It may be better known for cars and Motown than for being a popular tourist destination, but there are plenty of things to do in Detroit, and for that alone it should be on your radar. Once you know all the cool things to do in Detroit, the city will end up on your list of best places to visit next summer, guaranteed.
Michigan is located in the Great Lakes region, between Lake Huron and Lake Michigan. (It’s less than three hours from where we live in Canada and has often been a destination for us.) Detroit is the largest city in Michigan although it is not the capital of Michigan. Detroit My is known as the motor city, and rightly so, as it is considered the automobile capital of the world. This is because the four major automobile founders decided to use Detroit as the center of their operations in the early part of the 20th century.
Coolest things to do in Detroit Michigan.
While the city’s automotive roots are still strong, today it is known for many other things. Everyone can enjoy food, art, museums and much more when visiting the city of Detroit. Below we’re going to tell you 15 things to do in Detroit that are going to make you want to pack your bags right now.
Hop on the People Mover
Where to stay in Detroit
The Marriott at the Renaissance Centre is located directly on the People Mover, making it a good central location. Situated in one of the 7 towers of the Renaissance Centre, it’s a great location in Detroit. Doubletree Suites by Hilton – We enjoyed our stay here in Fort Shelby, a historic train station district. The Fox Theatre and the Detroit Opera House are nearby, and some of the notable landmarks in the area include the Masonic Temple and the Ambassador Bridge.
Detroit Institute of Arts Museum
It may come as a surprise to learn that a city known more for its assembly lines and automobile production is also one of those destinations to visit for art and culture. Detroit is home to numerous museums, including the Detroit Institute of Arts Museum.
The center has a huge collection of pieces from all over the world. The Detroit Institute of Arts is made up of 100 galleries that house important American works, as well as works from Europe and Asia. This is not the only art museum, there are others you can visit such as the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit.
Detroit is the birthplace of Motown and if you want to visit the best piece of Motown history, you have to visit the Motown Museum. It is one of the best things to do in Detroit, Michigan. The museum is housed in two houses, one of which belonged to a former resident who opened the first Motown recording studio in the house.
Located in the original recording studio and headquarters, the two small houses that house the Motown legacy may look ordinary from the outside. However, when you enter them you can feel the excitement of seeing where legendary Motown artists like Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5 got their first break.
The Henry Ford Museum
You can’t go to Detroit Michigan and not visit the Henry Ford Museum. This is where Detroit resident Henry Ford got into some activities that would make him rich. It is the place where he started the legendary Ford Motor Company and when you visit you will get to see how Ford made it happen. You will also get to see the best artifacts that represent Henry Ford’s vision and life.
If you’ve never seen the Ford class Model T, this is the place where you’ll get your first glimpse. The Ford Model T is the car that made the whole world use automobiles. Outside the Henry Ford Museum is Greenfield Village and it’s one of the things to do in Detroit that you can’t miss.
Greenfield Village is an outdoor museum that is designed to resemble a village from when America was first settled. Over 100 historic buildings were brought from Detroit Mi and all over the United States to make up Greenfield. This is one of those attractions that should not be missed.
African American History Museum
Located in the Detroit Cultural Center, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History holds a special place for many Detroit residents. In fact, the museum is very special because it is the largest permanent African American exhibit in the world.
A visit to the institution is a journey through African American history with exhibits dedicated to inventors, artists, and other African Americans. The original museum was established in the 1960s in a house owned by Charles H. Wright and moved to its current 120,000-square-foot location in the 1990s.
Detroit Historical Museum
If you want to know things to do in Detroit Mi that will take you back in time, then visit the Detroit Historical Museum. The museum will answer all your questions, from what the city was like back then to what everyone was like back then. You can even check out an old map or two to see how the city has changed over the centuries.
There are many things to do in Detroit in downtown Detroit. The best way to get to know Detroit is with a walking tour. You will have the opportunity to stroll among the locals and get to know the heart of the city. There are a variety of operators that offer walking tours. Regardless of which one it is, you should allow about two hours to get the full experience.
