18 best things to do in Detroit: street art, architecture and Americana

Karla Zimmerman

Jan 31, 2022 • 7 min read

The Heidelberg Project in Detroit, Michigan, USA.

Spot the dots in the Heidelberg Project in Detroit © dannyjameslane / 500px

It's the mega Institute of Arts and the Henry Ford Museum, where the car magnate stockpiled his amazing cultural relics, that usually grab the headlines for Detroit visitors. And while they are worthy must-sees, there’s so much more to explore when you arrive: cycling routes, time-capsule jazz clubs, Black history sights, brilliant bakeries, and street art galore.  Here are 18 top things to do in the Motor City.

Mosey around Eastern Market

Detroiters of all types gather every Saturday at Eastern Market to hobnob in the big brick halls overflowing with fruits, veggies, cheeses, pies and more from-the-farm fare – a tradition that has been going on here since 1891. Graze through the bounty, and then check out the murals splashed across the area’s warehouses. Eastern Market is a globally renowned hot spot for street art, with more than 100 cool works on walls. Smaller markets add to the action on Tuesdays and Sundays in summer.

Feast your eyes on world-class art

The sprawling Detroit Institute of Arts is a great place to get lost for an afternoon. First thing to do is step into the sky-lit hall where Diego Rivera's Detroit Industry surrounds you on 27 panels. He's the city's original muralist, and his whopping work tells Detroit's blue-collar labor history in vivid color. Caravaggios, Picassos, puppets and an esteemed collection of modern African American art help fill out the 100-plus galleries beyond.

Musicians playing in jazz band on stage

Bebop through the jazz clubs

Detroit’s jazz scene has been swinging hard since the 1920s. Baker's Keyboard Lounge has been open from the get-go, welcoming everyone from Louis Armstrong to John Coltrane, Ella Fitzgerald, and Nina Simone to groove on its little stage. Settle in at the curved, piano-key-shaped bar, and you can feel their ghosts urging you to stay for one more set. Elegant Cliff Bell’s is another classic that time warps you back to the jazz heyday. Check the Metro Times for other clubs around town.

Pedal along the Riverwalk and Dequindre Cut

The 3-mile Riverwalk unfurls along the Detroit River downtown, while the 1.5-mile Dequindre Cut Greenway intersects it and heads north to Eastern Market. The flat paths are prime for cycling, putting you right in the thick of it as you roll past parks, giant boats, funky sculptures, fountains, murals, abandoned buildings and graffitied overpasses. Bicycles are easy to rent from Wheelhouse Detroit or the MoGo bike share program .

Third Man Records occupies a former factory in Midtown

Take a tour

Options abound for in-the-know excursions. Preservation Detroit leads architecture buffs on two-hour walking tours. RiDetroit offers jaunts by electric bicycle that focus on the mural scene and revitalizing neighborhoods. Detroit Experience Factory changes it up with everything from walking tours of Black-owned businesses to bus tours of the city’s music history. Wheelhouse Detroit leads bike tours covering themes like public art, auto heritage, and urban agriculture.

Escape to Belle Isle

Belle Isle floats a stone’s throw from downtown, but it feels a world away. Just cross over the MacArthur Bridge, and you drop into a 2.5-mile-long realm of wooded parkland. The pace slows way down as you meander past lagoons and warbling birds on the trails, lounge on the beach, and explore the glass-domed conservatory and aquarium.

Get dotty at the Heidelberg Project

Houses painted in wild-colored polka dots, dolls stacked in the yards, hand-drawn faces staring up from the sidewalks – when you first see the Heidelberg Project , you’ll think someone slipped psychedelic drugs into your drink. But it’s actually an ever-changing, multi-block arts project by artist Tyree Guyton, who wanted to beautify his run-down community. He’s been at it since 1986. The result is a wonder to behold.

Immerse in the street art scene

The whole city is a canvas. The aforementioned Heidelberg Project, Dequindre Cut and Eastern Market are some of the best-known sights, but there are loads more. Check out the Grand River Creative Corridor , sporting 100 murals in a short stretch of road, and the African Bead Museum and its glittering art installations, which lie a bit beyond the corridor. Near downtown, The Belt occupies an alley filled with murals and hidden doors that lead to cocktail bars.

