The 25 Most Fun Things to Do in Detroit 
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Originally Posted On: https://www.michaelvisitsall.com/usa/things-to-do-in-detroit.html
As a Michigan-based travel blogger, I have the luxury of living not only about 20 minutes away from Ann Arbor but also about 30 minutes from Detroit!
The city of Detroit, a.k.a “the Motor City” or “Hockeytown”, is back and better than ever, making it the next major U.S city you should visit this summer or fall in 2023!
Throughout the twentieth century, Detroit’s reputation as a city rivaled other large metropolises such as Chicago and New York. Due to the boom in the automobile industry and the high pay of manufacturing jobs, Detroit became known as the city who ‘put the world on wheels’.
Like most big cities, Detroit has a rich history in art & music. There are multiple art museums and murals scattered around the city commemorating Detroit’s impact to the visual arts. Genres such as soul and hip-hop also accredit Detroit for one of the cities where the music flourished the most.
In the past decade, Detroit has undergone a renaissance. No longer is Detroit a city that has fallen from grace! It’s an exciting city in the midwest you need to visit either this summer or this autumn in 2023!
Dearborn is a neighboring city that I’d highly recommend you visit during your trip to Detroit! Such iconic museums, like the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation, are located in Dearborn, not Detroit. Most museums celebrating Detroit’s influence on the automotive industry can be found in Dearborn.
This article only covers attractions and landmarks specifically in the city of Detroit itself. I’ve narrowed my article down to 25 things. I bring you… the 25 best things to do in Detroit, in 2023!
IN THIS ARTICLE…
- 01 // Check out Monroe Street Midway
- 02 // Hang out in Campus Martius
- 03 // Explore the Guardian Building 24/7
- 04 // See the Spirit of Detroit
- 05 // Fist bump the Joe Louis fist
- 06 // Admire the General Motors Renaissance Center
- 07 // See Canada from the Detroit Riverwalk
- 08 // Take a bus or drive into Windsor through the tunnel
- 09 // Explore Greektown
- 10 // Ride the People Mover
- 11 // Ride the Q-Line
- 12 // See incredible art at the Detroit Institute of Art
- 13 // Visit the Detroit Historical Museum
- 14 // Check out the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit
- 15 // See the tiger statues at Comerica Park
- 16 // Stop by the Little Caesars Arena & headquarters
- 17 // Have a slice of Detroit style pizza
- 18 // Walk through a recording studio at the Motown Museum
- 19 // Tour the Fisher Building
- 20 // Walk around Eastern Market
- 21 // Go on a mural hunt
- 22 // Check out the Heidelberg Project
- 23 // Relax on Belle Isle
- 24 // Do a behind-the-scenes tour of the Masonic Temple
- 25 // Check out the Book Tower
PEOPLE ALSO ASK…
- How long do you need in Detroit?
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- What is Detroit famous for?
- What is Detroit the best at?
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- What time of year is best to go to Detroit?
- Is Detroit cheap to visit?
For 2023, here are the 25 most fun things to do in Detroit…
01 // Monroe Street Midway
One of Detroit’s newest year-round attractions!
For the first several recommendations in this article, I’m going to mention things all located in (or very close to) the downtown district of Detroit. The first item to kick off my curated list of the best things to do in Detroit is… Monroe Street Midway!
Monroe Street Midway is a fresh, colorful, hip and mostly free outdoor attraction in downtown Detroit as of 2021! The project was funded by Michigan billionaire Dan Gilbert in an effort to attract tourists and locals to Detroit. It worked.
The attraction is so new that a lot of faux “travel bloggers” who just Google ‘things to do in X’ and write as if they’ve been to these places haven’t heard of it.
Bring cash for this one. Monroe Street Midway is technically free to enter. You have to go through a metal detector to enter the park. Once inside, some of the attractions, like the rollerskating rink, cost money.
In the warmer months of the year, Monroe Street Midway has sections of the park where people can play on colorful, artistically painted basketball courts, skate in an outdoor rollerskating rink, play on see-saws, and play large versions of classic games like Connect Four and chess.
Last year, during the colder months of the year, Monroe Street Midway hosted a variety of fun winter-themed activities, such as “bumper cars on ice”, a tall “Arctic slide”, and a variation of putt-putt golf with hockey pucks!
