15+ Best Things To Do in Detroit, Michigan

Last Updated: 10/05/2024.

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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

For a through introduction to downtown Detroit, I highly recommend embarking on a walking tour. This immersive experience allows you to delve into the city’s rich history, witness its transformation, and explore key attractions in the downtown district. With a knowledgeable local guide leading the way, you’ll gain valuable insights and have the opportunity to ask questions along the route.

City Institute offers exceptional tours designed to provide a comprehensive overview of Detroit. Their expert guides offer engaging narratives about the city’s past and present, making it an ideal way to familiarize yourself with Detroit’s landscape.

Whether you’re a first-time visitor or returning to Detroit, starting your journey with a walking tour from City Institute sets the stage for a memorable and informative exploration. Make the most of your time in the city by immersing yourself in its fascinating history and vibrant culture.

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 in Detroit is an outdoor art installation that showcases the city’s resilience and creativity. Created by artist Tyree Guyton, it features colorful installations made from found objects, making it a must-visit for art enthusiasts and those interested in social commentary.

During your visit, you may also discover the artwork of local artist Tim Burke, who has been a part of Heidelberg Street for 17 years. While his artwork and studio gallery are separate from the Heidelberg Project, they contribute to the vibrant creative atmosphere of this unique neighborhood.

The Heidelberg Project is more than just an art installation – it represents the power of creativity and the resilience of the Detroit community. It’s a place where art, social commentary, and community development come together, providing visitors with a thought-provoking and unforgettable experience.

Visit and shop at Eastern Market, Detroit

Detroit Eastern Market
Detroit Eastern Market

Eastern Market, one of the oldest and largest public markets in the United States, offers a diverse array of fresh produce, meats, and local products. With over 250 vendors, its Saturday farmers’ market is bustling with activity, featuring poultry, livestock, and fresh produce. Covering 43 acres, Eastern Market is also a thriving hub for over 500 small businesses, showcasing everything from seafood to baked goods.

Beyond shopping, visitors can enjoy cooking demonstrations, live music, and art exhibitions throughout the year. With its rich history spanning over 150 years, Eastern Market is not just a marketplace but a cultural and community center integral to Detroit’s economic and social fabric, making it a must-visit for anyone looking to explore Detroit’s vibrant food scene and support local entrepreneurship.

Cruise on river with the Detroit Princess

Detroit Princess Riverboat
Detroit Princess Riverboat

Take a break from the city and board the Detroit Princess. This riverboat offers lunch, dinner, and sightseeing cruises on the Detroit River. Enjoy views of the skyline with a delicious meal and live entertainment.

The Detroit Princess has been cruising since 2005. It’s a unique way to experience the city. Choose from romantic dinners, outings with friends, or family sightseeing. The boat offers themed cruises, live music, and special events. Enjoy a buffet dinner with Motown music or relax on the deck.

Book your cruise on the Detroit Princess website or call their reservation line. They also host private events like corporate outings, weddings, and reunions. The boat was built in Louisiana in 1993 and has served guests for years.

A Detroit Princess cruise is a great way to see the city differently. You’ll enjoy dining and entertainment on the water. Sit back, relax, and take in the sights and sounds of Detroit.

Take a walk on the Detroit RiverWalk

RiverWalk in detroit
RiverWalk in detroit

The Detroit RiverWalk follows the Detroit River. It offers views of the city. It’s a place to walk, bike, or jog. You’ll find parks, restaurants, and public art along the way.

Explore the parks like William G. Milliken State Park and Harbor. It’s Michigan’s first urban state park with trails, a lighthouse, and a marina. The park has an Outdoor Adventure Center where you can learn about nature.

The RiverWalk has restaurants, cafes, and food trucks. You can grab a quick bite or enjoy a fancy meal. The RiverWalk isn’t just for exercise. Look for sculptures, murals, and other art.

The Detroit RiverWalk is perfect for strolls, bike rides, or runs with a view. Put on your shoes and get out there!

Take the Coney Island Hot Dog Challenge

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

Detroit has a tasty challenge for you: the Coney Island hot dog rivalry. Lafayette Coney Island and American Coney Island have been neighbors for decades, each claiming the city’s best hot dog.

Lafayette is known for its natural casing dogs and Greek coney sauce. It’s been recognized nationally for its hot dogs. American Coney Island has been serving hot dogs for over 100 years. Some prefer its flavor and loose burger option.

