15+ Best Things To Do in Detroit, Michigan

Best Things To Do in Detroit, Michigan
Best Things To Do in Detroit, Michigan

Detroit, Michigan is a city that has undergone a remarkable transformation in recent years. Once known as the Motor City, it has reinvented itself as a cultural and culinary destination. With its rich history, vibrant art and music scene, and delicious cuisine, there’s something for everyone in Detroit. In this article, Let’s Save Michigan will explore 15 of the best things to do in Detroit, Michigan.

Things To Do in Downtown Detroit

Take a Walking Tour in Detroit

Detroit Walking Tour
Detroit Walking Tour

Detroit is a great city to explore on foot. There are several walking tours available that will take you through different neighborhoods and give you a glimpse into the city’s history and culture. Some popular options include the Downtown Detroit Walking Tour and the Detroit Riverfront Walking Tour. You might also consider the Midtown Detroit Walking Tour, which takes you through a mixed-use area consisting of a business district, cultural center, a major research university, and several residential neighborhoods.

This area is a cultural epicenter with numerous activities huddled in one. If you’re interested in exploring the city at your own pace, you can download the “GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities” app, which provides self-guided walking tours complete with a detailed tour map, photos, and background information for the featured attractions. Finally, consider taking a tour with Show Me Detroit Tours.

They offer a balanced tour that includes current economic development, history, art, architecture, as well as the challenged areas of Detroit. A private tour offers even more time to visit places like the old Packard plant ruins and the Michigan Central Train Station.

Explore popular food in Detroit

Food Tour in Detroit
Food Tour in Detroit

As mentioned earlier, Detroit is a foodie’s paradise. Make sure to try some of the city’s iconic dishes, such as the Coney Island hot dog and Detroit-style pizza. For a unique dining experience, check out the Detroit Shipping Company, a food hall featuring a variety of local restaurants and bars.

Additionally, Detroit’s Eastern Market is a must-visit for food lovers. This open-air market offers an array of fresh produce, meat, spices, and more. Don’t forget to sample some local craft beers; Detroit has a burgeoning craft beer scene with breweries like Atwater Brewery and Motor City Brewing Works.

Check Out the Heidelberg Project

The Heidelberg Project
The Heidelberg Project

The Heidelberg Project is an outdoor art installation that has become a symbol of Detroit’s resilience and creativity. Created by artist Tyree Guyton, the project features colorful and thought-provoking installations made from found objects. It’s a must-visit for anyone interested in art and social commentary.

While visiting the Heidelberg Project, you might also come across the artwork of Tim Burke, a local artist who has been on Heidelberg Street for 17 years. His artwork and studio gallery are separate from the Heidelberg Project, but they add to the rich tapestry of creativity that characterizes this unique Detroit neighborhood.

Remember, the Heidelberg Project is more than just an art installation – it’s a testament to the power of creativity and the resilience of the Detroit community. It’s a place where art, social commentary, and community development intersect, offering visitors a unique and thought-provoking experience.

Visit and shop at Eastern Market, Detroit

Detroit Eastern Market
Detroit Eastern Market

Eastern Market is one of the oldest and largest public markets in the United States. It’s a great place to sample fresh produce, meats, and other local products. On Saturdays, the market also hosts a popular farmers’ market with over 250 vendors. The market covers 43 acres and is the largest historic public market district in the United States. It is particularly busy on Saturdays when farmers bring in their poultry, livestock, and fresh produce for sale.

In addition to the farmers’ market, Eastern Market is home to over 500 small businesses, making it a vibrant hub for local entrepreneurship. The market offers a variety of food options, from fresh seafood to baked goods, and is a great place to explore and support local artisans and craftsmen. The market also hosts special events throughout the year, including cooking demonstrations, live music performances, and art exhibitions.

Eastern Market is not only a place to shop for fresh food and unique products but also a cultural and community gathering spot. It has a rich history of over 150 years and has played a significant role in the economic and social fabric of Detroit. The market continues to be a beloved destination for locals and visitors alike, offering a vibrant and diverse experience.

So, if you’re looking to immerse yourself in the local food scene, support local businesses, and experience the lively atmosphere of Detroit, a visit to Eastern Market is a must.

Cruise on river with the Detroit Princess

Detroit Princess Riverboat
Detroit Princess Riverboat

Take a break from exploring the city and hop aboard the Detroit Princess, a riverboat that offers lunch, dinner, and sightseeing cruises. Enjoy stunning views of the Detroit skyline while indulging in a delicious meal and live entertainment. The Detroit Princess has been cruising the Detroit River since 2005, providing guests with a unique experience on the water.