Address: 32 Monroe St, Detroit, MI 48226
Hours: M-W closed, Th-S 12:00 p.m – 11:00 p.m, Su 12:00 p.m – 9:00 p.m
02 // Hang out in Campus Martius
Lots of public art to admire and photograph in Campus Martius!
Located in very close proximity to Monroe Street Midway is Campus Martius, one of the most beautiful and active city parks in the United States! In recent years, Campus Martius has undergone some incredible renovations.
I think my personal favorite addition to the city square is the bronze “Waiting” statue. It depicts two standing anthropomorphic mouse-esque figures with ‘X’ over their eyes. It’s a fun addition to the many pieces of public art adorning the city of Detroit.
Another new addition I’m quite fond of is seeing the Q-Line pass you by. In a city nicknamed ‘The Motor City’, the idea of public transportation has historically been at odds with the ‘big three’ automotive companies. In 2017, younger generations especially welcomed the arrival of Detroit’s streetcar system called the Q-Line.
Campus Martius is a public square with incredible views of downtown Detroit. Depending on where you stand in the park, you can take in some of Detroit’s most architectually aesthetic skyscrapers, such as the Penobscot Building or the General Motors Renaissance Center.
There is a lettered sculpture “WE DET” and also a wheel-shaped sculpture with “DETROIT” written on it which are incredibly popular spots for tourists to snap some pictures.
During the colder months of the year, visitors to Campus Martius can ice skate on a large rink which can hold around 1,000 skaters. A Christmas tree lighting ceremony also takes place toward the end of the year. Reminds me a bit of Rockefeller Center with the rink and Christmas tree in New York City.
Address: 800 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, MI 48226
Hours: 6:00 a.m – 10:00 p.m
03 // Explore the Guardian Building 24/7
The 32nd floor of the Guardian Building. The views outside the windows are extraordinary.
The Guardian Building is a must-do in downtown Detroit for two reasons: first, it’s open twenty-four hours a day and two… it’s free! How can you go wrong being able to just walk inside one of the Detroit’s most beautiful skyscrapers without spending any money!?
You likely won’t need me to tell you to do this, but, just in case, look up at the ceiling as you wander through the building. The colors and patterns will lock your attention. Not only is the Guardian Building elegant on the outside, it’s spellbinding on the inside as well.
That being said, to make your visit to the Guardian Building truly worth it, you should go on Sundays at either 12:00 p.m or 1:30 p.m. You’ll join a free tour where you’ll be able to access the 32nd floor of the skyscraper. On this floor are several windows where you can get some lovely birdseye views of the city.
On the tour, you’ll also be able to enter an executive board room on the 6th floor and also can walk through two bank vaults. When I went, there was an old bank teller window made of monel which felt like it weighed 90 lbs. See if you are strong enough to lift it!
One more interesting fact is two of the only four stained glass clocks in the world designed by an artist named Louis Tiffany are located inside the Guardian Building! The other two are both in my favorite U.S city– New York City. You’ll learn on the tour where the other two are located!
Address: 500 Griswold Street, Detroit, MI 48226
04 // See the ‘Spirit of Detroit’
The ‘Spirit of Detroit’ statue in downtown Detroit.
When discussing the topic of Detroit’s public art, one cannot bypass the iconic ‘Spirit of Detroit’. To intentionally avoid seeing this statue would be an annoying act of contrarianism.
This statue, located at the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center in downtown Detroit is the largest statue designed for a city anywhere in the world since the Renaissance! What’s even more notable is the artist who designed the statue created the structure for free.
So, what exactly is the ‘spirit’ of Detroit? Well, when I look the statue, I see a strong man capably handling stresses of adulthood. It’s an inspiring statue I interpret to be about perseverance.
Address: 2 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, MI 48226
05 // Fist bump the Joe Louis fist
Me fist-bumping ‘The Fist’!
Time flies. The above picture of me pressing my fist against “The Fist” was taken back in August 2021, which was only two months after I had commenced by “visit all 50 states” journey. Fast forward to modern day and it’s now July 2023!
Anyway, located less than one minute’s walk across the street from the ‘Spirit of Detroit’ statue is an art sculpture honoring boxer Joe Louis.
It’s convenient that such distinguishable art pieces in Detroit are so close to one another.
Tell you what– if you take a picture of yourself fist bumping the statue, feel free to tag me on Instagram (@michaelvisitsall) or send me your picture via email. I love hearing from my readers!
