Living in Detroit is an exciting experience.
You've got the vibrancy of a city that's been reborn, a creative energy that's palpable, and a history that's rich and gritty.
Detroit is a diverse metropolis where you'll hear music pouring out of renovated warehouses, see murals transform buildings into canvases, and witness the resurgence of neighborhoods.
There's a unique blend of old and new, raw and refined, grit and glamour.
It's a city that woos you with its transformation and keeps you captivated with its spirit.
I've had the pleasure of exploring many of its hidden gems and iconic landmarks.
So buckle up because I'm going to take you through the best things to do in Detroit, Michigan!
Our aim is not just to guide you to popular places but to encourage you to venture out and experience the city for yourself.
Explore the World through Art at the Detroit Institute of Arts
Every city has its own beating heart, a place that resonates with the city's soul.
For me, that place in Detroit is the Detroit Institute of Arts. It's not just a museum; it's a journey that transports you through time and across continents.
A treasure trove of over 100 galleries, it's the place I escape to when I need to fuel my imagination.
I've spent countless hours wandering through its vast collection, which spans from the ancient to the modern era.
Whether it's the Native American art pieces from across the Americas, the Hellenistic collections, or the spectacular exhibits from Asia and Africa, there's always something new and amazing to discover.
And let's not forget the Egyptian gallery!
It's a concise yet stunning introduction to the wealth of Egyptian culture.
On most days, the museum is quiet and serene, almost meditative.
But the magic comes alive during the interactive bits peppered across the galleries.
These special moments invite young and old to become a part of the art and history on display.
It's something I always look forward to, and I would definitely love to see more of these interactive moments in the future.
Surprisingly, despite it being one of the country's most stunning museums, the price of admission is quite affordable.
In fact, there are even select days when residents of Wayne County, like myself, can enter for free.
But I'd gladly pay the admission fee anytime, knowing that new exhibits and experiences await me each time I visit.
Oh, and did I mention the little café inside the museum?
It's the perfect spot to grab a coffee break amidst my historical escapade.
It's also a great place to soak in the beauty of the museum and the art it houses.
But don't take my word for it; come and experience the wonder of the Detroit Institute of Arts for yourself!
Discover History at the Charles H. Wright Museum
Have you ever been so captivated by a place where time seems to stand still, where every inch is filled with an overwhelming amount of knowledge and awe-inspiring exhibits?
That place, for me, is the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.
Stepping inside, I was greeted by a spectacular main exhibit chronicling the timeline of Africans to America as slaves and beyond.
The chronological journey was further enhanced by audio and visual displays that vividly painted the picture of African American history.
The parallel timeline of Detroit's connection with Africans and African Americans was also enlightening.
One particular exhibit that left an indelible mark on me is the "And Still We Rise" display.
The level of detail and dedication that went into this exhibit was absolutely remarkable and deeply moving.
This isn't just an exhibit; it's a profound experience that brings you closer to the nuances of black history that usually remain untouched in traditional textbooks.
Being a fan of traveling, the Michigan Green Book special exhibit was a delightful surprise.
Having read the book and seen the movie, it was interesting to see the Michigan focus.
The Idlewild Resort video stood out, telling the fascinating stories of past black vacationers.
It was like being part of their travels, walking in their shoes, and understanding their experiences.
With every visit, I learn something new.
I feel more connected to my roots and the history that led to where we are today.
Explore Detroit's History at the Detroit Historical Museum
It's not an overstatement to say that the Detroit Historical Museum is a gem tucked away in the heart of the city.
My first visit there was a captivating journey through the pages of Detroit's history.
The museum is much more than a mere building; it's a time machine that takes you back to the city's past, with interactive exhibits and recreated streets resonating with the spirit of Detroit.
The staff there enriched my experience by being incredibly kind and helpful.
They have a wealth of knowledge about the city's history and are always ready to answer any query.
What surprised me was the flexible ticketing system.
The tickets I bought online for just $10, could be used any day and time, allowing me to plan my visit without any pressure.
The museum isn't just for history buffs or adults.
It's a family-friendly spot with exhibits that can spark children's curiosity about our city's past.
And yes, it is also handicap accessible, ensuring nobody misses out on this historical journey.