Whether you’re looking for a romantic dinner cruise, a fun outing with friends, or a family-friendly sightseeing adventure, the Detroit Princess has options for everyone. The boat offers a variety of cruises throughout the year, including themed cruises, live music cruises, and special event cruises . You can enjoy a buffet dinner while listening to live Motown music, or simply relax on the deck and take in the beautiful views.

To book a cruise on the Detroit Princess, you can visit their website or call their reservation line. Private events can also be scheduled, making it a great option for corporate outings, weddings, family reunions, and more. The boat itself was built in 1993 at the Leevac Shipyard in Louisiana and has been serving guests from all over the world for many years.

Cruising on the Detroit Princess is not only a delightful way to experience the city from a different perspective but also an opportunity to enjoy a memorable dining and entertainment experience on the water. So, sit back, relax, and enjoy the sights and sounds of Detroit aboard the Detroit Princess riverboat.

Take a walk on the Detroit RiverWalk

RiverWalk in detroit
RiverWalk in detroit

The Detroit RiverWalk is a scenic pathway along the Detroit River that offers beautiful views of the city. It’s a great place to go for a walk, bike ride, or jog. Along the way, you’ll also find parks, restaurants, and public art installations.

As you stroll along the RiverWalk, take the time to explore the various parks and green spaces that are interspersed along the path. For example, William G. Milliken State Park and Harbor is Michigan’s first urban state park and offers a peaceful oasis with walking trails, a lighthouse, and a marina. The park is also home to the Outdoor Adventure Center, where you can learn about Michigan’s natural resources and participate in hands-on activities.

Along the RiverWalk, you’ll also come across a variety of restaurants, cafes, and food trucks where you can grab a bite to eat or enjoy a refreshing drink. From casual waterfront dining to upscale eateries, there are options to suit every taste.

The RiverWalk is not just a recreational pathway, but also a hub for public art and cultural installations. Keep an eye out for sculptures, murals, and other artistic displays that add vibrancy and creativity to the area.

Whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll, an invigorating bike ride, or a jog with a view, the Detroit RiverWalk offers a scenic and enjoyable experience. So, put on your walking shoes, grab your bike, or lace up your running shoes, and embark on a journey along this picturesque pathway.

Take the Coney Island Hot Dog Challenge

Take the Coney Island Hot Dog Challenge
Take the Coney Island Hot Dog Challenge

If you’re up for a tasty challenge, you should definitely try the Coney Island hot dogs in Detroit. Two neighboring restaurants, Lafayette Coney Island and American Coney Island, have been in a friendly rivalry for decades, each claiming to have the best hot dog in town.

Lafayette Coney Island has gained recognition for its delicious hot dogs. In fact, it was ranked #10 on a list of the 50 best hot dogs in America 1. The restaurant offers natural casing sausages smothered in their famous Greek coney sauce 2. Many locals and visitors alike enjoy the unique flavors and atmosphere at Lafayette Coney Island.

On the other hand, American Coney Island is also highly regarded and has its own loyal following. It has been a part of the Detroit food scene for over 100 years, competing with Lafayette Coney Island for the title of the best hot dog in town Some people prefer the hot dogs at American Coney Island, praising their taste and loose burger options.

Ultimately, the decision of which restaurant has the best hot dog comes down to personal preference. It’s a fun and delicious challenge to try both and decide for yourself which one you prefer. So, grab a friend or two, visit Lafayette Coney Island and American Coney Island, and embark on a Coney Island hot dog adventure in Detroit.

Visit Greektown and Mexicantown

Visit Greektown and Mexicantown
Visit Greektown and Mexicantown

If you’re looking to explore the diverse culinary and cultural offerings of Detroit, a visit to Greektown and Mexicantown is a must.

Greektown, located in downtown Detroit, is known for its vibrant atmosphere and delicious Greek cuisine. The neighborhood is home to several Greek restaurants that serve authentic dishes, such as gyros, souvlaki, moussaka, and spanakopita. Some well-known restaurants in Greektown include The New Parthenon, The Golden Fleece, Bakaliko Cafe, Cyprus Taverna, Pegasus Taverna, Pizza Papalis, and Fishbone’s Rhythm Kitchen Cafe.

