout the year locals hang out to eat, drink, read and chat at the tables sprinkled around the plaza.

The exhibits at the Henry Ford Museum feature all makes of automobiles and tell the reader how they affected American culture.

Burst your brain on Americana at the Henry Ford Museum

A visit to the Henry Ford Museum , which holds the industrialist's stash of Americana, lets you walk through history: past the chair Abraham Lincoln was sitting in when he was assassinated, into the bus on which Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat, and heaps more. When the weather warms, outdoor Greenfield Village adds restored buildings like Thomas Edison's laboratory and the Wright Brothers' airplane workshop to the mix. Note the museum is not in Detroit proper, but in suburban Dearborn next door.

Explore the Avenue of Fashion 

A historic, mile-long stretch of Livernois Avenue in northwest Detroit, the Avenue of Fashion was the place to get your style on in the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s. Today it’s back and showing its swagger as a mighty district of Black-owned art galleries, clothing boutiques, shoe shops, bakeries, breweries and chicken-and-waffle restaurants. Shop, eat and then drop by Baker’s Keyboard Lounge for jazz.

Munch exquisite treats at Sister Pie

One of the best bakeries in America, according to the James Beard Foundation, Sister Pie whips up its array of treats in an unassuming little storefront space that smells like heaven. Chocolate chess, salted maple, ginger peach and more buttery-crust pies cool on racks, while plates of perfectly soft oatmeal raisin and peanut butter paprika cookies tempt on the counter. You should try them all.

Mingle with artists at the Scarab Club

Not many visitors make it to the Scarab Club , even though it’s right behind the Detroit Institute of Arts. That’s a shame, because the building has been an artists’ hangout for almost a century. Diego Rivera and Norman Rockwell used to rub elbows in the opulent rooms crammed with Tiffany lamps and objets d’art. Follow in their footsteps and wander through the landmark space, which always features excellent free art exhibitions.

Art Deco Building next to Modern in Detroit

Gape at the Art Deco architecture

Massive Art Deco skyscrapers rise up around Detroit, relics from when the city was an early 20th-century car-making star. Masterpieces such as the gleaming marble Fisher Building and redbrick, cathedral-like Guardian Building drop the jaw with their ornate facades, vaulted ceilings and intricate mosaics. Look into the building’s main spaces on your own, or see if Pure Detroit has restarted its free tours of the structures.

Hop aboard the People Mover

The People Mover is Detroit’s retro monorail that loops around downtown’s core. While it’s not very useful as public transportation, it’s terrific at providing close-up views of the skyscrapers and riverfront as it whirs around its skinny track 45 feet above street level. A full loop takes 16 minutes to complete. And it only costs 75 cents.

Hear the hits at the Motown Museum

You’ve likely heard of some of the folks who started their careers at Motown Records: Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson. The company occupied a row of modest houses north of downtown that now comprise the Motown Museum . Guided tours take you through the studios and explain Motown’s hit pop-soul-R&B sound. Go ahead, try not to dance when you hear it. Alas, the museum is closed until summer 2022 as it undergoes an expansion.

Reflect on African American history at the Wright Museum

The Wright Museum of African American History is the second-largest Black history museum in the world, after the Smithsonian in Washington, DC . More than 35,000 artifacts give perspective on the triumphs and tragedies of the past. Climb onto a harrowing slave ship replica and feel the cramped conditions, hear stories about the Underground Railroad, and read Rosa Parks’ letters about discrimination. The museum hosts great special exhibitions, too.

Delve into the stacks at John King Books

Bibliophiles adore John K King Used & Rare Books , a four-story labyrinth where dusty tomes fill every nook and cranny. Browse circus books, magic books, car books, cookbooks, pet books, art books and just about any other books you can think of. Hand-written signs show what’s on the shelves. 

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Detroit   Travel Guide

places to visit near detroit mi

8 Best Things To Do in Detroit

Updated February 11, 2021

Whether you're a sports fan, a foodie, an amateur historian or an architecture buff, you'll find something to capture your attention in The D. A stop at the Detroit Institute of Arts should be at the top of your list if you're a culture hound, and so

  • All Things To Do

places to visit near detroit mi

Detroit Institute of the Arts Detroit Institute of the Arts

Arguably one of the city's foremost cultural destinations, t he Detroit Institute of Arts dates back to 1885, but the beaux-arts building ( referred to as the "temple of art")   that it now resides in opened in 1927. The institute is huge, comprising more than 100 galleries, a 1,150-seat auditorium and a 380-seat lecture hall. And its permanent collection is extensive: On its walls are Diego Rivera's "Detroit Industry" fresco and Vincent Van Gogh's "Self Portrait" painting, among other works. The institute also hosts events like Friday Night Live! concerts and Art + Authors book discussions.

For many visitors, a visit to the DIA was a highlight of their Detroit trip, with some calling it a "national gem." Though many were initially drawn because of the museum's Diego Rivera collection, reviewers said they were satisfied with every part of the DIA, especially the temporary exhibits. Visitors also praised the staff, which they said were friendly and helpful.

places to visit near detroit mi

Motown Museum Motown Museum

An entire genre –  or at least sound –  was born in the space of this small Detroit home. A blue and white sign, reading "Hitsville U.S.A," hangs above the similarly painted building. And with gold records by the Supremes, the Temptations and the Jackson 5, this former Motown recording studio became a hit-making machine from 1959 to 1972. The interior has been left much the same from those magic music-making days, but there are also instruments, costumes and more on display.

Although the museum looks small and admittedly unimpressive from the outside, many visitors say the wealth of experience and information that you receive once inside is worth every minute of your time and every penny of your money. Reviewers particularly praised the tour guides, which they said helped to transport museumgoers back in time to the age of Motown.

places to visit near detroit mi

Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History

This large museum, named for its founder Charles Wright, tells the story of the African American experience from the beginning of time to the presidency of Barack Obama. Opened in 1965, the museum welcomes guests to it 125,000 square feet of both permanent and rotating exhibits, as well as a library and theater.

Recent visitors said a trip to this museum is a moving experience, with many suggesting you budget a few hours to make your way through its permanent and temporary exhibits. Many reviewers said this museum belongs on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. , because of its superior caliber. Travelers were especially impressed with the "And Still We Rise: Our Journey Through African American History and Culture" permanent exhibit, which spans 20 galleries. Though most said this museum is a must-see for families, some visitors cautioned that parts of the museum can be hard for children to see due to the graphic nature of some exhibits.

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Eastern Market Eastern Market free

Eastern Market draws history geeks and foodies alike. Open since 1891, this 43-acre district (six blocks of which are devoted to the public market) is the largest historic public market district in the United States. Still not impressed? In 1978, the Eastern Market Historic District was added to the National Registry of Historic Places.

Aside from its far-reaching history, Eastern Market showcases local area farmers and merchants. Plan to stop by during the Saturday market – open year-round – to peruse local produce and crafts before grabbing a bite to eat at one of the food trucks stationed nearby.

places to visit near detroit mi

Detroit's Fox Theatre Detroit's Fox Theatre

If you're in town for any amount of time, catching a performance at this National Historic Landmark is almost required. Events range from Broadway musicals to performances by big name recording artists like Tony Bennett and Ringo Starr, but what truly makes this venue special is its jaw-dropping interior. The walls are plastered in gold leaf and colorful paintings of animals, people, flowers and more; the seats are upholstered in plush red velvet and there's even a giant elephant head sculpture. If the description seems gaudy, rest assured that it's not: spectators agree that the Fox Theatre drips with a classic decadence.

Aside from its stunning architecture and impressively preserved fixtures, the theater also received praise from recent visitors for its quality acoustics and sightlines seen from around the theater.

places to visit near detroit mi

Comerica Park Comerica Park

If you're not much of a baseball fan, this ballpark – home field for the Detroit Tigers – is for you. While diehard fans are glued to their seats in hopes of catching a fly ball, casual onlookers can enjoy some of the park's more unusual attractions, including a carousel, a 50-foot Ferris wheel, a beer hall, a food court, plus a center field water feature that's synchronized to music. Perhaps it's these unique diversions that earned Detroit a spot on the list of  10 Best Cities for Baseball Fans to Visit .

Recent visitors (especially devoted baseball fans) said this is a beautiful park; some even described it as a bucket-list stadium thanks to its easy-to-navigate layout and skyline views. Plus, travelers reported good sightlines throughout the park, even the bleachers.

places to visit near detroit mi

Best Detroit Tours

places to visit near detroit mi

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places to visit near detroit mi

Guardian Building Guardian Building free

Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1989, the art deco Guardian Building is a must-see for architecture buffs. Known as Detroit's Cathedral of Finance, the Guardian Building was completed in 1929 for the Union Trust Co. The exterior of this 40-story steel-framed building may not look like much, but once you pass through its interior, you'll understand why the building remains one of Detroit's most palatial skyscrapers.

Among the interior's standout features: a 150-foot-long main lobby with a three-story vaulted ceiling, giant columns composed of Travertine marble imported from Italy, a Tiffany & Co. glass clock and an Ezra Winter mural. 

places to visit near detroit mi

Detroit Zoo Detroit Zoo

Many recent travelers called the Detroit Zoo one of the city's best family attractions. Spread out across 125 acres and boasting more than 2,400 animals, the zoo has a longstanding history in Detroit (it's been open since 1928). Of the zoo's 12 habitats, perhaps the most popular among recent visitors is the Polk Penguin Conservation Center, which debuted in 2016. This 326,000-gallon, 25-foot-deep aquatic area allows zoo visitors to observe more than 80 penguins of four different species explore their habitat. Plus, thanks to an underwater gallery with two tunnels, visitors can see the birds above, around and below.

Along with the animals, the zoo also boasts a carousel (a hit with families), a 4-D theater, scientific displays and a playground, along with more kid-friendly distractions. Reviewers praised the zoo's easy-to-navigate layout and the well-cared for animals, but were disappointed with the dining selections. If you plan to eat at the zoo, bring your own food for a picnic.

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Things to Do in Detroit, MI - Detroit Attractions

Things to do in detroit.

  • Hubbard-Richard
  • Jefferson Chalmers
  • Marina District
  • Morningside
  • Oakman Blvd.
  • Mexicantown
  • Budget-friendly
  • Good for a Rainy Day
  • Good for Couples
  • Good for Big Groups
  • Good for Kids
  • Hidden Gems
  • Good for Adrenaline Seekers
  • Adventurous
  • Honeymoon spot
  • Things to do ranked using Tripadvisor data including reviews, ratings, photos, and popularity.

places to visit near detroit mi

1. Detroit Institute of Arts

places to visit near detroit mi

2. Motown Museum

places to visit near detroit mi

3. Comerica Park

places to visit near detroit mi

4. Detroit RiverFront

places to visit near detroit mi

5. The Ford Piquette Avenue Plant

places to visit near detroit mi

6. The Guardian Building

places to visit near detroit mi

7. Ford Field

places to visit near detroit mi

8. Belle Isle Park

places to visit near detroit mi

9. Detroit Historical Museum

places to visit near detroit mi

10. Eastern Market

places to visit near detroit mi

11. Fox Theatre

places to visit near detroit mi

12. Greektown

places to visit near detroit mi

13. Fisher Building

places to visit near detroit mi

14. Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History

places to visit near detroit mi

15. GM Renaissance Center

places to visit near detroit mi

16. Campus Martius Park

places to visit near detroit mi

17. The Heidelberg Project

places to visit near detroit mi

18. Mexicantown

places to visit near detroit mi

19. Pewabic Pottery

places to visit near detroit mi

20. Little Caesars Arena

places to visit near detroit mi

21. Detroit Downtown

places to visit near detroit mi

22. Detroit-Windsor Tunnel

places to visit near detroit mi

23. Fisher Theatre

places to visit near detroit mi

24. Detroit Opera House

places to visit near detroit mi

25. Old St. Mary's Church

places to visit near detroit mi

26. The Spirit of Detroit

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27. MGM Grand Detroit Casino

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28. Dossin Great Lakes Museum

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29. Detroit City Distillery

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30. Detroit Symphony Orchestra

What travelers are saying.

Timcito

  • Detroit, Michigan
  • United States

69 Fun Things to Do in Detroit, Michigan

things to do in Detroit

Where automotive legacy comes face to face with a rugged music reputation and a longstanding art culture, Detroit is waking from its post slumber and gentrifying once more.

Motown, Motor City, or the largest city in Michigan — no matter what comes to mind when thinking of this Midwestern metropolis, one thing’s for sure: with so many diverse and engaging things to do in Detroit , there’s never a dull moment.

From the roaring crowds at football, hockey and baseball games to the educational and one-of-a-kind museums, beautiful parks, and amazing year-round festivals, not to mention the Riverwalk that looks out onto neighboring Canada, Detroit is a city that never fails to make an impression.

So whether you plan on getting in touch with your inner historian at world-famous museums like The Henry Ford, Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History or DIA.

Soak in the buzzing atmosphere and historic architecture of Downtown, or party it up at the long list of craft breweries and funky bars, and you’ll quickly realize why Detroit deserves a spot on the bucket list.

1 – Meet the sharks at the SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium

SEA LIFE Michigan

A fantastic spot for traveling families, why head on over to SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium and dive into an underwater world of colorful fish and coral reefs?

Home to a range of critters big and small — some adorable (seahorses, starfish) and others a little intimidating (sharks, octopi, and the like) — this aquarium is one of the largest in the Midwest and showcases marine life from all around the Great Lakes region as well as other parts of the world.

Be sure to check the times for feedings and trainer demonstrations, and, if you’re feeling brave enough, lower your hand into the touch tanks!

Hot tip: To save time and skip the line (and grab a discount), book your tickets online in advance.

  • SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium tickets

2 – Kick off your trip at the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation

Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation, Detroit

A trip to Detroit — aptly dubbed Motor City – isn’t complete without a visit to the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation ! Located in Dearborn, this sprawling, 250-acre museum is dedicated not only to showcasing the legacy and achievements of one of America’s most influential businessmen, but innovation and advancement on a much broader scale.

Early inventions like the Model T car and the 1865 Roper line the Driving America exhibit; the Rosa Parks Bus pays homage to the innovation of a different kind, a pivotal moment in the American Civil Rights movement; the Wright brothers’ achievements are laid through life-size planes and fascinating education exhibits, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

With over 300 years’ worth of artifacts to explore, not to mention rotating exhibitions that keep things new and exciting for repeat visitors, this is one attraction where it’s easy to get swept up in all the excitement!

3 – Spend the day at the Detroit Zoo

Detroit Zoo, Michigan

A family-friendly Detroit staple that’s been welcoming over 1.5 million visitors annually for decades, Detroit Zoo lives up to its reputation as one of America’s top ten zoos.

Spread over 125 acres in Royal Oak (just north of the city limits), this expansive zoo provides a home for more than 230 species (som 2,600 animals all up) and welcomes guests into open spaces that encourage them to interact with creatures big and small alike.

Start your day alongside kangaroos and koalas at Australian Outback Adventure; meander over to the Holden Reptile Conservation Center and Butterfly Garden to get up close and personal with slithery snakes and colorful fliers; feed the adorable critters at the Polk Penguin Conservation Center, and keep your eyes peeled for a wide variety of birds of all shapes and sizes.

4 – Stuff your belly on a food tour

food tours in Detroit

Hungry? Why not grab a bite to eat while getting an in-depth look at the city’s diverse food scene?

With foodie-favorite tours available in both Detroit and nearby Ann Arbor, you’ll be able to bypass the typical tourist traps and, instead, do as the Michiganders do, sampling the city’s very best dishes while escorted around town by an in-the-know local!

While every tour is slightly different, expect to sample local staples like the Coney Island hot dog (we’ll touch on this in a second), Detroit-style pizza, Mackinac Island fudge, chapatis and pickled bologna (don’t know it till you try it!) — plus plenty of local beers and wine to wash it all down, of course.

5 – Catch a game at Ford Field

Ford Field in Detroit

If there’s one thing that Detroit is passionate about, it’s their sports teams (and cars, of course). So it should come as no surprise that downtown’s Ford Field , home to the NFL’s Detroit Lions, is one of the most popular things to do in Detroit for sports nuts.

While the official season typically runs from September through to late December (with playoffs in January), the stadium — thanks to its exclusive tours and multifunctionality (think concerts, events, monster truck shows and the like) — sells itself as a worthy destination year-round.

Simply check the website to see what’s on the roster during your visit.

  • Ford Field tickets

6 – Step inside Old St. Mary’s Catholic Church

Old St. Mary's Catholic Church, Detroit

It’s near impossible to walk around Detroit’s Greektown neighborhood without catching a glimpse of this Monroe Steet church’s iconic twin-striped towers — with a longstanding history that dates back to the late 1800s.

The church is styled in true Victorian Gothic fashion both inside and out, so guests are seldom disappointed by the sheer size and grandeur within its walls, particularly the high vaulted ceilings and grand wooden confessionals.

Besides being a must-see for architecture buffs, with regular services, it remains a religious reprieve for many.

