Detroit is the largest city in Michigan, and it is considered to be one of the most popular cities in the American Midwest. There is a lot that you can find there, including a thriving music scene, exciting cars, and wonderful people.
Celebrate Motown, enjoy delicious food, visit art galleries and museums, experience outdoor adventures, and so much more when you visit The Motor City.
Here are 26 things to do in Detroit that you can’t miss.
CAMPUS MARTIUS PARK
Campus Martius Park is an urban park right in the middle of the city! It’s a great place to have fun, especially if you like spending time in nature.
This amazing park has it all, and is a major Detroit highlight. In fact, it was named “Top Public Square” by USA Today in 2021.
Although Detroit is miles away from the ocean, a major portion of Campus Martius Park has sand — and people love to sunbathe at the “urban beach” in the summer months. There’s also an expansive lawn, where you’ll find fitness classes, food and wine festivals, movie nights, and live music throughout the year.
Enjoy the beautiful gardens, water features, food trucks, and benches with the Detroit skyline as a backdrop. If you’re visiting during the holidays, you have to visit the holiday lights, Christmas tree, and ice skating rink featured here.
Details: 800 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48226 | Website
Our first pick for any person who is visiting Detroit is the Motown Museum, which tells the story of popular music and the city’s role in it. The museum provides you with a rich and enthralling experience that spans nearly an hour, and culminates with the Motown Recording Studio, where several notable artists recorded some of the best soul songs in history.
Make sure to check up on the opening days and hours, as they change based on the season.
Details: 2648 W Grand Blvd, Detroit, MI 48208 | Website
If you’re a beer aficionado, then HopCat should be on your shortlist when you are visiting Detroit. HopCat has the largest draft beer selection in Detroit, which is completed with a full menu of entrees, appetizers, sandwiches, soups, salads, and much more. They also have several options for vegans and vegetarians.
Some of their popular beers include the Wolverine Premium, Fritts Lager, Campin’ Beer, and Grand Rabbits.
Details: 4265 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48201 | Website
CHARLES H WRIGHT MUSEUM OF AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY
If you’re looking to learn more about African American history, as well as the community’s contribution to the history and culture of the United States, then a visit to the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History should be on your to-do list.
Founded in 1966, the museum features several exhibitions that reflect on how African American people are a cornerstone of Detroit’s community. Make sure to see as much as you can, especially the “And Still We Rise” and “Detroit Performs!” exhibitions.
Details: 315 E Warren Ave, Detroit, MI 48201 | Website
GO BEHIND THE SCENES AT FORD FIELD
Ford Field in downtown Detroit is home to the NFL team, the Detroit Lions. (Right across the street, you’ll find Comerica Park, home to MLB’s Detroit Tigers.) While, of course, there’s a lot of action happening on the field, what you may not know is that a lot of exciting things are happening behind the scenes too. That’s where the Ford Field Behind the Scenes Tour comes in.
During the Behind the Scenes tour, you’ll be able to see the Hall of Heroes, which is full of historical football photos from years past. Explore the entire stadium, take pictures, and make memories to last a lifetime.
Details: 2000 Brush St, Detroit, MI 48226 | Website
MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART DETROIT
If you’re interested in new age and mainstream artwork, check out the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, which is much different from a traditional museum or art gallery. This museum offers you insight into the art scene of the city.
Built inside a former car lot, the MOCAD features some fascinating exhibitions, like “Robolights Detroit” and “Crossing Night.” This museum helps you stay connected with the ever evolving art world.
Details: 4454 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48201 | Website
The Dequindre Cut is a paved pathway that is built on a former Grand Trunk Western Railroad line, and it is located in eastern Detroit.
Most of The Cut has been converted into a greenway, but the vibrant and attractive graffiti is still in place. The greenway features a paved path with two lanes for pedestrians and cyclists. If you are up for it, you can either take a walk along the trail or rent a bicycle and ride it, taking in the sights as you do so.
Details: Dequindre Cut Greenway, Detroit, MI 48207 | Website
DETROIT INTERNATIONAL RIVERWALK
The Detroit International Riverwalk is a 3-mile strip on the Detroit Riverfront, stretching from Rosa Parks Boulevard to the Belle Isle Bridge. You can enjoy the wonderful landscape of the city and the calming waterfront while walking or biking along the trail. There are also splash parks for the kids.
Make sure you take a spin on the carousel, or enjoy a delicious snack at the Riverwalk Café.
