Detroit is such a unique city that it may take a lifetime to do every fun thing that this place has to offer at least once, but that doesn’t mean we won’t try to make as many fun plans as we can every weekend!
From checking out some of the newest art exhibits that Detroit’s museums have to offer to quick day-trip escapes within driving distance from the city, here are 52 incredible things you need to do at least once to consider yourself a true Detroiter.
Check out a local museums, art exhibits, and architecture
An incredibly unique museum experience that is as exciting for the whole family as it is educational. There are unique exhibits that each offer unique insights into African-American history and culture.
Location: 315 E Warren Avenue
This museum is located in the original headquarters and music recording studio for Motown Records. In it, you can see an extensive collection of authentic company artifacts, photographs, costumes, and so much more. This is a true must-visit for anyone who wants to take in the musical history of this great city.
Location: 2648 Berry Gordy Jr. Boulevard, 2648 W Grand Blvd
The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation goes to show how linked American history is with that of Detroit’s automotive industry. Not only is this fun and immersive experience the perfect trip for anyone who loves cars and engines, but it’s also the perfect family plan that has something for everyone!
Location: 20900 Oakwood Boulevard, Dearborn, MI
The Heidelberg Project is an art initiative started in 1986 by Artist Tyree Guyton in the McDougall-Hunt neighborhood. The project has converted what was once a series of vacant lots and houses into an incredible outdoor art exhibit using things like shoes, tires, clothes, and even TVs to create a constantly evolving artistic experience.
Location: 3600 Block of Heidelberg, Detroit
The largest Masonic Temple in the world is right here in Detroit and many people don’t even know! It was designed by George D. Mason to make it look like a European Cathedral with a neo-Gothic structure and is often used nowadays for concerts and conventions.
With self-guided or guided tours available to the public, you can look into the mystery of the Masons by getting a lesson on their biggest temple.
Location: 500 Temple Street
Free and open seven days a week, the DIA is a must-visit for art connoisseurs or culture lovers. With over 65,000 pieces of art from every corner of the world, this is the perfect place to enrich yourself and soak up some culture during a rainy day in Detroit.
Location: 5200 Woodward Avenue
Bringing all the great pieces of Detroit’s history from fast cars and Motown music, the Detroit Historial Museum in Midtown Detroit is a one-stop shop for every aspect of Detroit’s legendary history. This is a great spot to visit for anyone trying to learn about this great city.
Location: 5401 Woodward Avenue
The MOCAD connects Detroit to the global contemporary art world and allows its visitors to connect with the long list of artists, musicians, makers, cultural producers, and scholars who have contributed to the museum. The exhibits are constantly evolving, but the
Location: 4454 WOODWARD AVENUE
The Fisher Building, known for embodying Art Deco style, this iconic skyscraper was completed in 1928 and was designed by architect Albert Kahn. It’s open to the public and its interior is stunning, so we recommend going for a walk inside and seeing its interior design as well as its lovely courtyard garden.
Location: 3011 W. Grand Blvd.
This incredible Art-Deco-styled skyscraper is one of the most iconic photogenic buildings in the city of Detroit. If you venture inside you can see some of its beautiful colorful tile mosaics and stunning metalwork that is interwoven into the architecture.
Location: 500 Griswold Street
11. Visit the Spirit of Detroit
One of the most iconic sites in all of Detroit, the Spirit of Detroit statue truly is a local landmark. While it is a rather quick sight to see, you can’t consider yourself a local until you’ve seen it!
Location: 2 Woodward Ave
An equally iconic statue that screams Detroit is the monument to the late professional boxer Joe Louis called “The First”. The monument commemorates the power of Joe Louis’s punch both inside and outside of the ring, a reference to his commitment to fighting for racial equality.
Location: 5 Woodward Ave
If you can make it down to Ann Arbor, the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History is a guaranteed good time for the whole family! Loaded with dinosaur fossils, interactive exhibits, and a collection of rocks, gems, and minerals, this place is a perfect spot for a fun family-friendly day trip.
Location: 1105 N University Ave, Ann Arbor, MI
14. Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory
Currently undergoing renovations with plans to reopen in May 2024, the conservatory at Belle Isle is a picturesque way to temporarily teleport yourself outside of the city and into a green oasis. The conservatory first opened back in 1904, so in 2024 it will officially be 120 years old.
Location: 4 Inselruhe Ave
Do something kid-friendly for the whole family to enjoy
If you didn’t realize that Detroit had the oldest continually running aquariums in North America, then this may surprise you, but at one point it was the Belle Isle Aquarium. Now, having been refurbished, it is free to enter and is a perfect perfect weekend plan for Friday to Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm.
Location: 3 Inselruhe Avenue
Over 125 acres of space housing more than 2,000 animals of over 200 different species, this is a perfect day-long activity to do with kids and will make sure for a memorable time for everyone!
Location: 8450 W 10 Mile Rd, Royal Oak, MI
Right on the Riverfront of Detroit, the Outdoor Adventure Center is located inside the historic Globe Building. It’s a perfect experience with a group, particularly with kids, where you can experience all the amazing outdoor activities that Michigan has to offer but with the safety and comfort of a controlled indoor environment.
