This blog post was updated on December 26, 2019.

So you’re headed on vacation to Detroit? It’s no secret that this Midwestern city isn’t considered the hottest destination in the United States. But! Despite it’s sometimes unfavorable reputation, Detroit is seriously underrated. Don’t believe us? Check out Motor City and see for yourself! Here are five things to do in Detroit that should be at the top of your list. Bon voyage!

Make Your Way to the Motown Museum

Motown 2

Image via Flickr – CC 2.0. – Dave Sizer

It’s easy to miss the Motown Museum and Hitsville when you’re driving around Detroit proper, taking in the sites, but make sure you stop off here! The museum and studio, which consists of two mid-1900s Detroit homes, highlights one of the most celebrated music eras in history. Motown’s fun, knowledgeable guides make for a fun tour of the area, as well as an experience you’ll never forget. You’ll get to see a famous Motown studio, listen to Motown music, and you might even get to sing and dance along.

Explore the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village

Shu-Hung Liu / Shutterstock

This isn’t your typical museum! Why not? You could literally spend an entire weekend here and still not see everything—that’s how awesome it is. Visiting late summer and early fall is a great time to walk around Greenfield Village, which includes Model-T and train rides, historic buildings and homes that are over 200 years old, and a fascinating Thomas Edison exhibit. Inside the Henry Ford Museum you’ll find a plethora of exhibits that go beyond just automobiles, to include airplanes, trains, the Rosa Parks bus, the chair Abraham Lincoln was shot in, and JFK’s presidential car. History buffs, rejoice.

You May Also Like: Polaroids, Puppets, & Street Art: Your Guide to Edgy Detroit

Get Some Culture at the Detroit Institute of Arts

paulrommer / Shutterstock

The Detroit Institute of Arts is one of the best art museums in the country and worth the flights to Detroit. Visitors can often spend up to an hour just on the outside of the building, marveling at the architecture and taking pictures of some of the outdoor art, which includes a replica of Rodin’s “The Thinker.” Inside, you’ll find artists like Van Gogh, Picasso, and Rembrandt hanging on the walls. Excuse me, while I set up camp in here.

Eat Your Heart Out

"Dessert" by Rex Roof is licensed under CC 2.0.

Image via Flickr – CC 2.0. – Rex Roof

New York isn’t the only city with a Coney Island hot dog stand! The coney in Detroit is something of an icon, and you definitely don’t want to miss it. Located in downtown Detroit, this little soda shop style restaurant takes you back in time with old fashioned fountain drinks and bar seating—similar to what you’d find in cafes during the mid-1900s. Not for the faint of heart, but you can’t stop in without having a coke and a coney!

If you’re looking for some fancier eats, Detroit’s got you covered there, too. This city is really up and coming when it comes to the culinary scene, meaning there are tons of hip, yummy restaurants, with totally reasonable prices, like Karl’s in the Siren Hotel. If you like wandering around among hipster-y, artisanal treats, check out the Eastern Market. Your taste buds will seriously thank you.

Walk Around the Detroit Riverfront

Marina Mikhaylova / Shutterstock

Located across from the Renaissance Center, which houses GM, the Detroit Riverfront is great for walking off that coney and snapping some photos. One of the most photographed areas of Detroit, it features great outdoor artwork and a nice area on the river to stroll around with your sweetheart. Visitors also get a great view across the water over to Windsor, Canada. So fancy!

Are you headed to Detroit anytime soon? Let us know what you’ll be doing in the comments section below!

2 Responses

  1. Kirsten Alana

    This is a well written piece! Props to Spencer for making Detroit sound so attractive! It definitely can be, it’s just a place you have to dig deep to appreciate!

  2. Maatu

    I’ll also be visiting black historic sites, like Second Baptist Church, founded by black’s in the 1830s; the Charles Wright Museum, the nation’s largest African-American Museum; and the Dunbar Hospital, established in 1914 to service blacks, in light of segregation.


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