Detroit travel guide

Motor City

Detroit Tourism | Detroit Guide

You're Going to Love Detroit

Detroit, Michigan is one of the most exciting destinations in the US. As well as its famous musical connections, the city boasts the second biggest theater district in the US and the country’s most extensive range of pre-Depression era skyscrapers.

Detroit is also known as an automobile center and many of the world’s most famous car brands started out here. It’s nickname ‘Motown’, an abbreviation of ‘motor town’ also gave Detroit’s most famous record label its name.

World class shopping and entertainment, important museums and galleries and winning sports teams, there is enough in Detroit to satisfy even the most demanding visitor.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Detroit

1. The Renaissance Center

The Renaissance Center is the most striking feature of the city’s skyline and home to the world headquarters of General Motors. The ‘RecCen’, as it’s known locally, is made up of seven interconnected skyscraper buildings where you can eat, drink, shop or see a movie.

2. Terrific Beer

Michigan is sure to be near the top when it comes to the best and most prolific brewing states in the US, and Detroit is home to dozens of breweries and micro-breweries. Sample craft beers at popular local breweries like Dragonmead, Atwater, B. Nektar Meadery and Motor City Brewing.

3. Iconic Streets

The Avenue of Fashion is an essential stop. Livernois Avenue was THE place to shop and be seen back before malls sprung up in every US city. Some of the street’s landmark establishments have been here for decades like Baker’s Keyboard Lounge, the world’s oldest jazz club and Jo’s Gallery, one of the city’s oldest and most famous art galleries.

4. Campus Martius Park

This 2.5-acre public square is transformed into a sandy beach in the heart of the city each summer and an ice-rink in winter. There is free entertainment throughout the year and it’s a popular gathering place for locals and visitors.

5. The Biggest Open Market in America

The historic Eastern Market is laid out over six blocks and started over a century ago. Over 50,000 people come to this eclectic open-air market each Saturday, whatever the weather. There is a more intimate market on Tuesday and an artisan street market each Sunday. You’ll also find fun tailgating parties here before every Lions game.

1. The Renaissance Center

The Renaissance Center is the most striking feature of the city’s skyline and home to the world headquarters of General Motors. The ‘RecCen’, as it’s known locally, is made up of seven interconnected skyscraper buildings where you can eat, drink, shop or see a movie.

2. Terrific Beer

Michigan is sure to be near the top when it comes to the best and most prolific brewing states in the US, and Detroit is home to dozens of breweries and micro-breweries. Sample craft beers at popular local breweries like Dragonmead, Atwater, B. Nektar Meadery and Motor City Brewing.

3. Iconic Streets

The Avenue of Fashion is an essential stop. Livernois Avenue was THE place to shop and be seen back before malls sprung up in every US city. Some of the street’s landmark establishments have been here for decades like Baker’s Keyboard Lounge, the world’s oldest jazz club and Jo’s Gallery, one of the city’s oldest and most famous art galleries.

4. Campus Martius Park

This 2.5-acre public square is transformed into a sandy beach in the heart of the city each summer and an ice-rink in winter. There is free entertainment throughout the year and it’s a popular gathering place for locals and visitors.

5. The Biggest Open Market in America

The historic Eastern Market is laid out over six blocks and started over a century ago. Over 50,000 people come to this eclectic open-air market each Saturday, whatever the weather. There is a more intimate market on Tuesday and an artisan street market each Sunday. You’ll also find fun tailgating parties here before every Lions game.

What to do in Detroit

1. Detroit Institute of Arts: An Outstanding Collection of Art

Located just off Woodward Avenue in the Midtown area, the Institute of Arts is Detroit's cultural highlight. Spread across a massive 61,000 square meters of exhibition space, the 65,000 pieces in the DIA span thousands of years of history, from ancient Egyptian and Greek sculptures to the latest contemporary works. From the moment you enter, you're bombarded with art, courtesy of Diego Rivera's famous 'Detroit Industry' murals, and you'll need at least a day to see all of the other standout works as well.

2. Belle Isle: An Island of Delights on the Detroit River

A 982-acre island in the middle of the Detroit River, Belle Isle is the place that Detroit natives go to get away from it all. And it's also home to a cluster of fantastic attractions, including the Belle Isle Aquarium, the Dossin Great Lakes Museum and the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory, which houses plants from all over the world. But even if you aren't planning to tour the museums or gardens, it's simply a great place to unwind, whether you walk the 6-mile ring road or rent bikes by the hour at the Riverside kiosk.