7 – Relax and enjoy the atmosphere at some candlelight concerts

candlelight concerts in Detroit

There’s certainly no shortage of great tunes to enjoy in Motor City, but few performances offer an experience quite like the Candlelight Concerts series!

As the name suggests, it’s the atmosphere that really makes these events special; with a roomful of candles gently flickering throughout the space, you’ll feel as though you’re the only listener in the world.

But the music itself is certainly top-notch as well!

While the performances are all put on by classical ensembles, the genres they present are always eclectic and engaging.

Along with standard symphonic pieces, you can enjoy reinterpretations of contemporary artists like Adele and Beyonce, or stirring renditions of film scores by luminaries such as Hans Zimmer.

It’s all part of an unforgettable night of live music!

  • candlelight concerts in Detroit

8 – LEGOLAND Discovery Center Michigan

LEGOLAND Discovery Center Michigan

Looking for somewhere to keep the kids entertained for an hour or two? Look no further than Detroit’s own LEGOLAND Discovery Center . Filled with all things LEGO, from a MINILAND replica of the Motor City — to creative play areas and rides themed around popular LEGO movies like The Lego Movie and Ninjago, this colorful attraction is sure to please kids (and parents) of all ages.

With special events and a gift shop that will have the youngsters begging for “just one more” — it’s a surefire hit for traveling families.

  • Legoland tickets

9 – Step back in time at the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant

Ford Piquette Plant in Detroit, Michigan

If you’re a car buff, the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant is an absolute must-see! Not only is it one of the oldest automobile factories in the world, but it was also the birthplace of the Model T.

Opened in 1904, this historic landmark has maintained in its former glory to a tee, with the floorboards scratched from 12,000 cars worth of production and plenty of stories etched into its walls — with both Fords and other cars on show, it offers visitors a fascinating look into the past of American industry.

Led by funny and extremely knowledgeable former Ford Plant employees who double as tour guides, the behind-the-scenes look is non-negotiable.

10 – Stare into the stars at the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History

University of Michigan Museum of Natural History, Ann Arbor

Just a short hop down the road in Ann Arbor, the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History is another great option for visitors looking to get up close and personal with all things scientific.

Boasting everything from dinosaur fossils to taxidermy animal displays, an impressive collection of gems and minerals and interactive exhibits that allow you to explore the ecosystems of Michigan and beyond, the UM Museum of Natural History is perfect for anyone with a thirst for knowledge (or kids who just want to see cool animals!).

Oh, and don’t miss the immersive planetarium — an intergalactic adventure awaits!

11 – Explore the beautiful Belle Isle

Belle Isle, Detroit

Straddling the Detroit River in between Canada and the US, this island oasis acts as a welcomed breath of fresh air from the big city hustle and bustle, with its ample green spaces, playgrounds and family-adored aquarium.

Its main attraction, the Belle Isle Aquarium is officially the oldest in the country, playing host to over 1,000 swimming critters from near and far. Step outside and take a walk through the trails and you’ll eventually stumble upon the James Scott Memorial Fountain and William Livingstone Memorial Lighthouse , two postcard-worthy landmarks.

Last but not least — in addition to the endless picnic spots and viewpoints — make sure to pop by the free-to-enter Dossin Great Lakes Museum , an impressive maritime exhibition that commemorates the history and geography of the Great Lakes.

12 – Stop into the Ford House

Ford House, Detroit

A historical gem dating back to 1927, the 60-room lakeside Ford House earns its stripes as a National Historic Landmark for both its iconic architecture and unique history as the former home of one-time Ford Motor Company President, Edsel Ford (son on Henry, of course).

As a testament to its original owner’s love for both European and American art, the house itself is full of neoclassical design elements from across the pond, with decorative touches, fireplaces, and noteworthy furnishings in nearly every room.

Even the grounds on which it sits, complete with gardens, walking paths and peaceful views of Lake St. Clair, make for an idyllic day out.

Keep in mind: While tours are only offered between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., the grounds remain open till dusk.

13 – Play ball at Comerica Park

Comerica Park, Detroit

Another biggie on the Detroit attractions list is Downtown’s Comerica Park , home to Major League Baseball’s very own Detroit Tigers.

This retro-themed stadium (think lots of steel and brick) has a capacity of 41,000 and is one of the most popular places to catch a game. Throw in concession stands, a rowdy and electric atmosphere when at capacity, stunning views of the Downtown skyline over the fence, and plenty of team history on display — and you have a day out that’s hard to beat.

Far more than just a stadium, however, Comerica Park invites guests into a world of attractions with its Big Cat Food Court, whimsical Comerica Bank Carousel, beer hall, Fly Ball Ferris Wheel, Walk of Fame, and incredible music-synchronized Liquid Fireworks display!

Looking for a more VIP experience? Consider joining a tour! Running from June through to September typically on Tuesdays and Fridays, guided tours take you behind the scenes and into the heart of the stadium, including locker rooms and dugouts.

  • Detroit Tigers tickets

14 – Learn a few things at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History

Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, Detroit

One for the history buffs, The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History is the world’s largest museum dedicated to the preservation, study and exhibition of African American history and culture.

Founded in 1965 by Dr. Charles H. Wright (a local physician and civil rights activist), the museum spans multiple floors and contains over 35,000 diverse artifacts from across the Diaspora – making it an unmissable stop for anyone interested in the multicultural stories of people from around the world.

Perfect for a rainy day, admission is affordable at just $8 per adult, with fascinating docent-led tours available upon request.

15 – Race against the clock in an escape room

escape rooms in Detroit

Consider yourself somewhat of a next-generation Sherlock Holmes with wit and intellect out the wazoo? Well, this is your chance to prove it!

With a range of locations and themed rooms spread all over the city, you and your closest friends will need to hustle all your teamwork and quick thinking — as you attempt to solve a series of fiendishly clever puzzles, clues, and riddles to escape the room before time runs out.

From finding your way out of a nuclear power station before the reactor blows to beating the maniacal chess master or needing to diffuse the bomb to save the city, Detroit’s many escape rooms will have you scrambling to put together the clues in record time.

Escape Room Novi , Breakout Escape Rooms Royal Oak , The Fifth Wall Escape Rooms , Escape Room Zone , and The Great Escape Room Royal Oak are just some of the many excellent venues where you and your friends can embark on your latest quest.

16 – Admire the palm trees at the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory

Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory, Detroit

Looking for another spot to soak in the beauty of Mother Nature? Sitting on the stunning Belle Isle with five distinct areas, each built with a different climate, the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory is the perfect place to cool off and find some peace, quiet, and serenity.

Housing several manicured gardens, including an impressive palm court, this Victorian-style greenhouse has been luring visitors in since it first opened in 1904 — making it officially the oldest continually-running conservatory nationwide.

Even the building itself, reflecting the sunshine and contrasting the bright blue skies with its glass dome, is impressive in its own right.

17 – See what’s on at the TCF Center

TCF Center, Detroit

Formerly dubbed Cobo Hall, the TCF Center is undeniably one of the largest convention centers in the country, with an annual list of events, tradeshows, festivals, and concerts that reads like a who’s-who of international, national and local talent.

The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) is a magnet for petrolheads, likewise the Detroit Boat Show and AutoRama-Detroit — while events like the Detroit Spring Home and Garden Show, Hour Detroit Food and Wine Festival, and Cannabis Expocan showcase the true diversity of the annual calendar

Straddling the vibrant Detroit International Riverfront, the center sits a stone’s throw from a host of hotels, restaurants and bars, so there’s plenty to do to spend an entire afternoon and evening here.

18 – Check out the Guardian Building

Guardian Building, Detroit

Located downtown at 500 Griswold Street, this sleek art deco skyscraper is one of the most photographed buildings in the city, and it’s not hard to see why — at 40 stories and over 633 feet (193 meters) tall (if you count its spire), it looms over Detroit with presence and elegance.

Within its walls, visitors are blessed with stunning and colorful mosaic tiling, exposed brass and metalwork not too dissimilar from Manhattan’s Chrysler Building, and a Tiffany-designed clock that falls nothing short of marvelous.

Earning its spot on the National Register of Historic Places, with a variety of businesses and restaurants inside, it’s worth visiting this place — one of the essential things to do in Detroit.

19 – Browse the collections at the Detroit Institute of Arts

Detroit Institute of Arts, Michigan

One for the art lovers and culture vultures, the Detroit Institute of Arts is a world-class museum that’s free to enter and open seven days a week.

Spread over a whopping 100 different gallery sections, the stately institute houses more than 65,000 pieces of art under its roof, showcasing everything from ancient Egyptian artifacts to European paintings by Rembrandt and Van Gogh.

Plus, with a rotating roster of special exhibitions, there’s always something new to see.

20 – Try the Coney Island hot dog restaurants

hotdog restaurants in Coney Island, Detroit

Not to be confused with New York’s infamous Coney Island, Michigan’s very own Coney Island isn’t an island at all, but a moniker for its infamous food: the chili-topped hot dog, typically served with diced onions, and yellow mustard.

So, to be clear, Coney Island kind of translates to “restaurant,” and you can find this style of eatery all over the state, but Detroit’s Coney Island restaurants — specifically American Coney Island , Woodward Coney Restaurant  and Lafayette Coney Island — are some of the most famous in the country.

21 – Make your way over the Ambassador Bridge

Ambassador Bridge, Detroit

Connecting the automotive mecca of Detroit with Windsor, Ontario — and by extension Canada — the Ambassador Bridge is one of the busiest crossings in North America, and a quick way to tick the Great White North off the bucket list (did someone say poutine?)!

Built in 1929, with celebrity appearances in films like 8 Mile, Gross Point Blank and Four Brothers, at 7,500 feet long, remains the largest international suspension bridge in the world!

22 – Watch the puck fly at Little Caesars Arena

Little Caesars Arena, Detroit

Hockey fans, rejoice!

From the minute you step into Midtown’s new Little Caesars Arena to take in a Detroit Red Wings game or catch an ice-skating spectacular by Disney on Ice, it becomes abundantly clear that this is one of the most thrilling live sports arenas around.

With dozens of luxury boxes for those who like to splurge (all the way up to bargain-basement seats in the rafters), multiple bars and restaurants in the area, not to mention a massive team store and state-of-the-art LED displays that line the arena bowl, a good time here is the norm.

Outside of hockey season, you’ll find an array of traveling performers too — everyone from Andrea Bocelli to Beyoncé, Elton John and Dua Lipa have graced the center stage.

  • Little Caesars Arena tickets

23 – Get hands-on at the Michigan Science Center

Michigan Science Center, Detroit

Where education meets hands-on entertainment with an extra dollop of family fun, the non-profit science center offers insightful programming for people of all ages, from out-of-this-world adventure to the most in-depth exploration of space, weather and life science.

Known for its live science demonstrations that dive into all the core STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields, the Smithsonian-affiliate museum dishes up over 220 interactive displays designed to ignite creativity, spark joy and kindle the ever-burning curiosity of all who enter.

Hot tip: If traveling with kids in tow, make sure to check out the Toyota 4D Theater, where a range of fascinating movies plays daily.

24 – Chill out at the William G. Milliken State Park and Harbor

William G. Milliken State Park and Harbor, Detroit

Tired of the hustle and bustle, and hordes of snap-happy tourists? Then make your way over to William G. Milliken State Park and Harbor, a beautiful grassy waterfront spot perfect for escaping the city life — even if it is only for an hour!

Connecting with the West RiverWalk, the area is abundant with nature and wetlands, as well as a marina where you can stroll around at your own pace, admiring the luxury boats as they bob up and down on the water.

Don’t miss the lighthouse, and take a moment to check out the Steel Modern Art Man too.

25 – Step into nature at either the Matthaei Botanical Gardens or Nichols Arboretum

Matthaei Botanical Gardens, Ann Arbor, Michigan

While you’re over in Ann Arbor, for those who want to explore the great outdoors without having to leave the city, the Matthaei Botanical Gardens and the Nichols Arboretum , tucked away over on the University of Michigan campus, are just what the doctor ordered.

The former, a lush and immersive garden, is home to over 6,000 plants and flowers with highlights — including a Japanese Garden, the Gaffield Children’s Garden, Bonsai & Penjing Garden, and the Great Lakes Gardens.

Meanwhile, the Nichols Arboretum, about 15 minutes away by car and more central, offers acres upon acres of woodland trails where you’ll come across enchanting plants and wildlife around every corner.

26 – Immerse yourself in musical magic at the Detroit Opera House

Detroit Opera House, Michigan

A spectacular historical landmark on Broadway in Detroit’s theatre district, the Detroit Opera House opened its doors to the public back in 1922 by architect C. Howard Crane (the man responsible for the Fox Theater and The Fillmore), however, has been marvelously restored to its original grandeur.

Fast forward over 100 years and it continues to be one of Michigan’s premier performance venues hosting both touring companies and home-grown talent, as well as a wide variety of special events like galas and weddings.

In addition to its lavish main hall that welcomes top-tier dance troupes, Broadway shows, ballet ensembles and musicians, the Detroit Opera House also houses restaurants, a bar, and several gift shops — making it the perfect place for an evening out on the town.

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27 – Get a little buzzed on a pedal bar

pedal bar in Detroit

Part bar, part tour bus and part bicycle, Detroit pedal bars pave the way for a mighty fun afternoon in the sun and the chance to meet a host of fellow thirsty travelers.

Choose from companies like Detroit Rolling Pub or The HandleBar Detroit , both of which offer up a three-hour tour (of varying routes) that will take you to some of the city’s most famous landmarks, all while you and your pals pedal and drink en route!

28 – Head over to the University of Michigan Museum of Art

University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor, Michigan

A melting pot of different styles and cultures of near-priceless art over in nearby Ann Arbor, the University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA) holds its own as one of the most comprehensive university art museums in the United States, housing over 26,000 objects from antiquity to the present day.

Ranging from ancient Egyptian and Greek sculpture to Impressionist masterpieces, thoughtful photography and contemporary works, there’s something for everyone at UMMA — not least because entry is free!

29 – Pick up a novel at John K. King Used & Rare Books

John K. King Used & Rare Books, Detroit

As far as bookstores go, this one is far from your everyday. And that’s what makes it so unique and interesting!

Housed inside an old abandoned glove factory, the now-iconic literary heaven houses over a million books of all different authors, origins, and genres.

Across four floors of page-turning magic, you’ll uncover priceless signed copies of Ernest Hemingway novels, German erotica, Mao Tse Tung’s Little Red Book, old phone books and magazines, and everything in-between — as you can already tell, nothing is out of this bookstore’s wheelhouse.

30 – Drive a NASCAR at the Michigan International Speedway

Michigan International Speedway, Detroit

If you’re a fan of NASCAR (or just motorsports in general), then a visit to Michigan International Speedway should sit at the very top of your list of things to do in Detroit.

As the state’s only superspeedway and one of the largest in North America, it’s home to some of the most exciting races around, and with multiple event weekends throughout the year, there’s always something happening.

Looking for something extra exciting? Rather than just watch the action, snap up the rare just to get behind the wheel of your very own NASCAR and race around the track at break-neck speeds alongside a professional instructor!

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31 – Stare out into Canada from Hart Plaza

Hart Plaza, Detroit

Sculpture-lined Hart Plaza is the perfect place to spend a lazy afternoon, whether you’re kicking back on one of its many benches or taking in an impromptu concert by some of the city’s talented buskers.

Around the corner from Joe Louis Arena and the TCF Center, this sprawling plaza sits right next to the Detroit RiverWalk and is a great spot to watch the hustle and bustle of both people and traffic.

In addition to being a popular lunchtime destination for downtown office workers, Hart Plaza also hosts some of Detroit’s biggest festivals, parades, and gatherings throughout the year – like Movement Electronic Music Festival in May and the firework-heavy Windsor–Detroit International Freedom Festival.

Fun fact: From the plaza, you can see all the way into Canada!

32 – Stare up at the Fisher Building — ‘Detroit’s Largest Art Object’

Fisher Building, Detroit

If you’re into architecture, Detroit is a veritable playground with more than its fair share of stunning buildings, old and new, to explore.

The Fisher Building , in particular, is a must-see, not just for the Art Deco style that it embodies, but also for the history behind it. Completed in 1928, this iconic skyscraper was designed by architect Albert Kahn and is one of the largest surviving buildings from his career.

Take a walk around inside (it’s open to the public), admire the intricate details on the facade, or just enjoy a moment of peace in the lush courtyard garden.

33 – Experience an era of musical magic at the Motown Museum

Motown Museum, Detroit

Back in Detroit proper now, visiting the Motown Museum is one of the essential things to do in Detroit for music lovers of all ages — especially those with an inkling for R&B and pop (and Eminem).

Charting the rise to fame of Berry Gordy and the Motown record label, from humble beginnings in Detroit’s Hitsville USA garage studio to becoming one of the most successful independent labels in history — the museum is crammed with rare artifacts, photos and videos that’ll bring you right back to the golden age of Motown.

The main gallery exhibits change once or twice a year, so you’re always in for something new and exciting.

34 – Catch live music at Beacon Park

Beacon Park, Detroit

Opened to the public in May of 2018, this new green space is tucked away over on the western edge of downtown and plays host to all kinds of food trucks, live music events, and holiday celebrations.