My expectations were subverted when I walked into the museum. I was expecting car exhibits, considering Detroit's history with automobiles.
But there was so much more. I found myself lost in a vintage Holiday Inn room, gazing at the presidential limos and even dining at a recreated diner serving Sloppy Joe's and apple pie!
One of the highlights of my visit was the Motown exhibit.
Being a music lover, I could not help but groove to the Motown classics.
It was like a trip down memory lane, celebrating the city's rich musical heritage.
However, I did feel a slight sting when I was charged as a non-resident for my admission.
Despite living just outside Detroit but still inside Wayne County, I had hoped for the local fee.
It was a small setback, but the overall experience was well worth it.
I'm excited about the museum's future plans to include the admittance of other cities like Grosse Pointe and Woods as other Wayne County residents.
The Detroit Historical Museum is a must-visit for anyone looking to experience the city's vibrant past. I can't wait for my next visit.
Visit a Famous Car's Birthplace the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant Museum
It was another cold Saturday morning in Detroit when I decided to shake off the winter chill by stepping back in time at the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant Museum.
Wrapped in my favorite scarf and coat, I made my way to the heart of the city's historic birthplace of the automobile.
Visiting the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant Museum is like opening a time capsule - it's where the legacy of the Ford Motor Company took root.
As soon as I stepped inside the restored 1904 factory, I could almost hear the echoes of the industry that once buzzed within its walls.
This is where the iconic Model T was born, dreamt up, and initially launched before the demand for it grew so immense that production had to be moved to a larger facility.
I walked through the museum, every corner bursting with the charm of yesteryears and the industrial grit that made Detroit what it is today.
The museum volunteers, well-versed in the rich history of this place, painted vivid pictures of the past with their storytelling, making my visit even more memorable.
The museum itself was not overly large, but it was filled to the brim with history.
I recommend at least an hour and a half to absorb the exhibits.
As a car enthusiast, it was thrilling to get up close and personal with the vehicles, even if there was only one that visitors could actually get in.
But the crown jewel of the museum had to be the secret experiment room hidden behind heavy doors, where Henry Ford and his team brainstormed and experimented to create the Model T. Standing in that room, I could practically feel the hum of innovation in the air.
Before leaving, I stopped by the museum's gift shop near the admissions office.
It was not just your typical gift shop - it was filled with all sorts of unique items that reflected the spirit of the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant.
If you plan on visiting the Henry Ford Museum, make sure to stop by the Piquette Avenue Plant first.
It's a warm, inviting trip back in time that offers a unique perspective on the history of Ford and Detroit.
And remember to dress warmly in the winter, as not all floors are heated!
Immerse Yourself in the Melodies of the Past at the Motown Museum
Every time I step into the Motown Museum, it feels like I am being transported back to a golden era of music.
The walls resonate with the echoes of iconic artists and legendary hits.
Trust me, if you are a music enthusiast seeking an experience that pays homage to the rich cultural tapestry of Detroit, this is the place to be.
The camaraderie of the Supremes, the silken melodies of the Miracles, and the rhythm of the Temptations are all beautifully preserved at this place.
The collection of the label's art, memorabilia, and the famous Studio A, where great music was crafted, are features that will leave you mesmerized.
And let's not forget about the Supremes' costumes that add a dash of glamour to the overall experience!
I took the guided tour - lasting over an hour - and it was an enlightening journey through Motown's history.
The guide was well-versed in the stories that make up Motown's marvelous past, and the artifacts on display are unique, something you won't find anywhere else.
Remember to purchase your tickets in advance and note that they're closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
The palpable excitement of being in the same space where great artists once stood is an experience that's hard to put into words.
It's like a step into the past, but with a soundtrack that makes the heart and soul dance with joy.
The magic that took place at this humble site created a music phenomenon that will forever live in America's heart and soul, and you can feel it as soon as you arrive.
Remember, you can click away and capture all the memories you want, but videos are a no-go.
I promise you, though, the Motown Museum is a spectacle to behold, a musical landmark that's worth every second of your visit.
Feel the Adrenaline Rush at the Comerica Park
There's something magical about Comerica Park, home of the Detroit Tigers.
I remember one summer day when I decided to catch a game just for the thrill of it.