3. Motown Historical Museum: The World's Number One Music Exhibition

For many people around the world, Detroit and Motown are one and the same. Never has a record label become so closely identified with the people and fortunes of a city, and few labels have been as successful. From 'Baby Love' by the Supremes to 'I Heard it Through the Grapevine' by Marvin Gaye, Motown Records has a back catalog like no other hit-factory, which makes visiting the Motown Historical Museum absolutely essential. Housed in the original recording Motown HQ, the museum lets you stand in Studio A, where some of the most magical music ever recorded came into the world.

4. Comerica Park: Have a Ball at One of America's Great Sports Venues

If you're a sports fan, making a pilgrimage to watch the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park is a Motor City essential. The four-time World Series winners are based at this Downtown stadium (with Ford Field next door if you fancy doubling up and checking out a Lions match). But it's not just any old stadium. Where else can you ride a carousel and a Ferris wheel, buy a brew in the international Beer Hall, and see sculptures of Tigers legends like Ty Cobb or Hank Greenberg?

5. Dearborn: The World's Greatest Automobile Attraction

Aside from Motown music, Detroit is synonymous with the automobile, and no suburb is so closely identified with the motor vehicle as Dearborn. Located a few miles west of central Detroit, Dearborn was the birthplace of Ford Motor Company. These days, Ford has diversified their production facilities, but their presence lives on via the excellent Henry Ford Museum, where you can see the chair Lincoln was shot in, the Kennedy assassination limousine, and even the bus that Rosa Parks rode in as she challenged segregation. It's a historical goldmine.

Detroit Institute of ArtsDetroit Institute of Arts
Belle IsleBelle Isle
Motown Historical MuseumMotown Historical Museum
Comerica ParkComerica Park

1. Detroit Institute of Arts: An Outstanding Collection of Art

Located just off Woodward Avenue in the Midtown area, the Institute of Arts is Detroit's cultural highlight. Spread across a massive 61,000 square meters of exhibition space, the 65,000 pieces in the DIA span thousands of years of history, from ancient Egyptian and Greek sculptures to the latest contemporary works. From the moment you enter, you're bombarded with art, courtesy of Diego Rivera's famous 'Detroit Industry' murals, and you'll need at least a day to see all of the other standout works as well.

2. Belle Isle: An Island of Delights on the Detroit River

A 982-acre island in the middle of the Detroit River, Belle Isle is the place that Detroit natives go to get away from it all. And it's also home to a cluster of fantastic attractions, including the Belle Isle Aquarium, the Dossin Great Lakes Museum and the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory, which houses plants from all over the world. But even if you aren't planning to tour the museums or gardens, it's simply a great place to unwind, whether you walk the 6-mile ring road or rent bikes by the hour at the Riverside kiosk.

3. Motown Historical Museum: The World's Number One Music Exhibition

For many people around the world, Detroit and Motown are one and the same. Never has a record label become so closely identified with the people and fortunes of a city, and few labels have been as successful. From 'Baby Love' by the Supremes to 'I Heard it Through the Grapevine' by Marvin Gaye, Motown Records has a back catalog like no other hit-factory, which makes visiting the Motown Historical Museum absolutely essential. Housed in the original recording Motown HQ, the museum lets you stand in Studio A, where some of the most magical music ever recorded came into the world.

4. Comerica Park: Have a Ball at One of America's Great Sports Venues

If you're a sports fan, making a pilgrimage to watch the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park is a Motor City essential. The four-time World Series winners are based at this Downtown stadium (with Ford Field next door if you fancy doubling up and checking out a Lions match). But it's not just any old stadium. Where else can you ride a carousel and a Ferris wheel, buy a brew in the international Beer Hall, and see sculptures of Tigers legends like Ty Cobb or Hank Greenberg?

5. Dearborn: The World's Greatest Automobile Attraction

Aside from Motown music, Detroit is synonymous with the automobile, and no suburb is so closely identified with the motor vehicle as Dearborn. Located a few miles west of central Detroit, Dearborn was the birthplace of Ford Motor Company. These days, Ford has diversified their production facilities, but their presence lives on via the excellent Henry Ford Museum, where you can see the chair Lincoln was shot in, the Kennedy assassination limousine, and even the bus that Rosa Parks rode in as she challenged segregation. It's a historical goldmine.

