Detroit — the Motor City — Motown — the D. No matter what you call it, this unforgettable urban center is a place you won’t want to miss if your travels take you to Michigan or anywhere in the Midwest. If you’re new to Detroit, however, you may not know where to go.
Here are our tips on the top tourist attractions throughout the Detroit area that you won’t want to miss during your stay in the automotive capital of the world.
1. Comerica Park
Comerica Park is more than just a ballpark. As home to the Detroit Tigers, this local landmark is the perfect place to enjoy America’s favorite pastime. However, there’s also a Ferris wheel and carousel, a food court with a huge variety of options and even a baseball museum recording the history of the nation’s oldest continuous one-name, one-city franchise belonging to the American League.
The best way to enjoy Detroit’s east riverfront is Riverwalk, a 3.5-mile stretch of paths, plazas, parks, pavilions and other landmarks. Although it’s only 80 percent complete, Riverwalk offers the best views of Detroit and her Canadian sister city, Windsor, which sits just across the river. Hart Plaza is a notable location you won’t want to miss along the way, as it features the iconic Horace E. Dodge and Son Memorial Fountain and a sculpture of heavyweight champion Joe Louis’s fist.
3. Belle Isle
Located on the Detroit River between the U.S. and Canada, Belle Isle is a 982-acre island with lovely parklands, hiking trails and a variety of recreational activities such as swimming holes, bike paths, a driving range and more. Ample attractions also dot Belle Isle, which has attracted visitors to the island for more than 100 years, including:
- Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory
- Belle Isle Aquarium
- Dossin Great Lakes Museum
- Belle Isle Nature Zoo
4. The Henry Ford Museum
Any visit to the Motor City needs to include a trip to the Henry Ford Museum, an attraction that commemorates the automobile innovator who helped put Detroit on the map. The museum’s 250 acres include several different attractions, including Greenfield Village, a living museum which celebrates American History.
5. Detroit Institute of Arts
DIA is a mecca for art lovers and includes more than 65,000 stunning examples of artistic expression from the earliest cultures to the present day. Although the museum features masterpieces from well-known masters such as Van Gogh, Rembrandt and Picasso, the centerpiece is undoubtedly Mexican artist Diego Rivera’s Detroit Industry murals, a depiction of the city’s automobile labor industry displayed across 27 panels.
6. Charles H. Wright Museum of African-American History
This museum is a celebration of African American culture in the United States and the historical role blacks have played in the history of the nation and the city of Detroit. Museum exhibits take a look at African American contributions to science, technology, politics and a wide variety of other subjects.
7. Motown Museum
Also known as Hitsville U.S.A., Motown’s first building — where the museum is housed — was purchased by Berry Gordy in 1959. Motown soon became one of the most famous labels of all time and featured well-known artists like The Supremes, Marvin Gaye, Little Stevie Wonder and The Temptations. A visit to this attraction is perfect for anyone who knows and loves Motown music.
8. GM Renaissance Center
One of the most famous skyscraper complexes dominating Detroit’s downtown skyline is a seven-tower complex called the GM Renaissance Center. This top sightseeing destination houses a variety of shops, restaurants and the Detroit Marriott, all connected by a dizzying network of escalators and walkways. You won’t want to miss the 72nd-floor observation deck, which offers incredible views of the city.
9. Lafayette and American Coney Island
A Coney Island hot dog is a Detroit institution, and there are two must-visit locations to get this chili-and-onion-covered treat. Lafayette and American Coney Island have been rival Coney Island dog purveyors for years, and they just happen to be next door to one another. Stop on by to see which dog is your favorite!
End Your Detroit Adventure With a Delicious Treat
The Coney Island may be a local guilty pleasure, but if you’re looking for the finest food in the Metro Detroit region, look no further than TRIA – An American Brasserie. Located in Dearborn’s elegant and luxurious Henry Hotel, TRIA offers culinary delights that highlight locally sourced ingredients and native Michigan flavors. For an authentic local experience for your palate, be sure to reserve your table for breakfast, lunch or dinner.