7 Unique & Cool Things to Do in Detroit

Modified: July 19, 2022 | Story by Danielle Alexander

Paul McCartney once said, “I used to think that anyone doing anything weird was weird. I suddenly realized that anyone doing anything weird wasn’t weird at all, and it was the people saying they were weird that were weird”. Moral of the story? Channel your inner-weirdness and support fellow weirdos by checking out the places and events in metro Detroit listed below.

1. Attend Theatre Bizarre

Theatre Bizarre is known as being both “the singular, must-see annual event since it launched (illegally) in the early days of the 21st century”, as well as a very difficult affair for which to obtain tickets. On a weekend in late October each year, thousands fill Detroit’s Masonic Temple for a night of stage shows that range from fire-eaters, burlesque performers, and musicians that last until the early hours of the morning. The first night is when the Grand Preview Gala takes place, which is a more intimate and elegant affair than the main event that occurs the following evening. Costumes are mandatory for both events.

2. Visit the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit

Located off Woodward Avenue, the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD)’s mission is to “present art at the forefront of contemporary culture,” and it is “responsive to the cultural content of our time, fueling crucial dialogue, collaboration, and public engagement.”

Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit exterior

3. Stroll through the Heidelberg Project

The Heidelberg Project is a Detroit-based community organization “designed to improve the lives of people and neighborhoods through art.” Beginning in 1986 when native Detroit artist Tyree Guyton responded to the ongoing blight and decay in the neighborhood in which we grew up, the outdoor artwork contains recycled materials and found objects, most of which were salvaged from the streets of Detroit, and each work of art has been created to tell a story about current issues “plaguing society”.

Heidelberg Project Polka Dot House

Heidelberg Project Polka Dot House by Bill Bowen

4. Learn and shop at the African Bead Museum

Dabls MBAD African Bead Museum, located on Grand River Avenue in Detroit, is a major repository for African artifacts, including sculptures, textiles, pottery, and bead works from cultures throughout Africa.

5. Take some selfies at Hamtramck Disneyland

After more than 30 years of working at General Motors, Ukrainian immigrant Dmytro Szylak created Hamtramck Disneyland, a folk-art project that draws tourists from across the world. The collection includes a Ferris wheel, merry-go-round horse, mirrors, hand-crafted airplanes, miniature animals, rockets, and framed photos of tigers, elephants, and sunflowers, which cover the garage.

Hamtramck Disneyland

6. Get spooked on a Haunted Detroit Tour

In only 2.5 hours, you have the opportunity to visit haunted places in metro Detroit via Haunted Detroit Tours. A ticket includes charter transportation, history of sites, and tour guides equipped with ghost hunting tools, such as digital cameras, infrared thermometers, and EMF detectors. Wheelhouse Detroit also offers a haunted tour.

Wheelhouse Detroit Haunted tour Elmwood Cemetery

Wheelhouse Detroit Haunted tour Elmwood Cemetery

7. Drive by the Giant Uniroyal Tire

An eight-story tire gets everyone’s attention, and that is why the Giant Uniroyal Tire is a popular but weird automobile-related attraction in metro Detroit. Now located in Allen Park, it was originally created in the ’60s as a Ferris Wheel attraction for New York World’s Fair, one on which Jacqueline Kennedy and her children rode. Even after several renovations over the years, it continues to “welcome visitors and residents back to the Motor City” since it is located near the Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

Photo courtesy of Gregory Fournier

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Mentioned Attractions And Venues

  1. 1
    Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD)
    4454 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48201
  2. 2
    Detroit Metro Airport
    2500 World Gateway Place, I-94 at Merriman Road, Detroit, MI 48242
    734-AIR-PORT (24