Shaped like a triangle, smack-bang in between a host of high-rise buildings, Beacon Park — whether you’re just after a quiet picnic or are keen to join in on local festivities — often provides a much-needed change of pace from its surroundings.

35 – Go skydiving!

skydiving in Detroit

Calling all adrenaline junkies! Nothing quite gets the heart racing like hurling back toward earth at terminal velocity from over 12,000 feet in the air.

So, if you’re feeling brave, why not head to one of Detroit’s many skydiving facilities and take the plunge? Perfect for first-time jumpers and seasoned experts alike, there’s no shortage of operators to choose from.

Whether you head from Fowlerville (great views of open green plains) or the Ray Township (where Anchor Bay shimmers in the distant), the expansive, bird’s-eye views are second to none.

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36 – Cheer on the Wolverines at Michigan Stadium

Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor

Sports fans, take note!

A visit to the University of Michigan isn’t complete without a stop at The Big House, and not solely because it plays host to the university’s Wolverines football team.

Officially and remarkable, Michigan Stadium is the largest college stadium in the United States, with a capacity of over 107,000 spectators.

Walk around the outside of this mammoth structure, take a selfie in front of the scoreboard, or even grab a ticket for a game and immerse yourself in what is one of North America’s sporting fortresses (and don’t forget to join in on the tailgating action!).

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37 – Climb around at the Outdoor Adventure Center

Outdoor Adventure Center, Detroit

Not too far from the riverfront on the outskirts of William G. Milliken State Park, the Outdoor Adventure Center is a great place to spend an afternoon if you’re looking for something active to do that’s just as fun for kids of age and kids at heart.

Offering climbing walls, a zip line, snowmobiles, the chance to journey behind a waterfall, fishing boats, mountain bikes trails, and plenty of other outdoor activities to get your heart racing, this place is basically an amusement park for nature lovers.

Take a break from the action and refuel at one of the on-site cafes before heading back out for more fun or learning all about how forest and wildlife preservation.

38 – Spend the afternoon at the Detroit Historical Museum

Detroit Historical Museum, Michigan

Lest we forget, the Motor City is by no means all about fast cars and showy music! In fact, Detroit has a rich history that goes way beyond Motown.

Nestled in Midtown’s Cultural Center Historic District Detroit, you’ll find the Detroit Historical Museum teeming with objects, videos, interactive settings, vehicles and more — which together chronicle the diverse life and times of the region.

The Motor City Exhibition that showcases how a Cadillac is assembled, as well as the old-school diner and staged historical town are all crowd favorites, while beer drinkers in particular love the Brewing Heritage section — which provides a thorough overview of all the area’s brewing companies over the decades (Stroh’s, Pfeiffer and the like).

39 – Ride the world’s most exhilarating roller coasters at Cedar Point

Cedar Point, Ohio

With a nickname like Roller Coaster Capital of the World , rest assured that this amusement park is well and truly worth the two-hour drive to neighboring Ohio.

Offering great views over Lake Erie’s shores, this high-octane coaster haven boasts over 70 rides and attractions, many of which are guaranteed to give your stomach butterflies!

Ranging from an old-fashioned carousel and Ferris wheel to heart-stopping thrill rides — like Valravn (the world’s tallest dive coaster), Steel Vengeance (the world’s tallest, fastest and steepest wood-steel hybrid coaster), and Millennium Force (which drops you over 300 feet and 90 miles per hour and has been voted one of the best in the world) — Cedar Point is a must for any adrenaline junkie.

Far more than just a coaster oasis, the park also offers waterslides at Cedar Point Shores next door, parasailing on the lake, jet ski rentals, and a whole lot more.

40 – Wander around The Heidelberg Project

The Heidelberg Project, Detroit

While Downtown and the Riverwalk attract the brunt of the attention, Detroit’s suburbs are as diverse as they come, home to outdoor sculpture, murals and a range of local hidden gems.

One such attraction is the eccentric Heidelberg Project over in the McDougall-Hunt neighborhood. Started in 1986 by Artist Tyree Guyton, the project is a series of outdoor art installations on vacant lots and houses that use everyday objects like tires, shoes, televisions and clothes to create an ever-changing display.

The effect is eye-opening, thought-provoking and often amusing — perfect for snapping some interesting social media pics!

41 – See who’s playing at The Fillmore Detroit

The Fillmore Detroit

One of the most famous music venues in Detroit, with a storied past that runs almost a century, The Fillmore is a Foxtown landmark (the Detroit Theatre District, specifically) where countless legendary musicians have taken to the stage over its tenure.

A favorite haunt for jazz, rock and blues fans alike, this grand theater — formerly dubbed the State Theatre — has hosted everyone from Jimi Hendrix to Muddy Waters, B.B. King and Led Zeppelin, with tickets at all price points available via the box office or a range of affiliate sellers (StubHub, etc).

Check the website for upcoming gigs, and be sure to take a wander around the impressive art-deco interior before the show!

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42 – Let the youngsters loose at the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum

Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum, Michigan

If you’ve got kids in tow, the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum — about 40 miles west of Detroit — is an absolute must. With over 160 interactive exhibits that focus on science and art, with an emphasis (as the name suggests) on interactivity and physical touch, there’s something for everyone to enjoy!

From tinkering with musical instruments or getting lost in a maze of mirrors to building sandcastles (or even meeting animals in the wildlife rooms), this museum is all about letting kids explore and learn through play.

43 – Explore the historic Fair Lane mansion

Fair Lane, Michigan

Tuck away in an idyllic spot between the banks of the Rouge River and the beautiful University of Michigan Dearborn campus sits Fair Lane , the historical home of none other than Clara and Henry Ford.

Sitting on lush greenery (don’t miss the rose garden, a magical sight when in full bloom), the 1,300-acre estate still boasts most of its original structures, including the main 56-room residence, the powerhouse, the greenhouse, boathouse and the stables — all of which are accessible during both history-themed guided tours s well as special events.

Hot tip: With magical gardens to boot, consider packing a picnic and enjoying the sunshine.

44 – Wander through The BELT

The BELT, Detroit

One of Detroit’s most clever and spirit-lifting ideas is The BELT , an old, once-run-down alleyway that’s been transformed and reinjected with life into an artistic and cultural hotspot.

Acting as an open-air art gallery between Broadway and Library Street, it’s now home to rotating art installations, food trucks (the best way to experience Detroit cuisine), pop-up shops and more.

Walk it, bike it or just amble through at your leisure – whatever you do, make sure to add The BELT to your list of things to see in Detroit!

45 – Run around town with a scavenger hunt

scavenger games in Detroit

Fed up with walking around town without a plan or following around slow-paced walking tours? Take the excitement and adventure up a notch by organizing your own scavenger hunt in either Detroit or Ann Arbor!

Led from the convenience of your phone, with a range of companies, locations, and themes (including zombies!) to choose from, the problem-solving and interactive Amazing Race-styles activities will take you to a list of landmarks and historical sites, uncovering off-beat Detroit facts along the way.

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46 – Go to a concert at Saint Andrew’s Hall

Saint Andrew’s Hall in Detroit

A century-old Detroit music institution that actually began its roots as the humble meeting place for the Saint Andrew’s Scottish Society , the esteemed Hall has transformed into a haven for electronic, punk, metal and alternative fans, with a rotating roster of talent of all kinds of genres.

While there have been hundreds of A-listers here over the years — and more to come, so check the website to see who’s performing during your trip — it’s most famous for being one of the first places Detroit’s very own Eminem performed.

47 – Discover the legend about Penobscot Building

Penobscot Building, Detroit

Yet another iconic landmark built in the late 1920s, the Penobscot Building was once deemed to be Detroit’s first skyscraper.

Today, the Griswold Street tower stands at 47 floors high and is a beautiful example of art deco design with its iconic glowing rooftop orb visible from across Downtown after sunset.

48 – Admire the exhibits at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit

Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit

If you’re in the mood for a dose of culture, look no further than Detroit’s Museum of Contemporary Art . Housing both permanent and rotating exhibitions from some of the world’s most cutting-edge artists in the realms of painting, sculpture, video and quirky installations, this museum is constantly updating its displays to keep things fresh and interesting.

Spanning some 22,000 square feet, with the text Everything is going to be alright etched and illuminated onto its facade, the MOCAD has featured exhibits focused on all kinds of unique themes like International Super Fruits, Monsters, Black Art, Underground Detroit, and a whole lot more.

49 – Sit front row at the Fox Theatre

Fox Theatre, Detroit

Hunting for a night of indoor entertainment? Detroit’s Fox Theatre is a majestic showplace that puts on a dazzling production any day of the week.

Located in Midtown, this historic building has been lovingly restored and transformed from an entertainment venue into one of the city’s most popular party spots thanks to its world-class performances – everything from Broadway shows like The Lion King and Wicked to live concerts by the likes of Bob Seger, Alice Cooper and Bette Midler.

Simply check the schedule and book your tickets in advance, as the Fox Theatre often sells out.

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50 – Pass by the Spirit of Detroit statue

Spirit of Detroit, Michigan

If you’re looking for a quintessential Detroit landmark to snap a selfie with, look no further than the Spirit of Detroit statue near Hart Plaza — a more-than-60-year-old icon meant to represent both divinity and human relationships.

Towering 26 feet tall with an original cost of $58,000 ($550,000 in today’s terms), the heavily postcarded statue makes for quick yet essential viewing when wandering through Downtown.

Keep in mind that most walking tours will include a visit here.

Directions in Google Maps

51 – Craft something unique at Pewabic Pottery

Pewabic Pottery, Detroit

If you’re at all interested in ceramics, then a visit to Pewabic Pottery — a nonprofit that’s been operating for well and truly over a century — sells itself as a calming activity that’s both hands-on and historical.

As one of the oldest and most prestigious ceramic studios in the United States, and a National Historic Landmark, it was founded all the way back in 1903 (the same year as Ford, ironically) and has produced stunning clay molds, equipment and sculptures ever since.

Today, it remains one of the city’s most underrated attractions, offering classes and demonstrations for the public.

52 – Get a multicultural experience at the Dabls Mbad African Bead Museum

Dabls MBAD African Bead Museum, Detroit

Detroit is a city that has been shaped by immigrants and their descendants from all around the world, and nowhere is this more evident than at the Dabls Mbad African Bead Museum .

Opened in 2002 and taking up nearly an entire city block, the wonderful and insightful locale tells the story of Detroit through its cultural diversity — with an impressive collection of art, beadwork, jewelry, installations and sculptures from all over Africa that provide a colorful contrast to the grey hues to the surrounding area.

53 – Soar over Detroit in a helicopter tour

helicopter tours in Detroit

Whether you ride shotgun and soak in the view or sign up for your very own piloting lesson, there’s no better way to see all the sights Detroit has to offer than from high in the sky!

From downtown and its towering skyscrapers to famed neighborhoods like Corktown, Brush Park and Greektown, as well as the shimmering Great Lakes as far as the eye can see (not to mention the friendly, knowledgable pilot who’ll wax lyrical about all the attractions down below) — a helicopter tour is a must for any visitor looking to really experience a new perspective.

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54 – Walk through the Erebus Haunted Attraction … if you dare

Erebus Haunted Attraction in Detroit

For those with nerves of steel, the Erebus Haunted Attraction in Pontiac — about 30 minutes north of Detroit — gives brave guests the chance to find themselves face-to-face with some of America’s most terrifying creatures and characters.

Taking place in a four-story warehouse with all creepy props and sinister special effects designed to send shivers down your spine, Erebus isn’t just one of the world’s largest walk-through haunted attractions. According to the likes of USA Today, it’s one of the best as well.

Make no mistake: This is no kiddy ride. Screams and horrors are around every corner, so it’s best to keep anyone under the age of 13 far, far away.

55 – Take a tour of the Historic Fort Wayne

Historic Fort Wayne, Detroit

A fascinating peek into Detroit’s military past, this 19th-century fort tucked away in the Delray neighborhood has been restored to its true self and now houses a museum and educational center — telling the story of America’s defense from the Revolutionary War right up to the present day.

Sitting nearby the bank of the Detroit River, the fort showcases history through artifacts like cannons and uniforms; original buildings like the 1848 limestone barracks, 1845 star fort, and restored Commanding Officer’s house.

Costumed tour guides will escort you through the centuries-old mansion and grounds on 2-hour interactive and educational walkthroughs. This is a great place for kids and adults alike to learn not only about the role of Detroit in military history but also about the Native American history of the land long before the fort was erected.

56 – Wet your whistle at Detroit’s breweries

Atwater Brewery in Detroit

As any local will attest, Michiganians don’t mind the odd tipple, and Detroit is home to some world-class breweries, so an ice-cold beer is never too far away. While there’s no harm in testing out any bar or brewery — it’s hard to go wrong, after all — you could save yourself your time and head straight for the most revered.

Atwater , in particular, is a Detroit favorite that offers tours of its facility (and beer tastings), while Motor City Brewing Works (known for their famous brick oven pizzas) has an expansive rooftop patio overlooking the cityscape where you can quaff a cold one under the sun or stars.

Another spot with a terrific outdoor space,  Jolly Pumpkin serves up locally made brews with truffle fries to boot, while the B. Nektar Meadery — not technically beer, rather mead — offers something a little different for the beer connoisseur to try.

Or, of course, you could sign up for a dedicated beer tasting and sample all of the city’s best in one shot!

57 – Step inside the Masonic Temple

Masonic Temple, Detroit

Often overlooked by the run-of-the-mill tourist as just a big old building (to their own detriment), the neo-gothic structure is officially the world’s largest Masonic Temple , containing a whopping 1,037 rooms spread across 14 floors.

Designed by George D. Mason who – inspired by his visits to European cathedrals – set out to create one of the largest and most opulent masonic temples in the world.

The foreboding tower which overlooks Cass Park is nowadays mostly used for events (like concerts and conventions in its amphitheater). However, self-guided or guided tours are available if you want a sneak peek inside this architectural beauty.

Far more than just a building and concert hall, it also boasts a swimming pool, gym and multi-lane bowling alley!

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58 – Take a break at Grand Circus Park

Grand Circus Park, Detroit

Located in the heart of downtown Detroit, a stone’s throw from notable landmarks like Comerica Park, Fox Theatre and the Detroit Opera House, semi-circular Grand Circus Park is a slice of calm surrounded by what is one of the busiest areas in the city.

Topped off with an ornate fountain and plenty of seating space for those who need a breather on their days of sightseeing walkabout, this 5-acre slice of urban greenery central park also boasts a dog park for your furry friends and an enchanting illuminated art installation come wintertime.

59 – Attend a service at the Basilica of Ste. Anne de Detroit

Basilica of Ste. Anne de Detroit, Michigan

As the first parish church in Detroit and second oldest continually operating of its kind nationwide, this historic landmark is a shining example of French colonial heritage and Gothic Revival architecture and design.

Founded originally back in 1701, the notable landmark sits just around the corner from the Ambassador Bridge as still hold weekly services, making for essential viewing for history and architecture aficionados alike.

60 – Walk down the Dequindre Cut Greenway

Dequindre Cut Greenway, Detroit

As far as Detroit’s hidden gems are concerned, the Dequindre Cut Greenway is probably one of its best-kept secrets. Linking the Riverfront with the Eastern Market (which hosts a six-block farmers market every Saturday), this 2-mile stretch of former railway track has been turned into a thriving green space.

It runs through some interesting parts of town and through varied scenery dotted with graffiti, murals, and quirky sculptures. Whether you jog, walk or rent a bike, so long as the sun’s shining it makes for a lovely afternoon stroll.

61 – Check out the famous Monument to Joe Louis

Monument to Joe Louis, The Fist, Detroit

Erected in honor of world heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis, who was born and raised in Detroit, this imposing sculpture dubbed “The Fist” stands at over 27 feet tall and weighs over 8,000 pounds.

Sitting in the heart of Hart Square, it serves as a popular and common spot for passersby to snap a photo of themselves, adding a bit of Detroit culture to their social media.

62 – Meander down the Detroit Riverfront

Detroit Riverfront, Michigan

Never shy of entertainment and a bubbly atmosphere, the Detroit Riverfront — spanning close to 5.5 miles from the Ambassador Bridge to Gabriel Richard Park — is a sight to behold, and designed with both pedestrians and cyclists in mind.

Soak up the sun during the day or take a romantic stroll by night along either the West or East River Walk as the Detroit skyline shimmers in the distance. There’s also plenty of family-friendly attractions, like the nautical-themed Mt. Elliott Park water wonderland and the treetop climb at the Outdoor Adventure Center.

Hot tip: If your visit lines up, try to check out one of the Riverfront’s famous festivals – the Detroit International Jazz Festival and Motor City Pride are two of the big ones.

63 – Explore the multi-attraction GM Renaissance Center

GM Renaissance Center, Detroit

A top-tier destination for shopping, dining, and soaking in the view of the city (from the 72nd-floor observation deck), the GM Renaissance Center towers above glittering downtown and the riverfront with Canada visible in the distance.