Address: 5 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, MI 48226
06 // Admire the General Motors Renaissance Center
My favorite skyscraper in the entire U.S: the Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit.
As you can likely tell from my other articles, I prefer landscape orientation of my photos over portrait, but I’ve never been able to take a landscape-oriented picture of this building on my iPhone 13 that I like.
Being someone who loves exploring cities, I’ve seen lots of impressive skyscrapers with my own eyes, such as the Space Needle in Seattle, the Pink Tower in Portland, the Willis Tower in Chicago, and the Empire State Building in New York.
But I must say– my favorite skyscraper in any U.S city has got to be the General Motors Renaissance Center, colloquially referred to as the ‘Ren Cen’, in downtown Detroit.
One thing I feel I should clarify before someone attempts to correct me: the ‘Ren Cen’ is not just one building. It’s actually seven connected edifaces. When I say the ‘Ren Cen’ is my favorite skyscraper, I’m particularly referencing the cylinder-shaped building in the center.
Just like how you can freely enter the Guardian Building, you can also walk inside the Ren Cen.
When there isn’t an event taking place, the first level of the Ren Cen has exhibits of some of General Motors (GM)’s’ vehicles. Colorful slideshows grace the walls in the center of the first level which opens opportunity for some good photos.
Visitors are also welcome to advance to the upper levels of the Ren Cen as well. Various shopping and dining options are available based on what floor you go up to. You’ll feel fancy sipping a cocktail looking out the window at the High Bar, which is located on the 71st and 72nd floor.
Address: 400 Renaissance Center, Detroit, MI 48243
Hours: 6:00 a.m – 10:00 p.m (restaurants & stores will have differing hours)
07 // See Canada from the Detroit Riverwalk
That’s Canada, an entirely different country over there!
Most cities I’ve been to in the U.S have a riverwalk as one of their fun things to do. The midwest is no exception. You’ll have a great time strolling down the riverwalk in, say, Milwaukee, or the Canal Walk in Indianapolis. Detroit has one too.
I personally think Milwaukee and Chicago have prettier riverwalks than Detroit but there is one thing that makes the riverwalk in Detroit unique: you can see Windsor, a city in the Canadian province of Ontario, from across the water. It’s captivating too just how close Windsor is!
The riverwalk spans three miles. You’ll pass the Ren Cen along the way. One end of the riverwalk terminates at the Belle Isle bridge. We’ll get to Belle Isle soon.
While we’re on the topic of Canada, how about…
08 // Take a bus or drive into Windsor through the tunnel
Entrance to the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel, on the Detroit side.
Quick story about this picture: I actually took this picture on foot. I walked as close as I could to the entrance before a friendly guard stopped me. His name was Mike! He asked me if I was visiting out of town and I explained to him I was a local just visiting the city for a few days.
How many U.S cities can you visit where you can so easily just enter another country? Exactly! From Detroit, if you don’t feel like driving your own car or renting a car, you can hop on a bus and enter Canada! It only costs $10 either way.
For things to do in Windsor, well… there aren’t many. The Caesars Windsor casino is pretty nice. So is the Windsor Sculpture Park. You can walk around Windsor for an hour or two and then head back into Detroit.
If you want more information on every way a Michigander can enter Canada, I have an entire article dedicated to this.
Address: 100 E Jefferson Ave, Detroit, MI 48226
09 // Explore Greektown
A street in Greektown.
Similiar to how some cities will have a “Chinatown” or “Little Italy”, Detroit has a neighborhood centric around Greek culture named ‘Greektown’.
In addition to some choice Greek cuisine, Greektown is also terrific for barhopping. There are a few cool rooftop bars in this neighborhood as well.
A common reason people visit Greektown is for its casino. In fact, if gambling is your thing, Detroit is a prime hub for gamblers, as there are two other casinos (which I’ll elaborate on later) in the city, not to mention Caesars Casino Windsor.
Note: Greektown can sometimes get a bit rowdy. Be careful when exploring the area.
10 // Ride the People Mover
Cool ground view of the People Mover in front of the stop for the ‘Ren Cen’.
If your feet need a rest and you want to get a slightly higher view of downtown Detroit, take a ride on the People Mover!
As a millennial traveler, it is not common I have any form of physical currency on me. To ride the People Mover, it’ll cost you 75 cents and none of the stops I’ve been to accept credit or debit cards. Have some $1 or $5 bills on you and/or some change!