The beautiful tiger statues sat atop the stadium, their eyes seemingly watching over the game with steadfast determination.
I couldn't help but admire the towering 50-foot Ferris wheel, which added a bit of whimsy and fun to the atmosphere.
One of the best things about the park is the sheer variety of food available.
It's a diverse food court that caters to all tastes and preferences.
From classic hot dogs to gourmet options, there's always something to tickle your taste buds.
I got my seat behind the home plate and was immediately impressed with the view.
It was as if I was almost on the field!
The fans were passionate but courteous, a testament to the spirit of the game.
It was endearing to watch the Tiger mascot, who was incredibly patient with kids, making their experience all the more special.
The pro shop at the park left a lasting impression on me as well.
They offer custom jerseys, which they ship to your home. I remember getting my custom jersey shipped to my home, a testament to their excellent customer service.
One thing I'd advise anyone on a visit here is to keep an eye out for the park's events and celebrations.
It's common to have themed nights and fireworks, which truly light up the atmosphere.
The visual effects of the video board were truly amazing, adding to the overall sensory experience.
Catch a Show at Fox Theatre
It was another typical Saturday evening when I decided to step out of my routine and immerse myself in the mesmerizing world of theater.
I couldn't think of a better place to do so than the grandeur of the Fox Theatre right here in the heart of our city.
From the moment I stepped through Fox Theatre's grand entrance, I was captivated.
The gilded, Asian-inspired decor that adorns the entire theater is truly a sight to behold - it's like walking into a different world.
In fact, the venue itself was so captivating that it was easy to forget why I was here in the first place - to watch a show.
The friendly staff ushered me to my seat on the second floor, and the anticipation began to build.
As the lights dimmed and the curtain lifted, I was transported into the world of theater, enveloped by the fantastic sound that filled the entire hall.
I could feel the floor slightly moving beneath my feet as the audience started jumping in unison, an experience that only added to the excitement of the night.
During the intermission, I took advantage of the opportunity to explore more of the theater.
The intricate artwork detailing the walls and ceilings left me in awe.
It's not just a theater but a work of art in itself.
One bit of advice to fellow enthusiasts: remember to check their bag rules before heading out.
I saw a few flustered theater-goers having to dash back to their cars to drop off their bags.
In fact, save yourself the trouble and travel light.
After all, it's the experience that you'd want to carry back, not baggage!
Stroll Through Campus Martius Park
Every day, I find myself drawn to Campus Martius Park.
Nestled in the heart of Detroit, the park is a remarkable oasis amid the bustling city.
An interesting feature is its layout, which almost resembles a roundabout, situated between the city streets and the skyline.
The park spans two city blocks, filled with beautifully manicured green spaces, intriguing sculptures, and lively fountains.
It's my go-to spot when I need a breath of fresh air or want to enjoy a quiet afternoon.
Every corner of Campus Martius Park is designed for visitors to unwind and appreciate the tranquility it offers amidst the city's hustle and bustle.
One of my favorite features of the park is the stage set for outdoor performances.
I've attended numerous concerts and cultural events here, and each one has been nothing short of an enchanting experience.
But nothing can quite match up to the magic of the park during the winter months.
The ice-skating ring is the star attraction and a sight to behold.
Decorated with beautiful holiday lights, it becomes a festive meeting place for the community.
One can't ignore the choice of dining options offered at the park.
From casual eateries to upscale restaurants, there's something for everyone.
In my opinion, there's nothing better than enjoying a delicious meal while soaking in the picturesque views of the park and the city's skyline.
The revival of downtown Detroit is heartwarming to witness.
The intricate décor on the buildings, many of which have been bought and renovated by Dan Gilbert, has brought a nostalgic charm to the area.
Marvel at the Grandeur of Fisher Building
You haven't truly experienced Detroit until you've stepped into the timeless splendor of the Fisher Building.
It's an architectural marvel that has been a symbol of our city's elegance since 1928.
A walk through this art deco masterpiece feels like traveling back in time.
Every inch of the Fisher Building is adorned with intricate details that showcase the pinnacle of craftsmanship.
Stunning white marble sourced from around the world is a sight to behold.
It's not just another building; it's a love letter to Detroit, etched in stone.
I've had the pleasure of attending several plays at the theater inside the building.
