The Detroit Bucket List

Bucket lists are pretty popular these days. Not sure why, but they are. You’ve got one for nearly every time of year and place you can think of, including destinations like The D. Not wanting to be left out of the popular pastime, Visit Detroit staffers, colleagues, friends and acquaintances have put their thinking caps on to create our very own Detroit Bucket List. Nothing so monumental as falling in love or climbing a mountain appears on our list, but we’re still pretty darn proud of how easy it was to come up with a bunch of great things worth doing in metro Detroit during your lifetime. And this isn’t even all of ‘em. (P.S. There’s no particular order of importance here, and since this was published in our Spring & Summer 2016 issue, we picked a lot of warm weather to-dos to die for.)
Take Your Time

Art & Culture, Sports & Recreation


Detroit, Beyond Detroit, Wayne, Oakland, Macomb



Cars & Car History

1. Cruise or Spectate at the Woodward Dream Cruise

2. Walk the Worn Floors of the Ford Piquette Plant

…where Henry Ford first tinkered with his auto assembly line and built Model Ts, and then ride in one at Greenfield Village.

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Music in Detroit

3. People Watch at Movement and the Detroit Jazz Festival

4. DTE Energy Music Theatre

Take a picnic blanket and hit the grassy knoll of DTE Energy Music Theatre for a concert.

5. Stand Beneath the Famous Echo Chamber in the Second-level Gallery of the Motown Museum

When you clap your hands, snap your fingers or sing your favorite Motown tune, you’ll hear Motown’s rich, soulful signature sound echo back.

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Sports in the D

6. Opening Day

Kick off spring by heading to downtown Detroit for the Tigers’ Opening Day.

7. Throw an Octopus on the Ice During a Red Wings Playoff Game*

*Doing said act could result in a fine and ejection from the game. You’ve been warned.

8. Catch a Giant Muskie on Lake St. Clair

9. Go Bowling, Sort of

Try fowling at the Fowling Warehouse in Hamtramck. Two teams, two lanes, 10 pins each and a couple of footballs. Or, feather bowl at Cadieux Cafe in Detroit. Two teams, a dirt lane, wooden balls that resemble a wheel of cheese and a feather.

10. Play Disc Golf on the Championship Course at Stony Creek Metropark

11. Buy a Bike or Rent One and Join the Masses at a Monday Night Slow Roll

12. Ride Your Bike Through the Dequindre Cut

Seek out some space-themed graffiti, actually commissioned art from artist Fel3000ft, or the mural of a gas-masked man by street artists Hygienic Dress League.

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History Lessons at Detroit Museums

13. Go to the Wright

Appreciate the city’s African-American heritage at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, and then travel to the First Congregational Church of Detroit for the Underground Railroad Living Museum Tour.

14. Sit on the Historic Rosa Parks Bus in Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation

15. Take a Tour of Cranbrook Art Museum’s Funky Collections Wing

Every Friday at 1 p.m. The door to the vault is massive and eerie, and the flight down the stairs is all-the-way anticipatory. Be sure to seek out samples of iconic home furnishings of the 20th century from the likes of greats such as Eames and Saarinen.

16. Coming to America Exhibit

Read the names of Arab immigrants under the photos showcased in the Coming to America exhibit at the Arab American National Museum. Real people with real stories of courage and hope.

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Art & Architecture

17. Explore Detroit’s Heidelberg Project

Spanning two city blocks on the lower east side, the art installation has been heralded as Detroit’s Ghetto Guggenheim. The installation will be changing soon, so check out the People’s House (aka Dotty Wotty House) and Noah’s Arc while you can.

18. Walk Downtown and Look Up at the Architecture

The Guardian, Fisher, GM Ren Cen and Penobscot buildings must be on your list.

19. Experience the Elegant Lifestyle of a Bygone Era

Tour historic auto-baron homes — take your pick from Edsel & Eleanor Ford House or Meadow Brook Hall.

20. Go to the Detroit Institute of Arts and Admire the Diego Rivera Murals

On the south wall of the courtyard — one of two major panels that depict Ford Motor Co.’s Rouge plant in 1932 — find one tiny red finished car at the end of the assembly line.

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The Great Outdoors in the D

21. Get in a Car, Drive Across the Douglas Macarthur Bridge and Ride Around Belle Isle

On your roundabout, stop at the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory (pictured above), the Belle Isle Aquarium and the Dossin Great Lakes Museum.