There are twelve stops along the loop the Detroit Mover operates on. To complete the loop takes about 15 minutes. It’s a fairly short ride!
Regarding public transportation, Detroit also has the Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT) bus system, which operates mostly in Detroit and the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART) bus system, which services several areas in the metro Detroit region.
I won’t be discussing the bus systems in this particular article, and they’re fine to use if you’re unable/unwilling to drive/rent a car, but there’s one more mode of public transit I will mention here, and that’s going to be…
Address: Twelve stops – address will vary.
Hours: M-Th 7:00 a.m – 10:30 p.m, F 7:00 a.m – 12:00 a.m, S 10:00 a.m – 12:00 a.m, Su 10:00 a.m – 8:00 p.m
11 // Ride the Q-Line
The Q-Line streetcar in between the Congress St and Campus Martius stops.
The next six items in this article can all be found on just one street: Woodward Avenue.
If your feet are sore, your back hurts, and you don’t feel like driving in the city, there’s a mode of transportation you can use to see all these attractions: the Q-Line.
As mentioned earlier, the Q-Line was the latest installment in Detroit’s effort to provide the city with more public transportation options. It is a streetcar which runs down Woodward Avenue spanning from Congress Street in downtown to Grand Boulevard in New Center.
The Q-Line is free to ride!
Service is frequent during its hours of operation, with a waittime of about 15 minutes.
Address: Twelve stops – address will vary.
Hours: M-S 7:30 a.m – 12:00 a.m, Su 7:30 a.m – 9:00 p.m.
12 // See incredible art at the Detroit Institute of Arts
The entrance to the Detroit Institute of Arts.
Located in midtown, the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) is one of the largest art museums in the country with over 65,000 pieces of art in its interior.
Spanning around 658,000 square feet, the DIA is now larger than the Art Institute of Chicago (562,000 square feet), rendering it the largest art museum in the midwest.
For those residing in Michigan, if you live in Wayne, Macomb, or Oakland county, admission to the museum is free! For everyone else, cost for an adult ticket is $18.00.
The DIA has three floors. When you enter the museum, you will be on the second level, which I believe is the largest floor of the three. Nearly half of the second floor is dedicated to European art, primarily from the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Most of the other half places great emphasis on African-American art.
One section on the second floor I find particularly interesting was seeing how colonial homes were decorated. On the third floor, there is a section called “fashionable living” where you hear harp music playing as you see how a living space for the wealthy in 18th century France was arranged.
On the first floor, you’ll find art of southern Asia, native American art, Egyptian art, and photography.
The third floor of the DIA is the smallest of the three floors, housing primarily British and Dutch art.
One thing that has surprised me on my travels is how good the food is in art museums! I thought the food at the Cleveland Museum of Art and Newgrounds in Indianapolis, IN were great and it’s no different at the CafeDIA in the DIA!
Address: 5200 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48202
Hours: M closed, T-Th 9:00 am – 4:00 p.m, F 9:00 a.m – 9:00 p.m, S-Su 10:00 a.m – 5:00 p.m
13 // Visit the Detroit Historical Museum
The lower level of the museum has a recreation of ‘old streets’ of Detroit.
When I travel throughout the major cities, I sometimes overlook museums dedicated to the city’s history. In Detroit, I would advise against this! The Detroit Historical Museum is well-worth the visit!
The Detroit Historical Museum has such a convenient location: it is right across the street from the Detroit Institute of Arts! Thus, you can definitely visit both museums in the same day!
On the main floor of the museum, one of the coolest sections to check out is the wing dedicated to Motown. There’s an interactive portion where you select one of three songs and you can “mix” the songs. I put “mix” in quotes since all you can do is just raise or lower the volumes of instruments in the songs. You don’t get to EQ, compress, or add effects, like you would in actual mixing.
Of course, you’ll see exhibits on the lower level centric around the automobile industry because, yeah, how could you not? There’s another interactive feature where you can use an assembly line to attach the body of a car! However, when I visited most recently, the mechanism was out of order.
If you visit when this part of the museum is running again, feel free to let me know how it is!
My favorite part of the museum is on the lower level. There’s a large exhibit where the museum re-creates the look of Detroit streets from the late 19th century and early 20th century. You can even walk inside some of the “stores”, such as an old pharmacy!
