Detroit April 06, 2022
This Road Trip Takes You To The Most Fascinating Historical Sites Around Detroit
Are you a sucker for history? If you love learning about the past, there are plenty of unique spots to explore in and around Detroit. After all, the Motor City boasts a plethora of fascinating stories and sites, whether you’re keen on military history, cultural events, or something in between. When you’re ready to dive headfirst into an educational adventure, check out this road trip to the top historical sites in Detroit.
If you’d like to rearrange the driving route to suit your needs, check out our
adjustable road trip map.
1. Historic Fort Wayne
Historic Fort Wayne, 6325 W Jefferson Ave, Detroit, MI 48209, USA
Situated along the shores of the Detroit River, Historic Fort Wayne might just be the most fascinating site in the city. This unique spot was opened for military use in 1849, but its history extends far longer – after all, this land was once occupied by indigenous people, hence the presence of burial grounds and artifacts on site. During its stint as a military center, Fort Wayne played a role in everything from the War of 1812 to the Civil War. Today, visitors can tour barracks, guardhouses, officers’ quarters, and more.
2. Michigan Central Station
Michigan Central, 2001 15th St, Detroit, MI 48216, USA
The landscape of Detroit has changed radically over the generations, but one building has remained a fixture: Michigan Central Station. That being said, it hasn’t always been a pretty sight – after all, the once-bustling train station opened in 1913 and operated for generations before shuttering in the 1980s. While it sat abandoned as many restoration projects fell through over the years, recent efforts to renovate and reopen the space have been given the green light. Stay tuned!
3. The Fox Theatre
Fox Theatre, 2211 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48201, USA
Manmade beauty abounds at The Fox, a 1928 theatre that remains in use today. Situated along Woodward Avenue, this history-rich building offers more than 5,000 seats and boasts an ornate interior style that will absolutely take your breath away. Throughout the generations, celebrity guests from Shirley Temple to Elvis Presley have appeared at the Fox – and you’ll sense the space’s history as soon as you set foot inside or drive by its sparkling marquee.
4. The Whitney
The Whitney, 4421 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48201, USA
All this road-tripping might leave you feeling hungry, so why not combine the next stop on your historical tour of Detroit with a bite to eat? The Whitney is a former lumber baron’s mansion that was constructed back in the early 1890s. Today, it operates as a fine dining establishment and a capsule of a bygone era. When you dine here, you’ll find stunning woodwork, antique touches galore, stained glass, and maybe even a few ghosts. Does it get much better?
5. The Motown Museum
Motown Museum, 2648 W Grand Blvd, Detroit, MI 48208, USA
Motown music is one of the most joyous exports from Detroit, and we sure are proud to be affiliated with it. For music lovers, nothing beats a visit to the Motown Museum, which allows guests to explore Berry Gordy’s “Hitsville, USA” in real-time. Throughout the years, artists from Stevie Wonder to Diana Ross graced this space with their presence – and even if you’re simply driving by, you’ll feel the magic.
6. The Birwood Wall
Alfonso Wells Memorial Playground, Griggs St, Detroit, MI 48221, USA
While there are plenty of happy reminders of Detroit’s past, other sites mark darker periods in the city’s history. One such spot is the Birwood Wall (sometimes referred to as the Detroit Eight Mile Wall), which once served as a barrier to separate white and black homeowners in the city. While the history of this five-foot wall points to an ugly legacy of segregation, portions of it have been reclaimed as a canvas for vibrant murals meant to inspire hope. Today, visitors can check out the wall by exploring Alfonso Wells Memorial Playground on Griggs Street.
7. Ford Piquette Plant
Ford Piquette Avenue Plant, 461 Piquette Ave, Detroit, MI 48202, USA
Detroit is famous for its part in the automotive industry, but many locals have never delved fully into the history of this unique role. If you’d like to dive headfirst into this part of the Motor City’s legacy, the Ford Piquette Plant is an absolute must-visit. This spot was once the secondary center of car production in the city, opening its doors in 1904 and operating in various capacities until it officially became a museum in 2001. Whether or not you’re a “car person,” you’ll find something to love here.
8. Belle Isle Aquarium
Belle Isle Aquarium, 3 Inselruhe Ave, Detroit, MI 48207, USA
Belle Isle as a whole is a major historical site in Detroit, having drawn in generations of visitors with its unique structures, ample attractions, and gorgeous outdoor space. While there’s lots of history to embrace within the island park, we’re partial to Belle Isle Aquarium: the oldest public aquarium in North America. Whether you’re simply strolling by or stepping inside to check out an array of marine life, you’ll be enchanted by this spot, which first opened its doors back in 1904.
So, now you’re up to date on some of the most incredible historical sites in Detroit. Have you been lucky enough to make memories at any of these unique spots during previous outings in the city? We love to hear from our readers, so share your experiences by leaving a Facebook comment or recommend an overlooked historical site in Detroit by completing our
official nomination form.
Can’t get enough history? You might want to read about this
long-standing general store near Detroit. Address: The Whitney, 4421 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48201, USA Address: Ford Piquette Avenue Plant, 461 Piquette Ave, Detroit, MI 48202, USA Address: Fox Theatre, 2211 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48201, USA Address: Michigan Central, 2001 15th St, Detroit, MI 48216, USA Address: Alfonso Wells Memorial Playground, Griggs St, Detroit, MI 48221, USA Address: Motown Museum, 2648 W Grand Blvd, Detroit, MI 48208, USA Address: Belle Isle Aquarium, 3 Inselruhe Ave, Detroit, MI 48207, USA