The plays are always fantastic, but it's the venue that truly captures the imagination.
The grandiose architecture continues inside the theater, with ornate ceilings and gilded accents creating an ambiance that makes each performance all the more magical.
While you're in the building, don't forget to take one of the guided tours offered by Pure Detroit.
It's an incredible way to learn about the Fisher Building's history and appreciate its architectural beauty.
You'll find yourself seeing the building in a whole new light.
However, I must note that the prices for refreshments and snacks are higher than you'd expect, and they don't usually offer meals.
You'd also want to be careful navigating the main upper balcony, as the lighting leaves much to be desired.
Despite these minor inconveniences, the Fisher Building remains a gem of Detroit that continues to dazzle visitors and locals alike.
Every visit is an experience to remember, and I can't wait for my next trip to this art deco wonderland.
Admire the View from the GMRenCen Diner
I remember the first time I made my way to the GMRenCen Diner.
It was a quiet Friday on Memorial Day weekend.
It felt like the city had taken a pause, and not many people were out and about.
Outside of a Burger King in the food court, there wasn't much open.
Life hadn't allowed me to visit the RenCen in over a decade.
The last time I was there, my wife was by my side. Since her illness, things have changed.
Yet, returning to the RenCen felt like meeting an old friend.
Everything was new and yet familiar.
couldn't help but marvel at the atrium along the river - what a sight it was, adorned with palm trees; it was truly breathtaking.
The place was brimming with GM vehicles; they were everywhere. From classics to unique models, it felt like a feast for the eyes.
The roundabout at the bottom level was a surprise.
It transformed into an outside area, a fish tank, and more at regular intervals.
It was clean and well-maintained. New furniture adorned each level, adding to the charm of the place.
Take Snaps with Detroit’s Art Deco Gem: The Guardian Building
Every time I stroll through downtown Detroit, I'm astounded by the city's rich architectural heritage, and one building that never fails to catch my eye is the Guardian Building.
A testament to the city's roaring twenties, this historic art deco skyscraper was erected in 1928 and continues to stand with a grace and grandeur that's hard to miss.
Stepping into the Guardian Building is like stepping back in time - the lobby is resplendent with colorful tiled patterns, a vibrant homage to the geometric designs that define the art deco style.
I'm not shy to admit that I often find myself standing in awe, craning my neck to take in the full splendor of the ceiling.
The building's main hall is equally impressive, boasting a full-length painted mural that's as educational as it is aesthetically pleasing.
It offers a visual narrative of Michigan's demographic map areas and the agricultural and industrial aspects that were the building blocks of the state.
One aspect that really delights me as a resident is the Guardian Building's active participation in the community.
Every Sunday, the building hosts tours that tell stories of the past while celebrating the present.
On my recent visit, I joined one such tour, which was an experience like no other.
The guide expertly wove together tales of the building's history with its artistic construction, leaving me with a newfound appreciation for this local masterpiece.
Immerse in Nature at Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory
On those chilly winter days, there's no place like Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory to escape the cold and immerse yourself in the warmth of a tropical paradise.
It's a veritable oasis brimming over with lush plant life that never ceases to amaze me, no matter how many times I visit.
The instant you step into the conservatory, it's like being transported into another world.
The air is warm and humid, carrying with it the intoxicating aroma of countless flowers and plants.
I always take my time to explore the different sections, each one showcasing a unique collection of flora.
From radiant flowers to exotic ferns and cacti, the conservatory offers a cornucopia of nature’s wonders that never fails to delight.
Another stunning feature is the koi pond, which is a sight to behold in itself.
The pond is home to some beautiful Koi that are a treat to watch, especially in the warmer months when the pond isn’t frozen over.
Conveniently located just 15 minutes from downtown, the conservatory is a perfect day trip destination.
There's plenty of parking, and it's always a pleasure to pack a picnic lunch and enjoy a meal on the grounds.
The conservatory also shares its space with an aquarium, which I highly recommend visiting if you have the time.
The conservatory has always been a favorite spot of mine for a quiet afternoon stroll, a place where I can lose myself in the beauty of nature.
Sit by the Water at Detroit Riverfront
Every city has its heart, and for me, the Detroit Riverfront is the beating pulse of Detroit.