Gather with locals at Campus Martius

Set in the heart of downtown, Campus Martius is Detroit’s public square. In summer it’s the site of free concerts, movie nights, and a makeshift sandy beach. In winter it morphs into a popular ice skating rink. Throughout the year locals hang out to eat, drink, read and chat at the tables sprinkled around the plaza.

The exhibits at the Henry Ford Museum feature all makes of automobiles and tell the reader how they affected American culture.

Burst your brain on Americana at the Henry Ford Museum

A visit to the Henry Ford Museum , which holds the industrialist's stash of Americana, lets you walk through history: past the chair Abraham Lincoln was sitting in when he was assassinated, into the bus on which Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat, and heaps more. When the weather warms, outdoor Greenfield Village adds restored buildings like Thomas Edison's laboratory and the Wright Brothers' airplane workshop to the mix. Note the museum is not in Detroit proper, but in suburban Dearborn next door.

Explore the Avenue of Fashion 

A historic, mile-long stretch of Livernois Avenue in northwest Detroit, the Avenue of Fashion was the place to get your style on in the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s. Today it’s back and showing its swagger as a mighty district of Black-owned art galleries, clothing boutiques, shoe shops, bakeries, breweries and chicken-and-waffle restaurants. Shop, eat and then drop by Baker’s Keyboard Lounge for jazz.

Munch exquisite treats at Sister Pie

One of the best bakeries in America, according to the James Beard Foundation, Sister Pie whips up its array of treats in an unassuming little storefront space that smells like heaven. Chocolate chess, salted maple, ginger peach and more buttery-crust pies cool on racks, while plates of perfectly soft oatmeal raisin and peanut butter paprika cookies tempt on the counter. You should try them all.

Mingle with artists at the Scarab Club

Not many visitors make it to the Scarab Club , even though it’s right behind the Detroit Institute of Arts. That’s a shame, because the building has been an artists’ hangout for almost a century. Diego Rivera and Norman Rockwell used to rub elbows in the opulent rooms crammed with Tiffany lamps and objets d’art. Follow in their footsteps and wander through the landmark space, which always features excellent free art exhibitions.

Art Deco Building next to Modern in Detroit

Gape at the Art Deco architecture

Massive Art Deco skyscrapers rise up around Detroit, relics from when the city was an early 20th-century car-making star. Masterpieces such as the gleaming marble Fisher Building and redbrick, cathedral-like Guardian Building drop the jaw with their ornate facades, vaulted ceilings and intricate mosaics. Look into the building’s main spaces on your own, or see if Pure Detroit has restarted its free tours of the structures.

Hop aboard the People Mover

The People Mover is Detroit’s retro monorail that loops around downtown’s core. While it’s not very useful as public transportation, it’s terrific at providing close-up views of the skyscrapers and riverfront as it whirs around its skinny track 45 feet above street level. A full loop takes 16 minutes to complete. And it only costs 75 cents.

Hear the hits at the Motown Museum

You’ve likely heard of some of the folks who started their careers at Motown Records: Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson. The company occupied a row of modest houses north of downtown that now comprise the Motown Museum . Guided tours take you through the studios and explain Motown’s hit pop-soul-R&B sound. Go ahead, try not to dance when you hear it. Alas, the museum is closed until summer 2022 as it undergoes an expansion.

Reflect on African American history at the Wright Museum

The Wright Museum of African American History is the second-largest Black history museum in the world, after the Smithsonian in Washington, DC . More than 35,000 artifacts give perspective on the triumphs and tragedies of the past. Climb onto a harrowing slave ship replica and feel the cramped conditions, hear stories about the Underground Railroad, and read Rosa Parks’ letters about discrimination. The museum hosts great special exhibitions, too.

