Blake Walsh

15 Free Things to Do in Dearborn, MI

  • Published 2023/03/31

Dearborn is a bustling city in Wayne County, Michigan, known for its rich history and diverse culture.

The city is often called the “Birthplace of the Automobile Industry,” as it was home to the Ford Motor Company’s first factory, the Rouge Complex, established in 1917.

Beyond its automotive and cultural heritage, Dearborn is also home to several parks, museums, and other attractions.

With its rich history and vibrant culture, Dearborn offers visitors and residents a unique glimpse into the past and present of the American experience, making it a fantastic place to visit.

Here’s a list of free things to do in Dearborn, Michigan:

Tour the Islamic Center of America

Exterior of the Islamic Center of America

James R. Martin /

The Islamic Center of America is the largest mosque in North America.

The center was established in 1963 and has since become a symbol of the thriving Arab-American community in Dearborn.

The mosque has a 165-foot-tall minaret, a dome, and a spacious prayer hall accommodating up to 1,000 worshippers.

The Islamic Center of America is not just a place of worship.

Entrance door of the Islamic Center of America

Rmhermen, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It is also a community center for Muslims in the area, hosting various activities and events, including educational seminars, cultural celebrations, and social gatherings.

One of the most notable events at the Islamic Center of America is the annual “Open Mosque Day,” which promotes interfaith understanding and dialogue.

The event is open to people of all faiths and backgrounds.

It features guided tours of the mosque, presentations on Islam and its teachings, and an opportunity to meet and engage with Muslim community members.

Visit the Islamic Center of America for a historical exploration of Michigan.

Aerial view of the Islamic Center of America

Captured Photons /

See the Fabulous River Rouge at Ford Field Park

Ford Field Park is a sprawling park offering visitors a range of outdoor recreational activities.

One of the park’s main features is the picturesque view of the Rouge River, which runs through the park and provides a serene backdrop as you stare down the beautiful, roofed wooden bridge.

The park is also home to the start of the Rouge River Gateway Trail, a scenic trail that runs for over 27 miles through the Detroit metropolitan area.

It is popular among hikers, bikers, and runners.

Throughout the year, Ford Field Park hosts several regional events that draw thousands of visitors.

One such event is the Martian Marathon, an annual race in April.

It brings in runners from around the country and features a range of distances, from a one-mile fun run to a full marathon.

With its scenic beauty and range of activities, Ford Field Park is a beloved destination for residents and visitors of Dearborn.

Catch a Game of Baseball at Levagood Park

Levagood Park is a community park in Dearborn, offering visitors various outdoor activities and recreational opportunities.

Found at 801 North Denwood Street, the park is heavily wooded, providing plenty of shade and natural beauty to visitors.

One of the park’s main features is its four baseball diamonds in each corner.

The ample green space in the middle of the park is perfect for other activities such as picnics, frisbee, and soccer.

The park also has a small playground for little children and an excellent pool area with a waterslide and other water attractions, although, unfortunately, it is paid.

Whether visitors want a place to play sports or relax in nature, Levagood Park has something for everyone.

Visit Fair Lane, Home of Clara and Henry Ford

Exterior of Fair Lane, Home of Clara and Henry Ford

Dave Parker, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Fair Lane, Home of Clara and Henry Ford, is a historic house at 1 Fair Lane Drive in Dearborn, Michigan.

The home was built in 1913 for Henry and Clara Ford and served as their family residence until 1950.

The estate features a beautiful Tudor-style mansion designed by noted architect William Van Tine.

Stunning gardens, a greenhouse, a boathouse, and a powerhouse surround it.

The property has been designated as a National Historic Landmark and is open for tours and events.

The Fair Lane estate was known for its innovative features, including an indoor swimming pool, a central vacuum system, and a hydroelectric power plant Henry Ford designed.

The estate’s gardens were also a significant feature, with Clara Ford personally designing and overseeing their development.

Here you can visit Fair Lane as a museum, offering a glimpse into the lives of one of America’s most influential families.

If you’re interested in the life and work of Henry and Clara Ford, you cannot miss a trip to Fair Lane, Home of Clara and Henry Ford.

Check Out Masterful Artworks at Padzieski Gallery

The Padzieski Gallery is a small but vibrant art space in the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center at 15801 Michigan Avenue in Dearborn.

The gallery showcases a range of visual arts, including paintings, drawings, sculptures, and mixed media pieces.

It also features exhibits by local and national artists.

The gallery’s mission is to promote the arts in the community, provide a space for artists to showcase their work, and encourage engagement with the arts among the local population.