Detroit Institute of ArtsDetroit Institute of Arts
Belle IsleBelle Isle
Motown Historical MuseumMotown Historical Museum
Comerica ParkComerica Park

1. Detroit Institute of Arts: An Outstanding Collection of Art

Located just off Woodward Avenue in the Midtown area, the Institute of Arts is Detroit's cultural highlight. Spread across a massive 61,000 square meters of exhibition space, the 65,000 pieces in the DIA span thousands of years of history, from ancient Egyptian and Greek sculptures to the latest contemporary works. From the moment you enter, you're bombarded with art, courtesy of Diego Rivera's famous 'Detroit Industry' murals, and you'll need at least a day to see all of the other standout works as well.

Detroit Institute of Arts

2. Belle Isle: An Island of Delights on the Detroit River

A 982-acre island in the middle of the Detroit River, Belle Isle is the place that Detroit natives go to get away from it all. And it's also home to a cluster of fantastic attractions, including the Belle Isle Aquarium, the Dossin Great Lakes Museum and the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory, which houses plants from all over the world. But even if you aren't planning to tour the museums or gardens, it's simply a great place to unwind, whether you walk the 6-mile ring road or rent bikes by the hour at the Riverside kiosk.

Belle Isle

3. Motown Historical Museum: The World's Number One Music Exhibition

For many people around the world, Detroit and Motown are one and the same. Never has a record label become so closely identified with the people and fortunes of a city, and few labels have been as successful. From 'Baby Love' by the Supremes to 'I Heard it Through the Grapevine' by Marvin Gaye, Motown Records has a back catalog like no other hit-factory, which makes visiting the Motown Historical Museum absolutely essential. Housed in the original recording Motown HQ, the museum lets you stand in Studio A, where some of the most magical music ever recorded came into the world.

Motown Historical Museum

4. Comerica Park: Have a Ball at One of America's Great Sports Venues

If you're a sports fan, making a pilgrimage to watch the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park is a Motor City essential. The four-time World Series winners are based at this Downtown stadium (with Ford Field next door if you fancy doubling up and checking out a Lions match). But it's not just any old stadium. Where else can you ride a carousel and a Ferris wheel, buy a brew in the international Beer Hall, and see sculptures of Tigers legends like Ty Cobb or Hank Greenberg?

Comerica Park

5. Dearborn: The World's Greatest Automobile Attraction

Aside from Motown music, Detroit is synonymous with the automobile, and no suburb is so closely identified with the motor vehicle as Dearborn. Located a few miles west of central Detroit, Dearborn was the birthplace of Ford Motor Company. These days, Ford has diversified their production facilities, but their presence lives on via the excellent Henry Ford Museum, where you can see the chair Lincoln was shot in, the Kennedy assassination limousine, and even the bus that Rosa Parks rode in as she challenged segregation. It's a historical goldmine.

Dearborn

Activities & attractions in Detroit

Where to Eat in Detroit

No visitor to Detroit should leave without trying a coney, a hot dog served with chili, mustard and freshly chopped onions. American Coney Island and Lafayette Coney Island are the city’s most famous coney restaurants and you’ll find them next door to each other in Downtown where they’ve been rivals since the 1920s.

Crispy deep dish Detroit-style pizza is another essential and Niki’s Pizza in Downtown is a good choice. Buddy’s Pizza serves the classic Detroit-style pie and the chain has several branches within a half hour drive of Downtown. Those looking for a more substantial meal can try delicious Greek cuisine in Greektown restaurants or tamales and tacos in Mexicantown.

When to visit Detroit

Detroit in February
Estimated hotel price
$145
1 night at 3-star hotel
Detroit in February
Estimated hotel price
$145
1 night at 3-star hotel

Pleasant weather and temperatures ranging from 40 to 55F make spring from April to May and fall from October to November the best times to visit Detroit. Events like the massive Movement electronic music festival in May and the Detroit River Days, Jazzin on Jefferson and Freedom Festival in June add to the city’s appeal during the spring months. Summer is warm and humid with temperatures above 70F for much of the peak period from June to September. Winter stretches from mid-December to March and can be severe with temperatures dropping to 20F. However, festive events over the Christmas and New Year period and the Auto Show in January ensure that there is still plenty to attract visitors.

