These are just three of the legendary architects whose vision helped Detroit become the “Paris of the Midwest.”
It’s impossible to account for all of Detroit’s stunning architecture in one blog post. So here are simply ten examples (in no particular order) of some of Detroit’s most impressive buildings and ways you can see them.
This 40-floor skyscraper’s classic art deco architecture and orange brick exterior boasts a beauty that is unmatched. The Guardian Building is a favorite stop along Feet on the Street’s narrated architecture and history tours where guests get to explore inside.
A masterpiece of architect Albert Khan, the massive Fisher Building was built almost entirely out of marble and granite. Learn about the architectural genius behind this widely acclaimed landmark with free public tours every Saturday provided by Pure Detroit.
High atop this skyscraper sits a glowing red globe that makes the Penobscot one of the most recognizable in Detroit’s skyline. The building’s impressive interior has museum-quality ornaments that are a tribute to the Penobscot Indians.
The Masonic Temple
Detroit’s Masonic Temple is the largest building of its kind in the world. The Masonic’s magnificent lobby is the work of sculptor Corrado Parducci, and is an adaptation of a Sicilian castle. Guided tours are available as well as virtual and foreign language tours.
The Detroit Athletic Club
Albert Khan left another fingerprint on Detroit with the creation of this magnificent six-story clubhouse, which today remains one of the finest private clubs in the country. Since the Detroit Athletic Club opened in 1915, no major structural overhauls have been needed and it retains its architectural beauty.
C. Howard Crane designed and built the Fox Theatre in 1928 in the style and tradition of great movie palaces. Once in disrepair, this National Historic Landmark has been restored to its original grandeur. Visitors can take tours showcasing its exquisite beauty and extravagant architectural design.
Michigan Central Station
Nothing captures Detroit’s unique beauty quite like the iconic Michigan Central Station. Though you can’t tour the building, it is still a popular photo stop for many visitors who come to see the grand 18-story former train station in Corktown’s Roosevelt Park.
FUN FACT: In a few years, you’ll be able to walk through the train station when it becomes part of the Ford Motor Company’s Detroit campus!
Arguably the most iconic building in Detroit’s skyline, the architecture of the Renaissance Center is the product of John Portman & Associates. Clocking in at a whopping 5.5 million total square feet, you’ll want to take advantage of the free daily guided tours when you visit.
Grand Army of the Republic Building
This 114-year-old castle once served as a gathering place for civil war veterans. The Grand Army of the Republic Building is currently undergoing a massive renovation, and two classic Detroit restaurants are housed on the lower floor.
Wayne County Building
This impressive landmark was created in Beaux-Arts style and was built as the Wayne County Courthouse. Although the building is now closed, its massive tower and ornamental sculptures demonstrate a timeless beauty that will hopefully be brought to life again soon.
To see these buildings you can make your own walking route, ride along on an architecture tour with Wheelhouse Detroit, or let the pros at Feet on the Street put together a customized plan for your group.
See more Detroit attractions.
- The Masonic of Detroit
500 Temple Ave., Detroit, MI 48202313-638-2724Highlight on map | More Details
- Detroit Athletic Club
241 Madison Ave., Detroit, MI 48226313-963-9200Highlight on map | More Details
- Fox Theatre
2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48202313-471-3211Highlight on map | More Details
- Guardian Building
500 Griswold Street, Detroit, MI, United StatesHighlight on map
- Fisher Building
3011 West Grand Boulevard, Detroit, MI, United States313-874-1100Highlight on map
- Penobscot Building
645 Griswold Street, Detroit, MI, United StatesHighlight on map
- Michigan Central Station
2001 15th Street, Detroit, MI, United StatesHighlight on map
- GM Renaissance Center
GM Renaissance Center, Detroit, MI, United States313-567-3126Highlight on map
- Grand Army of the Republic Building
1942 Grand River Avenue, Detroit, MI, United StatesHighlight on map
- Wayne County Building
600 Randolph Street, Detroit, MI 48226, United StatesHighlight on map