The Padzieski Gallery is named in honor of the late Arthur Padzieski, a local artist and teacher who was the driving force behind the gallery.

The gallery hosts several exhibitions throughout the year, including juried and solo exhibitions, providing various opportunities for artists to display their work.

The Padzieski Gallery is a vital cultural institution in the Dearborn community, providing a platform for artists to share their work and engage with the public.

The Padzieski Gallery can introduce you to the field if you want to explore contemporary art.

Ride a Bike at the River Rouge Getaway Trail

The River Rouge Gateway Trail is a beautiful bike path in Dearborn, Michigan.

The trail is approximately two miles long, winds through lush forested areas, and crosses two bridges over the scenic Rouge River.

It is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts exploring the region’s natural beauty while exercising.

The trail starts at the trailhead on Michigan Avenue, across from the Greenfield Village and the Henry Ford Museum.

Enjoy ample parking at the ideal starting point for your journey to Northville and back.

The trail is well-maintained and offers a smooth ride for bikers of all levels.

In addition to its natural beauty, the River Rouge Gateway Trail also features several rest areas with benches and picnic tables, as well as water fountains and restrooms.

Whether you’re a seasoned biker or someone who’s just simply looking for a leisurely ride, the River Rouge Gateway Trail is a must-visit destination in Dearborn.

Stroll around Downtown Dearborn

Al fresco dining at Downtown Dearborn

Mary Elise Photography /

Downtown Dearborn is a vibrant and bustling area in the heart of Dearborn, Michigan.

The district is home to many shops, restaurants, and cultural attractions, making it a perfect destination for visitors exploring the city.

Here you can start your trip at Downtown Dearborn with a stroll down Michigan Avenue, the main street in the district, which features an array of boutiques and specialty stores.

Along your walk, you can see historical attractions that are unfortunately paid for; however, the architecture and design of the buildings are still admirable.

Some of these paid attractions in Downtown Dearborn are the Henry Ford, Ford Rouge Factory, Greenfield Village, and the Arab American National Museum.

Thanks to its diverse cultural offerings and range of activities, Downtown Dearborn is a must-visit destination for anyone exploring Dearborn.

Take the Kids to Hemlock Park

Hemlock Park is one of the nine community parks here in Dearborn.

This beautiful park is a popular destination for families.

It offers a range of amenities for visitors of all ages.

It features a large picnic pavilion that can accommodate up to 200 people, making it the perfect location for gatherings and events.

In addition to the picnic pavilion, Hemlock Park features several play areas for children, including swings, slides, and climbing structures.

The park also has a public swimming pool, providing a perfect spot to cool off on hot summer days.

Sports enthusiasts will love the full-size baseball diamond, perfect for pickup games or organized league play.

Catch Jazz Music at City Hall Park

City Hall Park is a hidden gem in Dearborn, located on the grounds of the former Dearborn City Hall.

The park is a unique green space that offers a peaceful respite from the hustle and bustle of Michigan Avenue.

The park is now in the City Hall Artspace Lofts, a living space for the artist community.

It features mature trees, shaded sitting areas, and a front-row seat to the action on Michigan Avenue.

In addition to its beautiful surroundings, City Hall Park hosts occasional jazz performances in the evenings, providing visitors with a unique experience.

The park is an excellent location for a picnic or a relaxing visit with friends.

Thanks to its tranquil atmosphere and beautiful natural surroundings, City Hall Park is the perfect place to spend an afternoon in Dearborn.

In the evenings, you can visit the City Hall Park and chance upon a jazz performance as you watch the beautiful scenery of bustling Dearborn.

Spend the Day at Wagner Park

Wagner Park is a vibrant gathering place and park in the heart of Downtown Dearborn.

In a prime location surrounded by restaurants and shops, this beautiful green space is an excellent spot for people-watching and socializing.

Thanks to its beautiful greenery and inviting atmosphere, Wagner Park is the perfect place to relax and unwind after a long day.

The park is an excellent spot for a break, with plenty of benches, seating areas, and unique shops and restaurants.

You can also take great photos at Wagner Park, with the green grass looking great in contrast with the colorful stores.

Hear Mass at the Sacred Heart Catholic Parish

Exterior of Sacred Heart Catholic Parish

Dwight Burdette, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Sacred Heart Catholic Parish is a vibrant and welcoming church community in Dearborn.

The parish has a rich history dating back to 1925 and has since become a beloved institution in the local community.