Admission to the Detroit Historical Museum is $10.00.
Address: 5401 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48202
Hours: M-T closed, W-S 10:00 a.m – 5:00 p.m, Su 1:00 p.m – 5:00 p.m
14 // Check out the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit
Mural inside the museum.
About a 14 minute walk from the Detroit Historical Museum and the Detroit Institute of Arts is the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD).
The building is a standout black building with the words ‘EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE ALRIGHT’ etched on the side facing Woodward Avenue. Getting a picture of the lettering is tough because of the pesky trees in front of it. Why are those trees even there??
For an art museum, MOCAD is noticeably much, much smaller than the Detroit Institute of Arts.
Admission is technically free though donations are encouraged.
Address: 4454 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48201
Hours: M-T closed, W 11:00 a.m – 5:00 p.m, Th, F 11:00 a.m – 8:00 p.m, S-Su 11:00 a.m – 5:00 p.m
15 // See the tiger statues at Comerica Park
Can you guess which Detroit team plays here?
I’ve mentioned a few times on this blog that I am not a sports fan. However, Detroit is a city known for its stunning architecture, and one of its sports stadiums is no exception.
Detroit is home to all four of the major American sports: baseball, football, hockey, and basketball. Can you guess which one of the four teams plays at Comerica Park?
The stone tigers on top are a big hint. It’s the Detroit Tigers, the baseball team!
Of course, the main reason why someone would visit Comerica Park is to see the Detroit Tigers play. That being said, everyone can at least appreciate the numerous tiger statues all around the stadium. The statues make for some fun photo ops.
For the sports fans’ reference, next to Comerica Park is Ford Field, where the Detroit Lions play, and a 12 minute walk from Comerica Park is Little Caesars Arena, where the Detroit Red Wings and the Detroit Pistons play.
Address: 2100 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48201
Hours: depends on when the games start.
16 // Stop by the Little Caesars Arena & headquarters
The headquarters of the slogan, “Pizza! Pizza!”
The Little Caesars World Headquarters is another entry in the list of buildings with eye-catching architecture in Detroit.
Look at the windows. Notice their shape? The triangles? Yep– those are meant to be in the shape of pizza slices! I’ll be totally honest: I did not even notice that the first time I laid eyes on the building!
I’m going to share a fact with you that’ll make you want to order a Hot N’ Ready: Mike Illitch, the founder of Little Caesars, paid Rosa Parks’s rent for over a decade until she passed away in 2005. Isn’t that amazing??
As I mentioned earlier when writing about Comerica Park, you can also walk by and admire Little Caesars Arena, where both the Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Pistons play.
But, speaking of pizza…
Address: 2125 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48201 (headquarters), 2645 Woodward Ave, Detroit MI 48201 (arena)
17 // Eat some Detroit style pizza
Similar to Chicago style pizza, Detroit style pizza is a filling rectangular pan pie and something you must eat in Detroit!
Just like how Chicago and New York have their signature styles of pizza, Detroit does as well! So, when visiting Detroit, you should definitely treat yourself to some amazing, authentic Detroit-style pizza!
Detroit style pizza is a thicker, rectangular shaped pie. While not as large as Chicago style, the individual pieces are still quite filling. Two slices can be enough for most people.
Here is my favorite recommendation for Detroit style pizza: go to Sgt. Pepperoni’s Pizzeria & Deli off Woodward Ave in downtown (hence the reason I mentioned it at this point in the article). One big reason I’m fond of this place: it’s open late!
Oh, I should mention too… there’s a bowling alley inside this restaurant too! So, that’s something else you can do as well!
Address: 4120 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, MI 48201
Hours: M 11:00 a.m – 12:00 a.m, T-S 11:00 a.m – 2:00 a.m, Su 11:00 a.m – 12:00 a.m
18 // Walk through a recording studio at the Motown Museum
The recording studio you can visit during your Motown Museum tour!
When it comes to cities with vibrant music scenes, Motown was instrumental (see what I did there?) in putting Detroit on the map. While you get a sample of Motown’s significance when exploring the Detroit Historical Museum, immerse yourself with all that is this iconic record label at the Motown Museum.
A popular misconception is that “motown” is a genre of music. This is inaccurate. “Motown” was just the name of the record label. The reason many people think “motown” is a genre is that many soul music artists were on the label.