I can't count how many times I've taken to the RiverWalk, losing myself in the tranquil beauty of the waterside district.
And believe me when I say it never gets old.
The expansive parks and plazas, filled with the sound of music and the cheerful buzz of festivals, make it a great place to unwind and catch up with loved ones.
One of my favorite things about the riverfront is the bar that sits right by the water.
Nothing beats the experience of sipping a cold drink while absorbing the breathtaking views and the rhythm of the live music.
On many a summer night, you'll find me at the concert venue, swaying to tunes under the open sky.
If you're into music like me, you'd be thrilled to know that the RiverWalk hosts a variety of concerts throughout the season.
The Detroit Riverfront isn't just about the entertainment, though.
The beauty of this place lies in its views.
The RiverWalk has often been voted the best in the US, and once you're there, you'll see why.
While you're here, don't miss the chance to hop on the fairy that takes you along the lake - it's as magical as it sounds. Remember to also explore the Heart Plaza, the Outdoor Adventure Center, and Belle Isle.
They're just a walk away and offer unique experiences.
Oh, and a word to the wise, especially if you're new around here – keep an eye on your GPS.
You wouldn't want to miss an exit and end up in Canada through the Detroit Windsor tunnel.
That's a different adventure for another day.
Hike through Belle Isle
You never truly grasp the serenity of Belle Isle until you've wandered its trails yourself.
Just picture this - nestled in the Detroit River, this little gem of an island is my home away from home.
On any given day, you'll find me taking a leisurely stroll along the hiking trails near the athletic building.
I'll occasionally pause to watch the splendid views of Detroit and Windsor before dipping my toes in the sand at the beach.
The sight of the water glistening under the sun is a spectacle worth a thousand words.
The island is a splendid playground for children and adults alike, not to mention the picnic areas where locals like me often spend our summer afternoons.
The park is exceptionally clean, a testament to the pride Detroiters take in their beloved park.
But the jewel in the crown is the majestic fountain, flanked by a couple of food trucks serving delicious bites.
As the day winds down, I recommend finding a quiet spot at Sunset Point.
Trust me, the view between Windsor and Detroit from here is simply breathtaking.
I often tell visitors that one of the best ways to get around is by bike.
For just $18, you can rent one for two hours and explore at your leisure.
If you fancy a dip, there's a beautiful beach where you can swim.
Unfortunately, I haven't had the chance to visit the aquarium and the garden, but they are definitely on my to-visit list.
There's something reassuring about knowing that I have this sanctuary right in the heart of the city, a place where I can escape and yet feel completely at home.
Take a Glimpse into the Majestic Underwater World at Belle Isle Aquarium
I find something enchantingly captivating about the underwater world, and the Belle Isle Aquarium offers a portal to this mesmerizing universe.
It's the architecture of the place that first catches your eye - a grand, restored circa-1904 building with an impressively detailed tile ceiling, I believe to be the original.
A stroll through this charming structure is like a walk down history lane, showcasing the care and dedication to preserving its original grandeur.
As you enter, a diverse array of aquatic inhabitants greets you, from the majestic octopus to the nearly electric eel that's almost as long as its tank.
It's a thrilling experience to be so close to these creatures that you otherwise only get to see them in documentaries.
But, as you take in the spectacle, you can't help but notice the tight spaces these creatures have as their homes.
The larger fish seem to be almost on top of each other, while even a shrimp appears to be caught in an unending cycle of repetitive motion.
There's no denying the beauty of this place or the incredible collection of garfish, but it does make you wonder about the habitats these creatures are so far removed from.
It's not about blaming anyone or advocating for a cause; it's about pondering the ethical treatment of these living organisms.
A visit to this aquarium definitely stirs a mix of admiration and introspection in you.
Whilst wandering around Belle Isle, make sure to stop by the quaint little gift shop outside the aquarium.
It's a charming add-on to the grandeur of the aquarium.
And as you leave, you can't help but notice the expanding conservatory next door, housing a plethora of growing plants – a stark contrast to the limited spaces of the aquarium's inhabitants.
Take Pictures with Detroit's Architectural Jewel: Michigan Central Station
Every time I pass by the grand façade of the Michigan Central Station, I can't help but admire its captivating beauty.
