Welcome to Detroit City!
Whether you’re downtown for a day or a weekend, here are some family-friendly activities to add to your to-do list.
Show your Detroit Spirit
2 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48226
Let everyone know you visited the D and take a selfie with the Spirit of Detroit . The 26-foot sculpture was the largest cast bronze statue since the Renaissance era when it was built in 1955 and represents the city’s strength and resilience.
Get Lost in the RenCen
400 Renaissance Center, Suite 2500, Detroit, MI 48243
You can’t miss the Renaissance Center, the tower building defines the city landscape, and you don’t want to miss exploring the inside. Let your kids have fun running in circles, riding the escalator and admiring the cars on display. There are plenty of restaurants to grab a bite to eat (universal favorites like Panera and Potbelly’s and local favorites like Granite City Brewery and Mac N’ Cheez) and you can wind down with a ride on the People Mover. The $0.75 train ride will you will get a 20 minute round-trip view of the city.
Pick a side in the Coney Wars
114 W Lafayette Blvd, Detroit, MI 48226
There are plenty of places to get a coney in Detroit but American and Lafayettetop the list. The diners sit next door to each other and all locals have a favorite. American is open 24 hrs and Lafayette 9am to 3am – so you can try the coney challenge whenever your schedule allows.
See the Jewel of Detroit
Belle Isle // 100 The Strand, Detroit, MI 48207
Take a trip to the beautiful Belle Isle. The 982-acre state island park is home to the Belle Isle Aquarium, Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory, Dossin Great Lakes Museum, Belle Isle Nature Center, the James Scott Memorial Fountain, and the best view of the city skyline. Have a picnic, watch boats go by and spend the day like Detroiters have for over 150 years.
Play in the Parks
Campus Martius // 800 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48226
Beacon Park // 1901 Grand River Ave, Detroit, MI 48226
Riverfront // 521 Atwater St, Detroit, MI 48226 ( parking garage)
Find something fun at one of Detroit’s popular downtown parks. Lounge on the beach in the center of the city at Campus Martius or play lawn games in front of a castle at Beacon Park. The Detroit Riverfront offers 5 miles of parks and recreation from the Ambassador Bridge to Belle Isle – ride the carousel, get wet at the Mt. Elliot Splash Park and more. Let the kids run and play while you take in the sights and sounds of the city.
Experience the Art & Culture of Detroit
5200 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48202
Take a ride on the QLine and visit the city’s cultural center. See Diego Rivera’s famous Detroit Industry Murals at the Detroit Institute of Art, ride a rocket ship at the Michigan Science Center, explore the Charles H Wright Museum, one of the nation’s first museums for African and African American history, and take a walk through time at the Detroit Historical Museum (it’s free!). If you have a car, hear the music of legends like Michael Jackson, The Temptations and Diana Ross in the original recording studios at the Motown Museum. And check out the line up at Detroit Symphony Orchestra and get tickets to a show!
Root for the Home Team
Detroit is a sports city and one of the few places you will find four professional teams playing next door to each other. Go to Comerica Park and watch the Tigers, Ford Field for the Lions or the new Little Caesars Arena to see the Red Wings or Pistons. If you want something different, Detroit City Football Club plays at soccer at Keyworth Stadium, Derby Girls (and guys) race at the Masonic Temple and cyclists compete in the Lexus Veladrome.
Take Something With You
Fisher Building // 3011 W Grand Blvd, Detroit, MI 48202
Guardian Building // 500 Griswold St, Detroit, MI 48226
Pure Detroit offers the best Detroit goodies. From swag to specialty items from local makers, you won’t have trouble finding something special to remember your trip. With six locations the store is easy to find. We recommend taking a trip to the Fisher Building (you can take the QLine), the iconic building is home to a growing number of shops including the Peacock Room and, New York City original, City Bakery. If you want to stay downtown, the Guardian Building will take your breath away.
Treat Yo Self
Get something special for you (and maybe the kids too). Try a gourmet chocolate at Bon Bon Bon, a chocolate sea salt cookie at Avalon or a number of sweet treats at Astoria Bakery. If you need a grown-up drink in a family-friendly environment, grab a beer and a meal at Detroit Beer Co., Batch Brewery, HopCat, or the Jolly Pumpkin.
Photo credit: Facebook
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..