Not only is it the world headquarters of General Motors, but it also offers guests a range of shops, restaurants, bars and even a movie theater and hotel throughout its seven connected buildings.

Petrolheads, make a beeline for the General Motors store where cars slowly spin on the world’s largest turn-style. Meanwhile, if you’re looking for a place to stay, look no further than the lavish Detroit Marriott .

64 – Feel like a million bucks as you wander The Whitney

The Whitney, Detroit

With its stately facade and amazing interiors, the Whitney is a wonderful showcase for the city’s decadent past.

Built in 1894, this Neoclassical granite masterpiece once housed lumber magnate David Whitney Jr. and his family, and it is still a crucial part of the local scene, with gorgeous designs and lavishly appointed rooms largely unchanged since the early 1900s.

The main difference is that it’s now open to the public… and you can eat there!

Grab a cocktail and unwind at the Ghostbar, then settle into one of the many elegant dining areas, and treat yourself to a fantastic four-course meal, curated by culinary experts and presented with panache.

Dinner has never felt so classy!

65 – Pamper yourself at a spa

spas in Detroit

After days of walking around town, you deserve to treat yourself — you are on vacation, after all!

Spread all across the city, Detroit serves up relaxation like no tomorrow, with everything from spas to full-service salons, all offering manicures and pedicures, massages of every kind (from traditional Swedish massage to deep tissue), facials, teeth whitening procedures and more.

Balance your chakra points or settle into a volcanic stone massage at Woodhouse Day Spa Detroit , or top off your scrubs and body wraps with a sit in the sauna at D.Tour Spa .

And at Immerse Spa , you can indulge in some truly unique and decadent treatments – including body mists, aromatherapies, and hot mud massages -, followed with tea ceremonies or salon treatments.

If you’re after something a little extra special then consider some of the city’s next-generation treatments like aromatherapy or floatation therapy!

66 – See a movie under the stars at the Redford Theatre

Redford Theatre, Detroit

One of Detroit’s most iconic buildings, the Redford Theatre opened its doors in September 1928 and has since become an important part of cinema history.

Tucked away deep in the suburbs, offering a glimpse into the real side of Detroit, this beautiful building is now used as one of America’s few remaining ‘atmospheric’ movie palaces, complete with a star-filled sky, twinkling lights and faux clouds.

Check the website for upcoming film screenings (usually classic or independent movies with tickets for at least $5) and enjoy dinner from one of the many restaurants in the area before settling down to watch a flick under the stars.

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67 – Party the evening away at the best nightclubs

Elektricity, Detroit

As thrilling as the city is during the day, it really comes alive after dark!

No matter which scene you prefer, you’re bound to find a club that fits your fancy – and you’re always guaranteed excellent service and a lively night!

Jam out to live DJs and EDM at Elektricity , enjoy the spacious dance floors and world-class talent at hip-hop and dance-focused Bleu Detroit , or catch the next big thing at TV Lounge , another electronic hotspot.

And if you’re visiting during the summer, head over to the roof of Exodus , which blends great EDM selections with killer skyline views.

68 – Pay a visit to Campus Martius Park

Campus Martius Park, Detroit

A true Detroit showpiece, Campus Martius Park is a downtown attraction that’s hard to miss. This 8-acre public square has been the center of the city since its inception in 2004 and today serves as a gathering place for all sorts of events, from ice skating in the winter to concerts and festivals during the summer months.

Stroll around and you’ll find Parc Detroit, winner of a Restaurant of the Year Award , as well as the Cruzan Rum Shack, which puts on one heck of a beach-esque party when the mercury’s high.

Two notable landmarks worth checking out are Detroit’s Point of Origin Marker and Michigan Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument. The former is a 6-foot-tall post buried underground at the intersection of Woodward Avenue and Michigan Avenue, commemorating the spot where the city was rebuilt after Detroit’s fire of 1805.

Meanwhile, the latter pays homage to the 90,000 Michigan troops who fought for the Union in the Civil War.

69 – Head to the Greektown Casino for a lucky night out

Greektown Casino in Detroit

If you’re looking to let your hair down and try your luck, then Detroit’s Greektown Casino is the place to do it.

Home to 400 lavish guestrooms with floor-to-ceiling windows that (most of which) offer killer views over the area, plus a plethora of gaming tables thousands of slot machines, this massive casino complex is one of the largest in Michigan — and offers something for everyone.

From poker and blackjack to roulette and baccarat, there’s a game for all levels of player, while the opulent surroundings and buzzing atmosphere regularly make for an exciting night out.

Feeling peckish? Take your better half and wine and dine at Prism, or opt for something more casual — like a burger or pizza — at the food court.

How to get to Detroit?

Nobody likes to deal with transit headaches when they’re first arriving in town, but never fear… Detroit has a solution!

When you’re entering or exiting town via Detroit Airport, you can book a transfer and relax; with safe, convenient vehicles and professional service, you’ll be able to focus on the vacation itself, and all of the adventures to come!

Where to stay in Detroit?

As soon as you arrive at MGM Grand Detroit , you’ll feel like a big shot; from the spa and casino to the luxury lounge and high-end steakhouse, every inch of the property is geared towards relaxation.

Or you can soak up the sophistication at Aloft Detroit at the David Whitney , where you can cap off a round of golf or billiards with a nightcap at the cocktail bar.

Hollywood Casino at Greektown leans into the “stay and play” mentality, with great restaurants, live shows, and world-class gambling all just steps from your room.

And Atheneum Suite Hotel is perfect for those seeking a bit of everything, with conference rooms, a gym, and even a banquet area for your next big feast.

If you like easy access to attractions, Hilton Garden Inn Detroit has got you covered; GM World, Music Hall Center, and other metropolitan delights are just a short walk away.

  • best hotels in Detroit

Where to go next?

When it’s time to journey onwards, you’re in luck; some of the coolest spots in the country are just a short drive away!

If you pop over to the neighboring state of Ohio, you’ll find no shortage of delights to explore, including two of the coolest, most underrated cities in the country!

Enjoy the historical attractions, marvelous gardens, and lively musical scene in Cleveland , another city that has grown past its former industrial life into a revitalized, dynamic metropolis.

Or head south to Columbus , where you can truly eat, drink and be merry, celebrating everything from small local arts groups to the glory of the state fair.

Amble west to Illinois and the big-ticket attractions of Chicago , which is bursting at the seams with art, literature, theater, sports, zoos, and more.

Or head even further east to Niagara Falls , where the beauty of the roaring waters is only matched by the live entertainment, active winery scene, and unique tourist attractions that will have you scratching your head and snapping some pictures.

Final thoughts

With its mixture of old-school charm and modern flair, Motor City is certainly experiencing a comeback!

It offers decadence, accessible fun, elegance, and charm, all in one irresistible package that’s at once part of the country’s cultural fabric and a delightful destination all its own.

So cut loose a little and enjoy all of the amazing things to do in Detroit… it’s a true American success story!

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Best Things to Do in Detroit, Michigan

Julie Last updated: January 9, 2024 United States 6 Comments

Best Things To Do in Detroit

On a visit to Detroit, tour the Ford Rouge Factory, learn how Motown got its start, visit one of the best art museums in the USA, and enjoy Detroit’s trendy food scene. Detroit is an underrated city with a tumultuous past, but it is on the up and up. Here are the best things to do in Detroit.

Table of Contents

The Best Things to Do in Detroit

Motown museum.

Journey back in time to the 1960’s when Motown got its start in the music business. The history is fascinating, with the vision of Berry Gordy and the cultivation and stardom of The Four Tops, the Supremes, the Temptations, Martha and the Vandellas, and many more.

Motown Detroit

Your visit ends in the recording studio. This is the spot where Motown’s world famous songs were recorded. Songs like “My Girl,” “Reach Out I’ll Be There,” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” Even Michael Jackson got his start right in this room. It’s simply amazing.

Motown can only be visited on a tour. Tours last one hour and start with a 20 minute video about Motown and then you tour the museum, the apartment of Berry Gordy, and the recording studio.

I got lucky in that they let people take photographs of the recording studio. Normally, photographs are not allowed but they said that they were trying something new. Hopefully it continues!

For updated hours and pricing, visit the official website.

Detroit Institute of Arts

The Detroit Institute of the Arts (known as the DIA to locals) is one of the best art museums in the United States. Highlights include the murals by Diego Rivera, ancient art collected from Egypt, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East, as well as modern art.

DIA

For me, the highlight was a 16th century chapel that was relocated to the DIA from Chateau de Lannoy in France. After World War I, art collectors from around the world bought the remnants of damaged buildings in Europe. In 1923, this chapel was taken apart, stone by stone, shipped to the DIA, and painstakingly pieced back together. Even the stained-glass windows were preserved. Stepping into this chapel was like stepping into Europe. What a wonderful surprise!

I also toured the temporary Star Wars exhibit, which contained costumes from Star Wars, from the 1970’s to present day.

For updated pricing and hours, visit the official website.

Detroit Historical Museum

Detroit Historical Museum

Across the street from the DIA is the Detroit Historical Museum. This museum covers the history of Detroit, from the first settlements to present day. This is the best place to learn about the bright beginnings of Detroit, its role in the Underground Railroad, and the events that occurred in the 20th century.

The Henry Ford Experience

This is an all day event. Made up of three parts, you learn about the history of Henry Ford’s American dream, tour a working Ford factory, and step back in time to a historic village. It’s not cheap (tickets cost $50 to $75 depending on how much you choose to do) but I think it’s worth it. Just make sure you have enough time to enjoy all of the attractions.

The Ford Rouge Factory Tour

This was the highlight of our visit. You get to tour a working assembly line (no photos allowed). When you watch workers from the catwalks, you get a sense of how repetitive their job is. It is impressive how technological this assembly line is. Not only do cars need to be designed with the latest and greatest technology, but the assembly lines also have to be part of the design. This was much more interesting than I thought it would be.

Ford Rouge Factory

If you only picked on piece of the Henry Ford Experience, I recommend the Rouge Factory Tour. You also get to watch videos about the history of Henry Ford and the assembly line. It’s an important piece of American history.

Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation

The factory is great, and so is this museum. Sit on the Rosa Parks bus, see the Abraham Lincoln chair and the Kennedy Presidential limousine (yes, the same one that he was assassinated in), and tour the enormous exhibit that contains the first cars of America to present day. This is a great collection of American artifacts.

Rosa Parks Bus

Greenfield Village

Greenfield Village felt like Disney World meets Williamsburg, Virginia. This recreation of an early American town contains historic attractions and working farms. For many people the highlight is a 3-minute ride in a Ford Model T.

Ride Ford Model T

The Henry Ford Experience is located in Dearborn, Michigan, which is a 20 – 30 minute drive from downtown Detroit. We had a rental car so it was easy to get here. If you are relying on public transport, the easiest way to get here from downtown may be with Uber.

For hours, updated pricing, and tips on how to get here, visit the Henry Ford website.

PRO TRAVEL TIP: The Henry Ford Experience is located between the city of Detroit and the airport. If you are arriving or departing by plane, consider visiting the Henry Ford Experience in transit between the airport and the city.

Ford Piquette Avenue Plant

The Ford Piquette Avenue Plant is the birthplace of the Ford Model T. The plant was built in 1904 and from 1908 to 1910, the first 12,000 Model T’s were built here. This building is now a US National Historic Landmark.

Ford Piquette Plant

You can tour the rooms of Model T cars on your own or join a tour at 10 am, noon, and 2 pm.

For update hours and pricing visit the official website.

Fisher Building

The Fisher Building is one of Detroit’s iconic buildings. Built in 1928, this Art Deco building is home to offices and the Fisher Theater. For free, you can wander in and enjoy the grandeur of the building. Take the steps to the second and third levels and enjoy even better views from the balconies.

Fisher Building

The Guardian Building

The Guardian Building is another Detroit landmark and a great example of Art Deco design. I was blown away by this building. It’s gorgeous inside (and free to visit). If you only had time to tour one of Detroit’s Art Deco buildings, this is the one to visit.

The Guardian Detroit

The Guardian Building was constructed in 1929, right before the Stock Market crash.

Fox Theater

The Fox Theater opened in 1928 (Detroit was booming in the 1920’s!!) as a movie palace. Since its opening, Shirley Temple, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Motown artists, and David Copperfield have performed here. Live performances are still held here. Click here for the upcoming schedule.

Fox Theater

Eastern Market

This is a favorite of many visitors (and locals) in Detroit. I missed out on this, since the market was not held during my visit.

There are several market days, and the best ones are on Saturdays and Sundays. 225 vendors sell produce, food, arts and crafts, clothing, and more. There’s music and entertainment and it makes a great day out and a great way to experience the local Detroit scene.

A “scaled-down” market is held on Tuesdays and on select Thursday evenings in the summer a market is also held.

Visit the Eastern Market official website for full details.

Belle Isle Park

Belle Isle is a small island that sits in the Detroit River. It is home to an aquarium, sports fields, and small beaches.

I did not get the best impression of this island. I used Uber to get here. The Grand Prix was just held, so parts of the island where still blocked off by concrete dividers and cones. The parts of the island I did see were overgrown with weeds and there were a number of buildings in disrepair. Maybe the part of the island I didn’t get to see was nicer?

Since my visit, people have written in to say that the island has been cleaned up and it is a great place to visit. On a return visit to Detroit, I look forward to checking it out again.

Detroit Waterfront

A paved path runs along the Detroit River. This is a nice spot to go for a walk or a jog. Sitting across the river from Detroit is Canada.

Detroit Skyline

Near Hart Plaza is the International Memorial to the Underground Railroad. Detroit played a very important role in the Underground Railroad. This was the last stop in the US before slaves were sailed across the Detroit River to freedom in Canada. If you are in the area, it’s worth a quick visit to see the memorial and the view to Canada.

Campus Martius Park

This very small park sits in the heart of Detroit. In the summertime, it’s a cool hangout spot. Part of the park is filled with sand and people come here to lay out and soak up the sun. During the day, food trucks sell food and in the evening people gather to watch movies on a temporary movie screen.

Campus Martius Park

This is an example of one of the many cool things Detroit is doing to bring people back to the city.

Play Corn Hole on Woodward Avenue

And this is another example of how Detroit is recreating its image. At several locations on Woodward Avenue you can play corn hole. I would play with Tim after dinner and with my aunt and uncle, who spent one day touring the city with me. It’s free, it’s fun, and it’s such a cool idea.

Detroit Corn Hole

The Belt is an alley that has been transformed into a work of art and collection of bars. I just happened to stumble upon this and again I loved the creativeness of it. Turn an alley into a work of art and attract people with food and drinks.

The Belt

There are two great bars here, The Skip and Standby. Tim and I spent an evening at Standby, a bar that serves creative cocktails and food.

Enjoy Detroit’s Food Scene

As people pour back into Detroit, the food scene is really taking off. All of these restaurants are within walking distance of downtown Detroit (or just a short ride on the Q Line).

For breakfast and brunch, don’t miss Dime Store. I ate here twice and the food is outstanding!

For lunch, I recommend the Bucharest Grill , a restaurant that serves amazing shawarma and sandwiches at budget prices (thanks to my Uber driver for recommending this spot!).

If you really want to eat cheap, have a hot dog at legendary Lafayette Coney Island.

For dinner, Wright & Company serves gourmet tapas.

For drinks, we recommend Standby and Townhouse. And Astoria Pastry Shop is the place for cannoli’s, baklava, and pastries.

Frida Kahlo fans may want to visit the shop Frida. This small shop, located near the DIA and Detroit Historical Museum, is where Frida lived and worked in Detroit. Now, this boutique shop sells clothing and accessories.

Watch a Tigers Game at Comerica Park

Comerica Park is the Detroit Tiger’s baseball stadium. Come watch a game during the summer months or one of the rare concerts that are held here during the summer and fall months.

Click here for the game schedule.

Comerica Park

Learn how to put all of this together, and how to have the best experience in Detroit, with our Detroit Travel Guide.

Best Things to Do in Detroit: On a Map

How to Use This Map: Click the tab in the top left hand corner of the map to view the layers. You can click the check marks to hide or show layers. If you click the icons on the map, you can get more information about each point of interest. If you click the star next to the title of the map, this map will be added to your Google Maps account. To view it on your phone or computer, open Google Maps, click the menu button, go to “Your Places,” click Maps, and you will see this map on your list.

If you have any questions about the best things to do in Detroit, let us know in the comment section below.

Visit More Cities in the USA

BEST OF NEW YORK CITY: For a list of the top experiences in New York City, read our article Best Things to Do in New York City.

BOSTON: For information about Boston, read our article Best Things to Do in Boston . We also have a detailed guide on how to day trip to Plymouth, Lexington, and Concord from Boston.

LAS VEGAS: For information on how to visit Las Vegas, read our article Best Things to Do in Las Vegas , which also has advice on where to stay, where to eat, and how to plan your time. If you are visiting with kids or teenagers, don’t miss our article Best Things to Do in Las Vegas with Teenagers.

SAVANNAH, GEORGIA: Learn about the top experiences in our article Best Things to Do in Savannah, Georgia. We cover the top places to eat in our Savannah Restaurant Guide. Savannah also makes a great place to work remotely.

