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Fun Things to do in Detroit

Michigan

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city guide

Nicknamed 'Motor City', it's best known as the birthplace of the modern automobile, with visitors flocking to the infamous Henry Ford Experience. However, Detroit is much more than just automobiles, thanks to a thriving art, music, sports, and nightlife scene.

About

Best time to go

Late spring to early fall are the best times to visit Detroit. This is when temperatures are the warmest. June, July, and August are the peak season months for tourists, so hotels can be more expensive at this time. Detroit has very cold temperatures and a fair amount of snow during the winter months

Weather

Fun city facts and activities

    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 countrys 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.
City facts

Neighborhoods to explore

    Downtown Detroit
    Bagley
    University District
    Midtown
    West Village
    Palmer Woods
    Sherwood Forest
    Rosedale Park
Neighborhoods

Restaurants
Food Specialties

    Detroits restaurant scene benefits from a roster of award-winning chefs, an array of well-cultivated newcomers who are bringing innovative experiences and incredible flavors to Motor City and, of course, a slew of palates craving top-notch food. In addition to offering tourists and locals a set of fun things to do, beautiful hotels and exciting vibes, the city bestows all with a gastronomical culture that is so ethnically varied that a single meal may feel like a trip around the world. How to find your way through the gridlock of both high-end and more casual eateries?
Restaurants
Events

Detroit Offbeat activities

Free or cheap things to do

1. Take a Historical Walking Tour: Detroit is known for its rich history and there are several walking tours available to explore the city's past. Tour historical sites like the Fox Theatre, Detroit Institute of Arts and the Guardian Building.

2. Visit the Heidelberg Project: This outdoor art installation is located in the city's North End neighborhood. The Heidelberg Project is made up of colorful, found-object sculptures that have been re-imagined and repurposed into works of art.

3. Check Out the Eastern Market: This public market is one of the oldest and largest in the country. The market offers produce, flowers, art, antiques and more. On weekends, it's a festive scene with farmers, musicians and other vendors.

4. Go on a Ghost Tour: Detroit is home to some spooky spots, and there are several ghost tours available to explore them. Visit the supposedly haunted Detroit Opera House, the Masonic Temple and

Offbeat activites
Kid friendly

Fun things to do in with kids

Free or cheap things to do

1- Ride an Antique Car @ Ford Piquette Plant: Visit the birthplace of the Model T, in the former factory that is now a Ford car museum.
2- Activities Abound @ Belle Isle State Park: You can kayak, play on the beach, play golf, tennis, softball, kickball and soccer, cross country ski or enjoy one of their many festivals out at Detroits favorite park.
3- Visit the Fish @ Belle Isle Aquarium: This historic aquarium recently reopened to the public, with lots of exhibits and events to celebrate its revival.
4- Enjoy Nature @ Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory: Step inside and feel like youre in the tropics_year round, as you admire the amazing plants, flowers and greenery inside this city oasis.
5- Enjoy a Festival @ Hart Plaza: Theres always a festival to catch or skateboarders to watch in the Detroits Hart Plaza.
6- Cheat on Your Diet @ Dutch Girl Donuts: No diets allowed, just pure goodness in the form of donuts!
7- Look Up @ Guardian Building: Get your little ones into architecture with a trip to Detroits landmark art deco skyscraper head into the atrium, look up and enjoy!
8- Eat Authentic Mexican @ Mexicantown: Head to Bagley Street in Southwest Detroit and take your pick of amazing Mexican restaurants!
9- Pack a Picnic @ Milliken State Park: Come take a walk, check out the boats in the marina, take pictures of the lighthouse and picnic with the river view.
10- Play Arcade Games & Eat Pizza @ POP + Offworld: Take your kids downtown and back to the 80s and this retro second floor pizza arcade.

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Best Parks

City data and FAQ 

Do you need a car to visit Detroit?

If youre going to stay in the casino and gamble all weekend, maybe not, assuming you can get to the casino from the airport, which is a challenge in and of itself.
But Metro Detroit is huge (over 10,000 square kilometers), public transit is a joke and even short walks can be dangerous because there are freeways everywhere.
Cabs are in short supply. A friend of mine had a minor motorcycle accident and got his bike to a shop who wondered how he was going to get to his destination. When he said cab the shop owner offered to get him one and took a good ten minutes to arrange a ride.
Steven Haddock - Lives in Toronto (1959 Present)


Are two days enough to visit Detroit?

Yes, although you could easily spend more, especially if youre a nature/recreation lover. Youd also be limited in terms of having time to get to many of the terrific restaurants.
Lisa Silverman Lives in Michigan (1978 Present)

Not really, but dont let that stop you! Come and spend the two days and get a flavor of the place, especially if you can get here before the weather turns in late October. You can see a few of the sights (Belle Isle? The DIA?) and check out a few restaurants. Then plan what you want to see and do next time.
Ive lived here my whole life and havent seen everything, whatever that would even mean in an increasingly dynamic city where new restaurants and attractions are always opening and changing. Hope you decide to come here and that you have a great time in our city!
Marc Gorelick Lives in Detroit, MI (1967 Present)

Ive done it, but Detroit is a massive city geographically (you will spend a lot of time in your car) and there is actually quite a bit to see. I once spent a whole week there, but in those days they had a race track (which is a fun afternoon).
The big one is The Henry Ford in Dearborn, which is easily a whole day. Its entirely worthwhile because it has an amazing range of archival exhibits, including the car Kennedy was in when he was shot.
Theres also the DIA, the Science Centre, loads of shopping in the suburbs (not so much in the city itself), gambling, a growing restaurant scene (up to and including the world class London Chop House), the Lions, Tigers (no Bears though), Red Wings and Pistons, a growing number of smaller museums, the zoo, several parks, its really not hard to find things to see and do.
Also, Detroits art deco architecture is equal to, or better than, New Yorks. A lot of it isnt in use any more, but whats there is still magnificent. You can find art deco all over the place, even art deco factories.
Steven Haddock - Lives in Toronto (1959 Present)

What is Detroit known for?

Two things I recommend you doing while youre there, is to visit the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village nearby the city.
Christian Cole Lives in Michigan (2001 Present)

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