Detroit January 16, 2018
10 Tourist Traps Actually Worth Visiting In Detroit
Those of us who have spent years in Detroit might not always be terribly fond of tourists. Sure, we’re grateful for the positive financial impact they have on our city, but we’re often frustrated by their presence when we’re just trying to go about our daily lives. That said, there are a few destinations here in the Motor City that are well worth visiting, even if they’re typically overflowing with out-of-town guests. Whether you’re a longtime Detroiter looking for something new to explore or a visitor who doesn’t want to waste precious time, we recommend checking out these ten spots.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. The Detroit Institute of Arts (5200 Woodward Ave.)
Thousands of visitors flock to the DIA each and every year, and it can be easy to feel put off by the idea of massive crowds or field trip groups. Don’t let this fascinating museum’s popularity stop you from visiting! The DIA houses some truly incredible artwork, both classic to modern, that will make you forget about the fellow visitors who surround you.
2. Detroit Riverfront
You might feel obligated to steer clear of the Riverfront area, particularly during warmer months when it’s overflowing with curious visitors taking bicycle tours or strolling along the water. But there’s something undeniably peaceful about this area, and the gorgeousness of the Detroit River itself makes the Riverfront a must-see spot in the Motor City.
We know, we know: Greektown tends to be tourist central. Often overflowing with visitors from the suburbs, this area of the city is typically known for its casino and lodging, but there’s more to Greektown than meets the eye. Even if slots and card games aren’t your thing, you’ll find several authentic Greek eateries and small shops to explore while the rest of your group is gambling the night away.
4. The Motown Museum (2648 W Grand Blvd.)
If you love music, you simply must make a stop at the Motown Museum and Hitsville, USA while in Motor City. You might find yourself surrounded by tourists, but there’s a reason why this spot is so iconic and fascinating! From Diana Ross to Aretha Franklin, so many of the world’s greatest Motown artists got their start right here— and you’ll feel as though you’re stepping back in time.
5. Belle Isle Aquarium ( 900 Inselruhe Ave.)
Don’t write this spot off as an overcrowded, overpriced destination that’s only fun for tourists with children. In fact, the Belle Isle Aquarium has plenty of unique elements to keep visitors enthralled— plus, unlike many similar attractions in other cities, it’s 100% free! It’s also the oldest continually operating aquarium in the entire United States, so there’s plenty of history to appreciate during your journey.
6. Ford Piquette Plant (461 Piquette St.)
You can’t visit Detroit without paying homage to its auto industry legacy, and the Ford Piquette Plant is a fantastic place to start. Billed as the "birthplace of the Model T," this spot will truly take you on a journey back in time to the earliest days of Henry Ford’s innovative methods. You’ll be so engaged with the experience that you likely won’t even notice your fellow museumgoers.
7. Comerica Park (2100 Woodward Ave.)
There’s no denying that Comerica Park is one of the most crowded and popular spots in the Motor City, but that’s only because there’s nothing better than heading out for a day at the ballpark! Even the most crowd-averse visitors will have a blast watching the Tigers play at this fantastic destination, which truly captures the beautiful spirit of Detroit.
8. The Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village (20900 Oakwood Blvd.)
You’ll have to journey to nearby Dearborn for this experience, but we promise you’ll have an utterly amazing time. The Henry Ford is a bustling spot that’s often popular for school field trips and tour groups, but it’s large enough that you’ll find plenty to keep you occupied without feeling smothered. From the famous Rosa Parks bus to all sorts of historical reenactors, there’s something here for everyone.
9. The Renaissance Center
You might be tempted to avoid the Ren Cen at all costs, but we certainly think it’s worth a visit. Take a stroll through this massive complex, which features gorgeous architectural designs and all sorts of unique attractions throughout. You’ll even find a variety of restaurants inside, so why not stop and stay a while? Even the most stubborn Detroiter can find something to love about this iconic structure.
10. Pewabic Pottery (10125 E Jefferson Ave.)
This charming ceramic studio and school is a total must-visit during your time in the Motor City. Whether you’re a newcomer to the area or a longtime Detroiter who has never explored this spot, you simply must step inside to learn more about this unique artistic style that has been in practice since the early 1900s. You don’t have to be a pottery enthusiast to enjoy your time at Pewabic.
Okay, Detroiters: we want to hear your opinions. Are there any other tourist-heavy locations in the Motor City that are actually well worth exploring? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!