Data provided by weatherbase
Temperatures
Temperatures
Data provided by weatherbase

How to Get to Detroit

Plane

Many people fly into Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport( DTW). The airport is 20 minutes west of Downtown in the suburb of Romulus. More commonly called Detroit Metro, the airport is a hub for Delta Airlines. Daily flights arrive from all over the US and from cities around the world like London, Amsterdam, Beijing and Sao Paulo. The fastest way to get to Downtown Detroit is by car and you can rent a car at the airport or take a taxi. Passengers can also reach Downtown on a local SMART bus (route 125) which leaves from the airport every 30 minutes.

Train

Train passengers arrive at the Amtrak rail station in Baltimore Avenue in the New Center district of the city. Detroit Train Station is close to the lake and Downtown, and you’ll find taxis available nearby.

Car

A number of interstates run through the city center including the I-75 from Toledo and the Upper Michigan Peninsula. I-94 or the Ford Freeway runs east to west via Chicago and Detroit and the I-96 East/West brings drivers from Lansing and beyond.

Bus

Several carriers offer bus services to Detroit from various parts of the country, including Greyhound, Megabus and Transit Windsor. Those arriving from Chicago, Toronto or Toledo by Greyhound bus will alight at the Howard Street bus terminal near Downtown. If you’re traveling with Megabus there are bus stops on Cass and Warren near Wayne State University and Detroit Train Station and at the Rosa Parks Transit Center (Cass and Michigan) close to Downtown. Local carrier Transit Windsor offers a daily service from Windsor that stops in and around the Downtown area.

Plane

Many people fly into Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport( DTW). The airport is 20 minutes west of Downtown in the suburb of Romulus. More commonly called Detroit Metro, the airport is a hub for Delta Airlines. Daily flights arrive from all over the US and from cities around the world like London, Amsterdam, Beijing and Sao Paulo. The fastest way to get to Downtown Detroit is by car and you can rent a car at the airport or take a taxi. Passengers can also reach Downtown on a local SMART bus (route 125) which leaves from the airport every 30 minutes.

Train

Train passengers arrive at the Amtrak rail station in Baltimore Avenue in the New Center district of the city. Detroit Train Station is close to the lake and Downtown, and you’ll find taxis available nearby.

Car

A number of interstates run through the city center including the I-75 from Toledo and the Upper Michigan Peninsula. I-94 or the Ford Freeway runs east to west via Chicago and Detroit and the I-96 East/West brings drivers from Lansing and beyond.

Bus

Several carriers offer bus services to Detroit from various parts of the country, including Greyhound, Megabus and Transit Windsor. Those arriving from Chicago, Toronto or Toledo by Greyhound bus will alight at the Howard Street bus terminal near Downtown. If you’re traveling with Megabus there are bus stops on Cass and Warren near Wayne State University and Detroit Train Station and at the Rosa Parks Transit Center (Cass and Michigan) close to Downtown. Local carrier Transit Windsor offers a daily service from Windsor that stops in and around the Downtown area.

Airports near Detroit

Airlines serving Detroit

Lufthansa
Good (4,574 reviews)
KLM
Good (850 reviews)
SWISS
Good (919 reviews)
British Airways
Good (4,400 reviews)
Delta
Good (4,591 reviews)
Turkish Airlines
Good (2,275 reviews)
Air France
Good (972 reviews)
Iberia
Good (1,543 reviews)
Austrian Airlines
Good (482 reviews)
United Airlines
Good (4,924 reviews)
Emirates
Excellent (2,117 reviews)
Qatar Airways
Good (2,481 reviews)
Air Canada
Good (5,660 reviews)
Brussels Airlines
Good (222 reviews)
Finnair
Good (886 reviews)
Scandinavian Airlines
Good (833 reviews)
LOT
Good (682 reviews)
TAP AIR PORTUGAL
Good (1,151 reviews)
Alaska Airlines
Excellent (5,454 reviews)
Etihad Airways
Good (830 reviews)
Show more

Where to stay in Detroit

Stay in an iconic hotel like the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center, the Western Hemisphere’s third tallest all-hotel skyscraper or opt for friendly family establishments like the Corktown Inn. Whether you’re on a budget or splashing out you’re sure of finding accommodation in every district of Detroit.

Popular Neighborhoods in Detroit

Downtown – you’ll find most of the city’s famous skyscrapers in the city’s main business district. Downtown Detroit is also home to the second largest theater district in America and three of the city’s major league sporting venues. The MGM Grand Detroit, Greektown, and MotorCity casinos are also in Downtown.

