Know Before You Go: Detroit Institute of Arts Know Before You Go: Detroit Institute of Arts skip to Main Content

Know Before You Go: Detroit Institute of Arts


Rich in history and culture AND FREE to tri-county residents – the Detroit Institute of Arts is the perfect place to spend time with kids!


If you ask my son where he wants to go for an activity, 9 times out of 10 he’ll say the DIA. He’s almost 3 and we’ve been wandering the galleries his entire life. He loves to lead the way pointing to his favorite pieces and finding the interactive Eye Spy boards on the wall. Since we live in Wayne County, admission is free and we can visit for 30 minutes or an entire afternoon.


I let Lucas take the lead on our visits (with frequent, gentle reminders that art is for eyes and not hands – everything except the donkey, which he races to touch when we arrive), but when I go to the museum with older kids I like to bring a sketch pad or notebook. We pick a gallery to explore together, searching for our favorite piece to sit in front of and write a reflection, creative story or sketch.


The museum is open late on Friday nights and at 4pm you’ll find chess players of all skills and ages challenging themselves at the Drop-In Chess Club.


Friday evenings from 6pm to 9pm and from 12 to 4pm on the weekend, stop by the Art-Making Studio to create art to take home with you. Each week it’s something new, from print making to mosaics and more. Learn about different art techniques in the drop-in classroom, make a piece and search for something similar in the galleries.


What You Need:

  • ID to show you’re a resident to get free admission

Start Making Plans

  • Ages: All ages! You’re never too young to experience art, wander the galleries with the stroller, stop by the craft room and don’t forget to pet the donkey.
  • Cost: Free for residents of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb County.
  • Parking: Pay to park in the museum’s secured surface lot on John R. for $7 or download the Park Detroit app and park on the street (try Farnsworth or Kirby) for $1 an hour.
  • Time: Plan to be there for at least an hour
  • Where to eat: There’s a cafeteria in the DIA with pretty good food. You can also check out our Dining With Kids Detroit Edition for some more ideas nearby and around town.


Have questions? Send me an email at




About Carrie Budzinski

Carrie Budzinski is the Vice President of LittleGuide Detroit. She grew up in Livonia and Detroit and continues to live life in both cities. Carrie loves exploring the city and finding hidden gems in the suburbs..

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