Dive into the heart of Detroit and discover a city rich in history, culture, and innovation. From the vibrant art scene to the iconic music venues, there’s something for everyone in the Motor City.

Detroit, Michigan, is a city with a fascinating past and a bright future. The birthplace of Motown and the automotive industry, Detroit is a melting pot of creativity and resilience. Visitors can explore the renowned Detroit Institute of Arts, catch a show at the historic Fox Theatre, or indulge in the diverse culinary scene. With its revitalized downtown and waterfront, Detroit offers a unique blend of old-world charm and modern excitement.

So whether you’re searching for apartments in Detroit, homes for sale, or are already a local, this Redfin article will be your guide. Here is Redfin’s list of the top 12 things to do in Detroit, for both newcomers and long-time locals alike.

1. Visit the Motown Museum

Immerse yourself in the rich musical history of Detroit at the Motown Museum. This iconic attraction offers a glimpse into the legendary Motown sound that changed the music industry. Explore the original recording studio where artists like Stevie Wonder and The Supremes recorded their hits. The museum also features an extensive collection of memorabilia and artifacts that showcase the impact of Motown on popular culture.

Must do: Don’t miss the chance to stand in Studio A, where countless classic songs were brought to life.

2. Discover the Detroit Institute of Arts

The Detroit Institute of Arts is a cultural gem that houses an impressive collection of art spanning from ancient to modern times. Visitors can admire works by renowned artists such as Van Gogh, Diego Rivera, and Rembrandt. The museum’s diverse exhibits and special events make it a must-see destination for art enthusiasts and casual visitors alike.

Must see: Be sure to check out the famous Detroit Industry Murals by Diego Rivera, which depict the city’s industrial history.

3. Explore Belle Isle Park

Belle Isle Park offers a peaceful escape from the urban hustle and bustle. This 982-acre island park features stunning views of the Detroit skyline, lush green spaces, and recreational activities such as hiking, biking, and picnicking. Visitors can also visit the Belle Isle Aquarium, the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory, and the Dossin Great Lakes Museum.

Insider scoop: Don’t miss the giant marble bust of Detroit’s iconic poet, James T. Callender, hidden amidst the lush foliage near the Nancy Brown Peace Carillon.

4. Visit the Detroit Historical Museum

Delve into the fascinating history of Detroit at the Detroit Historical Museum. This engaging museum showcases the city’s evolution through interactive exhibits, artifacts, and multimedia presentations. From the early days of the automobile industry to the civil rights movement, the museum offers a comprehensive look at Detroit’s past and its impact on the world.

Must do: Don’t miss the Streets of Old Detroit exhibit, which recreates the city’s streetscapes from the 1840s to the 1900s.

5. Experience the Detroit Riverwalk

The Detroit Riverwalk provides a scenic pathway along the Detroit River, offering breathtaking views of the waterfront and the city skyline. Visitors can enjoy walking, jogging, or biking along the riverfront, as well as access to parks, public art installations, and outdoor dining options. The Riverwalk is a vibrant hub for recreation and relaxation in the heart of the city.

Must see: Keep an eye out for the whimsical “River Monster” sculpture hidden beneath the water’s surface near Rivard Plaza. This playful artwork adds an element of surprise to your river adventure.

6. Tour the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation

Embark on a journey through American history at the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation. Located just outside Detroit in Dearborn, this museum showcases the ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit that shaped the nation. Explore exhibits featuring iconic artifacts such as the Rosa Parks bus, the Wright brothers’ plane, and Henry Ford’s first automobile. From the Industrial Revolution to modern technology, the museum offers a fascinating look at the people and innovations that changed the world.

Must do: Experience a ride in a Model T Ford and see firsthand how the automobile revolutionized transportation.

7. Attend a concert at the Fox Theatre

Immerse yourself in the magic of live entertainment at the historic Fox Theatre. This opulent venue, known for its lavish architecture and acoustics, hosts a diverse array of performances ranging from Broadway shows to concerts by world-renowned musicians. Step inside and be transported to a bygone era of glamour and grandeur as you enjoy a night of unforgettable entertainment.

Must see: Marvel at the Fox Theatre’s stunning Art Deco design, featuring intricate carvings, sparkling chandeliers, and plush velvet seating.

detroit theater at night with bright lights

8. Explore the Heidelberg Project

Experience the creativity and resilience of Detroit’s artistic community at the Heidelberg Project. This outdoor art installation, located in the city’s East Side neighborhood, transforms vacant lots and abandoned houses into vibrant works of art. Take a self-guided tour through the colorful streets adorned with found objects, recycled materials, and whimsical sculptures. The Heidelberg Project is a testament to the power of art to inspire, provoke, and unite communities.

Must do: Chat with local artists and volunteers to learn about the history and significance of the Heidelberg Project in Detroit’s cultural landscape.

9. Indulge in Detroit-style pizza

Satisfy your cravings for comfort food with a slice of Detroit-style pizza, a local culinary specialty. Characterized by its thick, square crust, crispy edges, and generous layers of cheese and toppings, Detroit-style pizza is a delicious twist on the classic Italian dish. Head to one of the city’s renowned pizzerias to sample this mouthwatering treat, and experience firsthand why Detroit-style pizza has earned a cult following around the world.

Must try: Order a classic Detroit-style pizza topped with pepperoni, brick cheese, and a drizzle of tangy red sauce for a truly authentic taste of Motor City cuisine.

10. Attend a Detroit Pistons basketball game

Cheer on the home team and experience the excitement of live sports at a Detroit Pistons basketball game. Head to the Little Caesars Arena, located in the heart of downtown Detroit, and join fellow fans in cheering on the Pistons as they take on rivals on the court. Whether you’re a die-hard basketball enthusiast or just looking for a fun night out, a Pistons game is sure to deliver an unforgettable experience.

Must do: Arrive early to soak in the pre-game atmosphere and explore the arena’s amenities, including restaurants, bars, and interactive exhibits celebrating Detroit’s sports history.

11. Discover the Underground Railroad Living Museum

Learn about Detroit’s role in the Underground Railroad at the Underground Railroad Living Museum. Located in the historic Second Baptist Church, one of the city’s oldest African American congregations, this museum offers a poignant glimpse into the struggles and triumphs of freedom seekers escaping slavery. Explore exhibits featuring artifacts, documents, and interactive displays that illuminate the stories of courage, resilience, and resistance along the Underground Railroad’s path to freedom.

Must do: Attend a guided tour led by knowledgeable docents who will share firsthand accounts and historical insights into Detroit’s Underground Railroad network.

12. Explore the Detroit Eastern Market

Immerse yourself in the sights, sounds, and flavors of Detroit at the historic Eastern Market. Established in 1891, this bustling public market is one of the largest of its kind in the United States, offering a vibrant mix of fresh produce, specialty foods, artisanal goods, and cultural experiences. Stroll through the market’s bustling sheds and open-air stalls, sampling local delicacies, and interacting with vendors who embody the spirit of Detroit’s culinary heritage.

Must do: Join a guided food tour of the Eastern Market to discover hidden gems, learn about local food traditions, and taste a variety of delicious dishes from diverse cuisines.

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