Looking for Things to Do in Detroit? Come This Way.
Detroit, Michigan is chock-full of events, attractions, historical sites, culture, and art. The city has plenty of fun things to do, see, and learn. From wandering through the many, many museums in the city to antique shopping, kayaking, and touring, we are breaking down for you all of the best things to do in Detroit.
1. Head to the Detroit Riverfront
When the weather is warm, the riverfront turns into the best venue for activities such as concerts, yoga, biking, and more. Visitors to the Detroit area will find many locals strolling along the riverfront as well. It is a hub for all things outdoorsy and fun during the summertime. We recommend taking a walk or bike ride by the riverfront on your trip to Detroit.
2. Hang Out at Campus Martius Park
Another great spot to rest or hang out with friends is Campus Martius Park. The park features many free events and programs throughout the year that travelers are encouraged to take advantage of. There are classes, concerts, and even an ice skating rink at Campus Martius Park. Concerning the best things to do in Detroit, getting out to the park and enjoying the free programs offered is high on the list.
3. Eat Freshly Made Chocolates at Morley Candy Makers
Tour the factory where Sanders chocolate and desserts were created. The factory tour is free and we know individuals of all ages will love exploring Morley Candy Makers. Who doesn’t love chocolate? After the tour, hop into the candy and gift shop to purchase some yummy treats. Morley Candy Makers is all around a sweet place – a very sweet place.
4. Visit the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
The museum seeks to educate the public on the history, culture, and experiences of African Americans. A great place to learn about the history of African Americans is to go to the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. The museum sheds light on the real struggles and challenges, as well as the strides forward, of the black community in the United States.
5. Stop by the MBAD African Bead Museum
The MBAD African Bead Museum is a masterpiece. Made up of mostly outdoor exhibits, the museum’s walls are cloaked in dazzling beads. It is an absolute gem of a place to be in Detroit. The bead collection is fascinating and is worth admiring. It is also worth speaking with Dabls to hear about the history of the collection. The MBAD African Bead Museum occupies nearly an entire city block and is a can’t miss when looking for things to do in Detroit.
6. Go on a River Tour
Jump on deck and take a cruise on the Detroit River. There are many river cruise and boat tour companies that offer lovely trips on the water. Many are narrated and offer fascinating information about the city. Feeling the wind on your face and sun on your cheeks while taking in the city views is an experience that you will love.
7. Visit the Arab American National Museum
Detroit’s Arab American National Museum is the only museum in the United States devoted to the history and culture of Arab Americans. Arab Americans have made significant, positive contributions to the United States. The information presented in the museum works to dismantle many of the misconceptions surrounding Arab Americans, as well as other minorities. This museum is educational, thoughtful, and sheds necessary light on the experiences of Arab Americans.
8. Go to the Detroit Historical Museum
Among the best things to do in Detroit is to learn about the history of Detroit. The Detroit Historical Museum is devoted to just that – telling the story of Detroit. The museum is free and is the perfect place to learn and educate yourself while in the city. Dedicated to local history, we highly recommend stopping by the Detroit Historical Museum.
9. Get a Refreshment from the Detroit Water Ice Factory
Water Ice: Don’t knock it until you try it. Water ice is an interesting phenomenon and while you may be hesitant, you are sure to be surprised in the best way. Those unfamiliar with water ice will find it to be a nice, refreshing treat on a hot summer day. Water ice is fat-free, dairy free, cholesterol free, all things free! Except for the price. However, all the profits go towards helping the community of Detroit. We 100% recommend swinging by the Detroit Water Ice Factory to try a flavor or two.
10. Check out the Detroit Institute of Arts
The Detroit Institute of Arts is home to one of the greatest collections of art in the United States. Over 65,000 pieces of art are housed within this museum. Those who appreciate art will find the broad range of artwork to be impressive and worth the visit.
11. Stop by Eight Mile Wall
Eight Mile Wall has been referred to as Detroit’s Berlin Wall. It was originally constructed to segregate the black and white community. It still stands today, as does segregation in Detroit. The wall has since been painted over with colorful murals and is a reminder of the persisting racial divisions in the city. The murals on the wall send messages of unity and hope in a city still bubbling with racial tension.
12. Visit the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit
Though the Museum of Contemporary Art in Detroit is small, it has a number of rotating exhibits that are worth checking out. The bright painted mural on the exterior of the building is beautiful and enough to call visitors into the museum.
13. Step Inside the Motown Museum
The Motown Sound was born here. Founded in 1985, the Motown Museum is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Detroit. Visitors from all over come to see the studio where their favorite artists and musicians recorded, as well as to see the house where Berry Gordy lived.
14. See the Creativity of the Heidelberg Project
Detroit has a huge art scene. From the many museums to the murals coating buildings and walls, Detroit is full of color and creativity. Heidelberg Project is another one of those creative spots to check out in the city. This outdoor art exhibit is a wonder. Unique style is featured in this open-air exhibition. Heidelberg Project remains one of the most popular things to do in Detroit.
15. Visit Pewabic Pottery
Continuing on with the art attractions to be found in Detroit, Pewabic Pottery is a place all artists will enjoy. History lovers will also appreciate the rich history of Pewabic Pottery, as it is a National Historic Landmark. Pewabic was founded in 1903 and believes in the power of art to help the community. Through exhibitions, outreach, and education, Pewabic Pottery inspires all people to tap into their creativity. Pieces are also up for purchase at Pewabic Pottery.
16. Go to the Michigan Science Center
See science in a fun, creative, and hands-on way at the Michigan Science Center. Within the science center, there is a planetarium, an IMAX theater, as well as interactive exhibits and more. Families with young kids will especially love the interactive nature of the Michigan Science Center.