In addition to the mouthwatering food, Greektown also offers a lively entertainment district with one of the city’s three casinos, the Hollywood Casino at Greektown. The area features buildings with themes related to Greek mythology, such as the mythical Pegasus, as well as other ancient architectural elements. Greek music can often be heard playing on Monroe Street, adding to the festive atmosphere.

On the other hand, Mexicantown, located in southwest Detroit, is a vibrant neighborhood that celebrates Mexican culture and cuisine. The area is home to numerous authentic Mexican restaurants, where you can indulge in dishes like tacos, enchiladas, tamales, and delicious salsas. Some popular spots in Mexicantown include the Mexicantown Restaurant and Loco’s Tex-Mex Grille.

Mexicantown is also known for its colorful street art and festive atmosphere. You can explore the neighborhood and admire the vibrant murals that showcase Mexican culture and heritage. The area has a rich history, with many Mexican immigrants making Mexicantown their home and contributing to the cultural fabric of the community.

Both Greektown and Mexicantown offer unique dining experiences and a chance to immerse yourself in the rich cultures they represent. Whether you’re craving Greek delicacies or authentic Mexican flavors, these neighborhoods have something to satisfy every palate. So, plan a visit to Greektown and Mexicantown to indulge in delicious food, experience vibrant cultures, and explore the diverse offerings of Detroit.

Visit the Motown Museum

Motown Museum (Hitsville U.S.A.)
Motown Museum (Hitsville U.S.A.)

Music lovers won’t want to miss a visit to the Motown Museum, also known as Hitsville U.S.A. This small house on West Grand Boulevard was once the recording studio and home of Motown Records, where legendary artists like Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, and Marvin Gaye recorded their hits.

At the Motown Museum, you can take an interactive VIP tour led by knowledgeable guides who will share fascinating stories and anecdotes about Motown’s history and the artists who made it famous. The tour includes a 15-minute video and approximately 45 minutes of a guided tour, where you’ll have the opportunity to visit the original reception and recording studio. You can even stand in Studio A, where many iconic Motown songs were recorded.

The museum showcases the legacy of Motown Records and its impact on the music industry. You’ll see photographs, memorabilia, and exhibits that highlight the achievements of Motown artists and the cultural significance of the Motown sound. The Motown Museum offers a unique opportunity to step into the world of Motown and learn about the artists who shaped popular music.

To visit the Motown Museum, you can purchase tour tickets for a specific day and time. It is recommended to book in advance, as tickets can sell out quickly, especially on weekends. The museum is located at Hitsville U.S.A., the original home of Motown Records from 1959-1972.

So, if you’re a fan of Motown music or simply interested in the history of popular music, a visit to the Motown Museum is a must. Immerse yourself in the sounds and stories of Motown and experience the place where some of the greatest hits of all time were created.

See a Great Lake

A Great Lake in Detroit
A Great Lake in Detroit

Detroit is situated on the shores of Lake Erie, providing easy access to the beauty of one of the Great Lakes. Belle Isle Park, a picturesque island park located in the Detroit River, offers stunning views of Lake Erie. Spanning over 982 acres, the park boasts a sandy beach, waterfront walking paths, and various attractions. One such attraction is the Belle Isle Aquarium, the oldest aquarium in the United States. Visitors can explore a diverse range of aquatic life from around the world through its captivating exhibits.

Additionally, Belle Isle Park is home to other notable attractions like the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory, the Belle Isle Nature Center, the James Scott Memorial Fountain, and the Dossin Great Lakes Museum. These attractions provide unique experiences and contribute to the park’s charm. Whether you’re looking to soak in the scenic beauty of Lake Erie or engage with marine life at the aquarium, a visit to Belle Isle Park offers a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the natural splendor and recreational offerings of the Great Lakes region.

Attend festivals in Detroit

Detroit is known for its vibrant festival scene, offering a variety of events throughout the year that celebrate music, art, food, and culture. Here are a few popular festivals that you can catch in the city:

  • Movement Electronic Music Festival: Held annually on Memorial Day weekend, Movement is an electronic dance music event that takes place at Hart Plaza in downtown Detroit. It showcases a lineup of renowned DJs and musicians, emphasizing the progressive qualities of electronic music. The festival has been a staple in Detroit since 2000, originally known as the Detroit Electronic Music Festival.

  • Detroit Jazz Festival: Celebrating the rich history of jazz music, the Detroit Jazz Festival is one of the world’s largest free jazz festivals. It features world-class talent and takes place over Labor Day weekend. The festival offers a diverse range of jazz performances, attracting jazz enthusiasts from around the globe.