Midtown/New Center – just to the north of Downtown, the Midtown/New Center district is where many of the city’s world-class galleries and museums are located.

Southwest side – visit the Southwest side and explore some of Detroit’s cultural districts like Mexicantown and Corktown. Lots of great local restaurants and unique one of a kind shops and boutiques.

Downtown – you’ll find most of the city’s famous skyscrapers in the city’s main business district. Downtown Detroit is also home to the second largest theater district in America and three of the city’s major league sporting venues. The MGM Grand Detroit, Greektown, and MotorCity casinos are also in Downtown.
Midtown/New Center – just to the north of Downtown, the Midtown/New Center district is where many of the city’s world-class galleries and museums are located.
Southwest side – visit the Southwest side and explore some of Detroit’s cultural districts like Mexicantown and Corktown. Lots of great local restaurants and unique one of a kind shops and boutiques.
Most popular hotel in Detroit by neighborhood

Where to stay in popular areas of Detroit

Most booked hotels in Detroit

The Westin Detroit Metropolitan Airport
4 stars
Excellent (8.6, 465 reviews)
$256+
Atheneum Suite Hotel
4 stars
Excellent (8.5, 1631 reviews)
$202+
Hollywood Casino at Greektown
4 stars
Excellent (8.3, 1177 reviews)
$185+
MGM Grand Detroit
4 stars
Good (7.8, 841 reviews)
$217+
La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham Detroit Metro Airport
3 stars
Good (7.6, 722 reviews)
$93+
Fort Pontchartrain Detroit, a Wyndham Hotel
3 stars
Good (7.4, 1534 reviews)
$154+

How to Get Around Detroit

Bus

Bus services, operated by Detroit Department of Transportation, run to most parts of the city while the SMART bus system covers most suburban areas. Yellow or green DDOT buses cover 17 routes from their hub at the Rosa Parks Transit Center.

Taxi

There are lots of taxi, limo and shuttle services to choose from in Detroit. Official taxis charge a base fare and then a set sum for each mile - excluding tips.

Elevated train

The People Mover elevated rail system covers a three-mile loop in Downtown and offers passengers exciting views of some of the city’s famous landmarks. There are 13 stops including at the Renaissance Center, the Joe Louis Arena where the Detroit Red Wings are based, the Cadillac Center for Campus Martius Park and Greektown.

Car

Pick up a rental car and take advantage of one of the most modern freeway systems in America. Parking is plentiful and you’ll find garages and parking facilities in useful Downtown locations; Greektown Casino has a free 13-floor car park and there is a pay car park at the Renaissance Center.

Bus

Bus services, operated by Detroit Department of Transportation, run to most parts of the city while the SMART bus system covers most suburban areas. Yellow or green DDOT buses cover 17 routes from their hub at the Rosa Parks Transit Center.

Taxi

There are lots of taxi, limo and shuttle services to choose from in Detroit. Official taxis charge a base fare and then a set sum for each mile - excluding tips.

Elevated train

The People Mover elevated rail system covers a three-mile loop in Downtown and offers passengers exciting views of some of the city’s famous landmarks. There are 13 stops including at the Renaissance Center, the Joe Louis Arena where the Detroit Red Wings are based, the Cadillac Center for Campus Martius Park and Greektown.

Car

Pick up a rental car and take advantage of one of the most modern freeway systems in America. Parking is plentiful and you’ll find garages and parking facilities in useful Downtown locations; Greektown Casino has a free 13-floor car park and there is a pay car park at the Renaissance Center.

The Cost of Living in Detroit

Detroit’s hottest shopping streets

Shop for clothes and accessories in the retail stores close to the University Cultural Center and Troy. Music fans can try People’s Records on Woodward Avenue, Midtown for vinyl or Submerge Records on E Grand Blvd, New Center for Detroit techno and electronic music.

Groceries and Other Necessities

Detroit used to be famous for its lack of supermarket chains but today’s visitors can shop for food and essentials at Whole Foods Market in Midtown or at the city’s Aldi and Meijer stores. You’ll also find convenience stores like 7-11 scattered all over the city as well as drug store chains like Walgreens and CVS.

Cheap meal
$12.00
A pair of jeans
$39.72
Single public transport ticket
$2.00
Cappuccino
$3.75