Delve into the stacks at John King Books

Bibliophiles adore John K King Used & Rare Books , a four-story labyrinth where dusty tomes fill every nook and cranny. Browse circus books, magic books, car books, cookbooks, pet books, art books and just about any other books you can think of. Hand-written signs show what’s on the shelves. 

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Places to Visit in Detroit

Detroit is big. We’re talking 139 square miles big. And our metro area is even bigger, but we don’t want to intimidate you.

Detroit is the Motor City, so it’s easy to drive from place to place. But if you need to narrow your focus, let’s explore some of the places to visit in Detroit.

1. Places to Visit in Detroit: Neighborhoods

detroit best places to visit

Corktown Detroit

Corktown started as an Irish immigrant neighborhood, but now it’s the ultimate hip foodie destination. Lots of unique restaurants, bars and shops have popped up over the years, and have stood the test of time. Come here for drinks, dinner and views of Michigan Central Station.

Places to See in Rivertown Detroit

Drive up Jefferson Avenue past the Renaissance Center and you’re in Rivertown. Obviously, you get great views of the Detroit River, Canada and Belle Isle from here, but you’ll want stay for the beautiful parks, restaurants, and boats that ride between Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie. A must on the list of places to see in Detroit

Places to Visit in Midtown Detroit

Midtown is definitely the place to be. Aside from being the home of Wayne State University and most of Detroit’s hospitals, here you can find a ton of theaters, boutiques, and restaurants serving craft beer and unique eats here.

detroit best places to visit

Places to Visit in Greektown Detroit

If you like to party, Greektown is the area for you. Anchored by Greektown Casino Hotel , you’ll find a slew of bars, Greek restaurants and late night activity. Grab your friends, have some drinks and explore Greektown underneath the lights that hang from building to building.

Visit Mexicantown Detroit

Mexicantown is the one and only place you need to go in Detroit for authentic, flavorful and affordable Mexican food. Take your pick from any of the restaurants along Vernor Highway. You won’t be disappointed.

Places to See in Hamtramck Detroit

If you’re a bit of a hipster (don’t worry, it’s okay to admit it), you’ll find dive bars galore in Hamtramck. And eat some yummy Polish food before or after the bar.

Indian Village/West Village

For the history buffs and architecture-obsessed, Indian Village and West Village are must-sees. The homes in these neighborhoods were designed by Detroit’s best architects (think Albert Kahn), and were built for some of the most prominent Detroiters (think Edsel Ford and Bernard Stroh). This neighborhood is also starting to see a lot of unique bakeries and restaurants opening up.

Visit Detroit’s Eastern Market

For those seeking the true culture of Detroit, look no further than Eastern Market . Saturdays are flooded with market-goers.You can buy your food for the week, listen to live music, eat at the surrounding restaurants and, of course, shop! This area is full of diversity, culture and fresh, local food. This is the place to be to see authentic Detroit street art, too. Every year they change the murals in the market – just an excuse for you to keep coming back!

2. Places to See in Detroit: Metro Detroit Region

detroit best places to visit

Places to Visit in Wayne

Aside from Detroit and the Grosse Pointes, majority of Wayne county runs south along the Detroit River. This is a large region with rich character in Mexican, Arab-American, Polish and Italian neighborhoods. You’ll find Middle Eastern culture in Dearborn, along with a bustling downtown filled with boutiques and restaurants. Wyandotte and Trenton both have charming downtowns and parks along the waterfront – perfect for a night out with family (or a date night!). You’ll find Grosse Pointe north of Detroit along the water. All of these quieter communities are great for a break from the hustle and bustle of the Motor City.

Places to Visit in Detroit: Macomb

If you love being by the water, then you’re in luck in Michigan. Of course, we’re surrounded on three sides by the Great Lakes. But in metro Detroit, we’re blessed to have access to two awesome lakes – Lake Erie and Lake St Clair. Find the latter in Macomb, where there are parks, restaurants and bars along the water for lazy afternoons. This laid back, nautical area will help you truly experience the feel of Michigan.

detroit best places to visit

Places to Visit in Detroit: Oakland

Oakland is upscale and cultured area north of Detroit is where you’ll want to go if you’re looking for sweet cafes, tree-lined streets and shopping and nightlife. Oakland is full of fun downtowns, friendly people and even the Detroit Zoo . Ferndale has a thriving LGBTQ community, and nearby Royal Oak is great for dining and a night on the town.