The best hot dog? That’s up to you. Try both and decide for yourself. Grab a friend and start your Detroit Coney Island hot dog adventure.

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.

Downtown Detroit houses Greektown. It buzzes with life and the smell of Greek food. Restaurants like The Parthenon and Pegasus Taverna serve gyros, souvlaki, and moussaka. Music spills onto Monroe Street, creating a festive mood. Greektown also boasts the Hollywood Casino and architecture inspired by Greek myths.

Southwest Detroit holds Mexicantown, a vibrant neighborhood steeped in Mexican culture. Restaurants like Mexicantown Restaurant and Loco’s Tex-Mex Grille dish up tacos, enchiladas, and tamales. The streets explode with color, showcasing murals of Mexican heritage. Mexicantown’s history runs deep, built by generations of immigrants.
Both Greektown and Mexicantown offer a feast for the senses. Visit them, eat, explore and dive into the heart of Detroit.

Visit the Motown Museum

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

Explore the iconic Motown Museum, also known as Hitsville U.S.A., where legendary artists like Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, and Marvin Gaye recorded their hits. Take an interactive VIP tour led by knowledgeable guides, including a 15-minute video and 45-minute guided tour, to visit the original reception and recording studio, including the famous Studio A.

Discover the legacy of Motown Records through exhibits showcasing memorabilia and photographs, and immerse yourself in the history of popular music. Book tickets in advance for this unforgettable journey into the heart of Motown.

See a Great Lake

A Great Lake in Detroit
A Great Lake in Detroit

Detroit sits on Lake Erie’s shores, granting easy access to its beauty. Belle Isle Park, a serene island park in the Detroit River, showcases stunning Lake Erie vistas. Covering 982 acres, it features a sandy beach, waterfront trails, and diverse attractions. The historic Belle Isle Aquarium, America’s oldest, hosts captivating exhibits of global aquatic life.

Besides, Belle Isle Park houses notable sites like the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory, Belle Isle Nature Center, James Scott Memorial Fountain, and Dossin Great Lakes Museum, enriching its allure. Whether admiring Lake Erie’s scenery or exploring marine wonders, Belle Isle Park promises a delightful Great Lakes experience.

Attend festivals in Detroit

Detroit boasts a dynamic festival scene, showcasing music, art, food, and culture throughout the year. Here are a couple of standout events:

  • Movement Electronic Music Festival: Held annually on Memorial Day weekend at Hart Plaza, this event is a celebration of electronic dance music. With a lineup of top DJs and musicians, it’s been a Detroit staple since 2000.
  • Detroit Jazz Festival: Taking place over Labor Day weekend, this festival honors jazz music’s rich history. It’s one of the world’s largest free jazz festivals, featuring top-tier talent and drawing jazz enthusiasts worldwide.

These festivals are just a glimpse into Detroit’s vibrant cultural calendar, which also includes the Detroit International Jazz Festival, the North American International Auto Show, and various community celebrations highlighting the city’s diversity and local talent.

Hang Out in Campus Martius

Hang Out in Campus Martius
Hang Out in Campus Martius

Campus Martius in downtown Detroit is a fantastic public square offering year-round excitement. In winter, the ice skating rink transforms it into a magical wonderland, adorned with festive lights and decorations. Skating here is a joyous experience, perfect for getting into the holiday spirit.

Even in warmer months, Campus Martius remains bustling with activity. Live music performances add to the vibrant atmosphere, making it an ideal spot to relax, people-watch, and enjoy great tunes. With ample seating and green spaces, it’s a perfect place to unwind.

What makes Campus Martius truly special is its surrounding shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues, ensuring there’s always something to do or discover nearby. Conveniently located and brimming with life, it’s the heart of downtown Detroit—a must-visit destination for winter fun or a lively hangout any time of year. You’re in for a treat!

Visit the Detroit Institute of Arts

Detroit Institute of Arts
Detroit Institute of Arts

For art and culture enthusiasts, a visit to the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) is a must-do experience. As one of the largest art museums in the U.S., it houses an astounding collection of over 65,000 works from around the world.

