Skip Disneyland: 10 Best Things to Do in Detroit (And Michigan)
Contrary to what most people think, the City of Detroit has a lot of attractions for people to visit and enjoy. Not only is it part of an expansive Metro Detroit area with more than 4 million people, but the City of Detroit also serves as the region’s cultural and entertainment center.
So whether you’re a landlord promoting your rental, a renter looking for lively neighborhoods to live in, or a traveler looking for their next adventure, this is your list of the best things to do in the City of Detroit and its nearby areas.
Let’s get to the list of Detroit tourist attractions!
10 Best Things to Do in Detroit and Michigan
The City of Detroit may be around for a long time, but even its oldest neighborhoods have gone through significant transformation in the past decades. There are now new developments and attractions popping up everywhere, giving you a whole slew of adventures to take delight in.
Here are our top picks for those looking to explore Michigan’s bustling city:
Detroit Princess Riverboat
Are you looking for a date idea with your partner? The Detroit Princess Riverboat is a great choice.
This beautiful cruise ship provides river tours for lunch, afternoon, dinner, and moonlight trips, where you can enjoy a variety of dining options and grab a drink at their bar for a romantic river cruise. If you’re planning to pop the all-important question, the Detroit Princess Riverboat also hosts special occasions.
Detroit princess cruises are a solid choice to enjoy the beautiful scenery and skyline of the city—snapping up pictures with the Ambassador Bridge soaring behind. Just look at that sunset!
Comerica Park Tours
Aside from watching the Detroit Tigers Major League Baseball Team, Comerica Park Tours takes you through the rich history of the game—a must-see for anybody who’s a fan of the sport. Get access to the home dugout, clubhouse, battling tunnel, champion’s club, Ernie Harwell Media Center, Detroit Tigers Walk of Fame and more. It’s a 90-minute tour to immerse yourself in your love of baseball.
Plus, if your wife and kids aren’t so interested in this, they can instead ride the carousel and Ferris wheels in the park. There are plenty of things to do in Comerica Park for groups of all ages.
The Ford Piquette Avenue Plant Tour
This National Historic Landmark takes visitors through the “Brass Era” auto assembly plant, where you can see how Ford cars were manufactured before and get the Detroit experience factory. It was in this building that Henry Ford designed his Model T and earned his spot in the history of the City of Detroit.
Touch the brick walls, walk on the original hardwood floors of the factory, visit the well-preserved office of Henry Ford, take a seat in one of the shiny old Ford beauties, and experience what life was like during the automobile revolution. The Ford Piquette Avenue Plant Tour is a must-visit for those interested in learning about the cars that, quite literally, made the city.
Show Me Detroit Tours
Whether you’re visiting the city for the first time or wondering if the City of Detroit is a good place to live in, Show Me Detroit Tours are the perfect way to learn and experience Michigan’s biggest city.
Hop aboard the luxurious ride to visit all the nooks and crannies of the city, where an expert will bring you to Downtown Detroit, Campus Martius Park, Greektown, the Stadium and Entertainment District, Eastern Market, Midtown or Cultural Center, Belle Isle, Riverwalk or Rivertown, and Heidelberg Project. It’s a sightseeing trip unlike any other!
Plus, you can ask your local guide all the questions you have about the city, so you’ll have an insider’s perspective into the Detroit lifestyle and history. You might even decide to move here indefinitely.
Morley Candy Factory
Who said adults can’t love candy? Bring your family and loved ones to the picturesque Morley Candy Makers factory—home of the delicious Sanders Candy of chocolates and desserts.
In this scrumptious Detroit attraction, you can get a 60-minute factory tour to hear how the company started, walk through a 150-foot long Observation Hallway to watch Pecan Torties and Coconut Clusters being made, and indulge in plenty of free samples.
Continue your sugar high with candy and ice cream shops at the end of the tour, too!
Belle Isle Park
A Detroit gem and Michigan state park, Belle Isle Park is filled with history and natural beauty. Visit this 987-acre island park to see the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory, Dossin Great Lakes Museum, the Belle Isle Aquarium, Belle Isle Nature Zoo, James Scott Memorial Fountain, and have some quality time with your loved ones on the giant slide, athletic fields, picnic areas, tennis courts, and more.
Plus, Belle Isle’s track chair helps visitors with wheelchairs access many areas of the park. These special electronic chairs allow you to explore the trails, go through snow, handle sand, and even 8 inches of water so nobody is excluded from the adventure.
In the mood to shop a bit? Eastern Market is the perfect place to visit. This nonprofit market aims to “nourish a healthier, wealthier, happier Detroit,” and has been doing so since 1891.
There are a total of 6 markets to visit, including the famous Saturday Market with over 225 vendors and Sunday Market to find all things Detroit- and Michigan-made. There’s also plenty of retail shops, restaurants, wholesaler stalls, nightlife spots, and more that you can find in their comprehensive directory.
Check their website to see upcoming events before you visit, so you can plan ahead and see what to expect when you drop by the Detroit-classic Eastern Market.
Animal lovers are welcome in Detroit Zoo—a must-visit for young children and families alike!
With 125 acres filled with 2,000 animals from zebras to anteaters, this zoo features award-winning attractions like the National Amphibian Conservation Centre, the Arctic Ring of Life, and the Great Apes of Harambee. Your kid will certainly find their favorite animal here, and you’ll undoubtedly be amazed at all the glorious creatures you’ll see.
Interested in seeing a whole group of wobbly birds in tuxedos? Detroit Zoo recently opened their Polk Penguin Conservation Center, too—the biggest facility of penguins worldwide.
Downtown Grosse Pointe
Don’t be fooled by this downtown area, this lakeside town attracts many visitors thanks to its vibrant shopping and food scene. Not only is Grosse Pointe known for beautiful homes (landlords and investors, take note!), but it’s also famous for the 3-block retail area on Kercheval Avenue known as “The Village” that’s bustling with people all year round.
Eat chicken fajita salad and roasted turkey dinner in Sidestreet Diner, shop Michigan-based items in Small Flavors, and experience everything that screams “Detroit, Michigan” in this energetic area. Downtown Grosse Pointe is perfect for families looking for fine dining, unique shopping, and other community entertainment.
The Guardian Building
For those who are more interested in rich history and elaborate architecture, take the time to drop by the glorious Guardian Building—the National Historic Landmark that used to serve as the command center for the Army back in World War II.
Today, this landmark skyscraper is known as “Detroit’s Cathedral of Finance,” and is a timeless stature of the city’s accomplishments. It represents the people in the past who believed in the success of the City of Detroit, and is one of the boldest examples of art-deco architecture.
Moreover, the Guardian Building is available for lease! It has modern office spaces right in the central business district of the city, where tenants can enjoy the view of Downtown Detroit and the Detroit River. It also has event venue spaces like the Promenade and the Guardian Club for formal events.
As you can see, the City of Detroit is bursting at the seams with experiences for any traveler or local to enjoy. Moreover, this list of the best Detroit attractions is a great starting point for landlords and investors looking to promote their rental or Airbnb, because if your property is close by to any of these iconic Detroit hot spots, that can be a major selling point for tenants.
What other places have you been to in the City of Detroit? Comment down below to help others find the best experiences that our city has to offer!