If you prefer to shop-till-you-drop on your vacation, we have the place for you. Whether your style is independent boutiques or big name brands (head right to Twelve Oaks Mall in Novi), you’ll find all of the shopping you need to fill your time in this trendy area. Oakland is also has awesome restaurants and nightlife to experience.

3. Detroit Attractions

detroit best places to visit

Places to Visit in Detroit: Campus Martius Park

Campus Martius Park is without a doubt the center of Detroit. It’s like our Times Square, but not so touristy. It’s where we light up our tree in the winter. It’s where every walk of life comes down to skate and shop during the holidays. And it’s the most happening place in Detroit during lunch hour. With a trendy restaurant right in the middle of the park and a beach in the summertime, this destination has plenty to offer.

Places to See in Detroit: Woodward Avenue

Woodward Avenue cuts through the city and takes you all the way into Oakland County and beyond. Three Detroit neighborhoods were recently connected along this road with The QLine streetcar. In downtown, you will find shopping, restaurants, theaters and two stadiums along the strip, so there’s never a dull moment. Moving into Midtown, you’ll find our cultural district and college kids exploring the little shops and eateries.Beyond that, you can get connected to the Amtrak train and catch a show at the Fisher Theatre.

Visit Detroit’s Capitol Park

Capitol Park is an up and coming area of downtown Detroit. If you’re into supporting local businesses (please do!), stop by these restaurants, coffee shops, markets and boutiques. There is a lot of renovation going on in this area as well, so you can see our comeback in action.

detroit best places to visit

Places to Visit in Detroit: The District Detroit

The District is the talk of the town. Everyone is excited to see what’s next for this 50-block area between downtown and Midtown, anchored by the brand new Little Caesars Arena. Even if you aren’t a sports fan, you have to check out this area to see what Detroit is all about. We love our sports, and there’s no denying it in The District. Filled with sports bars, opening day celebrations, tailgates and entertainment galore, you won’t be bored here. Trust us.

Visit the Detroit International RiverWalk

No matter who you’re traveling with, everyone enjoys the Detroit International RiverWalk. With views of our neighbor Canada, the Ambassador Bridge and the GM Renaissance Center, you’re in for a great afternoon. Walk down to the carousel or the butterfly garden, play in the fountains, and take in the Michigan sunshine.

Visit Detroit’s Belle Isle

Belle Isle is perfect for you outdoorsy folk. Located directly in the middle of the Detroit River, take a bike or your car over the bridge for a picnic, or just to explore. There’s a conservatory and nature center on the island for the science lovers, and the island is beautiful in the fall for photos. Belle Isle also offers a great shot of the Detroit skyline. Instagram photographers rejoice!

Places to See in Detroit: Cass Corridor

The Cass Corridor is thriving right now. From shops and breweries (we’re pretty excited to see when Founder’s opens up here) to brand new development, the Cass Corridor is Midtown’s most exciting place to be right now. Another great area for those who enjoy the hip and trendy things in life.

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The 20 best things to do in Detroit

From new attractions to legendary history, these are the best things to do in Detroit, Michigan

The list of the best things to do in Detroit is exhaustive, in all the best ways. Not only does the Motor City ooze history (hello, Motown Record Corporation and Ford Motor Company), but artists, creatives, chefs and the like are busy opening some of the country’s best coffee shops, bars, restaurants and bohemian stores. Detroit is also home to fab art museums, trendy markets, some of the best pizza in America and heaps more cool stuff. Check out our list below of the 20 best things to do in Detroit and start planning your next trip to Michigan's largest city. 

Done something on this list and loved it? Share it with the hashtag #TimeOutDoList and tag @TimeOutEverywhere.

Find out more about   how Time Out selects the very best things to do all over the world .