The church serves a diverse population and offers various services and programs for parishioners.

The Sacred Heart Catholic Parish is a beautiful church with stunning architecture and intricate stained-glass windows.

Visit the beautiful Sacred Heart Catholic Parish for a welcoming community in Dearborn.

Interior of Sacred Heart Catholic Parish

Dwight Burdette, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Other Free Things to Do Nearby

Visit the Historic Fisher Building

Exterior of Fisher Building

Patricia Marks /

The Fisher Building is an iconic landmark in Detroit, Michigan, 12 minutes from Dearborn.

This stunning Art Deco masterpiece was completed in 1928, featuring 30 stories of luxurious office space, retail stores, and a gorgeous grand lobby.

Take a free guided tour of the building and explore its architectural details, including beautiful murals, intricate mosaics, and lavish marble floors.

One of the highlights of a visit to the Fisher Building is the stunning grand lobby, considered one of the most beautiful in the world.

Interior of the Fisher Building

Davslens Photography /

It has a 40-foot vaulted ceiling, intricate mosaics, and numerous Art Deco details, making it a must-see destination for architecture and design enthusiasts.

The Fisher Building is also a great spot to catch cultural events and performances.

The Fisher Theatre, located within the building, hosts a variety of live shows, including plays, musicals, and concerts.

Aerial view of the Fisher Building

GooAir Drones /

Picnic with Family at the Parkland Recreation Area

Parkland Recreational Area is a massive park in Dearborn Heights, Michigan, eight minutes from Dearborn.

It is a popular destination for visitors looking to escape the city life’s hustle and bustle.

The park is excellent for hiking, picnicking, and enjoying the great outdoors, thanks to its heavily forested areas, beautiful green open spaces, and rolling hills.

One of the highlights of the Parkland Recreational Area is the covered pavilion.

It features several benches and provides a peaceful spot to sit and enjoy the park’s natural beauty.

The pavilion is next to a lovely green playenjoyand swings, making it an excellent spot for families with young children.

Here you can enjoy a picnic in the open space, explore the many hiking trails, or relax in the shade of a tree.

Enjoy the Detroit River at the Detroit Riverwalk Park

Splash pad of Detroit Riverwalk Park


You can also visit the Detroit Riverwalk Park, a stunning waterfront park in Detroit, 13 minutes from Dearborn.

This 3.5-mile-long park offers breathtaking views of the river and the Detroit skyline and is home to various attractions and activities for visitors of all ages.

One of the highlights of the Detroit Riverwalk Park is the Riverfront Carousel, a beautifully restored carousel built in 1915.

Visitors of all ages can ride the carousel and enjoy the stunning views of the river and the city skyline.

Carousel at Detroit Riverwalk Park


You can also see several sculptures and artwork, including the famous “Transcending” sculpture, which depicts a prominent figure reaching toward the sky.

The park also hosts various events and festivals throughout the year, including the Detroit River Days festival and the Riverfront Independence Day celebration.

Whether you’rexploringre the city’s rich history and culture orelaxing and enjoyingoy the stunning views, the Detroit Riverwalk Park has something for everyone.

People walking along Detroit Riverwalk Park

gg5795 /

Smell the Flowers at Taylor Conservatory & Botanical Gardens

Welcome sign of Taylor Conservatory & Botanical Gardens

JJonahJackalope, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Taylor Conservatory & Botanical Gardens is in Taylor, Michigan, 16 minutes from Dearborn.

This conservatory is a hidden gem that covers 25 acres and features several themed gardens, including a rose garden, a sensory garden, a herb garden, and a Japanese garden, among others.

The gardens are meticulously maintained, making them a perfect spot to relax and enjoy nature’s beauty.

In addition to the stunning gardens, the Taylor Conservatory hosts various events and educational programs throughout the year.

Exterior of Taylor Conservatory & Botanical Gardens

JJonahJackalope, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You can join workshops on gardening, cooking, and floral design, listen to live music performances, and check out art exhibits.

Likewise, you can enjoy outdoor yoga classes, and nature walks, making the conservatory a perfect destination to connect with nature.

Whether you’re looking to attend an event or explore the gardens, the Taylor Conservatory & Botanical Gardens is a place you don’t want to miss.

Final Thoughts

Dearborn is a charming place with a healthy mix of history, culture, and beautiful surroundings.

Dearborn is truly a beautiful city, from historical museums to religious places, unique parks, and scenic places to visit nearby.

Enjoy a budget-friendly trip with these best things to do in Dearborn, Michigan!

© All rights reserved.