Location: 1801 Atwater Street
18. Cedar Point
Just a two-hour drive away from Detroit in Sandusky, Ohio, Cedar Point is an incredible amusement park and waterpark that offers an amazing experience for everyone. With plenty of options for every age range, there are plenty of fun things to do for the entire family.
Location: 1 Cedar Point Drive, Sandusky, OH
Built to help visitors of all ages expand their interest and understanding of science through experimentation, exploration, and education through interactive exhibits. Offering tons of unique experiences and classes specifically for kids, this is an amazing place for them to have a great day.
Location: 220 E Ann St, Ann Arbor, MI
Just across the river in Winsor, Ontario is Adventure Bay Family Water Park, an amazing place to have some family fun on the weekends. Despite the close distance, this is across the border so if you plan to take a day trip here just make sure you give yourself enough get through the traffic with enough time to enjoy the water park!
Location: 401 Pitt St W, Windsor, ON
Catch a live show or concert
Perfect for date night or just a unique experience with others, the candlelight concerts that are held in Detroit are an incredible experience. Different themes such as tribute concerts to stars like Taylor Swift, Adele, or Ed Sheeran popping up as well as a rotating seasonal music show, there are a lot of options to choose from.
Location: Multiple locations
One of the most iconic music venues in a city with one of the richest music histories in the world, The Fillmore is a bucket list venue for any music fan to see a show at. There is always a wide range of upcoming bands and shows coming to play here, so keep an eye on their site for some of your favorite bands in case they come to town.
Location: 2115 Woodward Ave
Detroit Opera House is the main opera theatre in the entire state of Michigan, performing incredible shows from seasonal classics to dramatic dances. It’s a great fun thing to do in Detroit and something you should do at least once.
Location: 1526 Broadway Street
24. Fox Theatre
It doesn’t get more impressive than Fox Theatre in Midtown Detroit. From seeing iconic Broadway shows right here in Detroit to incredible concert performances by music legends passing through the city of Detroit, this place should be circled on the bucket list of anyone coming to or living in Detroit.
Location: 2211 Woodward Ave
With a rich history, this classic neighborhood movie house was first opened in 1928 and features unique Japanese-inspired visuals in the design, making it a one-of-a-kind theatre experience for any visitor. Here you can see iconic films of the past brought back to life, making it a great spot for family fun or a unique evening date.
Location: 17360 Lahser Rd
Enjoy Detroit’s public parks
26. Campus Martius
Considered the “Gathering Place” of Detroit, Campus Martius Park is one of the top public squares in the entire nation. Its downtown location plays a vital role in the life of the city as it hosts the annual holiday festivities in the winter alongside the markets at Cadillac Square and the annual tree lighting ceremony.
Location: 800 Woodward Ave
27. Hart Plaza
The Philip A. Hart Plaza, or Hart Plaza as it’s locally known, is a downtown Detroit park that contains two open-air amphitheaters for concerts and a significant amount of open space, making it a commonly used area for festivals and major events.
Location: 1 Hart Plaza
The Detroit International RiverWalk spans around three miles in total taking you from Rosa Parks Blvd. to the Belle Isle Bridge. Along the path, you can see incredible views of Detroit’s skyline as well as breathtaking views of Canada across the river.
Location: 1340 Atwater St.
With beautiful green grass during the warmer parts of the year and an incredibly photogenic lighthouse. This park isn’t far from town and it’s away from the crowds of tourists that often get in the way.
Location: 1900 Atwater St
30. Beacon Park
A beautiful park featuring a ton of events that are often open for the public to enjoy including light installations, an open lawn space, and a contemporary restaurant. This a staple for the local community and a great place for some fun with the family!
Location: 1901 Grand River Ave
The 5-acre space in the Historic District of Downtown Detroit makes for an excellent walk all four seasons being centered by a beautiful fountain and is surrounded by many of the other must-see destinations that Detroit has to offer, a majority of which are featured on this list!
Location: 101-157 Witherell St
This urban path that was originally railroad tracks has been converted into an incredible green walkway spanning two miles from the East Riverfront to Eastern Market. This is an incredibly nice walk to take with friends or family whenever the weather permits because it’s a great way to see several Detroit Neighborhoods along the path.
Location: 1899-1833 Atwater St
Enjoy some of Detroit’s best cuisine or drinks
32. Greek Town
This commercial district in downtown Detroit is one of the most unique parts of the city where you can try unique food and have a great time.
Location: Corner of Monroe St and St. Antoine
33. Eat some Detroit-style pizza
Detroit Pizza is criminally underrated as a whole, so when you’re in the city whether you’re just visiting or a local you know that trying Detroit-style pizza is a necessary experience for anyone in the D.
Location: Multiple Locations
34. Try a Coney Island Dog
No, not Coney Island as in New York, these Detroit dogs are a local staple that is as unique a Detroit experience as it gets. Whether you’re a local or a visitor if you haven’t already tried one of these dogs with meat chili, onions, and mustard then consider this your sign to go try one now.