17. Read a Book at the Detroit Public Library
Libraries aren’t the first place you think of visiting when exploring a new city, but the Detroit Public Library is something you can’t miss. With murals, columns, and tall ceilings, you will walk into the library and feel the history that is wrapped up in these walls. While looking for things to do in Detroit, we recommend wandering the aisles of books or grabbing one to read in the library.
18. Admire the Art at the Polish Art Center
This quaint and cozy spot is filled with Polish culture and traditional art. There is jewelry, folk dolls, candies, cookies, books, apparel, and other homemade goods at the Polish Art Center. This Polish treasure chest is a great place to stop by while in Detroit.
19. Explore the Scarab Club
The Scarab Club has all things pertaining to art, music, and literature. This creative institution has galleries, exhibits, and hosts events throughout the year for people to attend. Check out their website to find all the latest happens at the Scarab Club. Those of you who are big into the culture and arts scene will love it here.
20. Shop at the Detroit Antique Mall
Detroit is the place to be for antique lovers. There are many places to search for antiques in Detroit, but our recommendation is the Detroit Antique Mall. What one perceives as useless junk, another will see as a treasure. When wandering into the antique stores, we hope you find some treasures.
21. Attend a Parade
Frequently there are parades taking place in Detroit. We advise doing some research before your trip and seeing if there are any parades taking place while you are in the area. If there are, attending a parade can be an exciting way to experience and support the local community of Detroit.
22. Watch a Performance at Fox Theatre
This historic theatre opened its doors in 1928 and is a National Historic Landmark. Interestingly enough, Fox Theatre is the largest surviving theatre from the 1920s. Visitors can tour Fox Theatre or attend a show during their trip to Detroit. When planning your trip to the city and searching for things to do in Detroit, we recommend looking at Fox Theatre’s website to see what performances and musicals are currently playing. Book your tickets before your trip.
23. Pick Apples and Drink Cider at Westview Orchards & Adventure Farm
Depending on the time of year it is when you travel to Detroit, we suggest checking out the Westview Orchards & Adventure Farm. There is apple picking, cider mills, hay rides, pumpkin picking, a corn maze and more. The orchard is a blast for the entire family. Whether you are visiting the city or call Detroit your home, all will enjoy the apple orchards at Westview.
24. Order a Coney Dog
Coney dogs are ordinary hot dogs with a twist. A distinct chili topping is added to the hot dog and it is all served on a soft bun. Detroiters are very proud of their well-known Coney dog. Therefore, when in the city you will have to try one. There are certainly different variations of Coneys to be found throughout Detroit. Try them all if you wish.
25. Eat Greek Food
Traditional Greek cuisine can be found in abundance within Detroit. This is due to the large number of Greek immigrants who moved to Detroit in the 1830s. Specifically, within Greektown, you can find numerous restaurants serving tons of authentic Greek meals. Apart from the food, Greektown is also a fantastic place to be for how lively the area is. For the flavor, the vibes, and the people, we highly recommend a visit to Greektown when in Detroit.
26. Explore Eastern Market
One short mile outside of downtown Detroit, Eastern Market is a lovely historic market that you must explore while in Detroit. In fact, it is the largest historic public market in the United States. Sold at the market are fresh fruits, vegetables, spices, and local, handmade artwork. In addition, musicians often perform at the market. The environment at Eastern Market is upbeat and full of fun.
27. Cool Off at Palmer Park Splash Park
Who doesn’t love water parks? On summer days, cool off at Palmer Park Splash Park. Kids will love splish-splashing at this park on a hot day. Community members and visitors to the Detroit area are welcome to join and hang out at the Palmer Park Splash Park.
28. Tour Meadow Brook Hall
As a National Historic Landmark, Meadow Brook Hall is a historic 88,000 square foot home that visitors to Detroit must journey through. The place has an interesting history to learn about, as well as beautifully intricate architecture to marvel over. Meadow Brook Hall offers daily tours of the property so visitors can see and experience all that the property has to offer. The tour options include the general house tour, the behind-the-scenes tour, and the walking estate tour. Each tour is fabulous and informative in its own way. There are also a number of community programs that run through Meadow Brooks Hall including a Mother-Daughter Tea, Children’s Garden Scavenger Hunt, lectures, and gardening workshops. Speaking of gardens, we highly recommend the walking estate tour so you can behold the lovely gardens.
29. Creatives, Check Out Drinks X Design
Calling all creatives. The second Thursday of every month, Drinks X Design provides a space for creatives to connect. The organization strives to connect creative businesses, artists, and designers in order to build a thriving creative community in Detroit. If you are a creative looking to network or share your work with fellow creatives, then try to be in Detroit when a Drinks X Design event is happening. Their website has more information concerning the location and dates for the events.
30. Tour the City on Your Own
Leisurely walking up and down the Detroit city streets has to be among one of the best things to do in Detroit. Stroll at your own pace, stop into shops, dine at hole-in-the-wall restaurants, and meet the locals. Sometimes having no plan is the greatest plan because it frees you up to be open to whatever comes your way. Those who have a knack for spontaneity, we suggest hitting the streets without an agenda. Go wherever the wind takes you while you explore Detroit.
Detroit, We Are Coming For You
There you have it, the 30 best things to do in Detroit. Detroit has a thriving arts scene, as we are sure you have picked up on after reading this list. There is also a lot of culture and history to discover in this Michigan city. Museums are plentiful and fantastic spots to learn about the history of Detroit in addition to learning about social injustices that persist in the city today. After a morning of education, head over to Greektown for a traditional Greek lunch meal. In the afternoon, go down to the riverfront or the park and listen to live music. Or, do any of the other things we have suggested for you to do when in this wonderful city of Detroit.
What are your favorite things to do in Detroit? Share about it in the comments below!