These are just a couple of examples of the many festivals that Detroit has to offer. The city’s festival calendar is filled with a wide range of events, including the Detroit International Jazz Festival, the North American International Auto Show, and smaller community events that showcase the city’s diverse culture and local creators.

Hang Out in Campus Martius

Hang Out in Campus Martius
Hang Out in Campus Martius

Campus Martius is an awesome public square right in the heart of downtown Detroit. It’s the perfect spot to hang out, relax, and soak up the vibrant atmosphere. One of my favorite things about Campus Martius is the ice skating rink during the winter months. It’s like stepping into a winter wonderland with twinkling lights and holiday decorations. Skating there is so much fun and really gets you into the festive spirit!

Even when it’s not winter, Campus Martius is still a happening place. You can find live music performances happening often, creating a lively and energetic vibe. It’s a great spot to chill, people-watch, and enjoy some great tunes. Plus, there are plenty of seats and green spaces to kick back and take it all in.

What’s really cool about Campus Martius is that it’s surrounded by awesome shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues. There’s always something to do or explore nearby. It’s such a convenient and vibrant hub in the heart of downtown Detroit.

So, whether you’re looking for a fun winter activity or a lively hangout spot, Campus Martius is the place to be. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed!

Visit the Detroit Institute of Arts

Detroit Institute of Arts
Detroit Institute of Arts

If you’re a fan of art and culture, you absolutely have to visit the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA). Trust me, it’s a must-see! The DIA is not only one of the largest art museums in the United States, but it’s also home to an incredible collection of over 65,000 works of art from all corners of the globe.

Imagine walking through the museum’s halls and being surrounded by masterpieces by legendary artists like Van Gogh, Picasso, and Matisse. It’s truly a feast for the eyes. The DIA showcases a diverse range of art, from ancient Egyptian artifacts to contemporary pieces, ensuring that there’s something to captivate every art lover.

Now, here’s the best part: admission to the DIA is absolutely free for residents of Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties. Isn’t that amazing? It’s a fantastic opportunity to immerse yourself in the world of art without worrying about the cost. So, if you’re lucky enough to be a resident of one of these counties, make sure to take advantage of this incredible benefit.

Even if you’re not a resident of these counties, the admission fee is well worth the experience you’ll have at the DIA. So, whether you’re a local or just visiting the area, make it a priority to visit the Detroit Institute of Arts. It’s a treasure trove of artistic brilliance that will leave you inspired and in awe of the incredible talent that exists in the world.

Listen to Live Music in Detroit

Live Music
Live Music

Detroit’s music scene is alive and thriving, with plenty of local artists and bands performing at various venues throughout the city. If you’re looking to catch some live music, you’re in luck! Here are a few popular spots to check out:

  • The Majestic Theatre: This venue is a favorite among music lovers in Detroit. It hosts a diverse range of artists and genres, from indie bands to electronic acts. The Majestic Theatre offers a unique and intimate setting for live performances.

  • Saint Andrew’s Hall: Known for its historic charm, Saint Andrew’s Hall is a legendary venue that has hosted countless iconic acts over the years. From rock and punk to hip-hop and electronic music, you can expect a dynamic lineup of artists at this venue.

  • The Magic Stick: Located within the Majestic Theatre Center, The Magic Stick is a popular spot for indie and punk-leaning bands. It has a dive bar vibe that adds to its charm, making it a favorite among music enthusiasts.

These are just a few examples of the many live music venues in Detroit. To stay updated on upcoming shows and events, be sure to check out the event calendars or websites of these venues. You never know who you might discover or what incredible performances await you!

So, get ready to immerse yourself in the vibrant music scene of Detroit and enjoy some unforgettable live performances.

Go watch a professional sports game in Detroit

A Professional Sports Game
A Professional Sports Game

If you’re a sports fan, you’re in for a treat in Detroit! The city is home to several professional sports teams, offering you the opportunity to catch an exciting game and experience the passionate sports culture of Detroit.

Here are some of the major sports teams in Detroit:

  • Detroit Tigers (baseball): The Tigers play their home games at Comerica Park, a fantastic stadium with a seating capacity of 41,782. Watching a Tigers game is a great way to enjoy America’s favorite pastime.

  • Detroit Lions (football): The Lions play their home games at Ford Field, a state-of-the-art stadium with a seating capacity of 65,000. Join the roaring crowd and cheer on the Lions during the football season.