NASHVILLE: For recommendations on what to do in Nashville, check out our articles Best Things to Do in Nashville and Best Eats in Nashville.

Read all of our articles about the USA in our United States Travel Guide.

Best Things To Do in Detroit

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Detroit Travel Guide

I love this article! I currently live in GA. However, I was born & raised in Detroit & I can remember going to Belle Island as a kid & sliding down the giant slide. I remember go to the river walk area for the summer festivals. I remember visiting Motown & reminiscing on where the Temptations, Stevie Wonder, etc. all got their start from. I also remember visiting Greenfield Village on a field trip as a kid & soaking in the knowledge of where Ford Motor Company started. Detroit is a city with lot’s of rich history. To me they get short changed because the only thing that people can remember is that the city filed for bankruptcy before. But Detroit, for a longgg time had the most home owners in the U.S. & they were known for the most engineers. I love the city of Detroit & I enjoy visiting my place of birth.

Avatar for Michael Benkstein

This was a great article and even though I have been in the Detroit area for 17 years there were a couple of things I had not heard of. But Belle Isle really got short-changed in this article. It has the oldest aquarium in America (built in 1904) and it’s beautiful inside. It has a lovely Koi pond adjoining it. Right next door is a wonderful arboretum (been there for 115 years). No mention of the original police station (still a working police station) which was the first place anywhere in America police used radio transmissions to communicate with each other. No mention of the boat club, the yacht club, the Great Lakes museum, the James Scott Memorial Fountain, or the Nature Center. And this is just top of my head stuff to see there. Take another look at Belle Isle when you can, if you haven’t seen it you really haven’t seen Detroit.

Avatar for Julie

Thank you for the suggestions. I would love to return to Detroit and when I do, I’ll revisit Belle Island. Cheers, Julie

Avatar for Heather Smith

This is great. My partner has a conference in Ypsilanti and I was thinking about going to Detroit and wandering around since I have so many miles to get a ticket and also rent a car for nothing, plus use her hotel work is paying for. This post has sealed the deal for me and I am definitely going. Seems like Detroit is really underrated.

Yes, very underrated. Have fun! Cheers, Julie

Avatar for Patty

You’ve completely missed the mark on Belle Isle!! The Aqarium, the Conservatory, the Fountain, the waterfront and so much more!! An Uber really isn’t the way to see it. (Unless you bring your bike and do your tour on it. A review of areas in the clean up phase after the Gran Prix isn’t going to be accurate….

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  • Last Updated On
  • June 25, 2023

9 Fun Things to Do Near Detroit, MI: Best Places to Visit Nearby!

Savannah Walker

Detroit captures the imagination for many as at one point in America’s history when it really was seen as having the potential of being a city of the future due to its huge industrial contributions.

All the fun things to do near Detroit, MI will show that area is filled with the rich experience of this historical area.

1. Detroit Zoo

Detroit Zoo

8450 W 10 Mile Rd Royal Oak, MI 48067-3001 (248) 541-5717

One of the attractions near Detroit, Michigan is this place special as it has a variety of intriguing exhibits that are set up around naturalistic habitats that seek to teach about the man up of our planet.

Why We Recommend Going Here

Spanning 125 acres, there’s something for everyone as there are more than 200 species and 2,000 animals.

Nature enthusiasts can tour through different adventure areas, everything from apes, Australian animals and a National Amphibian and Reptile Conservation center

Distance from Detroit

This zoo is 14.3 miles away and 20 minutes drive from Detroit.

Recommended Hotel Near Detroit Zoo: MGM Grand Detroit

2. River Rouge Brewing Company

River Rouge Brewing Company

406 E 4th St Royal Oak, MI 48067-2757 (248) 802-0555

This brewery is located in the heart of Royal Oak and is one of the cool places to go for a fun experience for those who like to try new beers.

There are flavors that many visitors have never tried, such as chocolate, strawberries and numerous other fruits!

It’s an idyllic place for refreshment on the weekend and features a staff that are happy to answer all your questions about the brewing art!

This brewing company is 14.3 miles away from Detroit and it takes 20 minutes to get there by car.

Recommended Hotel Near River Rouge Brewing Company: The Detroit Club Hotel

Related: Best Restaurants in Detroit

3. Royal Oak Historical Society Museum

Royal Oak Historical Society Museum

1411 W Webster R Royal Oak, MI 48073-3113 (248) 439-1501

With a doubt this is a hidden gem and the best place to learn about the history of the area.

Visitors are welcome to look through the museum archives and learn about the history of life in the area.

It’s an interesting opportunity of how it is that a civilization grows and what are the public businesses and services that have marked such a unique society.

This museum is 14.3 miles away and 1 hour and 20 minutes drive from Detroit.

Recommended Hotel Near Royal Oak Historical Society Museum: Trumbull and Porter – Detroit Downtown

4. Tecumseh Center for the Arts

Tecumseh Center For The Arts

400 N Maumee St, Tecumseh, MI 49286-1473 (517) 423-6617

You are advised to look through the calendar of this center before making plans as there are so many interesting events and cheap activities here.

Everything from great bands to broadway-style shows take place here, even an attractive assortment of film events!

The grounds feature a sculpture park that set the mood before indulging in art exhibits that set up inside and out throughout the year.

This center is 63.4 miles away from Detroit and it takes 1 hour and 5 minutes to get there by car.

Recommended Hotel Near Tecumseh Center for the Arts: The Carlton Lodge

Related: Best Things to Do in Detroit

5. Tecumseh Paddling Company

Tecumseh Paddling Company

703 E Chicago Blvd Tecumseh, MI 49286-9674 (517) 423-2700

This is one of the best family-friendly places to enjoy a river trip with your friends and family.

You can decide to take a kayak, paddleboard or a boast down one of the most crooked rivers ever to admire the surrounding basin.

Fishing is a popular activity and there are 84 species that you’re permitted to try.

This paddling company is 63.4 miles away from Detroit and it takes 1 hour and 5 minutes to get there by car.

Recommended Hotel Near Tecumseh Paddling Company: Quality Inn & Suites Monroe

Related: Fun Things to Do in Detroit with Kids

6. Woodland Hills Nature Park

Woodland Hills Nature Park

26655 Farmington Rd Farmington Hills, MI 48334-4327 (248) 477-1135

This is what remains of the beautiful Beech-Maple forest and is home to abundant wildlife.

And it is free!

1.7 miles of trails are perfect for all kinds of bird watching and nature photographing opportunities.

The terrain is quite varied and extends to a wonderfully mature forest, tangled brush and wetlands.

Needless to say, it is one of the great romantic places to visit in the area.

This park is 23.0 miles away from Detroit and it takes 24 minutes to get there by car.

Recommended Hotel Near Woodland Hills Nature Park: The Kensington Hotel

7. Loft Cigar Lounge

Loft Cigar Lounge

33419 Grand River Ave Farmington Hills, MI 48335-3521 (248) 482-7242

If you’re after a sophisticated social experience while enjoying a stiff drink and a quality cigar, look no further!

This lounge is conveniently situated in downtown Farmington, near city hall and is a perfect rest stop.

The customer service is top-notch and everyone is welcome to ask about the extensive whiskey selection.

From the lovely wooden bar you can watch sport events in style.

This lounge is 23.0 miles away from Detroit and it takes 24 minutes to get there by car.

Recommended Hotel Near Loft Cigar Lounge: Comfort Inn Metro Airport Romulus

8. Sky Zone Trampoline Park

Sky Zone Trampoline Park

42550 Executive Dr Canton, MI 48188-2258 (734) 981-0007

This is one of the things to do and see near Detroit : bounce around and have a fun old time on trampolines in this playground for people of all ages.

There are different areas to explore and it is completely safe due to the careful implantation of large foam squares.

There are a number of games that you can participate in, including basketball, dodgeball, trapeze and swing and even zip lining above the whole place!

This park is 30.6 miles away from Detroit and it takes 35 minutes to get there by car.

Recommended Hotel Near Sky Zone Trampoline Park: Hampton Inn & Suites Detroit-Canton

Related: Best Beaches Near Detroit, MI

9. Cady-Boyer Barn

Cady Boyer Barn

022 South Canton Center Road Canton, MI 48188 (734) 397-0088

This barn is one of the places near Detroit that dates back to the 19th century and is a beautiful place to check out and admire quality woodworking.

It has been enlarged and remodeled throughout the years and as such has many stories to tell.

If your kids have ever wanted to explore farm life and culture, this is the perfect place to do so and learn about our close relationship with animals.

This barn is 30.6 miles away from Detroit and it takes 35 minutes to get there by car.

Recommended Hotel Near Cady-Boyer Barn: Trumbull and Porter – Detroit Downtown

9 Fun Things to Do that Are Near Detroit, MI for 2024

Things To Do Near Detroit

  • Detroit Zoo
  • River Rouge Brewing Company
  • Royal Oak Historical Society Museum
  • Tecumseh Center for the Arts
  • Tecumseh Paddling Company
  • Woodland Hills Nature Park
  • Loft Cigar Lounge
  • Sky Zone Trampoline Park
  • Cady-Boyer Barn

9 Fun Things to Do Near Detroit, MI: Best Places to Visit Nearby!

Nomadic Matt's Travel Site

Travel Better, Cheaper, Longer

14 Things to See and Do in Detroit

The towering downtown skyline of Detroit, Michigan lit up during the evening

In this guest post, my former Creative Director Raimee of Raimee Travels shares her tips and advice for visiting Detroit, one of the country’s most underrated cities!

Just north of Lake Erie’s western end, Detroit, Michigan, is a sprawling metropolis home to over four million people. Haunted by the echoes of its past, the city is often overlooked or ignored by domestic and international travelers alike.

Having grown up in the Detroit area, I can understand why those unaware of its charm consider Detroit a blighted city, burdened by debt, crime, and a fleeing population. I assure you, though, this preconception couldn’t be more wrong.

The famed “Motor City” has historically been known for its auto manufacturing sector, its contributions to the early music industry, and its beloved sports teams. Today, through its revitalization, Detroit has taken on a new appeal.

From its world-class museums and its incredible assortment of eateries to its culturally-inspired dive bars and eclectic garage-like music scene, Detroit is one of the most exciting cities in America to both explore and be a part of right now. Its population is motivated, its people are proud, and the suburbs’ rekindled interest in downtown has helped open the door to a new era of prosperity and a growing young population.

To help inspire you to plan a trip, here is my curated list of things to see and do I’d recommend to anyone visiting Detroit:

Table of Contents

1. Take a Walking Tour

2. explore the eastern market, 3. visit the detroit institute of arts, 4. walk or bike along the dequindre cut, 5. check out one of the largest bookstores in the world, 6. relax at belle isle, 7. take a tour of the guardian building, 8. walk around campus martius park, 9. snap photos at the belt, 10. visit the fox theatre, 11. see the motown museum, 12. henry ford museum of american innovation, 13. visit the museum of african-american history, 14. take a food or brewery tour, where to eat in detroit.

A quiet street in Detroit, Michigan during the day

For a more niche walking tour, check out the Ghosts and Spirits walking tour, a haunted walk that illuminates Detroit’s spooky side.  

The Eastern Market is a huge marketplace with local foods, art, jewelry, artisan crafts, and more. It covers 43 acres and is the largest historic public market district in the United States , dating back over 150 years.

There are three different market days during the week: Saturdays, Sundays, and Tuesdays. It is particularly busy on Saturdays when farmers tend to bring in their poultry, livestock, and fresh produce for sale.

2934 Russell St, +1 313-833-9300, easternmarket.org. Check the website for market days and times. Admission is free.  

The historic exterior of the Detroit Institute of Arts with a dark statue in the foreground

While you could easily spend hours here, if you choose your galleries in advance, you can be in and out in two hours without rushing.

5200 Woodward Ave., +1 313-833-7900, dia.org. Open weekdays 9am–4pm (10pm on Fridays) and weekends 10am–5pm. Admission is $18 USD.  

The Dequindre Cut Greenway is a two-mile urban recreational path that offers a pedestrian link between the East Riverfront, the Eastern Market, and several residential neighborhoods in between. Along the path, you’ll find all kinds of street art, as well as buskers in the summer. It’s a nice place to walk or jog and take in the city.

If you plan on visiting the Eastern Market and the Riverfront (which you should!), consider renting a bike from mogodetroit.com. You can rent them for under $20 USD.  

Maybe it’s because I love all bookstores, but this is one of my favorite places to explore in Detroit. John K. King Used & Rare Books, located in an old glove factory, is an enchanting host to over one million books.

I love spending time wandering through the rows of strange titles and marveling at the rare editions they have in stock — some are so rare, you have to make an appointment to be allowed to view them.

901 W. Lafayette Blvd., +1 313-961-0622, johnkingbooksdetroit.com. Open Tuesday–Saturday 10am–5pm.

Inside a greenhouse on Belle Island in Detroit, USA

Here are some of my other favorite things to do at Belle Isle:

  • Wander the conservatory – The Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory is a peaceful botanical garden stretching over 13 acres, with dozens of walking paths and greenhouses to explore. Admission is free.
  • Hit the range – Belle Island Golf Range is a driving range with practice areas for driving, putting, and chipping. It’s a fun spot to spend a couple of hours.
  • Enjoy the beach – There’s over half a mile of beach where you can swim, lounge, or rent a kayak or paddleboard and soak up the sun.

You’ll find many architectural beauties around Detroit, but the most prestigious is the 36-floor Guardian Building downtown, located in the Financial District. Completed in 1929, it is a National Historic Landmark and one of the most important Art Deco skyscrapers in the world. The interior is incredible, with a massive and ornate lobby. It looks more like a church than a skyscraper!

500 Griswold St., +1 313-963-4567, guardianbuilding.com. Open 24/7. Admission to the building is free.  

After a devastating fire in 1805, Campus Martius was created as the de facto center of Detroit’s rebuilding efforts. Covering just over an acre, the park features outdoor cafés and bars, a mini beach, green space, food trucks galore, monuments, and a host of weekend festivals and activities.

In the winter, you’ll find a giant Christmas tree, an ice-skating rink, and a Christmas market. Every time I visit this area of town, I reflect on how far the city has come in the past ten years.

To visit the park, take the light rail to the Campus Martius station.  

The Belt, named after its location in the former downtown garment district, is a culturally redefined alley in the heart of Detroit. Public art is the driving force behind the redevelopment of The Belt, which has murals and installations by local, national, and international artists. It is part of Library Street Collective’s continuous effort to ensure that artists have a space to create and engage with the public.

To visit the Belt, take the light rail to Broadway station.  

The Fox Theatre in Detroit lit up at night

The building is a National Historic Landmark, the highest honor given by the National Park Service. If you can, try and catch a performance during your visit. If that’s not an option, stop by during the evening to see it all lit up. It looks gorgeous!

2211 Woodward Ave., +1 313-471-7000, foxtheatredetroit.net. Check the website for performance schedules and ticket details.  

The exterior of the Motown Museum in beautiful Detroit, Michigan, USA

Its main office, named Hitsville U.S.A., was converted into a museum in 1985 to highlight the important contributions of Motown to the greater American music scene. It has all sorts of records, awards, and costumes from famous musicians (including Michael Jackson). You can also see one of the recording studios where many of the label’s classic hits were produced.

2648 W. Grand Blvd., +1 313-875-2264, motownmuseum.org. Open Wednesday–Sunday 10am–6pm. Admission is $20 USD.  

Henry Ford, a Michigan native and founder of the Ford Motor Company (and prominent anti-Semite), was responsible for kick-starting the automobile industry in the US in the early 1900s.

Today, you can tour the company’s massive museum and learn about the history of the automobile and how it evolved from a novelty to a staple of modern society. The museum has numerous cars (including presidential automobiles), as well as exhibitions on trains, power generation, and much more.

Additionally, adjacent to the museum is Greenfield Village, a semi-separate museum that hosts all kinds of science and agriculture exhibitions that Ford collected over his lifetime. It’s a great place to visit with kids, as many of the exhibits are interactive and educational.

20900 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn, +1 313-982-6001, thehenryford.org/visit/henry-ford-museum. Admission is $30 USD.  

Opened in 1965, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History is the world’s biggest permanent collection of African-American culture. There are over 35,000 items and artifacts highlighting the history and culture of African-Americans throughout the ages. The museum has exhibitions on civil rights, art, film, and much more. Plan to spend at least a couple of hours here as there is a lot to see and its very informative.

315 E. Warren Ave., +1 313-494-5800, thewright.org. Closed Mondays. Open Tuesday–Sunday 9am–5pm. Admission is $30 USD.  

Detroit is fast becoming a foodie destination. There are tons of delicious restaurants and a growing number of breweries here, kickstarting a foodie renaissance that is putting the city on the map. If you’re looking for an introduction into Detroit’s food and drink scene, take a tour. There are plenty of food and brewery tours that will give you a mouthwatering or thirst-quenching introduction to the culinary and microbrewery scenes.

Detroit History Tours will introduce you to the best beers Detroit has to offer. You’ll get to eat some wonderful food, try tasty drinks, and meet the chefs and restaurateurs making it all possible!  