22. Soak in Some Rays at the Beach at Campus Martius Park

Grab an ice cold something from The Fountain Detroit, sit down and dig your toes in the sand right in the middle of Detroit’s urban jungle.

23. Hike the Wild Wing Trail at Kensington Metropark

…and try and identify at least 10 of the more than 260 birds that have been spotted in the park.

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Detroit Tours: Classic and Unique

24. Visit The Parade Company’s Studio

New floats, old floats, big heads. Take a tour of where the papier-mâché props and floats of America’s Thanksgiving Parade come to life.

25. Tour the Shinola Factory

See one of their bikes being assembled and then buy one at the on-site store.

26. Take a Tour

Get more intimate with the city through a guided tour by car, bus, bike or even on foot. So many themes, so many options — from ghosts to architecture.

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Activities With Kids

27. Fill Your Pockets With Quarters and Go to Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum in Farmington Hills

An arcade out of a time warp, featuring thousands of coin-operated oddities, from fortune-telling automatons and vintage pinball games to its famous tic-tac-toe chicken.

28. Walk With the Kangaroos at the Detroit Zoo

The roos are most active in the a.m. (Tip: If you take a trip to the zoo in the winter, make sure you pop into the Butterfly Garden — it’s nice and toasty.)

29. Take a Spin on the Cullen Family Carousel on the Detroit International RiverWalk

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Things That Are Just Downright Fun

30. Go to a Detroit Dive Bar

We’ve got a bunch of good ones to choose from: Old Miami, PJ’s Lager House, Two Way InnBronx Bar, Whiskey in the Jar. Basically, any bar in Hamtramck qualifies.

31. Eastern Market

See, smell and taste the Eastern Market.

32.  Order a Detroit Dirty Martini and Listen to Jazz at Cliff Bell’s.

33. Detroit Casinos

Win big at the casino: Greektown, MotorCity, MGM Grand or maybe all three.

34. Michigan Renaissance Festival

Dig out your jester hat and tights and go to the Renaissance Festival. Eat a giant turkey leg.

35. See a Show at the Fisher Theatre

Then check out the Wurlitzer organ in the auditorium. It’s the largest unaltered theater pipe organ around. Would make the Phantom of the Opera drool.

36. Take a Selfie-worthy Photo

Then tag it #DepictTheD. The Fist, Spirit of Detroit and the giant tiger at Comerica Park are all top spots.

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Dining & Drinking Must-dos

So we didn’t muddle things up too much on our big bucket list, we pulled out a few top-tier metro Detroit foodie-related musts not to be missed.

  • Drink a metro Detroit-distilled liquor at Detroit City Distillery or Valentine Distilling or a Detroit-brewed beer at Jolly Pumpkin, Atwater Brewery, Dragonmead, Kuhnhenn, Rochester Mills, etc.
  • Eat a bag — a big bag — of the original Better Made potato chips.
  • Eat a slice of deep-dish, brick-oven pizza at the original Buddy’s on Conant. Wash it down with a boomba of draft beer.
  • Eat a Coney dog at Lafeyette Coney Island and then immediately go next door to American Coney Island and eat another one.
  • Eat a shawarma sandwich in Dearborn or head to Bucharest Grill in Detroit.
  • Eat the famous Yardbird sandwich at Slows Bar BQ.
  • Eat in Mexicantown. (Enchiladas, tamales, botanas, tacos. Doesn’t matter. All so good.)
  • Eat surf and turf and then seek out the paranormal at The Whitney, a “haunted” 1894 mansion turned fine-dining establishment.
  • Drink a bottle of Vernors ginger ale or any flavor of Faygo or Towne Club pops.
  • Eat a melt-in-your-mouth glazed doughnut from Dutch Girl Donuts. A Detroit institution since 1947.
  • Eat a paczki in Hamtramck on Fat Tuesday.
  • Eat a piece of the Michigan 4-Berry pie from Achatz Handmade Pie Co. This pie has been praised in the past by Bon Appetit.
  • Say OPA! with your waiter/waitress and eat some flaming kasseri cheese in Greektown.


See more Detroit attractions.