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Best things to do in Detroit

Motown Historical Museum

1.  Motown Historical Museum

  • NW Goldberg

What is it? Music legends were made in this modest Detroit house.

Why go? At 2648 West Grand Blvd you'll find Hitsville USA. In other words, the home of Motown Records, which was founded by Berry Gordy in 1959 in this very house. Many greats recorded here, including Marvin Gaye, The Supremes and Stevie Wonder, while other legends have contributed to the museum. Paul McCartney helped fund the restoration of Motown's 1877 Steinway & Sons grand piano, which you can see in all its glory, and Michael Jackson donated a hat, glove and thousands of dollars. Whether you're a music nut or not, the Motown Museum is a must-see.

Corktown

2.  Corktown

What is it? One of the hippest neighborhoods in Michigan.

Why go? Here, artists’ collectives and vintage stores cozy up next to cool coffee shops like Astro and cocktail bars like the Sugar House , home to some of the finest mixologists in town. But the most famous Corktown venue of them all is the legendary Slows BBQ , a Detroit staple justifiably renowned for its exquisite brisket and baby back ribs.

Cliff Bell’s

3.  Cliff Bell’s

  • Theater District

What is it? A sultry art deco jazz club that first opened its doors in 1935.

Why go? Entering Cliff Bell’s is like walking onto the set of a Fred Astaire movie. After extensive renovations in 2005, much of its ’30s glamor was restored and it's now one of the places to see and be seen in Detroit again. Grab a happy hour cocktail at the gorgeous mahogany bar, or make a dinner reservation and enjoy the evening’s live jazz ensemble as you peruse the excellent menu (the bison short ribs with polenta cake is our hot tip).

The RiverWalk

4.  The RiverWalk

  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens

What is it? A 5.5-mile promenade unfurling alongside the city’s spectacular waterfront.

Why go? The RiverWalk boasts outstanding views of the Detroit River beyond. During the summer months it offers a cooler place to exercise than the heat of the city, with locals flocking in their thousands to run, walk or cycle its picturesque course. There are plenty of way stations en route too: for eating, drinking and bike/kayak renting. For those visiting for the first time, there are also free RiverWalk tours given by the excellent Detroit Experience Factory .

The Heidelberg Project

5.  The Heidelberg Project

  • McDougall-Hunt

What is it? A huge—and hugely surreal—art project.

Why go? Pioneering local artist  Tyree Guyton  has been adorning houses on Heidelberg Street with found objects since 1986. His hope was to renovate the decaying neighbourhood where he grew up into something colourful, creative and inviting, and over the decades transformed numerous houses. The most renowned, Dotty Wotty House, has been turned into a museum accessible by tour only, which must be booked at least two weeks in advance.

Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation

6.  Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation

  • Transportation
  • West Dearborn

What is it? A look at Detroit's industrial and cultural past.

Why go? They don't call Detroit the Motor City for nothing. Widely considered the centre of America's automotive industry, it's here that Henry Ford birthed the idea of manufacturing affordable cars via an assembly line. Learn about that and more at Henry Ford's sprawling museum. Visitors can see the limousine in which JFK was assassinated, the bus on which Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat and behind-the-scenes at the Rouge Factory, which is still in operation today.

Fowling Warehouse

7.  Fowling Warehouse

What is it?  What would happen if football and bowling had a lovechild? Fowling, that's what.

Why go? It's a fun bar game (which involves tossing a football at bowling pins), it’s best practiced with a round of beers at Fowling Warehouse. If you’re more serious about your pins, head straight to the stately Garden Bowl , which opened in 1913 and remains America’s oldest active bowling alley.

Eastern Market

8.  Eastern Market

  • Markets and fairs
  • Eastern Market

What is it? A one-stop, six-block shop of foodie heaven.

Why go? As the largest historic market in the country, Eastern Market covers an enormous 43 acres, selling pretty much every kind of food imaginable—as well as hosting the largest open-air flowerbed market in the US. It can get very busy—some 45,000 people come here every Saturday—so if you need a breather, head to the Russell Street Deli , where a delicious breakfast menu is served all day, including their famous fresh hotcakes with toasted pecans and maple syrup.