Location: Multiple Locations
Detroit has an incredible brewing history, which means that there’s no shortage of fun places around the city to soak up some ultra-fresh suds. We put together a list of the best breweries in Detroit, so we recommend checking out every brewery on the list!
Location: Multiple Locations
36. Hockeytown Cafe
If you’re a Detroit sports fan or just a visitor who wants to get a glimpse of what gameday in Detroit looks like, then Hockeytown Cafe is the place to be! It’s owned by the owner of the Detroit Red Wings, so there’s a ton of merch and an incredible atmosphere coupled with high-quality food options.
It’s a unique experience that everyone should have on their Detroit bucket list.
Location: 2301 Woodward Ave
Visit one of Detroit’s nearby Casinos
An iconic destination for thrill seekers across the mid-west, the Hollywood Casino at Greektown is 100,000 square feet of fun for people who want to gamble playing their game of choice.
Location: 555 East Lafayette Street
Feel like a high roller the second you step into Detroit’s MGM Grand Resort and Casino. If you hit a dry streak in the casino you can always step away from the table and enjoy the Top Golf attached to the same building.
Location: 1777 3rd Ave.
If you feel like making the trip out of Detroit to turn a night of gambling into a true trip, then taking the trip across the border to the Caesars Windsor in Canada is a surefire good time. With all the fun bells and whistles of the other casinos available in Detroit, along with a world-class nightclub, this place is for sure worth a visit at least once.
Location: 377 Riverside Drive East, Windsor, Canada
Check out the local stores
40. Eastern Market
With a wide range of events always coming up, the Eastern Market is a great place to spend time whether it be an incredible tailgate for the Lions game or a special Holiday Market that will let you get ahead on your holiday shopping! This place is a must-visit.
Location: 2934 Russell St
The GM Renaissance Center, or as the locals call it the “RenCen”, is a massive complex that connects seven skyscrapers to create one of the most unique silhouettes in the Detroit skyline. Inside the base of the complex is a shopping center, restaurants, and many other small businesses.
Location: 400 Renaissance Center
Monroe Street Midway is a haven in the community built to give the local youth and families a place to enjoy a safe space for outdoor activities. In the summers they have an outdoor basketball court and a wide range of activities going on and in the winters they offer an equal amount of fun things to do to get Detroit in the holiday spirit.
Location: 22 Monroe St
Escape the city with a day trip
Such an obvious addition to this list, a trip to Bell Isle can be anything from a few hours to a full day, but regardless of what your plans are, it’s something you need to do at least once if you’re in Detroit.
Location: 2 Woodside Dr
One of those true tests of whether you’re a Detroit local is whether or not you’ve taken one of the busses with your friends to head across the border to Windsor for a day. Whether it was to go to Caesars or just to quick trip to Adventure Bay, this trip is a right of passage for any true Detroiters.
Location: Washington & Lafayette
A fun family-oriented LEGO-themed destination is just a short 30-minute drive away from metro Detroit. This place is a must-visit for any special occasion with a group of young ones to make sure they have the time of their lives!
Location: 4240 Baldwin Rd, Auburn Hills, MI
If you have a car in Detroit, then you probably have driven across Ambassador Bridge before with a car packed with friends so that you can all enjoy a quick trip across the border. If you haven’t done this yet, then maybe now is the time for you to check this off your Detroit bucket list!
See one of Detroit’s sports live
We’ve come a long way from the ¨bad boys¨ Pistons of the past, but that doesn’t mean we don’t love going to Pistons games at Little Caesars Arena (LCA)!
Location: 2645 Woodward Ave
A day at the ballpark is always a good day, and it’s an even better day when you get to watch the Tigers represent the city of Detroit. If you call yourself a Detroiter then you’ve probably already been to a game before, but if you haven’t then this is your sign to go!
Location: 2100 Woodward Ave
Did you think we’d be ranking things to do in Detroit without mentioning our beloved Lions? Of course not! Going to a game at Ford Field and snuggling in next to other members of the Lions pride is one of the most memorable experiences you can have in Detroit, which is why we say you should do it at least once!
Location: 2100 Woodward Ave
One of the original six NHL teams ever created Detroit has one of the richest ice hockey history of any city out there, and you can feel it when you step into a Red Wings game in Detroit. Filled with crazy energy and a sea of red in the stands, these games are pure electricity and we cannot recommend them enough!
Location: 2645 Woodward Ave
If you want to take in a sports atmosphere unlike any other near the city of Detroit, then going to a NASCAR event at Michigan International Speedway is something you should have on your radar! It may not be for everyone but many people claim that this place hosts the best sporting events in all of Michigan! The thing is, you’ll never know if you don’t go at least once.
Location: Michigan International Speedway, 12626 U.S. Highway 12, Brooklyn, MI
If you haven’t already heard, Detroit will be hosting the next NFL draft between April 25th and 27th of 2024. The draft will take place around the Campus Martius Park area as well as Hart Plaza. This three-day event is a must-see for at least one quick visit by anyone in the Detroit area!
Location: Campus Martius Park & Hart Plaza