The Hit List | Detroit's Must See Attractions

When you're in Detroit, these are some of the must-dos you must do

QLine Streetcar
Every city has its signature sights and sites it recommends to one and all. Detroit’s no different. Here are a few of the things you’ve got to do when you’ve got time in The D.
2 Days
12 Hours

Art & Culture, Entertainment, Food & Drink, Group Friendly, Nightlife, Outdoor, Sports & Recreation


Detroit, Beyond Detroit



11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Get the Lay of the Land Via the People Mover and QLine

Metro Detroit is an expansive area, nearly 2,000 square miles. Downtown Detroit is walkable and offers bike share programs as well as public modes of transportation, including the Detroit People Mover (an elevated 2.9-mile looped light-rail system) and the QLine (a 3.3-mile circulating streetcar along the city’s main artery Woodward Avenue).

Tour Fantasy Land at the Parade Company

Visit the working studio of one of the largest, oldest and most spectacular parades in the country, America’s Thanksgiving Parade. Wander through the wonderland of fantasy and floats, and marvel at the world’s largest collection of antique papier-mâché heads. See the Costume Department where characters come to life, and meet award-winning artisans who bring the parade magic to you.

Stop “In the Name of Love” at the Motown Museum

Go back in time by standing in the original recording studio, Studio A, where Motown’s greatest hits were recorded by legends like Diana Ross and the Supremes, Smokey Robinson, The Temptations and Marvin Gaye. See original stage uniforms worn by famous Motown artists, sheet music, early promotional materials, rare photos and other significant Motown artifacts.

Lunch at HopCat Detroit

In the heart of Midtown, HopCat offers Detroit’s largest draft beer selection featuring 130 taps, a full bar, kitchen serving creative pub fare and brunch and private event space in the Huma Room for up to 400.

Explore the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History

The largest museum of its kind, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History houses outstanding collections and innovative exhibits celebrating significant events and accomplishments of African-Americans. Key Detroiter’s are hailed, and the long-term exhibit, And Still We Rise: Our Journey Through African American History and Culture, features more than 20 galleries that transport visitors through time and across geographic boundaries to experience the horrors of slave transport, the Underground Railroad and the victories of emancipation. Every August, the Charles H. Wright hosts the African World Festival, a three-day party attracting more than 150,000 people with music, performances, art, dance, food and more.

Roar with the Detroit Lions at Ford Field

Home to the Detroit Lions, Ford Field was completed in 2002, seats 65,000 and hosts events such as concerts, conventions, trade shows, competitions and more. An hour-long tour gets you a behind-the-scenes look at this impressive stadium, including an athlete’s view of the field as you come through the tunnel to stand on the turf.

Take a Tour and Create Your Own Tile at Detroit’s Pewabic Pottery

Visit the national historic landmark where this unique art form was developed in 1903. Pewabic is known for its distinctive vibrant glazes used for pottery and tiles. Get a demonstration of how the pottery is made and create a tile to take home. Pewabic Pottery houses a museum, gallery of contemporary pottery, learning center and gift shop.

Dine at Andiamo Detroit Riverfront

Treat yourself to authentic northern Italian cuisine while you take in the scenic Detroit/Windsor skyline from this urban, chic establishment tucked inside the GM Renaissance Center.

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11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Get Active While Sightseeing

Although we’re known for our cars, there’s still no better way to see a city than by slowing down just a bit. Walk, run or bike the Dequindre Cut, a 2 mile, below-street level greenway peppered with urban artwork. Explore the revitalized riverfront along the Detroit International RiverWalk, totaling approximately 4 miles of renovated pathways through open green space and parks. Plazas, pavilions, a carousel and great views of Detroit and Windsor are the reward. Stop by RUNdetroit for running or walking gear, or rent a bike at Wheelhouse Detroit.

Tour the GM Renaissance Center

While on the RiverWalk, explore the GM Renaissance Center and learn the dynamic history of General Motors and the building that has its own ZIP code. One of Detroit’s most iconic landmarks, the “Ren Cen” offers dramatic river views, shops, restaurants, a GM showroom, a hotel and impressive architectural details. Grab a quick lunch here at the food court or linger in one of the center’s full-service restaurants.

Stroll Down the City’s First Street at the Detroit Historical Museum

Learn about the history of southeastern Michigan at the newly renovated Detroit Historical Museum. Stroll along the Streets of Old Detroit, an exhibit that recreates Detroit street scenes from the 1840s, 1870s and early 1900s. Another favorite is the America’s Motor City exhibition that celebrates our region’s automotive heritage.

Get Lost in the Detroit Institute of Arts

The DIA has been a beacon of culture for the Detroit area for well over a century, with more than 658,000 square feet including more than 100 galleries. The DIA’s collection ranks among the top six in the United States and is a must-see when visiting, particularly the stunning Rivera Court, featuring Detroit Industry murals by artist Diego Rivera, painted from 1932-33. Take a quick jaunt across the street for a visit to the Detroit Public Library’s main branch and view the spectacular entrance and mural halls in this stately Italian Renaissance structure.

Cruise the Detroit River Aboard a Diamond Jack Riverboat

Enjoy a two-hour narrated Detroit River sightseeing tour and cruise between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, Canada, aboard a Diamond Jack vessel. Entertaining for all ages, cruises give passengers the opportunity to learn the history and historic sites of the Detroit River. Drift among giant freighters and get picture-perfect views of the Detroit and Windsor skylines as well as the mighty Ambassador Bridge, which links the U.S. and Canada, as you pass beneath. Special group tours are available for senior and school groups.

Tour Detroit’s Fox Theatre

Get a backstage look at the magnificent Fox Theatre, which has hosted acts like Frank Sinatra, Aretha Franklin and the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. A 45-minute walking tour highlights the extravagant lobby, 13-foot-diameter chandelier and gold décor from around the world.

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Mentioned Attractions And Venues

  1. 1
    Detroit People Mover (Detroit Transportation Corp.)
    535 Griswold St., Suite 400, Detroit, MI 48226
  2. 2
    The Parade Company
    9500 Mt. Elliott St., Studio A, Detroit, MI 48211
  3. 3
    Motown Museum
    2648 W. Grand Blvd., Detroit, MI 48208
  4. 4
    Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
    315 E. Warren Ave., Detroit, MI 48201
  5. 5
    Ford Field
    2000 Brush St., Detroit, MI 48226
  6. 6
    Pewabic Pottery
    10125 E. Jefferson Ave., Detroit, MI 48214
  7. 7
    Andiamo Detroit Riverfront
    400 GM Renaissance Center, Detroit, MI 48243
  8. 8
    Detroit International RiverWalk
    1340 Atwater St., Detroit, MI 48207
  9. 9
    Wheelhouse Detroit - Rivertown
    1340 E. Atwater St., Detroit, MI 48207
  10. 10
    Detroit Historical Museum
    5401 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48202
  11. 11
    Detroit Institute of Arts
    5200 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48202
  12. 12
    Diamond Jack's River Tours
    1340 E. Atwater St., Detroit, MI 48207
  13. 13
    Fox Theatre
    2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48201
  14. 14
    GM Renaissance Center
    GM Renaissance Center, Detroit, MI, United States