Unlike the other museums mentioned in this article, the Motown Museum is by guided tour only and lasts about an hour.
On the tour, you’ll get to enter the coveted ‘Studio A’, where music artists as famous as Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson recorded some of their music.
I would recommend purchasing tickets online in advance. Being one of Detroit’s most popular attractions, tickets can sell rather quickly! Admission to the museum for an adult ticket is $20.00.
Address: 2648 W Grand Boulevard, Detroit, MI 48208 (the street is also named Barry Gordon Jr. Boulevard)
Hours: M, T closed, W-F 10:00 a.m – 6:00 p.m, S 10:00 a.m – 8:00 p.m, Su 10:00 a.m – 6:00 p.m
19 // Tour the Fisher Building
Third floor view inside the Fisher Building. The Fisher Building is another one of Detroit’s most architectually stunning skyscrapers.
Like many big cities, Detroit has lots of skyscrapers. However, the Motor City distinguishes itself by having some of the most architectually glamorous– inside and out– skyscrapers in the U.S. Add this to the list of reasons Detroit is one of my favorite U.S cities!
The Fisher Building is located in the New Center district of Detroit. This building is of utmost importance to Detroit’s history and is a must-do for any Detroit itinerary.
Like the ‘Ren Cen’ and the Guardian Building, the Fisher Building is another skyscraper to add to your Detroit itinerary! This building is often referred to as “Detroit’s Largest Art Project”. It stands at an impressive 441 feet and is the world’s tallest marble structure.
Compared to the other skyscrapers in Detroit, I think the Fisher Building has the most mesmerizing interior. You’d think you were inside an old Renaissance era church in Europe staring at the ceilings.
There is 24/7 access to the Fisher Building, as there is in the Guardian Building. However, to see much more of the stunning skyscraper, you will want to do a free guided tour hosted by Pure Detroit. Tours are offered every Saturday at 12:00 p.m and 2:00 p.m.
The tour will take you to the 3rd and 22nd floors of the building. One thing you’ll notice when riding the elevators (which themselves are stunning) is that the elevators are quite fast!
In the same way the Guardian Building guided tour grants you breathtaking views of the city, you’ll get to enter several rooms to look out the windows to take in some amazing views of Detroit from the 22nd floor of the Fisher Building.
Address: 3011 W Grand Boulevard, Detroit, MI 48201
20 // Walk around Eastern Market
A mural with the neighborhood name ‘Eastern Market’ nearby the main market area.
There’s a picture I’ve seen most other blogs use in their Detroit articles when describing Eastern Market. In the main market area, there’s a brick structure with the words ‘EASTERN MARKET’ over the entrance. It felt more ‘Michael Visits All’ to use a mural with the neighborhood name instead!
Eastern Market is one of Detroit’s oldest and currently operating attractions, dating back all the way to 1891!
The best days to visit Eastern Market are on Saturdays and Sundays. There is a wide spectrum of selection from the food and art vendors.
Across the street from the main market area, you can listen to live jazz & soul music at Bert’s Marketplace and get some really tasty ribs!
My favorite part of Eastern Market? You might have guessed it from the picture I used: it’s all the murals and street art on the nearby streets. There is a lot in just this spot alone.
I’m not done about street art quite yet. In fact, here is something else any lover of colorful street art should 100% do…
Address: 2934 Russell Street, Detroit, MI 48207
Hours: M closed, T 9:00 a.m – 3:00 p.m, W-F closed, S 6:00 a.m – 4:00 p.m, Su 10:00 a.m – 4:00 p.m.
21 // Go on a mural hunt
A mural outside the Hopcat in midtown Detroit.
One reason why Detroit is in the top five of my favorite cities in the U.S is the sheer abundance of amazing murals scattered throughout the city. In addition to the amazing public art sculptures, Detroit is truly a city who prides themselves heavily on the visual arts.
I’ll help start your tour: start at The Z Park on Gratiot & Broadway in downtown and walk down Gratiot.
As I also mentioned in my mural hunt suggestion for my Ann Arbor article, there is an awesome app you can download to help in your search for only the iPhone (sorry Android users!) called CANVS Street Art. Toggle ‘Mural Hunt On’ and you will be alerted when you are nearing a mural.
There are so many throughout Detroit that it may be time consuming to spot all the murals on foot. You can definitely do this activity in a car too. I’m guessing part of your mural hunt journey will be by walking and the rest by car.
