Detroit Transportation Guide

Modified: November 29, 2018 | Story by Kayla Putz | Photos by Bill Bowen

Flying into Detroit is a snap. Once you’re on the ground, it’s a whole new ball game. If you’re staying downtown, you’ve got lots of Detroit transportation options. If you’re headed out to the ‘burbs, it’s best to rent a car or take a ride car service. Regardless, we’ve got the ins and outs to get you around The D.

Downtown Detroit Transportation Options

If you’re staying in the downtown core, you’ve got your pick of these transportation options:

People Mover

This automated light-rail system operates on an elevated track in downtown Detroit’s business district. There are 13 stations throughout downtown. It’s a great way to get to and from the Renaissance Center and Greektown. The Aloft Detroit and Courtyard by Marriott have close and convenient stops.

The People Mover doesn’t break the bank. It’s just 75 cents for a ride and definitely worth it when it’s cold or rainy in The D. You can use exact change, or you can exchange cash for People Mover tokens at machines located in the stations. Detroit People Mover, Detroit transportation


This streetcar connects you to 12 stops up and down Woodward Avenue. A single pass is $1.50 for three hours and a day pass is $3. You can purchase passes online or on-site at the stations.

The QLine stretches from downtown through New Center and drops you off near prime locations, including: Little Caesars Arena, The Detroit Institute of Arts and the Museum of Contemporary Art.

The QLine in downtown Detroit


MoGo is the city’s first bike share program and we’re pretty proud of it. It makes it super easy to get around town and enjoy the fresh air.

Make sure you understand the MoGo system before you get going, though. It’s based on 30-minute intervals. For $8, the daily pass provides an unlimited number of 30-minutes trips for 24 hours. For trips that extend beyond 30 minutes, users pay $4 for each additional 30-minute period. There are monthly and annual pass options if you plan on sticking around Detroit.

There are 43 stations across the city. Cash payment and flexible payment options are available.

There are certainly more bike-friendly areas than others. We suggest avoiding Woodward Avenue by way of bike, it’s pretty packed with cars and the QLine. Plus, you don’t want to get your bike tire stuck in the QLine tracks. Ouch.

Cass Avenue is really bike friendly. The bike lanes stretch through Midtown. If you’re just biking for fun, the riverfront or Dequindre Cut are perfect for leisure rides. We suggest renting bikes when taking a leisurely-ride from Wheelhouse Detroit — they offer daily rentals with helmets included.


Navigating the Motor City

There are certainly places you’re going to want to drive to from downtown – we are the Motor City – after all. Renting a car is always an option, but Uber and Lyft are reliable ways to get around. If you’re heading to any of the following areas or neighborhoods, we suggest snagging a ride service to avoid parking fees and headaches:

  • Southwest
  • Livernois/Avenue of Fashion
  • Dearborn
  • Hamtramck
  • Ferndale
  • Royal Oak

If you’re heading to the northern suburbs of Macomb or Oakland, renting a car is an option. You can also hop on a SMART bus. SMART connects the city of Detroit to its suburbs — you can catch a ride at the Rosa Parks Transit Center in downtown Detroit. The standard ride fare is $2 ($1 for youth and 50 cents for seniors.)

SMART also offers new FAST routes. This high frequency bus service connects the city to the suburbs and operates every 15-30 minutes for a quick, convenient ride to downtown Detroit.

SMART Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation

While your navigating your way through Detroit, take some time to check out some of our Detroit cultural attractions.

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Mentioned Attractions And Venues

  1. 1
    Aloft Detroit at The David Whitney
    One Park Ave., Detroit, MI 48226
  2. 2
    Courtyard by Marriott - Detroit Downtown
    333 E. Jefferson Ave., Detroit, MI 48226
  3. 3
    Detroit People Mover (Detroit Transportation Corp.)
    535 Griswold St., Suite 400, Detroit, MI 48226
  4. 4
    Little Caesars Arena
    2645 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48201
  5. 5
    Detroit Institute of Arts
    5200 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48202
  6. 6
    Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD)
    4454 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48201
  7. 7
    Wheelhouse Detroit - Rivertown
    1340 E. Atwater St., Detroit, MI 48207
  8. 8
    Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART)
    Buhl Building, 535 Griswold St., Ste. 600, Detroit, MI 48226