During the walk you’ll come across places like the Detroit Opera House, Comerica Park, The Fillmore and the Fox Theater, as well as restaurants, pubs and museums. Make a note of what you like and come back later to check it out. Detroit is well known for its live jazz scene, so it may be worth treating yourself to a night on the town to experience it. Spend about two hours on the walk to get the most out of the experience.
This highly-rated tour takes you around Detroit’s major sites to see Belle Isle, the Fisher Building, the historic Fox Theater and more.
Belle Isle Park
This picturesque island is also the largest city-owned park in the entire United States. The park is beautiful year-round, but it is especially nice to visit in the spring and summer when the weather is warm. You can walk the entire island and enjoy a picnic on one of the many green spaces. It is one of the most popular attractions in the city.
On the other hand, if you’re up for a bit of adventure, this is the place to be. You can visit the Belle Isle Conservatory, as well as the island’s aquarium, fountain, museum, and nature center. You can also play golf on the island, as well as tan on the beach in the summer. Essentially, Belle Isle is your one-stop shop for all kinds of experiences and attractions on the map. If you’re looking for things to do in Detroit, you can come to Belle Isle Park and do them all in one place.
Campus Martius Park
This park is a green oasis in the middle of busy downtown Detroit. Among the trees, shrubs, and flowers are stages for performances and public art. If you’re lucky enough to be in Detroit in the winter, you’ll definitely want to visit the ice skating rink at this Detroit Mi.
Detroit food and entertainment.
Detroit has all kinds of options when it comes to your tastes and entertainment. You can use local websites to find out where Detroiters eat and play, but for a beginner’s guide check out our suggestions.
One of the super fun options for dining in Detroit are their food trucks near Eastern Market. You can find falafels and hummus, smoked barbecue, shrimp tacos as well as classic burgers. One of the things that people who go to Eastern Market really like is their mac and cheese truck. Regardless of what you choose, the flavors are amazing since the food is made in small batches and served hot.
Our favorite neighborhood to explore in Detroit is Corktown. This historic district is home to the historic Detroit Central Depot. It was lost in 1988 and was in danger of being torn down, but now this 18-story relic is getting a facelift thanks to Ford rebuilding the iconic central train station. It’s a beautiful piece of architecture that deserves to remain intact.
When it comes to libation-related activities, Detroit can certainly pique your interest. Detroit is also known for its dive bars where you can go for a pint and talk to the locals. Some of the bars play live music and also serve classic bar food. The Slows Bar BQ is an award-winning barbecue joint that serves slow-cooked meats that melt in your mouth as you dip each bite into your choice of five special sauces.
If gastropubs and microbreweries are your thing, you can check out places like Motor City Brewing Works. Gastro pubs and microbreweries like this one are popping up more and more downtown as the local scene attracts more young artists and professionals.
Once you’re done brewing and eating, you might want to catch some live music at one of these classic Detroit attractions. The city is the birthplace of Motown, so live music is in its spotlight. It’s home to the Movement Electronic Music Festival and the Detroit Jazz Festival. Listening to the best live music in the jazz bars is one of those activities you’ll find locals and travelers enjoying together. The Aretha Franklin Amphitheater in Chene Park is a hot spot for live music in the summer, and The Fillmore is a legendary Detroit music venue popular for live bands.
But music is everywhere, and when you walk into a classic venue, it’s like stepping back in time. You don’t know if the songs are from the Detroit of today or the Detroit of yesteryear, all you know is that you’re relaxed and loving it. You can check out the City of Detroit’s website to learn more about the entertainment attractions in the city.
Ford River Rouge Complex
Touring a factory doesn’t usually top the list of things to do on vacation, but you might want to make an exception. The Ford River Rouge Complex is home to attractions courtesy of the Ford Motor Company. It houses the factory and machinery that has kept the automotive giant running for decades. As a visitor, you’ll be interested in visiting the Ford Rouge Factory Center, home to six Ford factories.
You’ll be able to tour the assembly line facilities and get an idea of what it takes to build a Ford. It’s something to see at least once in your life before the factories are taken over by robots and there’s nothing to see. It’s also one of those children’s attractions that kids remember for a lifetime, so travelers with kids should put the Ford Rouge Factory as one of the attractions on their list.