Detroit Institute of Arts

9.  Detroit Institute of Arts

  • Art and design
  • Cultural Center

What is it? A prime art collection, including pieces by Picasso, Matisse and Van Gogh.

Why go? Justifiably renowned worldwide, the Detroit Institute of Arts' coup de grace is ‘Rivera Court’; an entire room of outstanding frescoes painted in situ by Mexican artist Diego Rivera during a visit in 1932 with his wife Frida Kahlo. Visit on a Friday evening, when the museum stays open until 10pm and Rivera Court hosts free concerts. And if that’s not enough for your artistic appetite, there’s also the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit , which you'll find in a former Albert Kahn auto dealership.

The Slow Roll

10.  The Slow Roll

What is it? Michigan’s largest weekly bike ride.

Why go? The Slow Roll has two outspoken aims: to showcase the beauty of Detroit and to spread positivity. Each Monday evening more than 3,000 riders of all ages, abilities and fitness levels come together at a different meeting point in the city, to cycle a new route through its streets. The slow pace of the posse makes it suitable for everybody, and a safe way to grab a unique perspective on Motor City’s ever-accelerating renaissance.

Detroit Theater District

11.  Detroit Theater District

What is it? The second largest theatre district in America (after Broadway).

Why go? Many of Detroit's theaters can be found in grand, historic buildings. Like the Opera House , an ornate structure that parts of which were designed by Charles Howard Crane and date back to 1906. Crane also designed Fox Theatre 's original flagship 'movie palace', which opened in 1928 and remains today. Also worth a visit is the quirky, cabaret-style Century Theatre (lacted inside Gem Theatre), which is especially good for comedy.

Campus Martius Park

12.  Campus Martius Park

  • Greater Detroit

What is it? The 'point of origin' of Detroit’s coordinate system (seven miles north is Seven Mile Rd, another mile then Eight Mile Rd, etc.).

Why go? Campus Martius Park remains one of the city’s most important focal points. It’s also one of the best places to hang out for a chilled afternoon: Relax with a specialty coffee from Roasting Plant (and marvel at their Javabot ), or go for a spin round the seasonal ice rink and enjoy a hot cup of cocoa in the colder months. 

Cass Corridor

13.  Cass Corridor

What is it? Two miles of intriguing bohemia, including galleries, boutiques and restaurants.

Why go?  Along Cass Corridor you can shop at the famous music store owned by Jack White of the White Stripes, Third Man Records , as well as eclectic homeware boutiques like City Bird and Nest . Not to mention the flagship Shinola store, where the renowned bespoke watches and bicycles are produced and sold.

HopCat

14.  HopCat

What is it? An incredibly well-stocked bar with a nose for great beer.

Why go? Like many major American cities, Detroit is currently undergoing a craft brewery revolution. And leading the delicious, frothy charge up here in Michigan is HopCat. Swing by for a quick tipple from their 130-strong menu (and that's just the taps) or settle in for a thorough evening of 'research', fuelled by HopCat’s beer-battered French fries.

Rose's Fine Food

15.  Rose's Fine Food

  • Marina District

What is it? Hearty, traditional grub served up like you were one of the family.

Why go? Ask a patron about Rose’s Fine Food and 'charming' will almost certainly be one of the first words out of his or her mouth. Cousins Lucy Carnaghi and Molly Mitchell named the restaurant after their grandmother’s favorite flower, and the whole place feels wonderfully old-fashioned, from the antique china cups to the comfort food on the menu, which includes an extensive selection of pancakes and pastries.

Detroit Historical Museum

16.  Detroit Historical Museum

  • Wayne State

What is it? Home to bite-size exhibitions showcasing the city’s rich 300-year history.

Why go? The Detroit Historical Museum details vital moments in the making of the Motor City and Old Detroit, but it’s the ever-evolving temporary exhibits that keep people flocking to this quaint Midtown institution. In particular, the displays focusing on the city’s rich artistic heritage, which is often unjustly left for dust by its automotive accomplishments.