A fresh Detroit-style pizza on a table in Detroit, Michigan

  • The Peterboro – Mouth watering and inventive Chinese food paired with craft beer and cocktails.
  • SheWolf – Trendy and upscale Italian cuisine.
  • Selden Standard – Locally grown and seasonal plates.
  • Bronx Bar – A classic dive bar with greasy eats.
  • Sugar House – An intimate craft cocktail pub.
  • Brooklyn Street Diner – A cozy diner with local favs and lots of vegetarian options.

Detroit is one of the best up-and-coming cities in the country. With a developing food scene, an affordable cost of living, and more and more things opening each month, I suspect tourism here is only going to continue to grow. Come and visit while you can and beat the crowds. I promise Detroit will surpass your expectations!

Raimee is the former Creative Director for Nomadic Matt. She spent the over 4 years working remotely from cities around the world after leaving a marketing job in her hometown outside of Detroit, Michigan. She now resides in Los Angeles, California. You can follow her remote work adventures on Instagram .

Book Your Trip to the United States: Logistical Tips and Tricks

Book Your Flight Use Skyscanner to find a cheap flight. They are my favorite search engine because they search websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is left unturned!

Book Your Accommodation You can book your hostel with Hostelworld as they have the biggest inventory and best deals. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as they consistently return the cheapest rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:

  • Safety Wing (best for everyone)
  • Insure My Trip (for those over 70)
  • Medjet (for additional evacuation coverage)

Looking for the Best Companies to Save Money With? Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel. I list all the ones I use to save money when I’m on the road. They will save you money when you travel too.

Want More Information on the United States? Be sure to visit our robust destination guide on the United States for even more planning tips!

Got a comment on this article? Join the conversation on Facebook , Instagram , or Twitter and share your thoughts!

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Everyone In Michigan Should Check Out These 15 Tourist Attractions, According To Locals

places to visit near detroit mi

Jasmine Vieau

Hello! I was born and raised in Toronto, lived in Miami for a decade, attended the Miami International University of Art & Design, and have resided in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville, North Carolina, for the past 15+ years. I enjoy traveling all over the United States, Canada, and Europe - though I have a great appreciation and love for the southeastern parts of the US in particular. My past expertise lay in hospitality in the restaurant and retail world. Aside from writing, I now run an Airbnb in my home and sling vintage, so I'd like to think this all helps me with what it takes to find the best restaurants, lodging, and fun things to do and see in your state. I am an avid reader, love exploring the arts, and discovering the best hole-in-the-wall restaurants. Nice to meet you!

More by this Author

Hey there, fellow Michiganders and travelers alike! Ready for an epic exploration across the Mitten State? I’ve got the inside scoop on the 15 best tourist attractions in Michigan you can’t miss. From buzzing urban spots to tranquil natural retreats – Michigan offers a little something for everyone. So get ready to discover the gems that make Michigan unforgettable , all according to the folks who know it best!

1. Detroit Institute of Arts

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2. Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

places to visit near detroit mi

3. Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation

places to visit near detroit mi

4. Matthaei Botanical Gardens

places to visit near detroit mi

5. Michigan Stadium

places to visit near detroit mi

6. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

places to visit near detroit mi

7. Gilmore Car Museum

places to visit near detroit mi

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8. kitch-iti-kipi.

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9. Tahquamenon Falls State Park

places to visit near detroit mi

10. Greenfield Village

places to visit near detroit mi

11. Presque Isle Park

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12. Fisher Building

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13. Hiawatha National Forest

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14. Air Zoo Aerospace & Science Museum

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15. Silver Lake State Park

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Have you explored any of these tourist attractions in Michigan? Do you consider them among the best things to do in the state? I’m captivated by the look of the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park—how about you? Share your thoughts!

And if you’re  gearing up for a road trip  to experience these attractions and are thinking of staying overnight, don’t forget to take a peek at these  inviting vacation rentals !

OnlyInYourState may earn compensation through affiliate links in this article. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

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TravelAwaits

Our mission is to serve the 50+ traveler who's ready to cross a few items off their bucket list.

15 Fantastic Things To Do In Downtown Detroit

places to visit near detroit mi

  • Destinations
  • United States

Note: The Travel Awaits team regularly updates content to provide the latest, and most accurate information to our readers. The updated content in this article may not reflect the views or opinions of the original author.

Situated in southeast Michigan, Detroit, nicknamed the Motor City, features activities associated with the automotive industry. Still, art enthusiasts, history buffs, and even nature lovers will find activities to suit their interests.

The easiest way to get to Detroit is to fly into Detroit Metro Airport (DTW) — located in Romulus, Michigan — and rent a car. Detroit is a car city, and while the town offers ride shares and a bus system, a vehicle is the most common mode of transportation.

This article covers activities in Detroit but not the Greater Metro Detroit area, like Dearborn or Bloomfield Hills, or surrounding counties like Wayne, Macomb, Oakland, or Windsor. Check out these 15 fantastic things to do in downtown Detroit .

1. Detroit Institute Of Arts (DIA)

With over 60,000 pieces, the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) , located in midtown, includes works from various cultures, starting in ancient times and incorporating works through the 21 st century. Diego Rivera’s Detroit Industry murals are a must-see at the museum, along with Van Gogh’s 1887 self-portrait, the first Van Gogh painting to become part of a museum in the United States.

You’ll want a strategy before you go to maximize your visit. First, the museum’s map provides a layout for locating the works you want to see most. Second, you can join a free guided tour of various sections of the museum. Finally, the GooseChase app, for IOS and Android, is a self-guided scavenger hunt featuring three theme-based searches. Some themes offered are African American Art, Art of the Suffragettes, and Religious Themes in Art. The scavenger hunt is yet another way to make viewing more manageable.

Pro Tip: Tickets are reserved online in timed slots to allow for social distancing. The Detroit’s museum has a limited number of motorized scooters and wheelchairs available for loan from the lobby attendant.

Belle Isle Conservatory

2. Belle Isle Park

Situated in the international waters of the Detroit River, between the United States and Canada, Belle Isle Park is an island featuring a combination of big-city attractions and back-to-nature activities. Nature lovers will enjoy paddle sports on one of Belle Isle’s three lakes. The Belle Isle Nature Center is another way to connect with nature. In addition to fish, reptiles, and amphibians, they have honey bees that live in an observation hive. The Nature Center’s programs are free.

Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory

The 13-acre Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory showcases five distinct areas — the Palm House, a sunken Fernery, the Tropical, Cactus, and Show Houses — featuring rotating flowering plants. No matter what variety of plants you enjoy, this is a great place to capture some images.

Belle Isle Aquarium

The Belle Isle Aquarium

What’s old is new again at The Belle Isle Aquarium . While it’s the oldest aquarium in the United States, in 2021 it reopened after a $1.2 million renovation, where they have new tank scaping, renovated the lobby to its original glory, and added new species of fish. The green arched ceiling is a remarkable original feature designed to provide an underwater feeling. Plan for about an hour in the aquarium.

Parking is available adjacent to most Belle Isle attractions, so you don’t need to walk far on a typical day. In addition, the park has a complimentary track chair to aid those with mobility challenges.

Pro Tip: If you are driving into the park, you will need a Michigan Recreation Passport. Bus service is available to Belle Isle Park via the #12 Conant Route.

The Detroit Princess riverboat

3. The Detroit Princess Riverboat

I’m not sure what part of the Detroit Princess Riverboat we enjoy the most: the views, the meal, or the entertainment. But it all adds to the riverboat experience. The Detroit Princess features sunshine, fresh air, and panoramic views of greater Detroit and Canada through outdoor viewing promenades and decks on all five levels — four of which are accessible via elevator or stairs.

Depending on the time of day, you’ll have a lunch or dinner buffet featuring various entrees, including sides, salad, dessert, and your choice of coffee or hot tea. So, no matter your dietary preference, you’ll have options. In addition, a full-service bar is available for purchase.

They schedule lunch cruises two to three days a week, where you’ll board the Princess at 11:30 a.m. and enjoy a 2-hour cruise starting at noon. In addition, the Detroit Princess features dinner cruises 3 to 4 days a week, boarding at 6 p.m. for a 2.5-hour cruise beginning at 7:00 p.m.

After dinner, whether you dance in your seat or on the dance floor, the live music by the Prolifics features a Motown Revue, the classic Detroit sound. Their choreographed performance and audience interaction make it an evening to remember.

Pro Tip: You’ll be comfortable in business casual attire or something dressier. Typically, the boat cruises last 2 to 3 hours.

Outdoor Adventure Center, Detroit

4. The Outdoor Adventure Center

If Detroit is the first stop on your Michigan tour, check out the Outdoor Adventure Center . Situated on Detroit’s riverwalk, you can learn about northern Michigan’s great outdoors inside , which has its advantages. For example, it’s temperature-controlled, and you won’t need bug spray. Once you’ve explored the center, you’ll have a sound basis for planning the rest of your trip in Michigan’s great outdoors.

Fishing at the Outdoor Adventure Center

When we visited, our family had a great time with the interactive activities. First, on some of Michigan’s trails , the grandkids had a chance to try out a snowmobiling simulation. Then, they jumped aboard a fishing boat and reeled in some fish. The big one won’t get away here. They also identified fish in the center’s aquarium, boarded a real plane, and delved into the canopy of their massive bur oak tree. It was an adventure.

Exterior View Of Outdoor Adventure Center

Pro Tip: The Outdoor Adventure Center has free parking on the east side of the building. Enter the main parking lot off Atwater Street or a smaller lot off St. Aubin Street.

5. Detroit Historical Museum

Located on the corner of Kirby and Woodward, the Detroit Historical Museum features a group of signature exhibits that tells Detroit’s story. First, what Detroit is famous for are cars. You’ll find a display on how Detroit became the Motor City, the story of how cars contributed to Detroit’s growth, and how Detroit built cars. The museum features classic cars from its collection.

In addition to Detroit’s automotive history, you’ll discover its pivotal role in the underground railroad, how the city stepped up during World War II to provide 30 percent of war material created in the United States, and about Motown, the city’s unique music scene. Finally, at the museum’s Legend Plaza, you’ll learn about the great men and women who have called Detroit home.

On Belle Isle, you can explore another part of the Detroit Historical Museum in the Dossin Great Lakes Museum . The museum explains Detroit’s role in maritime history. One artifact I found interesting was the anchor from the SS Edmund Fitzgerald . They offer a variety of artifacts outdoors in addition to their indoor displays.

Pro Tip: To obtain complete accessibility information, check out their website .

Greektown; Detroit, Michigan

6. Greektown

Greektown is one of Detroit’s entertainment districts. We enjoy spending an evening there, starting with dinner at Pegasus Taverna — a family-owned Greek restaurant frequently described as the best Greek restaurant in Detroit. One of my favorite dishes to order in Greektown restaurants is the saganaki , an appetizer of flaming cheese. It’s always fun to hear the shouts of “Opa” as the cheese ignites.

After dinner, you have your choice of three Las Vegas-style casinos in Greektown, which offer not only gambling, but shows, hotels, spa services, restaurants, and lounges. MotorCity Casino-Hotel is the only locally owned and operated casino in Detroit. In addition to gambling, they offer a variety of events from concerts, comedians, and mediums.

MGM Grand Detroit and Greektown Casino-Hotel also feature various entertainment options, hotels, and restaurants. With three casinos to choose from, you could do a casino crawl and try your luck at all three.

Pro Tip: Greektown offers a complimentary roundtrip shuttle to significant downtown events. The two shuttles are the Ouzo Cruizo and the Opa Bus.

The historic Fox Theater in Detroit

7. Architecture Tour

I once had an office in the Renaissance Center and remember looking out over the city admiring the vast array of architecture. Preservation Detroit offers a variety of guided walking tours and bike tours that showcase Detroit’s architecture.

In addition to their Architecture Tours , they offer annual tours, such as the Annual Theater Tour and Historic Detroit Cemetery Tours. While Detroit’s architecture features many styles, one place I find interesting is The Fox Theater. You’ll find this building on some tours, however, if you want to see it up close, catch a show there.

Pro Tip: Art enthusiasts should know that Preservation Detroit offers in-depth walking tours of the Cultural Center on the fifth Saturday of the summer months. The tours are between two and two and a half hours long and may include walking through areas under construction.

Comerica Park in Detroit

8. Professional Sporting Events

Whether you’re into baseball, football, basketball, or hockey, the city of Detroit offers something for anyone who loves pro sports. Comerica Park on Woodward Avenue is home to Major League Baseball’s Detroit Tigers , while Ford Field, an indoor stadium home to the Detroit Lions, is also found in downtown Detroit. In addition, Little Caesars Arena is home to the Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Pistons.

Pro Tip: I worked in the Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit and loved the convenience of staying at the Detroit Marriott located at the Renaissance Center. The hotel sits on the award-winning International Riverwalk, and the rooms offer floor-to-ceiling windows with beautiful views of Canada. Ask for a higher floor for the best views. Also, the Detroit Mariott is a great place to stay near all the pro-sporting venues.

9. Grand Circus Park

You may find yourself walking through Grand Circus Park to many of downtown Detroit’s attractions. Venues like Comerica Park, Detroit Opera House, Little Caesars Arena, and Ford Field surround the park. If you’ve brought your dog on this trip, you’ll find a dog park perfect for walking Rover.

The park offers two historic fountains. In addition, you’ll find free special events in the park that include literary readings, music, and live theater. As you can see, there are a lot of things to do in eclectic Detroit .

10. Corktown

Named for Irish settlers from County Cork, Corktown is Detroit’s oldest neighborhood. For those who love the history of sports, visit the Corner Ballpark, the site of the Old Tiger Stadium. We had a fun time reminiscing about going to games there as teens.

Corktown is known as a great place to have brunch. First, give Brooklyn Street Local a try, where they source their ingredients locally from urban farms. Then, try the Detroit Institute of Bagels for an even more casual bite and some of the finest bagels outside of New York City.

The Beach at Martius Park, Detroit

11. Campus Martius Park

Campus Martius Park is Detroit’s gathering space. This award-winning destination offers activities year-round. In the winter, you’ll find ice skating and a beautifully decorated Christmas tree at the rink. The Beach at Martius Park, open May through October, is great for finding summer fun in the sand. They bring in over 400,000 pounds of sand and beach chairs so that you and the grandkids can build sandcastles in the city.

If you’re hungry, the local Detroit food scene has several options. Parc Restaurant can fill the void, or if you prefer something more casual, you can grab a bite at one of the more than 70 rotating food trucks.

Pro Tip: In the area, compare the American Coney Island and the Lafayette Coney Island. They are next to each other, and you can settle the question for yourself as to which has the best dog.

12. Hart Plaza

Located immediately south of the intersection of Jefferson and Woodward Ave. on the riverfront, the 14-acre Hart Plaza is the venue for popular concerts and summer festivals. The plaza, named for U.S. Senator Philip Hart, is a pretty place to visit even if they aren’t having an event. Isamu Noguchi designed the famous Horace E. Dodge and Son Memorial Fountain in the plaza’s center.

Pro Tip: Although Detroit is a car town , other easy options to navigate Detroit downtown include the Q-Line and the People Mover. The Shinola Hotel is convenient if you use the People Mover to get around.

The Motown Museum in Detroit

13. Motown Museum

Berry Gordy created Motown Records in 1959. Today Hitsville, USA, is home to the Motown Museum . What’s particularly fun is you’ll find the museum inside the original headquarters of Motown Records, where you’ll find the recording studio. Studio A is where artists recorded many of the Motown favorites. The museum also has the apartment where Berry Gordy’s young family lived during the company’s early days.

14. Detroit Opera House

Located in downtown Detroit’s Entertainment District, Detroit architect C. Howard Crane designed the Detroit Opera House , which initially opened as the Capitol Theater. When it opened, the 4,250-seat theater said it was the fifth largest in the world.

Today, the theater offers more than opera. You’ll find ballet and a variety of other dance performances. Even if you aren’t a performing arts fan, architectural history enthusiasts will want to check out the beauty of this stunning 1922 theater.

The Guardian Building in Detroit

15. Guardian Building

The Guardian Building is a National Historic Landmark. The Art-Deco skyscraper, located at 500 Griswold Street, is in downtown Detroit’s Financial District. You can learn more about this building on the Downtown Detroit Art and Architecture Walking Tour offered by City Institute. Detroit is one of the cities that boasts great street art that you should see.

You can look around the lobby of this stunning building without being on tour. Sit and enjoy a cup of coffee in the lobby café. Beautiful murals in bright gold, blues, and reds adorn the walls. The exterior of the building is a tangerine brick with a granite base.

Image of Amy Piper

Amy Piper is a travel writer and publisher of Follow the Piper , a blog focusing on luxury travel and food experiences. Her passion for travel has taken her to 41 countries. Amy resides in Lansing, Michigan, and as a Michigan expert, she is currently writing the Michigan chapter in four anthologies about the Midwest.