Once you’ve had your fill of touring the city’s factories, museums, and other attractions, you may feel like some seated entertainment. If so, the Fox Teatre may be one of the things you’re interested in. It is the perfect place to go to see a movie or a show. The Fox Theatre is considered a national historic landmark, having been in use since the 1920s.
I actually got a little giddy the first time I saw the Fox Theatre, as it’s one of five historic theaters built by film producer William Fox (the other four are in Brooklyn, Atlanta, St. Louis, and San Francisco).
The theater’s attractions included superstars such as Shirley Temple and Elvis Presley, to name just a few. It has also hosted everything from Sesame Street to Riverdance. The theater’s entertainment value is one thing, but it’s also worth a visit for its architecture and spectacular interior alone. You’ll find Persian, Italian and Arabic inspiration everywhere, making it a spectacular place to visit and soak up decades of culture.
Munroe Drive at
When Detroit opened its drive-in movie theater last January, there was a celebration, and rightfully so. Drive-ins seem to have been relegated to the 1960s in most states, but not in Detroit, where you’ll find them still in use. If you want to get an idea of what it was like to sit back and relax in your own car and take in a show, this is one of those great experiences. This drive-in theater is located in the Monroe district (Detroit’s first theater district) and you can catch a movie most nights of the week, weather permitting. This movie setup is especially useful these days, as social distancing is in effect everywhere.
Dequindre Cut is something between a public art space and a public green space. It was part of a CN rail line before becoming a greenway near Eastern Market. Today you see couples, families and young people walking, running and cycling along Dequindre Cut. What is wonderfully unique about this 2-mile long space is that the work of local graffiti artists is allowed to shine. The street art brings a rugged human aspect to the natural green space that stretches from the Detroit River to .
A local art scene can really bring a city together and that’s what the Heidelberg Project has done for Detroit. The project was created by local artist Tyree Guyton in the 1980s and is still alive today. What was once a small art project has grown into a movement aimed at revitalizing communities affected by political and racial strife.
The project includes old houses and other things that have found new life thanks to artists in the community. The artists have turned what were once blights on the community into street art with inspiring installations that are recognized around the world.
It’s been named the best riverfront walk of any city in America, and for good reason. In addition to its spectacular views, there are plenty of activities to take part in. Needless to say, you can stroll, but you can also take a boat ride along the riverfront.
You can also rent bikes and go for a whimsical bike ride. There are also many attractions for children, such as a splash park, a carousel and several fountains for them to play in. You’ll also find beautiful pieces of street art to take Instagram photos for your travel map.
Attend a Detroit Tigers game – Comerica Park.
When I was growing up, the Toronto Blue Jays had a real rivalry with the Detroit Tigers. So when we visited Detroit, it was exciting to see the home of the baseball team, even though the park I grew up with was Tiger Stadium. Comerica Park opened in 2000, and when you’re in Detroit in the summer, you should check out America’s favorite pastime.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are tons of things to do in Detroit, just consult a local tourist map. You’ll find that downtown is packed with things to do all year round. You can take in a show, skate on an ice rink, visit historic attractions and find all kinds of places to dine and have a drink at the end of the night.
If you check any website that offers information about tourism in the USA, you’ll see that Detroit is one of those destinations that gets rave reviews. A lot of people say that it’s one of the best trips on the map of the United States. If you look at a map of Detroit, you’ll see that much of the area is designed for both travelers and families. Just use common sense and you’re sure to have one of your best trips ever.
Visiting Detroit (Michigan) is one of the best ways to understand the history of the United States. The city has numerous institutions dedicated to bringing the history of America’s past to travelers. From indoor and outdoor museums to historic sites, Detroit is almost like walking into a library for those with an interest in America’s past. There are many other things to do in Detroit that are also modern. You’ll find attractions for adults and children in parks and modern art museums, as well as public art spaces.
Yes, it’s safe and, as in any big city, it’s always a good idea to be aware of your surroundings. During the day you’ll find that all sorts of attractions and experiences draw travelers to downtown, so you’ll feel quite comfortable. However, as all good travel books say, it’s a good idea to stay in well-lit and frequented areas if you’re going out at night.
And these are the best things to do in Detroit Michigan Have you been to Detroit?
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