GM RENAISSANCE CENTER AND MORE
The GM Renaissance Center, nicknamed the “GM RenCen,” is a group of seven modern and exquisite skyscrapers in Downtown Detroit, close to the Detroit International Riverfront. The GM in its name comes from General Motors, which has developed the buildings as its world headquarters. It has been the tallest building in Michigan since it was erected in 1977.
You can take the free one-hour tour that takes you through the center and tells you about the history of the company. You can simply visit the Jefferson Avenue Lobby at 12 p.m. or 2 p.m. for the tour.
Details: Detroit, MI 48243 | Website
MORE SENSATIONAL SKYSCRAPERS
Ready to learn more about Detroit’s skyscrapers? You can explore two of the tallest: Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center and the Ally Detroit Center.
The Detroit Marriot is located at RenCen, and the Ally Detroit Center is located just a few blocks away, and at 43 stories, is the tallest office building in Michigan. These buildings are architectural marvels, and you are going to have a wonderful and memorable experience when you visit them.
The Fisher Building is one of the tallest skyscrapers in Detroit, and it has fantastic architecture. Located at 3011 West Grand Boulevard, it serves as a landmark building, and you can easily use it to locate nearby amenities and attractions.
The Fisher Building has an Art Deco style and includes marble, granite, and limestone on the front. Plus, the building also features the 2,089-seat Fisher Theater, which is a National Historic Landmark as well.
The Guardian Building is another historic landmark skyscraper in Detroit, and it is located at 500 Griswold Street in the Financial District. Built in 1928, the building was earlier known as the Union Trust Building, and it also has an Art Deco style like the Fisher Building.
You can experience the building tour, which would familiarize you with the entire history and architecture of the skyscraper.
Details: 500 Griswold St STE 1600, Detroit, MI 48226 | Website
DETROIT HISTORICAL MUSEUM
Another interesting museum that’s worth a visit is the Detroit Historical Museum, which is next door to the Detroit Institute of Arts. It gives the people visiting Detroit an insight into how the city became an industrial powerhouse, and some of the notable exhibitions include “Frontiers to Factories: Detroiters at Work” and “The Gallery of Innovation.”
A visit here gives guests a whole new appreciation for the city and its history.
Details: 5401 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48202 | Website
DETROIT INSTITUTE OF ARTS
The Detroit Institute of Arts is one of the best art museums in the U.S., and it is a huge repository of culture and creative experiences.
The museum features several collections with pieces of art from all over the world, including North and South America, Africa, Asia, and Europe. There are also temporary exhibitions from time to time, including Jeff Gaydash’s “Michigan’s Great Lakes: Photographs.”
Details: 5200 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48202 | Website
If you’re a fan of traditional and outdoorsy markets, do check out the Eastern Market close to Dequindre Cut. It is named after a 19th-century market that used to operate in the same location, and you will see more than 200 vendors selling their products here.
Whether you are looking for groceries, fine meats, beverages, or anything else, you will have a great time at the Eastern Market.
If you’re out and about in Detroit, you can’t miss Woodward Avenue, because it’s where a lot of amazing sights and attractions are located.
This awesome area offers you a rich and riveting experience in the city of Motown. Some of these attractions include the Institute of Arts, Historical Museum, Detroit Public Library, Comerica Park, Cornhole, Fox Theatre, and several others.
HENRY FORD’S MUSEUM OF AMERICAN INNOVATION
The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation is a history museum complex in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn. It has several exciting things to see, like JFK’s presidential limo, Abraham Lincoln’s chair from the Ford Theatre, the Rosa Parks bus, and much more.
It is also a National Historic Landmark with the name “Edison Institute.”
Greenfield Village is a part of Henry Ford’s must-see attractions, and it features a huge outdoor living history museum with six historic districts. The village allows you to walk through different key historical moments, and it recreates them to accuracy.
For instance, you can visit the lab where Thomas Edison invented the light bulb or the workshop where the Wright brothers made their breakthrough. Plus, you can also enjoy the car, and wagon rides, as well as the food and drink stands.
Details: 20900 Oakwood Blvd, Dearborn, MI 48124 | Website
DIAMOND JACK’S RIVER TOURS
Diamond Jack’s River Tours is a family-owned and managed riverboat tour business that offers the most memorable and entertaining cruises. The company is founded and based in Detroit, and the family also contributes to the community as much as possible.
The tour will take you along the Detroit River and let you take in the sights, and you can also book it for private events.
Details: 1340 Atwater St, Detroit, MI 48207 | Website
DETROIT PEOPLE MOVER
The Detroit People Mover is a fully automated light rail system that runs on a single track in the central business district.