Imagine strolling through its halls, surrounded by masterpieces from iconic artists like Van Gogh, Picasso, and Matisse—it’s a visual delight! The DIA’s collection spans from ancient Egyptian artifacts to contemporary pieces, ensuring there’s something to captivate every art lover.

Here’s the best part: admission to the DIA is free for residents of Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties—an incredible opportunity to explore art without cost concerns. For non-residents, the admission fee is a small price to pay for the enriching experience that awaits.

Whether you’re a local or just passing through, prioritize a visit to the Detroit Institute of Arts. It’s a treasure trove of artistic brilliance sure to leave you inspired and in awe of the world’s incredible talent.

Listen to Live Music in Detroit

Live Music
Live Music

Detroit’s music scene is pulsating with energy, offering a plethora of local artists and bands gracing stages across the city. Here are some hotspots to catch live music:

  • The Majestic Theatre: A beloved venue for music aficionados, The Majestic hosts an array of acts spanning indie to electronic genres, promising an intimate and eclectic experience.
  • Saint Andrew’s Hall: With its historic allure, Saint Andrew’s Hall has seen the likes of legendary acts across rock, punk, hip-hop, and electronic genres, ensuring a dynamic lineup for music enthusiasts.
  • The Magic Stick: Nestled within the Majestic Theatre Center, The Magic Stick exudes a dive bar charm, attracting indie and punk-leaning bands and offering an unforgettable music experience.

These venues are just a snapshot of Detroit’s vibrant music scene. Stay tuned to their event calendars or websites for upcoming shows and events, and prepare to be captivated by the city’s musical prowess. Get ready to dive into the rhythmic pulse of Detroit’s music scene and relish unforgettable live performances.

Go watch a professional sports game in Detroit

A Professional Sports Game
A Professional Sports Game

Sports enthusiasts visiting Detroit are in for an exciting time with several professional teams calling the city home. Whether it’s baseball, football, or hockey, Detroit offers a vibrant sports culture and thrilling games to attend.

The Detroit Tigers represent the city in baseball, playing at the renowned Comerica Park, which accommodates over 41,000 fans. It’s the perfect setting to enjoy the timeless charm of America’s favorite pastime.

For football fans, the Detroit Lions take center stage at Ford Field, a modern stadium with a capacity of 65,000. Join the enthusiastic crowd and support the Lions during the football season for an unforgettable experience.

Hockey aficionados can witness the legendary Detroit Red Wings in action at the state-of-the-art Little Caesars Arena, also shared with the Detroit Pistons basketball team. Catching a Red Wings game here promises an electrifying atmosphere and thrilling moments on the ice.

Attending a professional sports event in Detroit isn’t just about the game itself; it’s about immersing yourself in the electric atmosphere and sharing the camaraderie with passionate fans. Detroit’s sports venues are renowned for fostering an unforgettable game-day experience that will leave a lasting impression.

Visit the Henry Ford Museum

Henry Ford Museum
Henry Ford Museum

When in the Detroit area, history enthusiasts shouldn’t miss the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn. This cultural gem celebrates American innovation with iconic artifacts like Rosa Parks’ bus and the Wright Brothers’ plane.

The museum offers an immersive journey through American history and innovation, spanning over 65,000 square feet of exhibition space. Be sure to check the website for special exhibitions and events to enhance your visit.

Explore the inventions, people, and culture that shaped America at the Henry Ford Museum for an unforgettable experience steeped in history and ingenuity.

Sample Michigan Beers


Michigan boasts a vibrant craft beer scene, and Detroit is no exception, with numerous local breweries offering a diverse array of brews. Here are some noteworthy ones:

  • Atwater Brewery: With a storied history in Detroit, Atwater Brewery is renowned for its blend of traditional and innovative beers, such as the popular Dirty Blonde and Vanilla Java Porter.
  • Motor City Brewing Works: Since 1994, Motor City Brewing Works, nestled in Midtown Detroit, has been crafting a variety of handcrafted beers. Their rooftop patio provides a charming setting to savor a pint.
  • Batch Brewing Company: Emphasizing community and local ingredients, Batch Brewing Company offers a rotating selection of beers, including intriguing experimental brews.

Whether you’re a beer aficionado or simply curious, visiting these local breweries offers an opportunity to immerse yourself in Michigan’s craft beer culture. Many breweries also offer tours, allowing you to delve into the brewing process and the local beer scene.

Explore 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.


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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