Detroit is the largest city in Michigan and features one of the most diverse populations in the midwestern state. The city is becoming increasingly busy with new transplants. Detroit is able to offer the “big city” experience with lower prices, less traffic, and (arguably) nicer people. The sports culture and restaurant scene are rich in Downtown Detroit, and many large city amenities come at a much lower cost. Experience some of the best things to do in Detroit with this excellent guide to museums, restaurants, and more
Tip: Get a Car
If you are flying into the Metro Airport, you will still be over 20 minutes away from Downtown Detroit. Downtown Detroit is manageable without a car, and if you want to ditch the car for a “big city” experience, you can always park at the Detroit Metro airport parking lot and pick it up later. Outside of downtown, Detroit remains lacking in reliable mass transit.
Detroit Institute of Arts
Located in Midtown is Detroit’s most extensive art museum. The Detroit Institute of Arts is one of the largest and most highly regarded art museums in America, with an art collection worth nearly $10 billion. Some of the most famous artists in the museum include Van Gogh and Rembrandt. It is worth a visit if you are in town.
Officially known as the Detroit International Riverfront, the conservancy is arguably Detroit’s most famous landmark. The riverfront extends for over 5 miles and encompasses both the Ambassador Bridge and Belle Isle. A multitude of restaurants, malls, and high-rise apartment buildings overlook the riverfront. It is a beautiful and accessible space for locals and tourists alike.
Detroit does farmer’s markets, and it does it big. Eastern Market is a collective of farmer’s markets located in the heart of Detroit. Local vendors can sell fresh food, art, and ingredients at the Eastern Market. Detroit’s Eastern Market is made to appeal both to locals and tourists.
Saturday at the Eastern Market is a sight to see for any avid farmer’s market lover. There are over 200 market vendors that attend Saturday Market, and tens of thousands of people pour in for delicious food and produce. Sundays are a little more abstract and majorly features crafts, clothes, and jewelry. If you are looking for a one-of-a-kind piece, Sunday Market is the best place to find it! Tuesday Market is a little less intense and the optimal place for those of us looking to stalk up on fresh produce without the long lines and mass of Detroiters.
Belle Isle Park
Despite being a city, Detroit has no shortage of greenery and natural beauty. Belle Isle Park is an island park that is nearly 1000 acres. The conservancy is the largest park owned by a city and features rich history and culture. Belle Isle Park’s most famous attractions are the James Scott Memorial Foundation, Belle Isle Aquarium, and the Belle Isle Conservatory. The Belle Isle Nature Center features an undisturbed wetland and is dedicated to conserving the wildlife and flora of Michigan. Dossin Great Lakes Museum is a maritime museum dedicated to Detroit’s rich naval history. These are just a few of the many attractions waiting for you at Belle Isle Park!
A visit to Downtown Detroit would not be completed without a visit to Ford Field. It is the home stadium for the Detroit Lions, Detroit’s official football team. The stadium is a must-see for any Lions and football fan. The stadium can also accommodate basketball events and can seat up to 80,000 people. The Field was named after the Ford Motor Company who owns a significant stake in the Detroit Lions.
Dave’s Hot Chicken
This famed Detroit restaurant began in a parking lot with the help of four friends and $900. The four friends sought up to create the best hot chicken, and they were successful. Dave’s Hot Chicken features some of the “juiciest and most tender” chicken you have ever tasted. And there is a spice level from everyone! Despite not originating from Detroit, Dave’s Hot Chicken has quickly become a fan-favorite in Michigan.
Mister Dips began out of a 1974 Airstream trailer, and now their brick and mortar stand in Parker’s Alley in Downtown Detroit. Mister Dips started with griddle burgers, waffle fries, and dairy dips, all items that are still available on the menu today. The Detroit menu features the original griddle burgers in all-natural Angus beef and vegetarian, fries, and dairy dips. Their extended menu also includes crispy chicken strips, “thick-aaazz shakes,” and alcoholic desserts.
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