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Mentioned Attractions And Venues

  1. 1
    Woodward Dream Cruise
    Woodward Avenue from Ferndale to Pontiac, Royal Oak, MI 48073
  2. 2
    Movement Electronic Music Festival
    Hart Plaza, Detroit, MI 48226
  3. 3
    Detroit Jazz Festival
    1 Hart Plaza, Detroit, MI 48226
  4. 4
    Motown Museum
    2648 W. Grand Blvd., Detroit, MI 48208
  5. 5
    DTE Energy Music Theatre
    7774 Sashabaw Road, Village of Clarkston, MI 48348, United States
  6. 6
    Detroit Tigers
    2100 Woodward Ave., Comerica Park, Detroit, MI 48201
  7. 7
    Detroit Red Wings
    Little Caesars Arena, 2645 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48201
  8. 8
    Lake St. Clair Metropark
    31300 Metro Pkwy, Harrison charter Township, MI 48045, United States
  9. 9
    The Fowling Warehouse
    3901 Christopher St, Detroit, MI 48211
  10. 10
    Cadieux Cafe
    4300 Cadieux Rd, Detroit, MI 48224, United States
  11. 11
    Stony Creek Metropark
    4300 Main Park Dr, Shelby charter Township, MI 48316, United States
  12. 12
    Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
    315 E. Warren Ave., Detroit, MI 48201
  13. 13
    The Henry Ford
    20900 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn, MI 48124
  14. 14
    Arab American National Museum
    13624 Michigan Ave., Dearborn, MI 48126
  15. 15
    Cranbrook Art Museum
    39221 Woodward Ave, Bloomfield Hills, MI 48303
  16. 16
    Ford House
    1100 Lake Shore Road, Grosse Pointe Shores, MI 48236
  17. 17
    Detroit Institute of Arts
    5200 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48202
  18. 18
    The Heidelberg Project
    3600 Heidelberg St, Detroit, MI 48207, United States
  19. 19
    The Guardian Building
    500 Griswold St, Detroit, MI 48226, United States
  20. 20
    GM Renaissance Center
    Renaissance Center, 100 Renaissance Center, Detroit, MI 48243, USA
  21. 21
    The Penobscot Building
    645 Griswold St, Detroit, MI 48226, United States
  22. 22
    Meadow Brook Hall
    350 Estate Drive, Rochester, MI 48309
  23. 23
    Belle Isle State Park
    99 Pleasure Drive, Detroit, MI 48207
  24. 24
    Campus Martius Park
    800 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48226
  25. 25
    Kensington Metropark
    4570 Huron River Pkwy, Milford, MI 48380
  26. 26
    The Parade Company
    9500 Mt. Elliott St., Studio A, Detroit, MI 48211
  27. 27
    441 W. Canfield St., Detroit, MI 48201
  28. 28
    Detroit Zoo
    8450 W. 10 Mile Road, Royal Oak, MI 48067
  29. 29
    Detroit International RiverWalk
    1340 Atwater St., Detroit, MI 48207
  30. 30
    31005 Orchard Lake Rd, Farmington Hills, MI 48334, United States
  31. 31
    The Old Miami
    3930 Cass Ave., Detroit, MI 48201
  32. 32
    PJ's Lager House
    1254 Michigan Ave., Detroit, MI 48226
  33. 33
    Bronx Bar
    4476 Second Ave., Detroit, MI 48201
  34. 34
    Eastern Market
    Russell Street between Mack Avenue and Gratiot Avenue, 2934 Russell St., Detroit, MI 48207
  35. 35
    Cliff Bell's
    2030 Park Ave., Detroit, MI 48226
  36. 36
    MotorCity Casino-Hotel
    2901 Grand River Ave., Detroit, MI 48201
  37. 37
    Two Way Inn
    17897 Mt Elliott St, Detroit, MI 48212, United States
  38. 38
    2741 Yemans St, Hamtramck, MI 48212, United States
  39. 39
    12600 Dixie Hwy, Holly, MI 48442, United States
  40. 40
    Jolly Pumpkin
    441 W. Canfield St., Ste. 9, Detroit, MI 48201
  41. 41
    Atwater Brewery
    237 Jos. Campau Ave., Detroit, MI 48207
  42. 42
    Buddy's Pizza - Detroit
    17125 Conant St., Detroit, MI 48212
  43. 43
    Lafayette Coney Island
    118 W. Lafayette Blvd., Detroit, MI 48226
  44. 44
    American Coney Island
    114 W. Lafayette Blvd., Detroit, MI 48226
  45. 45
    Slows Bar BQ
    2138 Michigan Ave., Detroit, MI 48216
  46. 46
    The Whitney
    4421 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48201
  47. 47
    Achatz Handmade Pie Co.
    45153 Market St, Shelby charter Township, MI 48315, United States
  48. 48
    Kuhnhenn Brewing Co.
    5919 Chicago Road, Warren, MI, United States