Before I stop talking about the art in Detroit, this next attraction is one you absolutely cannot miss…
22 // Check out the Heidelberg Project
A polka dot painted house on Heidelberg Street in Detroit.
Take a ride in a car or hop on a bus and then get on foot to check out one of Detroit’s most bohemian locales: the Heidelberg Project.
Located on the east side of Detroit, the Heidelberg Project was an outdoor art project led by artist Tyree Guyton. It was an attempt to revitalize a worn-down neighborhood where people in previous decades were afraid to traverse even in the daytime.
Colorful and large polka dots adorn the street, as well as the signature house in the above image. However, I’d say the most reoccuring element in this outdoor art project is the idea of “time”. There are countless artistically designed clocks all with random times on them.
By happenstance, when I explored the Heidelberg Project on my own, I met Tyree Guyton and his son. We chatted for about 20 minutes. Tyree is definitely the artistic type! He is very philosophical and he may ask you some questions that’ll really make you think!
The Heidelberg Project is free to explore, however, donations are definitely welcome!
Address: 3600 Heidelberg Street, Detroit, MI 48207
Hours: 8:00 a.m – 7:00 p.m.
23 // Relax on Belle Isle
A fountain on Belle Isle.
Belle Isle Park, commonly referred to as ‘Belle Isle’, is a 982-acre island park located on the Detroit River. It is a place many visitors and locals go to sit, relax, and enjoy the view, but there are opportunities to walk and explore for travelers-on-the-go, like myself.
There is an aquarium on the island and it is the oldest aquarium in the country. There is no cost of admission to the aquarium.
Besides the aquarium, there is also a conservatory. However, at the time of this writing, it is under renovation and is not expected to re-open until sometime in 2024.
You can access Belle Isle a few different ways. If you walk, ride a bike, or take the DDOT #12 Conant bus onto the island, there is no fee!
To get onto the island, most people prefer to drive. If you elect this option, you will need a “Recreation Passport” to access the island. Before you fret that you don’t have one, you can purchase one at a kiosk on the island. They are only $12 and last up to one year.
Hours: 5:00 a.m – 10:00 p.m.
24 // Do a behind-the-scenes tour of the Masonic Temple
The outside of the Detroit Masonic Temple.
More than just a high-profile concert venue, the Detroit Masonic Temple is the largest gathering place on Earth to the secret and elusive Freemason society.
Visitors can embark on guided tours throughout this majestic temple at different price points: $25, $40, $50, and $75. Their $75 offer is called the “Behind the Scenes” tour and this is the tour I personally recommend. Why?
For me, the biggest catch is the spellbinding architecture. This is a highlight of visiting Detroit in the first place! Turns out, the Masonic Temple in Detroit has lots of rooms. In the thousands. You’ll see much more of the gorgeous temple than the regular $25 tour and learn a couple extra secrets of the Freemasons!
Here’s the tricky part though: when you can actually go on the guided tours. All year round, guided tours in the Masonic Temple are offered on the first and third Sundays of each month at 3:00 p.m. In July and August, guided tours happen on the first and third Fridays at 7:00 p.m.
Address: 500 Temple Street, Detroit, MI 48201
25 // Check out the Book Tower
The lobby of the newly renovated Book Tower in downtown Detroit.
By coincidence, this attraction re-opened up to the public as I was nearing completion of this article!
Besides the Ren Cen, Guardian Building, and Fisher Building, the Book Tower is another eye-catching ediface you should freely explore during your visit to Detroit.
You can check out the first and second floors of the Book Tower.
At the time of this writing, you can book hotel reservations at the Book Tower. In the near future, the Book Tower will include dining options.
Address: 1265 Washington Blvd, Detroit, MI 48226
How long do you need in Detroit?
This article took me four weekends or eight days to complete. That being said, do you need eight days to have the best time in Detroit? No– and I understand that many people will not be able to spare that many days.
If you only have 1-3 days in Detroit, here is a compressed version of what I’d recommend you do:
Get pictures by the ‘Spirit of Detroit’ and ‘The Fist’. Also, be captivated by all of the public art and colorful murals. There is stunning street art pretty much everywhere in Detroit!
Definitely get a taste of Detroit’s architectural beauty by checking out the Ren Cen, Guardian Building, and the Fisher Building. While you’re at the Ren Cen, walk along the Riverwalk too.
