Detroit on a Dime | Free Things to Do in Detroit

A Day in The D

The best vacation is one that doesn’t break the bank. Follow our “Detroit on a Dime” itinerary for a memorable, budget-friendly day in The D. All activities listed are $10 or less.
1 Day
24 Hours

Art & Culture, Entertainment, Food & Drink


Downtown Detroit



Carb up with breakfast at Hudson Café, where artistically plated pancakes, French toast, waffles or crepes await. Then, get the lay of the downtown land with a 75 cents ride on the Detroit People Mover or ride the new QLine streetcar, which opened spring 2017. Since Detroit is a huge sports city, take a guided $7 tour of Ford Field, home to the Detroit Lions. Go behind-the-scenes for a peek at an NFL locker room, guest suite and even a chance to walk through the tunnel and onto the football field. The first public tour is at 11 a.m. Mondays and Fridays (seasonally on Thursdays). Alternatively, the GM Renaissance Center offers free one-hour tours Monday through Friday at noon and 2 p.m.

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For lunch on the cheap, choose from a seemingly endless list of gourmet sliders at Green Dot Stables or grab a Coney dog at side-by-side Lafayette Coney Island and American Coney Island. Find inspiration at the Detroit Institute of Arts, where for the $8 admission (free for Wayne, Oakland and Macomb county residents), you’ll take in some of the world’s greatest masterpieces. Insider tip: The museum stays open late on Friday nights. Just across Woodward Avenue is the Detroit Historical Museum. Admission is free. From late November through early March, you can also glide over to the ice rink at Campus Martius Park in the heart of downtown. Admission is $8. Skate rental is extra.

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Think authentic ethnic food for dinner. Try Sala Thai in Eastern Market; Los Galanes in Mexicantown; Bucharest Grill for Romanian in Corktown, Rivertown or on Piquette St.; or Golden Fleece in Greektown. For your evening’s entertainment, the Fowling Warehouse, headquartered in Hamtramck, is an authentically Detroit experience. Fowling combines elements of football, bowling and horseshoes. $10 per head for unlimited games. Feel like dancing? Vicente’s Cuban Cuisine, a Cuban restaurant in Detroit, offers free salsa lessons on Friday and Saturday nights.

Photo Credits: QLine ©2014 QLINE; Detroit Institute of Arts and Green Dot Stables by Bill Bowen; Bucharest Grill by Cybelle Codish; Fowling Warehouse by Jan-Niklas Meier

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Mentioned Attractions And Venues
  1. Hudson Cafe
    1241 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48226313-237-1000Highlight on map | More Details
  2. Detroit People Mover (Detroit Transportation Corp.)
    535 Griswold St., Suite 400, Detroit, MI 48226313-224-2160Highlight on map | More Details
  3. GMRenCen
    400 Renaissance Center, Suite 2500, Detroit, MI 48243313-567-3126Highlight on map | More Details
  4. Lafayette Coney Island
    118 W. Lafayette Blvd., Detroit, MI 48226313-964-8198Highlight on map | More Details
  5. American Coney Island
    114 W. Lafayette Blvd., Detroit, MI 48226313-961-7758Highlight on map | More Details
  6. Detroit Institute of Arts
    5200 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48202313-833-7900Highlight on map | More Details
  7. Detroit Historical Museum
    5401 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48202313-833-1805Highlight on map | More Details
  8. Campus Martius Park
    800 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48226313-962-0101Highlight on map | More Details
  9. Sala Thai
    3400 Russell St., Detroit, MI 48207313-831-1302Highlight on map | More Details
  10. Los Galanes
    3362 Bagley Ave., Detroit, MI 48216313-554-4444Highlight on map | More Details
  11. Bucharest Grill - Corktown
    1623 Michigan Ave., Detroit, MI 48216313-965-3111Highlight on map | More Details
  12. Bucharest Grill - Midtown
    110 Piquette Ave., Detroit, MI 48202313-965-3111Highlight on map | More Details
  13. Bucharest Grill - Rivertown
    2684 E. Jefferson Ave., Detroit, MI 48207313-965-3111Highlight on map | More Details
  14. Vicente's Cuban Cuisine
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  15. Fowling Warehouse
    3901 Christopher St, Detroit, MI 48211313-264-1288Highlight on map | More Details