The meticulously preserved historical charm intertwined with a touch of modernity is a sight that never fails to take my breath away, especially when it lights up the enchanting Detroit skyline at night.
It's like walking into a time capsule, where with every step, I'm drawn deeper into the past.
Yet, it's as if I've been transported into the future, surrounded by contemporary lighting features that add a mesmerizing glow to the edifice.
The play of light and shadows on the intricate architectural details creates a magical ambiance that is truly a spectacle to behold.
Once an abandoned relic, the station is a bustling hub, teeming with energy and activity.
I love walking through the spacious interior that is now home to various retail spaces, cafes, and cultural exhibits.
When the sun sets, and the cityscape transforms into a canvas of glittering lights, the station stands as a beacon, casting an ethereal glow over the city.
It's a sight that never fails to evoke a sense of awe in me, as well as a sense of pride to be part of a city that values its architectural heritage.
Being a part of this city and witnessing its transformation and resurgence is an experience that's hard to put into words.
Peruse the Artworks featured at Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit
The first time I walked into the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, I was taken aback.
What used to be an ex-auto dealership was transformed into a vast gallery, with walls stretching far into the distance, housing stunning, ever-changing exhibits.
The open, minimalist spaces are a feast for the eyes, drawing you towards the art pieces.
The exhibits are varied, with an impressive selection of contemporary art shows and thought-provoking lectures.
One of my favorite parts is a permanent installation behind the building - a full-scale replica of the artist's childhood home.
You can walk through it, and even hang out inside, offering a unique insight into the artist's early life and inspirations.
The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit is just the right size.
It’s big enough to house a small number of installations without feeling overwhelming.
You can take your time and appreciate each piece without rushing, even if you're only there to see one artist.
Bring Your Kids to The Heidelberg Project
I've always loved living near The Heidelberg Project.
Regularly, I find myself drawn to its eclectic installations, each an amalgamation of recycled materials, forming an abstract canvas that tells countless stories.
The whole area is just a short 10-15 minute drive from downtown Detroit and has always been a hub for locals, tourists, and art enthusiasts.
Stepping into this outdoor art space is like stepping into a wonderland of ideas.
Each piece is a testament to the creativity of the artists who breathe new life into discarded items.
There is a certain surreal quality about the entire project that I still find astounding, even after countless visits.
The installations are expressive, thought-provoking, and often eerie.
Every color, every item, and every installation seems to dissect the world around us, constantly pushing the boundaries of our perceptions.
The recurring theme of 'TIME' is portrayed in more ways than one and forces you to reconsider your own perspective on time and its passage.
One of the best things about this place is that it's free to visit, and there's always ample parking on the street.
You just need to watch the signs.
I still remember when the project was just beginning.
I was just a kid back then but already felt a connection to the project.
My mother knew the main artist and had always admired his work.
The Heidelberg Project has evolved over the years, becoming an emblem of protest and a platform for expressing the unexpressed.
It's an experience that I'd recommend to anyone interested in art, history, or social movements.
Even now, I wish I knew more about the thought process behind each event and the history of the project.
It truly is a treasure trove for anyone seeking to understand the world through the lens of art.
Engage in Science Fun at Michigan Science Center
Who knew learning could be so fun? I have been to the Michigan Science Center countless times, and every visit has been an adventure.
This place is a treasure trove for anyone with a curious mind – especially children!
Each visit feels like a new adventure, with so many interactive exhibits to explore.
I remember spending hours on end just getting lost in the maze of hands-on exhibits.
You can feel the rush of excitement in the air as kids discover new things and unravel the mysteries of science.
Can you believe it? You can spend a whole afternoon there, and it never feels crowded!
The Michigan Science Center is not just about exhibits – it has a planetarium too!
Although, I must warn you – the shows are usually geared towards children under 10.
There's nothing like spending a day at the Michigan Science Center.
It's an educational journey packed with loads of fun.
No matter how many times I go, there always seems to be something new to learn and explore.
It's an unforgettable experience that keeps you coming back for more!
I could spend every weekend exploring Detroit, Michigan, and still discover something new each time.
The city is a treasure trove of art, culture, and history, and each location holds a unique story.
These places are constantly evolving, reflecting the dynamism and innovation of our city.