Ride the People Mover to get a heightened view of downtown Detroit. Also, take the Q-Line down the Woodward, as many of Detroit’s well-known landmarks on just on this street.
Finally, definitely go to the Detroit Institute of Arts and the Detroit Historical Museum, since the museums are right next to each other.
Is there anything cool to do in Detroit?
Yes– there are so many cool things to do and see in Detroit!
One of the coolest things about Detroit that resonates with me the most is the sheer plethora of colorful and vibrant street art. Every neighborhood of Detroit has plenty of awesome murals to admire. There is truly no shortage of awesome photos and videos you can take of the public artwork here.
The Heidelberg Project is one of the coolest free attractions the city of Detroit has to offer! The residential streets are all painted in polka dots and you’ll see plenty of artistically crafted clocks, and painted houses.
The architecture in Detroit is amongst the best in the U.S! Another cool thing you can do in Detroit is check out some of Detroit’s most captivating skyscrapers for free. The Guardian Building and Fisher Building both offer free guided tours on Saturday and Sunday, respectively, and both towers will give you incredible birdseye views of the city!
Visitors who are sports fans will be delighted to know that Comerica Park, Ford Field, and the Little Caesars Arena are all in very close proximity to one another.
The Detroit Institute of Arts is the largest art museum in the midwest and is certainly one of the coolest things to see in Detroit. In the lower level of the Detroit Historical Museum, you can see re-constructed streets of Detroit from the late 19th and early 20th centuries!
What is Detroit famous for?
Historically, Detroit has been most famous for its significant contributions to the automobile industry. In the 20th century, Detroit gained further prominence as an influential city for its distinctive “Motown scene”. In the world of sports, Detroit’s hockey team, the Detroit Red Wings, won the Stanley Cup two years in a row.
In more recent years, Detroit gained notoriety for being a city that had fallen from grace, due to city declaring bankruptcy. Thankfully, due to investments in the early 21st century, Detroit has undergone a renaissance and has now become a very popular U.S city for visitors all around the world to see.
What is Detroit the best at?
Detroit has an impressive history of being the best in a variety of dimensions. In the 1950’s, Detroit was the wealthiest city in the United States, primarily due to the huge boom of the automobile industry in the early 20th century.
The Fisher Building is the world’s largest marble structure.
The Detroit Institute of the Arts is the largest art museum in the midwest region of the United States.
The ‘Spirit of Detroit’ statue is the largest public art statue constructed for a city since the Renaissance.
What is Detroit most popular street?
Detroit’s most popular street is Woodward Avenue. A majority of Detroit’s most famous landmarks, such as the Spirit of Detroit, Campus Martius, Comerica Park, the Fox Theater, and the Detroit Institute of Art, are all located off Woodward Avenue. The Q-Line goes down Woodward, traveling from downtown and into midtown and New Center.
What time of year is best to go to Detroit?
The time of year that is best to visit to Detroit is arguably late spring to early fall, so roughly from the months of May to November. While Michigan summers are not known for being the hottest, the warm weather is more mild in the late spring or early autumn.
In the fall, sports fans will have opportunities to see all four of Detroit’s major sports teams play a game. Even better, the stadiums for the four teams are all in close proximity to one another.
Being surrounded by three large lakes, Michigan winters can be exceptionally cold. It is not advised to visit Detroit during the winter months.
Is Detroit cheap to visit?
Presently, Detroit is a major city in the United States that is still rather inexpensive to visit! Even good quality hotels can run you less than $100 night in Detroit. Public transportation costs are extremely low, since the Q-Line is free, and the People Mover only costs 75 cents to ride.
Two of Detroit’s best guided tours– the Guardian Building and the Fisher Building, are free!
For most of my life growing up, I heard from my parents and grandparents what an amazing city Detroit used to be. It was heartbreaking having such a big city so close by and yet being told to not go to it.
I am especially grateful for the renaissance Detroit has undergone, especially in the past decade or so. Detroit is once again a place people from all over the world are visiting again and it makes me really happy!
One thing you will definitely remember about Detroit after you visit is how beautiful the city is. The architecture of its skyscrapers and the vast quality of public art in city really show how much the city of Detroit treasures and prioritizes aesthestics.
I hope you find my long list of the most fun things to do in Detroit useful and will be making a trip to the Motor City in 2023!!
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