Launched in 1987, the mover has 13 stations and allows you to explore the city — connecting you to all the attractions, landmarks, and amenities that it has to offer. You can go from end to end in less than an hour, making it a great way to travel and explore Detroit.
BELLE ISLE PARK
The Belle Isle Park is a Michigan state park that is full of historical and natural beauty. The park has everything you would love to see, including the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory, Belle Isle Aquarium, Dossin Great Lakes Museum, Giant Slide, Belle Isle Nature Zoo, and so much more.
There are three lakes in the 987-acre island park, and you can also enjoy several activities, including water sports, biking, snowboarding, and much more.
The Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory is located inside Belle Isle Park, and it features a wide range of beautiful exotic plants. Built in 1904, it was designed by the renowned Albert Kahn. In 1955, it was dedicated to Anna Scripps Whitcomb, after she donated her large orchid collection of 600 plants to the city of Detroit.
The conservatory also features a perennial garden, floral beds, lily pond gardens, and various flora sections.
MICHIGAN SCIENCE CENTER
Lovers of science and those with curious minds will absolutely love a visit to the Michigan Science Center. Here, you’ll find exciting exhibitions and activities for people of all ages.
With 220+ interactive exhibits, a Planetarium, a 4D theater, live stage shows, and an IMAX Dome — there is plenty to see, do, and explore at MiSci.
Kids will love the STEM Playground, become an engineer as you walk on their Mini Mac Bridge, learn about the weather, discover the importance of good nutrition in the Health Gallery, or learn about space travel in the Space Gallery. Those are just a few of the exhibits found at the Michigan Science Center. It’s a great place to learn through hands-on experiences and play.
Details: 5020 John R St, Detroit, MI 48202 | Website
If you love animals, then the Detroit Zoo is a place that you need to visit.
This zoo was integral to the development of zoos in the United States, since it was one of the very first zoos that stopped using bars for their animal habitats. There are several fascinating animals that you can see in the zoo, such as bison, lions, gorillas, giraffes, rhinos, and penguins. You’ll also find amphibians, birds, invertebrates, and more.
Make sure to visit the Arctic Ring of Life’s 70-foot-long Frederick and Barbara Erb Polar Passage. It’s one of North America’s largest polar bear habitats, and it encompasses 4 acres of indoor and outdoor space.
Details: 8450 W 10 Mile Rd, Royal Oak, MI 48067 | Website
SHOW ME DETROIT TOURS
The Show Me Detroit Tours are perfect for people who are visiting Detroit, as well as those who have just moved to the city. These tours are suitable for a small party of up to six people, and they take you to explore the entire city for two hours. Travel in a luxury van, and ask about everything you want to know about the city.
Some of the key attractions include downtown Detroit, Campus Martius Park, Stadium & Entertainment District, Greektown, and several others.
Details: 8200 E Jefferson, Detroit, MI 48214 | Website
DETROIT PUBLIC LIBRARY
Even if you aren’t an avid reader, you should still visit the Detroit Public Library. The Detroit Public Library is a beautiful building, and is worth a visit — even if you don’t want to check out a book.
Opened in 1921, the structure took over three years to build, and opened with 500,000 books. The majestic white marble building was designed by architect, Cass Gilbert, and is surrounded on three sides by terraces. An addition was added to the original structure in 1963. The addition architects? Francis J. Keally, and…Cass Gilbert, Jr.
Filled with murals, artwork, and of course, books — this is a beautiful and fun place to visit in Detroit.
Details: 5201 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48202 | Website
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WHERE TO STAY IN DETROIT
Best Luxury Option. The Inn at 97 Winder is a Second Empire mansion that features 10 one-of-a-kind guest rooms. A hidden gem in the heart of Detroit, the inn’s hand-picked staff is dedicated to a four-star level of service. This is not only the best luxury option, but the coolest as well!
Best Apartment Option. Detroit Skyline Luxe Loft is a super cool 2-bedroom apartment 1 mile from downtown. Take a look at the photo’s of this one with skyline views. And did we mention 2 fireplaces?
Best Budget Option. Hotel Indigo Detroit Downtown is a good choice when on a budget (and when you don’t want to push the budget too hard in downtown Detroit) It’s 1.2 miles from city-center, and not too far from the MGM Grand Casino as well.
Best Casino Option. The MGM Grand is about as close as you can get to the slots! 😉 And it’s still in the heart of Detroit. And did we mention TopGolf?
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