Located on the Detroit River and Lake St. Clair, Detroit is the largest city in Michigan and is located between Lakes Huron and Erie. The waterfront of Detroit’s downtown area is home to a plethora of attractions, shops, and restaurants, as well as the historically significant Greektown.
Our list of the top Detroit tourist attractions can help you plan your next trip to the Motor City.
Detroit Institute of Arts
Artworks from the earliest civilizations to the present day are on display in Detroit’s Institute of Arts. Over 65,000 works of art are housed in more than 100 galleries in the museum’s permanent collection. This category features African, Oceanian and Indigenous American art; art from the Near East and classical ancient times; medieval European collections; as well as American art and culture.
Rembrandt, Van Gogh (self-portrait), Matisse, and Picasso are among the museum’s most popular works of European painting. The museum’s Islamic art also includes everything from ancient pottery to contemporary bronze and stone sculpture. There’s also a gallery devoted to African-American art, which showcases a wide range of media.
The museum also houses a performing arts collection, which includes film and theater relics, including the Paul McPharlin Puppetry Collection.
The DIA’s official website: http://www.dia.org/
2. The Ford Piquette Avenue Plant
At the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant, where the legendary Model T was conceived, the automobile industry was revolutionized and the road to personal transportation was redefined. Formerly the heart of production for what was once the world’s most popular car, the structure is now a National Historic Landmark.
On the original worn floorboards, visitors can walk through the plant and admire a wide variety of beautifully preserved early model automobiles, including Ford’s vehicles and those of his competitors. Ford and his team used to work in the “experimental room,” which still has many of the tools and mementos of Ford’s childhood, including his mother’s rocking chair. All of these are accessible for visitors to witness.
Official website for the Ford’s Piquette Avenue Plant: www.fordpiquetteplant.org
3. Charles H. Wright Museum of African-American History
The Museum of African-American History depicts the history of African-Americans in the United States as well as their role in the city of Detroit. All kinds of topics are covered in the exhibits: from famous African American scientists to industrial leaders, as well as the Underground Railroad that helped slaves escape from Michigan to Canada.
The facility hosts a wide range of activities, from lectures to symposia to screenings of documentaries on a wide range of social and political topics.
The official website for The Wright Institute: http://thewright.org
4. Detroit Zoo
Just outside of downtown Detroit, the Detroit Zoo is home to an incredible variety of animals from all over the world. African habitats are one of the most popular sections of the zoo, where exotic species like rhinos, lions, zebra, giraffe, and the sloth may be found. The four-acre ape habitat, home to a dozen chimpanzees and 3 silverback gorillas, is also located in this section.
There are camels, tigers, lemurs, and red pandas in the Asian Forest habitat, and kangaroos and wallabies live in the Australian Outback. Also, there is an Arctic region with polar bears, foxes, and penguins, as well as an area dedicated to North American wildlife. The free-flight aviary, indoor butterfly garden, and reptile conservation center, which is home to a wide variety of snakes, turtles, and frogs, are also popular stops for visitors.
Animal experiences include feeding giraffes and meeting penguins, to name just a few. The park also includes many playgrounds, a 4-D cinema, and a train ride, as well as many picnic spots and a low- sensory space for overstimulated children.
The official web address for the Detroit Zoo: https://detroitzoo.org
5. Belle Isle
Belle Isle is a three-mile-long and one-mile-wide island in the Detroit River that is filled with gorgeous parkland, hiking paths, and sporting facilities. Featuring a lily pond with palms, cacti, and desert plants in the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory (which opened in 1904) as one of its highlights, the museum has something for everyone.
Many ship models and other artifacts depicting historical events related to shipping on the Great Lakes can be found on the island, as well as a reconstructed Gothic-style dining room that once belonged to the SS City of Detroit III.
Visitors can also feed deer at the Belle Isle Nature Zoo and also visit the Belle Isle Aquarium, which was recently renovated. The island has a driving range, bicycle and boat rentals, a giant slide, and a number of swimming holes and hiking trails around the park’s three lakes, which are accessible by boat or bicycle.
Michigan’s Belle Isle Park can be found at https://www.michigan.org.
6. Detroit Public Library
On the 25th of March, 1865, the Detroit Public Library was officially opened to the general public. The first 5,000 books in the library’s collection were housed in a room at the old Capitol High School housed.
On March 21, 1921, the library relocated to its current location. It has 10 departments in the main library and 23 divisions.
The main attraction here is the building, which is a historic landmark and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Docent-led tours of the library’s architecture, history, and art are available to the public for no charge.
This is the official website of the Detroit Public Library: http://www.detroit.lib.mi.us/
7. Masonic Temple of Detroit
Traditional Gothic architecture was used to build the Masonic Temple of Detroit. Dedicated in 1926, it is the world’s largest temple of its sort. The Shrine Club, the auditorium, and the ritualistic tower make up the three major sections of the building. Concerts and other events also take place at the facility. Be sure to call ahead if you plan on taking a tour of this magnificent building.
The official website for the Masonic Temple of Detroit: https://www.themasonic.com