  • Detroit Red Wings (hockey): The Red Wings, a legendary hockey team, play their home games at Little Caesars Arena. This modern arena is also shared with the Detroit Pistons (basketball). Watching a Red Wings game is an exhilarating experience for any hockey enthusiast.

Attending a professional sports game in Detroit is not only about the action on the field or ice but also about the electric atmosphere and camaraderie among fans. The city’s sports venues are known for their passionate supporters who create an unforgettable game-day experience.

Visit the Henry Ford Museum

Henry Ford Museum
Henry Ford Museum

If you’re a history buff, a visit to the Henry Ford Museum is an absolute must when you’re in the Detroit area. Located in Dearborn, just outside of Detroit, the Henry Ford Museum is a renowned cultural destination that showcases American innovation and ingenuity.

Inside the museum, you’ll find an impressive collection of artifacts and exhibits that bring American history to life. From the famous Rosa Parks bus to the Wright Brothers’ plane, the museum houses a treasure trove of significant pieces that have shaped our nation’s history.

The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation offers a unique and immersive experience, allowing visitors to explore the inventions, people, and culture that have defined America. With over 65,000 square feet of exhibition space, there’s plenty to discover and learn from.

To make the most of your visit, I recommend checking the museum’s website or event calendars for any special exhibitions or events that may be happening during your visit. This will ensure that you don’t miss out on any unique experiences or temporary exhibits.

So, if you’re ready to delve into American history and witness the incredible innovations that have shaped our nation, make sure to include a visit to the Henry Ford Museum in your itinerary. It’s an enriching and inspiring experience that you won’t soon forget.

Sample Michigan Beers

Sample-Michigan-Beers
Sample-Michigan-Beers

When it comes to craft beer, Michigan has a thriving scene, and Detroit is no exception. There are several local breweries in and around the city that offer a wide variety of delicious brews. Here are a few notable ones to check out:

  • Atwater Brewery: Atwater Brewery is a well-known brewery with a rich history in Detroit. They offer a range of traditional and innovative beers, including their popular Dirty Blonde and Vanilla Java Porter.

  • Motor City Brewing Works: Located in the heart of Midtown Detroit, Motor City Brewing Works has been crafting beer since 1994. They have a diverse selection of handcrafted beers on tap, and their rooftop patio is a great spot to enjoy a pint.

  • Batch Brewing Company: Batch Brewing Company is a community-focused brewery that prides itself on using locally sourced ingredients. They offer a rotating selection of beers, including unique and experimental brews that are sure to pique your interest.

To explore more options, you can refer to online resources like Yelp or brewery guides that provide comprehensive lists of breweries in the area. Whether you’re a beer enthusiast or simply looking to try something new, visiting a local brewery is a fantastic way to experience the flavors and creativity of Michigan’s craft beer scene. Many breweries also offer tours, allowing you to learn about the brewing process and gain insights into the local beer culture.

Explore Belle Isle

Belle-Isle
Belle-Isle

Belle Isle is a stunning island park located on the Detroit River, offering a serene escape from the city’s hustle and bustle. With its rich history, cultural significance, and abundant wildlife, it’s a must-visit destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.

Here are some highlights of what you can explore on Belle Isle:

  • Scenic Views: Belle Isle provides breathtaking views of the Detroit skyline and the surrounding river. Take a leisurely stroll along the waterfront and soak in the beauty of the cityscape.

  • Beach: The island features a beach area where you can relax, swim, or have a picnic. It’s a great spot to enjoy some sun and sand during the warmer months.

  • Nature Trails: Belle Isle offers several nature trails that wind through its lush greenery. Take a hike or bike ride and immerse yourself in the island’s natural beauty. Keep an eye out for wildlife sightings along the way.

  • Conservatory: The Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory is a botanical garden located on Belle Isle. It houses a diverse collection of plants from around the world, making it a perfect place for plant enthusiasts and those seeking a tranquil environment.

  • Zoo: The Belle Isle Nature Center features a small zoo that focuses on educating visitors about Michigan’s native wildlife. It’s a great place to learn about and observe animals like turtles, snakes, and birds of prey.

Conclusion

As you can see, there’s no shortage of things to do in Detroit, Michigan. From exploring its rich history and architecture to indulging in delicious food and experiencing its vibrant art and music scene, there’s something for everyone in this dynamic city. So why not plan a trip to Detroit and see for yourself all that it has to offer? You won’t be disappointed.

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