The Crazy Tourist

Home » Travel Guides » United States » Michigan (MI) » 15 Best Things to Do in Downtown Detroit

15 Best Things to Do in Downtown Detroit

Downtown Detroit covers an area of just under one and a half square miles and could be considered petite when compared to downtown areas of other major US cities. But be prepared to find interesting and exciting surprises around every corner, because Downtown Detroit is crammed with things to do.

The skyline of Downtown Detroit is dominated by the seven towers of the Renaissance Center. While they’re an impressive sight, what really draws visitors to Downtown is the district’s International Riverfront. The development sits on the banks of the Detroit River where it winds its way through the city separating the US from Canada by the mere stretch of its waters. The three and a half mile riverfront is full of parks, plazas, and pavilions as well as marinas and walking trails.

Away from the riverfront, the streets of Downtown Detroit are full of historic buildings, live music venues, casinos, and classic eateries. It’s all happening in Detroit, and here are fifteen of the best things to do in Downtown Detroit while you’re there.

1. Detroit Princess Riverboat

Detroit Princess Riverboat

Hop aboard the Detroit Princess Riverboat at its moorings on Civic Center Drive in Downtown Detroit and go for a tranquil sail along the Detroit River. Initially built in Louisiana as a gambling vessel, the ship has now been converted into a luxuriously decorated floating restaurant and showboat.

Climb up to the top deck of the two hundred and twenty foot long, five deck sailing vessel, and you’ll be rewarded with incredible views of the DT skyline.

Take a lunchtime passage and enjoy a first-class buffet accompanied by live Motown music or a sunset dinner cruise with food and professional Soul crooners included. It’s a great way to see Downtown Detroit and hear some magical Motown.

2. Detroit Opera House

Detroit Opera House

While Detroit is well known for its involvement with Motown and the city has produced several iconic stars of the genre, it’s not the only music to be heard in Downtown Detroit. Head to Downtown’s Broadway Street for a touch of the classics at the Detroit Opera House.

The plush venue seats almost three thousand people and hosts extravagant productions of popular operas such as the Barber of Seville as well as Disney-themed specials like Aladdin.

The Detroit Opera House is also the place to go to watch top ballet and contemporary dance companies perform.

3. Detroit Riverwalk

Detroit Riverwalk

The Detroit Riverwalk is a broad asphalt promenade running from the Joe Louis Arena through to the William G Milliken State Park and is part of the Downtown Riverfront development.

The riverwalk is pedestrianized on one side and has a cycle path on the other for those who want to skate or ride a bicycle. When you’re there, it’s easy to forget you’re even in the middle of a city.

Take a rest break in one of the many “garden rooms” which are landscape sections furnished with benches facing the water and contemporary sculptures created by local artists. On a clear day, you’ll be able to wave to the folks over on the Canadian shore.

4. Grand Trunk Pub

Grand Trunk Pub, Detroit

Housed under the arched ceilings of a disused, 1900’s railway station, the Grand Trunk Pub on Downtown Detroit’s Woodward Avenue is full of character inside and out. From the elaborate facade to the serving staff behind the bar, it’s a Downtown pub with real style.

Serving only Michigan brewed draft beer, the pub has great food to accompany it. Check out the Finnigan’s Sandwich, named after the landlord’s dog, a grilled chicken breast in olive bread with a pesto aioli or go all out for a plate of meatloaf smothered in whiskey gravy. Make sure to leave enough room for a slice of Michigan mud pie.

5. Cullen Plaza

Cullen Plaza, Detroit

Cullen Plaza is an ideal spot for outdoor recreation time close to the riverside. Located on Downtown Detroit’s Atwater Street, the plaza is a hubbub of activity during the summer months.

Go back to your childhood days, mount a white swan or seahorse and have a spin on the Cullen Family Carousel before enjoying coffee and ice cream at the RiverWalk Cafe. It’s the perfect way to spend a sunny afternoon in Downtown Detroit.

The Detroit Riverwalk is accessible from Cullen Plaza, and there’s a bicycle rental, The Wheelhouse, in the plaza if walking is not on your agenda.

6. The Belt

The Belt, Detroit

Downtown Detroit may not have an art museum, the Detroit CAM and Institute of Art are in Midtown, but it has The Belt.

The Belt is an alleyway which has been brought to life with large colorful murals and paintings by talented local artists. Tucked away between Downtown’s Broadway and Library Street, the Belt has been transformed from decrepit and dingy to vibrant and visit-worthy.

Arrive there late afternoon and catch happy hour at the equally colorful terrace bar, The Skip. Their frozen cucumber margarita is just what’s needed after a day touring Downtown Detroit.

7. Joe Muer Seafood

Joe Muer Seafood, Detroit

Drop in at the Joe Muer Seafood restaurant under the GM Renaissance Center for a delicious fish-themed lunch or dinner by the water.

The restaurant is decorated in a classic combination of red, black and white and has an outside terrace with stunning views of Downtown Detroit and the riverfront.

Try steamed mussels, calamari or a Detroit Roll made from king crab, cream cheese and a spicy sauce for starters then follow it with a Dover Sole Meuniere or an oven-roasted Barramundi. Your taste buds won’t be disappointed.

8. The Fillmore

The Fillmore, Detroit

The Fillmore is a historic, twelve-story high entertainments venue on Woodward Avenue in Downtown Detroit. Constructed in the mid-1920’s, it originally served as a theater and can hold around three thousand spectators.

Keeping in character with the era of the building, the lobby area is decorated with immense, eighty-year-old chandeliers. There are tiered balconies and mezzanine seating plus private concierge services available.

Many big-name music performers take to the stage at the Fillmore including Elvis Costello, Echo, and the Bunnymen and Tech N9ne to name just a few.

9. Greektown Casino

Greektown Casino, Detroit

Test your luck in the one thousand square feet of gaming space at the Greektown Casino on Downtown’s Lafayette Street.

The casino is located in the thirty-floor Greektown Hotel and offers slot machines, blackjack and poker tables, roulette, craps, and baccarat.

If lady luck isn’t favorable, there are several in-house restaurants and plenty of bars to sooth the pain of losing a dollar or two.

10. Hart Plaza

Hart Plaza, Detroit

Hart Plaza is one of the best places to go to get some unbeatable views of Downtown Detroit and over the river to the Canadian waterfront. The plaza has hosted many historically influential events, including speeches by Martin Luther King which is commemorated on the arch of the west entrance.

The fourteen-acre square is full of memorials and sculptures depicting important moments in Detroit’s history. There are statues of the founder of the city, a sculpture honoring the city’s involvement in the underground movement for freedom from slavery, and a stunning thirty-foot high fountain with over three hundred water jets.

The Hart Plaza, apart from being a fascinating insight into Detroit’s past, has two amphitheaters where concerts and festivals are celebrated throughout the summer months.

11. Hard Rock Cafe

Hard Rock Cafe, Detroit

Spot the iconic neon guitar high up on the wall on Monroe Avenue in Downtown Detroit, and you’ll know you’ve found DT’s Hard Rock Cafe.

Check out all the Motown and rock memorabilia on display then sit down and tuck into the HRC’s legendary food. Work your way through a Jumbo Combo for starters then tackle an Atomic Burger. You’ll be full for a week.

12. Eastern Market

Eastern Market, Detroit

The Eastern Market is a busy market held in Downtown Detroit every Saturday all year round. It’s a popular weekly event which draws crowds of up to fifty thousand people. Get there early, or the bargains will be gone.

The market, which has been operating for more than a century, has over two hundred and twenty different stalls selling everything from fresh fruit and vegetables to clothing and footwear.

During the summer months, there are extra market days on Tuesdays and Sundays plus a night market on Thursdays which are more focused on handicrafts, pop-up eateries, and live music.

13. Exodus Rooftop Lounge

Exodus Rooftop Lounge

The Exodus Rooftop Bar is the in place to go out in Downtown Detroit. Located on Monroe Street, the bar has an amazing rooftop terrace where you can start the night with happy hour as the lights of DT Detroit flicker on.

Settle back on the cushioned sofas to enjoy a drink before the DJ’s start spinning, and you hit the dance floor to jive the night away.

It’s busy, crowded and loud and has occasional live music too. Be prepared to party.

14. Joe Louis Monument

Joe Louis Monument, Detroit

If there’s one Instagram worthy photo to be taken in Downtown Detroit, it has to be the Joe Louis Monument in Hart Plaza.

Dedicated to the legendary boxer who was born in the city, the enormous, twenty-four-foot-long arm and clenched fist hangs suspended on chains in a metal tripod.

Representing not just Joe Louis’s involvement and success in the boxing world, it stands as a reminder of his crusade for reform during the years of segregation.

15. Niki’s Pizza

Niki's Pizza, Detroit

When it comes to food, Downtown Detroit has one traditional dish you just can’t miss out on trying. On Beaubien Street is a Greek-themed restaurant, Niki’s Pizza, which serves Detroit-style square deep-dish pizza and who’s succulent slices have been voted one of the top twenty-five pizzas in the US.

Slide into one of the booths or sit at the tables on the terrace, choose your toppings then wait for the square pizza to arrive oozing cheese. If you’re a certified cheese fanatic, don’t miss the Saganaki. Battered and fried Greek cheese served at the table smothered in flames. Just like visiting Downtown Detroit, it’s an experience you’ll always remember.

15 Best Things to Do in Downtown Detroit:

  • Detroit Princess Riverboat
  • Detroit Opera House
  • Detroit Riverwalk
  • Grand Trunk Pub
  • Cullen Plaza
  • Joe Muer Seafood
  • The Fillmore
  • Greektown Casino
  • Hard Rock Cafe
  • Eastern Market
  • Exodus Rooftop Lounge
  • Joe Louis Monument
  • Niki's Pizza
  • Live In The D
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10 things to do this weekend in Metro Detroit

Events for weekend of february 2-4.

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DETROIT – Supercross revs into Ford Field and winter festivals are turning blocks of ice into amazing art.

Winter Blast Royal Oak (Downtown Royal Oak), Friday to Sunday: Winter Blast is on this weekend for three full days of family fun. Thousands of visitors will flock to Downtown Royal Oak for live music, food trucks, ice sculptures, rides, axe throwing and marshmallow roasting. Head to the Medieval Village and try archery, get entranced by the fire dancers, meet Vikings and even a knighting ceremony. Rock out with Billy Gunther & Midwest Riders, Larry Lee & Back in the Day and so much more. Winter Blast is free to attend and is open 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday. More info and schedule here.

Plymouth Ice Festival (Downtown Plymouth), Friday to Sunday: The sidewalks of Downtown Plymouth will be lined with dazzling displays of ice with professional carvings perched in front of stores and restaurants. Each one starts as a 350 lb. block of ice and is sculpted by some of the world’s best carvers. Don’t miss the throne made completely out of ice to be dubbed ice royalty. Warm up at several heating stations while enjoying a beverage from the Ice Bar. Open 5 to 10 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. Join us Friday at 5:30 p.m. when Local 4 goes In Your Neighborhood live from the Plymouth Ice Festival. More info here.

Romeo WinterFest & 5K (Downtown Romeo), Friday to Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.: Head up the Van Dyke Freeway for the annual WinterFest filled with fun activities throughout the day for the whole family. Walk around and find freshly made ice sculptures or get cozy at several warming stations around Downtown. Take a ride on a horse-drawn carriage or take a bite out of the “Chilly” cook-off. Warm up for the WinterFest 5K and Snowman Dash on Saturday starting at 9:45 a.m.. More info and race registration here.

Harry Potter & The Sorcerer’s Stone In Concert (Detroit Symphony Orchestra), Friday 7:30 p.m.: Calling all muggles: hop on board the Hogwarts Express and get immersed in John William’s iconic score performed live by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Join Harry, Ron and Hermione as they visit the Wizarding World for the first time in the movie that began the international phenomenon. Conducted by Justin Freer. Tickets start at $69. Get tickets here.

Annual Ice Carving Show (Downtown Mount Clemens), Saturday & Sunday: Returning for its 18th year, watch as professional artists saw, chip and carve beautiful designs from giant blocks of ice. Head to the Fountain Stage to find a map of where you can find each sculpture or head to the Cherry St. Mall for some cornhole. Open Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 3 p.m. Admission is free. More info here.

Shiver on the River (Dossin Great Lakes Museum), Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Head to Belle Isle for a free family eco-fair. Here you can learn all about natural resources through fun and interactive activities like caricature drawings, crafts, a magic show and live ice carvings. Admission is free. More info here.

Downtown Trenton Winterfest, Saturday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.: Head Downriver for some family fun at Winterfest. Find over 20 ice sculptures freshly carved throughout Downtown Trenton, as well as deals and discounts at participating restaurants and businesses. Warm up at the heated tent for beer, food and live music. There will be free train rides, a cornhole tournament, games for kids, crafts and more. More info here.

Supercross (Ford Field), Saturday 2:30 p.m.: Ford Field is getting down and dirty, filled with 26 million pounds of dirt. Supercross and the racers are revving up with some of the world’s most challenging tracks that will test the athletes both physically and mentally. Don’t miss Supercross champion Eli Tomac competing for another title. Get tickets here.

Regeneration: Black Cinema (Detroit Institute of Arts), opening Sunday: Deeply influential, yet often overlooked: the impact of Black filmmakers and actors in cinema is explored through costumes, props, photographs and posters. The interactive exhibit includes a selection of full restored, rarely seen films, newsreels and home movies, documentaries and more. The exhibit is included with DIA admission. More info here.

WICKED (Detroit Opera House), ongoing: Broadway’s blockbuster musical is back for its highly anticipated return to Detroit. Fly to the Opera House and discover what happened in Oz before Dorothy dropped in. It’s the untold story

Find more events with our Live Guide calendar here.

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Carmichael Cruz is a digital producer at WDIV and curates the Go Guide, our weekly weekend events newsletter.

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Travel + Leisure

16 Best Places to Visit in Michigan, According to Locals

From blissful natural sights to inspiring culture gems, Michigan is packed with reasons to visit.

The state of Michigan is home to more than 10,000 lakes and millions of acres of forest, making it a fantastic destination for hiking, fishing, boating, and more. Exploring the state's natural gems and small towns is a must, yes, but talk to locals and they're bound to suggest historical and cultural sights to add to your itinerary, too. Art is plentiful in Michigan as well — in Detroit, old buildings have even been turned into public art .

Candice Smith, of Tours Around Michigan , often points visitors to sand dunes along the Lake Michigan coastline in Saugatuck or Silver Lake, as well as the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Meyer May House in Grand Rapids. “With more than 300,000 acres of sand dunes, you’ll enjoy breathtaking views & stunning sunsets along Lake Michigan,” she says. “(Meyer May House’s) located in Heritage Hill, one of the largest historic home districts in the nation, with unique mansions built by lumber barons, furniture company owners and Grand Rapids’ early business leaders.”

“ The Historic Avenue of Fashion is one of the largest Black-business districts in the country,” says City Institute president Jeanette Pierce, about this Detroit neighborhood. “From specialty shops and galleries to one of the oldest jazz clubs in the world, there’s so much great Detroit culture and community in this one neighborhood.”

When guests at Daxton Hotel in the Detroit suburb of Birmingham inquire about what to do during their stay, director of sales and marketing Sherrilyn Cavanaugh suggests Cranbrook Art Museum , especially its artist-designed miniature golf course . “Cranbrook on the Green is back for its second season, and just opened to the public on May 24,” she said. “Visitors can enjoy two new holes created by members of the Cranbrook community.”

The Mitten State, as it’s fondly called, also hosts two wine regions near Traverse City. “Surrounded by the crystal-clear waters of Lake Michigan with spectacular views accompanying every sip, it truly is one of the most scenic wine regions in the country,” says Patrick Brys, an appointed member of the Michigan Travel Commission and president of Brys Estate Vineyard & Winery in Traverse City, which is also home to Sleeping Bear Dunes. “To stand on top of a 450-foot mountain of sand rolling down to the turquoise waters of Lake Michigan is a jaw-dropping moment,” he said.

Including some of the above recommendations from notable locals, here are 16 places to visit in Michigan.

Related: 12 Romantic Getaways in Michigan — From Small Towns to Car-free Islands

Isle Royale National Park, Upper Peninsula

One of America’s least-visited national parks (because it’s so remote, only reachable via ferry or seaplane, and open seasonally) Isle Royale National Park attracts nature enthusiasts to its 571,790 acres of splendor between Memorial Day for backpacking, camping, kayaking , and hiking. There are also two lodging options in the park: Rock Harbor Lodge and Windigo Camper Cabins.

Arab American National Museum, Dearborn

More than 40,000 Arab Americans live in Dearborn, and this 35,000-square-foot museum , which debuted in 2005, celebrates them. It’s the world’s first and largest museum of its kind, paying homage to Arab American history and culture, as well as the Arab American experience.

Graffiti Alley, Ann Arbor

For a vibrant, colorful collection of graffiti and street art in one small space, Graffiti Alley is just that. Find it off East Liberty Street, a block northwest of the University of Michigan campus, in downtown Ann Arbor.

