Things to do in Detroit
From classic must-see sights to insider hot spots and local haunts, there are countless things to do in Detroit. How do you decide? Start with our travel guide and get our favorite Detroit attractions and activities—shops, museums, parks, nightclubs, coffee shops, tours, and more.
Our international team of editors and writers handpick the best things to do in Detroit to help travelers discover authentic, local experiences. Whether a hidden boutique with handcrafted products, a popular local festival, a bakery with a cult following, or a picnic-worthy park, Travel + Leisure guides the way, providing information and inspiration. From beaches and bars to cultural attractions and up-and-coming neighborhoods, our list will help you make the most of your romantic getaway, family vacation, or trip with friends. Below find Travel + Leisure’s top picks for what to do in Detroit.
The hottest nightclub in Detroit at the moment, V comes alive on weekend nights with a trendy crowd eager to hit the dance floor.
Wildly popular in summer, RiverWalk stretches along the water for 2.5 miles of fountains, walkways, and green space starting at the Cobo Hall convention center. Most folks come simply to stroll, fish, or park themselves on a bench and take in the Windsor skyline across the way.
Not far from Hockeytown Café, this sleek martini bar caters to an entirely different clientele, more akin to SoHo than the heartland. The first and mezzanine floors are full of intimate nooks, especially the mezzanine, whose curving couches hug the wall.
A treasure hidden in plain sight, this 40-story architectural gem is a quirky Art Deco-style orangey brick-terra-cotta-limestone skyscraper.
Packed with sports fans year-round and party types on hot summer nights, this hulking, three-floor bar takes its moniker from the nickname given to Detroit during the Red Wings recent glory days. It’s located across the street from Comerica Park, home of the Tigers.
Stand in the studio where countless hits for the famous Motown label were recorded. This modest brick home—bought in 1959 by Berry Gordy Jr. and christened Hitsville USA—was transformed into a museum in 1985 by Gordy’s sister Esther.
The sort of store bibliophiles dream about is housed in an old glove factory in the shadow of historic Corktown. Row after row of books—more than a million in total—fill four hardwood-floor levels permeated with that wonderful, slightly musty smell of old paper.
After a $158 million renovation, Detroit’s well-respected institute reopened with updated infrastructure and galleries in late 2007.
Selling only the best hats crafted in Europe and the U.S. has been the single-minded focus of Henry the Hatter, which has been in Detroit since 1893 and at this location since 1952.
The region’s premier museum, the Henry Ford is a breathtaking repository for the history of innovation. The sprawling indoor-outdoor collection, located just a few miles from downtown Detroit, would take days to see in its entirety.
In 1903, at the peak of the Arts and Crafts movement, Detroit artist Mary Chase Stratton invented an iridescent glazing process to create high-quality tiles, ornaments, pots, and vases that came to be known by the Chippewa Indian word for “metal,” Pewabic.
With a Vegas-esque level of luxury, complete with plasma TV’s in bathroom mirrors, the MGM Grand is a rare find in the Motor City. When this $800 million property opened in October 2007, most of the focus was on the glitzy 100,000-square-foot casino and roster of celebrity chef-run restaurants.
Korean-born Dominic Pangborn was the owner of a well-known Detroit graphic design firm before he expanded his bold geometric patterns into the fashion world.
Far cooler than the typical souvenir shop, Pure Detroit incorporates local products and the city’s automotive heritage into hip gifts and collectibles. Handbags and belts made from actual seat belts are hot items, followed closely by Pewabic tiles and stylish clothing.
Crossing borders in the days of tightened security can be a hassle, but it’s worth hopping over the Detroit River for a day trip into Canada.