John K. King Used & Rare Books

17.  John K. King Used & Rare Books

  • West Side Industrial

What is it? A Detroit institution that’s home to one of the world's finest literary hoards.

Why go? There’s a certain sense magic about John K King Used & Rare Books. With over a million second-hand volumes in stock at any time, the four-story property is a treasure trove of rare stories, vintage volumes and forgotten tales. Lose yourself for a couple of well-spent hours, which isn’t difficult: the collection remains completely uncomputerized, making for a unique shopping experience as you plot a meandering path through its dusty aisles.

Ford Piquette Avenue Plant

18.  Ford Piquette Avenue Plant

What is it? Henry Ford’s (meticulously restored) first factory, which bore the 'car of the century'.

Why go? In 1908, the Ford Model T revolutionized transportation, swiftly becoming the most popular car on the planet. And it was conceived, developed and built right here in Detroit. Today the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant is a not-to-be-missed museum; it's so full of classic vehicles it looks like a parking lot from 100 years ago. Be sure to visit the 'secret experimental room', where Ford invented the vehicle that made driving popular.

Salt & Cedar

19.  Salt & Cedar

  • Classes and workshops

What is it? A letterpress studio in the heart of the Eastern Market.

Why go? Sign up for one of the intriguing group classes at Salt & Cedar. Here, creative events range from farm-to-table dinners at one end of the spectrum to bookbinding workshops at the other with film screenings and talks in between. Plus wonderful blends of the two, when guests can enjoy a feast of locally grown ingredients before hand-sewing a journal.

Belle Isle Aquarium

20.  Belle Isle Aquarium

  • Zoo and aquariums

What is it? One of Detroit’s truly historic icons and the oldest public aquarium in the US.

Why go? The Belle Isle Aquarium opened in 1904, and within the ornate building features a single large gallery under an arched, green-tile ceiling, to evoke a spookily-accurate underwater ambience. The aquarium (which also served as a speakeasy during Prohibition) is now run by volunteers and opens every Friday to Sunday, 10am-4pm. If you’re heading over to Belle Isle – a 982-acre island park on the Detroit River – take time to check out the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory too, a beautiful 13-acre botanical garden and greenhouse a short walk from the aquarium.

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30 BEST Places to Visit in Detroit

Places to visit in detroit, explore popular experiences, tours in and around detroit.

detroit best places to visit

Explore undiscovered beauty of Detroit

detroit best places to visit

Outdoor Escape Room in Detroit - Downtown

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Fresh Mediterranean Inspired Cooking Class in a Unique Detroit Home

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Detroit Red Wings Ice Hockey Game Ticket at Little Caesars Arena

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Self Guided "Detroit's Spirit and History" Solo Walking Tour

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Detroit Tigers Baseball Game Ticket at Comerica Park

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Murder Mystery Detective Experience Ann Arbor, MI

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Ann Arbor Scavenger Hunt: Ann Arbor Adventure

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Adventurous Scavenger Hunt in Detroit by 3Quest Challenge

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Tours & sightseeing.

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Top Attractions in Detroit

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Other Top Attractions around Detroit

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What travellers are saying

Kevin Gault

  • Faye M 1 contribution 0 5.0 of 5 bubbles A must see museum in Detroit One of the best museum tours I’ve ever been on. Fascinating information and artifacts. Just the right length of a tour. And all that great music throughout. Read more Review of: Motown Museum Written 7 April 2024 This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Rob S

  • Detroit Institute of Arts
  • Motown Museum
  • Detroit RiverFront
  • Eastern Market
  • The Ford Piquette Avenue Plant
  • Belle Isle Park
  • Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory
  • Belle Isle Aquarium
  • William G. Milliken State Park and Harbor
  • Dequindre Cut
  • Let’s See Detroit
  • Show Me Detroit Tours
  • City Tour Detroit
  • Antique Touring Company
  • Diamond Jack's River Tours

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