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, Grand Rapids

Considered one of the world’s most significant botanical and sculptural experiences, this 158-acre park — founded by the founder of Meijer grocery stores, a company with Michigan headquarters — features a 30-acre sculpture park with 300 pieces of art (including “Iron Tree” by Ai Weiwei), the five-story Lena Meijer Conservatory, a Japanese Garden, and a children’s garden.

Mackinac Island

This island is a classic Americana resort town, with horse-drawn carriages, no vehicles, and stately hotels, including the 95-room Grand Hotel , which boasts the world’s longest porch and has been open in 1887 . Guests arrive by ferry. In recent years, more hotels on the island are open year-round, adding cross-country skiing in nearby parks and hot chocolate by the fire to their entertainment mix.

Meyer May House, Grand Rapids

Owned by Steelcase since 1985, Frank Lloyd Wright designed this Prairie School-style house for a local clothier. Built in 1909, the home is accessible via free guided tours. The house is on the National Register of Historic Places and features a mural designed by George Mann Niedecken and 100 art-glass windows.

Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation, Dearborn

With must-see relics like Thomas Edison’s last breath (captured in a sealed tube); the Montgomery, Alabama, bus that Rosa Parks was riding when she refused to give up her seat; and the car JFK was riding when he was assassinated in Dallas, this 12-acre campus is the country’s largest indoor-outdoor museum complex.

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Marked by 450-foot bluffs, this 35-mile-long lakeshore — plus two islands, North and South Manitou Islands — is a beautiful preserved space and a must-visit if near Traverse City. Visitors can hike, camp (including on the two islands), bicycle, climb the dunes, and kayak or canoe.

Windmill Island Gardens, Holland

Strolling through this 36-acre garden in spring, when it's bursting with tulips, is a joy. The site is home to an authentic working windmill that's now around 250 years old, as well as guides in Dutch costume. While you're here, walk through the quaint downtown area of the city of Holland, where 100 or so locally owned boutiques and restaurants, including Nelis’ Dutch Village , where you'll find wooden shoes and Delft plates, among other items.

Waterfalls in Marquette County

There’s no better place in Michigan to experience the awe of waterfalls . Pick a hike that brings you close to a favorite falls. There are dozens in this Upper Peninsula community, including Warner Creek Falls, Morgan Creek Falls, Cataract Dam Falls, Carp River Falls and Yellow Dog Falls.

Whiting Forest of Dow Gardens, Midland

Visitors can walk 40 feet above ground in this woodsy paradise . The canopy walk here measures 1,400 feet long, and after you've crossed it, there's a playground and apple orchard also onsite for you to explore. When the leaves are popping in September (usually), lots of people make time to visit this destination.

SkyBridge, Boyne Falls

This attraction debuted at Boyne Mountain Resort in late 2022, offering three-hour, ticketed visits that begin with a scenic chairlift ride. At 118 feet tall and spanning 1,200 feet, this is the world’s largest timber-towered suspension bridge .

Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit

This 658,000-square-foot cultural institution is a fantastic art museum, with a 65,000-piece collection and a wide variety of works, including Diego Rivera’s “Detroit Industry” frescos and paintings by French Impressionists Claude Monet and Mary Cassatt. There's a Vincent van Gogh self-portrait, too, and Jan van Eyck's “Saint Jerome in His Study."

Motown Historical Museum, Detroit

Motown music was born in Detroit, thanks to artists like Diana Ross and Marvin Gaye. In 1959, Berry Gordy bought a house on West Grand Boulevard and turned it into a recording studio, record label and administration building dubbed “Hitsville U.S.A.” After relocating the label to L.A. in 1972, the house became a museum , 13 years later. Guided tours are available throughout the week.

University of Michigan LSA Museum of Natural History, Ann Arbor

Tucked into the Biological Sciences Building of the University of Michigan , this museum is highly interactive and does not charge admission. Guests have the opportunity to watch researchers at work, and in the Planetarium & Dome Theater, you can view constellations and the Northern Lights as if they’re directly overhead. One of the featured exhibits is the only place in the world where you can see a male and female mastodon skeleton side by side.

Kitch-iti-Kipi, Manistique

When translated from the Ojibwe language, Kitch-iti-Kipi means “the big spring.” This is the largest freshwater spring in in the state, and you'll find it in the 388-acre Palms Book State Park. The crystal-clear lake is 40 feet deep, and though swimming is prohibited, you can experience it via an observation raft.

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10 Things To Do in Detroit This Weekend

Story by amelia ritter.

Love is in the air in Detroit and February is here! Check out these 10 can’t-miss events and things to do happening in the city and the metro area this weekend!

Celebrate Black History Month

From being a stop on the Underground Railroad, guiding many slaves to freedom, to hosting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s debut delivery of the "I Have A Dream" speech at what is now Huntington Place, to the countless icons that have shaped the music, culinary, fashion, medical, and educational industries. Detroit is still proudly embracing its roots every day, but especially during Black History Month . With an extensive collection of art, historical monuments, and inclusive businesses, there are tons of opportunities for both locals and visitors to not only commemorate Black History Month but also indulge in some unforgettable experiences along the way.

On The Clock Tour

The On The Clock Tour is a neighborhood event program that will bring the fun and excitement of football to residents across the seven districts of the City of Detroit ahead of the 2024 NFL Draft presented by Bud Light. All "On The Clock Tour" events are free and open to the public. Check out this weekend’s event here .

Mardi Gras at Valade Park

Mardi Gras comes to the Detroit Riverfront! Enjoy the best of Caribbean Carnival and a New Orleans-style Mardi Gras with Carnival outfits, big heads, steel pan drums and second line parades and more, all weekend long!

Winter at Valade

Head to Valade Park at the Detroit Riverfront to check out oversized fires, sleds, s'mores, games, drinks, food, and more. In addition to their special programming throughout January and February, you can also enjoy Fireside Fridays and Self-Care Sundays . Don’t let the winter blues get you down! Make the most of it by enjoying the crisp air and breathtaking views along the Detroit River!

Hang out in Hockeytown

Hockey fan? You’re in luck! This weekend offers tons of ways to celly after your favorite team’s win. Check out the Motor City Rockers vs. the Birmingham Black Bears in Utica, Detroit Red Wings vs. Vancouver Canucks, and the Michigan vs. Michigan State Duel in the D!

Visit the Michigan Science Center

The Michigan Science Center is proud to present its newest exhibit, featuring an out-of-this-world adventure sure to exceed your expectations! Above and Beyond offers a thrilling opportunity to race your friends at the speed of sound, take a breathtaking 360-degree view of Earth from orbit, and embark on a fascinating journey to Mars. From flying cars and supersonic planes to space elevators and mega-rockets, this exhibit takes you faster, farther, and higher for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Winter LoveFest

Celebrating love and Black history, this pre-Valentine’s Day community event will be held in and around the historic Palmer Log Cabin, decorated in hearts and proudly displaying beautiful new chandeliers, restored woodwork, and Victorian pocket doors, and fresh paint. Inside the adjacent heated tent will be live music, African dancing and drumming, art-making, hot cocoa and treats, games and prizes, and much more! Outside, enjoy horse and carriage rides and winter sports.

Union Free Admission Day at Cranbrook Art Museum

In celebration of the hardworking members of the community, Cranbrook Art Museum will offer free admission to all union members on Saturday, February 10, from 11am – 5pm. This includes admission to the performance and conversation between Huey Mnemonic and Ash Arder, two artists who consider the labor movement and its history to be an important force in their practice. Both union members of the United Auto Workers, Arder’s late parents met and fell in love at the Fisher Body Flint Plant No.1, famously the location of the Fisher Sit-Down Strikes that resulted in General Motors recognition of the UAW in 1937. Arder focuses on the assembly line not only as a site of industrial production but also one of community-building and human connection.

Soulful Stitches

In recognition of Black History Month, the Pontiac Creative Arts Center and Cre8tive Circles are thrilled to feature over 20 artisans showcasing historical and culturally relevant quilts and handmade dolls unique to the Black Experience in Soulful Stitches: An African American Quilting and Doll Exhibit .

Check-In and Save with Visit Detroit Digital Passes

You can save on your next trip to Detroit when you sign up for our digital passes ! The Detroit Brew Trail the perfect opportunity for visitors, locals, and beer savants alike, to explore the whole region, support local businesses, and immerse themselves into all things Detroit-centric. Enjoy pizza, beer, and the best of Detroit’s attractions on your next visit with a digital pass from Visit Detroit.

Things to do in Detroit in January

Taste of Detroit: Navigating the City’s Cuisine from A to Z

8 Free & Fun Things to Do in Detroit Michigan (with or without the Kids)

Things To Do in Detroit in January

A Game Day Guide to Hockeytown

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COMMENTS

  1. THE 15 BEST Things to Do in Detroit

    Things to Do in Detroit, MI - Detroit Attractions Things to Do in Detroit Explore popular experiences See what other travelers like to do, based on ratings and number of bookings. Top Picks Private Drivers (12) Theaters (16) Tours & Sightseeing (11) Cultural & Theme Tours (4) Parks (55) Sporting Events (3) Sporting Event Tickets & Passes (3)

  2. 10 Must-Visit Places Near Detroit, Michigan: A Local's Guide [2021]

    1. Detroit Riverfront One of the best ways to experience Downtown Detroit is by taking a stroll along the riverfront path. You'll get stunning views of Windsor, Canada across the water, plus access to parks like Milliken State Park with fishing piers and more. Grab some food at one of many waterfront restaurants nearby before sunset viewings. 2.

  3. 15 Best Day Trips from Detroit

    1. Corktown Source: Sam Beebe / Flickr Corktown, Detroit Spend a day discovering Corktown's Irish heritage and exploring Detroit's oldest neighborhood. The close-knit residents live in elegant Victorian-style homes, many of which have been painted in bold colors that really catch the eye.

  4. 19 Top-Rated Attractions & Places to Visit in Detroit

    1. Visit the Detroit Institute of Arts The Detroit Institute of Arts The Detroit Institute of Arts displays a representative cross-section of man's artistic creation from the earliest cultures to the present day. Its permanent collection includes more than 65,000 works of art within more than 100 galleries.

  5. 32 Best & Fun Things To Do In Detroit (Michigan)

    Any list of Detroit tourist attractions needs to include the Motown Museum. Quintessential American artists like The Temptations can trace their origins to Detroit. At the Motown Museum, you can really appreciate how pivotal Detroit, Michigan is to the greater story of popular music.

  6. 25 Best Things to Do in Detroit (Michigan)

    1. Visit the Belle Isle Island Source: Nicholas Worden / shutterstock Belle Isle Island Situated in the Detroit River, Belle Isle is a relatively small island measuring about 3 miles in length and only a mile wide, there is however plenty to keep visitors to the island entertained.

  7. 10 Truly Beautiful Places In Or Near Detroit

    Here are 10 gorgeous places in or near Detroit that are worth checking out on your next visit to the Motor City. Kemboslice / Shutterstock. 1. Belle Isle Park. Belle Isle Park — also known as Belle Isle — is located on the Detroit River between the city and Ontario, Canada. The 982-acre park opened in 1880, and it features historic ...

  8. Must-Visit Attractions In Detroit Michigan

    From world-class art museums and architecture to historical sites and beautiful public spaces, these are the spots you must visit during a trip to the Motor City. Did you know - Culture Trip now does bookable, small-group trips? Pick from authentic, immersive Epic Trips, compact and action-packed Mini Trips and sparkling, expansive Sailing Trips.

  9. Places to Visit in Detroit

    Rich with history and natural beauty, Belle Isle Park is a Detroit gem and a Michigan state park. The 987-acre island park features the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory, the Belle Isle Aquarium, Dossin Great Lakes Museum, giant slide, athletic fields, picnic areas, Belle Isle Nature Zoo, the James Scott Memorial Fountain and more attractions popular with all ages and interests.

  10. 18 best things to do in Detroit

    Karla Zimmerman Jan 31, 2022 • 7 min read Spot the dots in the Heidelberg Project in Detroit © dannyjameslane / 500px It's the mega Institute of Arts and the Henry Ford Museum, where the car magnate stockpiled his amazing cultural relics, that usually grab the headlines for Detroit visitors.

  11. 8 Best Things to Do in Detroit

    #1 in Detroit 1.9 miles to city center [SEE MAP] Address: 5200 Woodward Avenue Museums TYPE 2 hours to Half Day TIME TO SPEND Arguably one of the city's foremost cultural destinations, t he...

  12. Visit Detroit Things To Do in Detroit

    Pick from classic Detroit attractions, historical wonders & family destinations. Visit Detroit inspires year-round with an array of sights and places.

  13. THE 15 BEST Things to Do in Detroit

    Our visit to the Detroit Institute, Sunday, October 1, 2023, was most rewarding and fascinating. GREAT MURALS BY DIEGO RIVERA. One of the most recognized Mexican Muralists, Diego Rivera, fills the four large walls with his paintings and perspectives of industrial Detroit during the 1930s. ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL.

  14. 69 Fun Things to Do in Detroit, Michigan

    13 - Play ball at Comerica Park. Another biggie on the Detroit attractions list is Downtown's Comerica Park, home to Major League Baseball's very own Detroit Tigers. This retro-themed stadium (think lots of steel and brick) has a capacity of 41,000 and is one of the most popular places to catch a game.

  15. Best Things to Do in Detroit, Michigan

    And Astoria Pastry Shop is the place for cannoli's, baklava, and pastries. Frida. Frida Kahlo fans may want to visit the shop Frida. This small shop, located near the DIA and Detroit Historical Museum, is where Frida lived and worked in Detroit. Now, this boutique shop sells clothing and accessories. Watch a Tigers Game at Comerica Park

  16. 9 Fun Things to Do Near Detroit, MI (2024): Best Places to Visit!

    1. Detroit Zoo 8450 W 10 Mile Rd Royal Oak, MI 48067-3001 (248) 541-5717 One of the attractions near Detroit, Michigan is this place special as it has a variety of intriguing exhibits that are set up around naturalistic habitats that seek to teach about the man up of our planet. Why We Recommend Going Here

  17. 14 Things to See and Do in Detroit

    2934 Russell St, +1 313-833-9300, easternmarket.org. Check the website for market days and times. Admission is free. 3. Visit the Detroit Institute of Arts. The Detroit Institute of Arts is a 130-year-old museum located in the heart of Midtown and has something to offer every visitor.

  18. What to Do in Detroit

    There are tons of things to do in Detroit today, which is a destination for everyone. We have sports, music, food, and things to do in Michigan.

  19. Tourist Attractions In Michigan: 15 Must-Visit Local Favorites

    The Detroit Historical Museum is also worth a visit, as it provides an in-depth look at the city's history and culture. 2. Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, 1000 E Beltline Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525, USA. Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park/Google Maps.

  20. 15 Best Things To Do In Downtown Detroit

    15 Fantastic Things To Do In Downtown Detroit 1. Detroit Institute Of Arts (DIA) With over 60,000 pieces, the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA), located in midtown, includes works from various cultures, starting in ancient times and incorporating works through the 21 st century. Diego Rivera's Detroit Industry murals are a must-see at the museum, along with Van Gogh's 1887 self-portrait, the ...

  21. 21 Best Things To Do in Detroit in 2023

    4. Hang Out in Campus Martius. One of the best places to visit in Detroit is Campus Martius. For those who aren't Latin scholars, the name of this downtown Detroit park means "Field of Mars.". The original was the most populous area in Rome, and this one is a great place to kick it in Motown.

  22. 48 Cool and Unusual Things to Do in Detroit

    Discover 48 hidden attractions, cool sights, and unusual things to do in Detroit from John K. King Used & Rare Books to Guardian Building Art Deco Lobby.

  23. Places to Visit in Detroit

    A must on the list of places to see in Detroit. Places to Visit in Midtown Detroit. Midtown is definitely the place to be. Aside from being the home of Wayne State University and most of Detroit's hospitals, here you can find a ton of theaters, boutiques, and restaurants serving craft beer and unique eats here. Places to Visit in Greektown ...

  24. 15 Best Things to Do in Downtown Detroit

    The Detroit Riverwalk is accessible from Cullen Plaza, and there's a bicycle rental, The Wheelhouse, in the plaza if walking is not on your agenda. 6. The Belt. Source: Design Feast / Flickr. The Belt. Downtown Detroit may not have an art museum, the Detroit CAM and Institute of Art are in Midtown, but it has The Belt.

  25. 10 things to do this weekend in Metro Detroit

    Open 5 to 10 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. Join us Friday at 5:30 p.m. when Local 4 goes In Your Neighborhood live from the Plymouth Ice Festival. More ...

  26. 16 Best Places to Visit in Michigan, According to Locals

    Marked by 450-foot bluffs, this 35-mile-long lakeshore — plus two islands, North and South Manitou Islands — is a beautiful preserved space and a must-visit if near Traverse City. Visitors can ...

  27. 10 Things To Do in Detroit This Weekend

    Check out these 10 can't-miss events and things to do happening in Detroit and the metro area this weekend. ... beer, and the best of Detroit's attractions on your next visit with a digital pass from Visit Detroit. Things to do in Detroit in January. Taste of Detroit: Navigating the City's Cuisine from A to Z ... Detroit, MI 48226. 800 ...