The rebirth of a city is a wonderful thing to witness. And the transformation of Detroit may be one of the most dramatic “come-back” stories of any American city in recent history. One visit there, and you can see how the area has rebuilt and preserved a legacy for all to treasure and enjoy.
Want to experience this for yourself? Whether you’re planning a field trip for a couple dozen of your closest friends to a game at the Little Caesars Arena or a date night out on the town on Woodward Avenue, Indian Trails has you covered.
There are plenty of things to do in Detroit for all ages, interests, and budgets, from auto shows and culture to music, gaming and professional sports, whatever the season. Maybe you want to see a particular event or you want to explore the whole and evolving Detroit environment. You can go solo and book a ticket on an Indian Trails bus or charter an Indian Trails bus for a large group.
Detroit is host to many special events throughout the year—concerts, sports, festivals—that are worth the trip, but with so many top attractions in the Motor City—shops, architecture, museums and historic neighborhoods—you might want to make an entire week of it.
Major downtown developments you may have missed include:
- The renovation of the Huntington Place convention center (the former Cobo).
- QLINE Detroit, the M-1 Rail’s 3.3-mile streetcar project.
- The District Detroit, a mixed-use facility with dining, housing, the Detroit House of Comedy club and the Little Caesars Arena venue for music/comedy concerts and Detroit Red Wings hockey.
Detroit has a long bucket list of must-see cultural attractions. Here are some suggestions to get you started.
Theatre and Concerts in Detroit
Music permeates the history and cultural landscape of Detroit, from large concert halls and arenas to small bars and clubs, from museums to casinos and outdoor festivals in the summer. It's also the birthplace of Motown Records (preserved now as the Motown Museum). Even city-within-a-city Hamtramck has a vibrant music scene with an annual music fest spread over more than a dozen venues.
The Detroit Symphony Orchestra is one of the world’s oldest symphonies and one of the most accessible. Its Orchestra Hall home was renovated and expanded into the Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center (The Max) in 2003. It regularly hosts classical, pop and jazz concerts.
Other venues for theatre and concerts in Detroit include:
- Aretha Franklin Amphitheater (formerly Chene Park) – A waterfront open-air summer music venue.
- Detroit Opera House – Not just an architectural treasure and home to opera but also dance, concerts and musical theatre.
- The Fillmore Detroit – Located in the Palms Building, a National Register of Historic Places, this partially restored Italian Renaissance theatre is a concert venue formerly known as the State Theatre. It mostly hosts rock concerts but also other musical genres and events.
- Fisher Theatre – Housed in the National Historic Landmark Fisher Building, this stage offers “Broadway in Detroit” stage shows, musicals, drama, and concerts.
- Fox Theatre – This National Historic Landmark (and former movie palace) is routinely voted in the top 10 theaters of the world for everything from standup comedy to live musical shows.
- Hart Plaza – Large crowds flock to these summer riverfront music festivals, ranging from the Movement electronic music festival to the Detroit Jazz Festival.
- The Majestic/The Magic Stick – Two top venues under one roof, plus a bowling alley, billiards and dancing.
- Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts – Another great historical and architectural live performance space featuring comedians, singers, and live shows.
- Saint Andrews Hall/The Shelter – Two small concert stages in one building—one with a dance floor and another with a private bar—and a lot of history.
For other live music venues, click HERE.
Art Museums and Art in Detroit
The Detroit Institute of Arts is one of the top six art collections in the United States and one of the top attractions in Detroit. It famously features Diego Rivera's Detroit Industry Murals, 1932-1933, but there’s a lot more to see. Since its 2007 renovation and expansion, more of its permanent collection is on display than ever, and it gets major traveling exhibits, too. And here’s a local tip, it’s open until 9 p.m. on Fridays with special activities and live music.
Other notable art spaces in downtown Detroit include:
- Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD) – An art/performing arts space for adventurous minds and diverse audiences.
- N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art – a nonprofit with multiple exhibition spaces presenting changing exhibits and lectures, plus shops, a wine bar and Seva, a vegetarian restaurant.
- Pewabic Pottery – A nonprofit, National Historic Landmark studio, and one of the oldest still operating potteries in the U.S., Pewabic is also an active ceramic art education center. It has several events annually, displaying and selling ceramic sculptures, jewelry, tiles, and more.
- The Scarab Club – A nonprofit arts organization dedicated to art exhibitions, lectures, and live-model drawing. Some events require membership or a fee.
For more Detroit art galleries, click HERE.
Other Detroit Museums
For informative, entertaining and mostly non-art exhibits, check out these venues:
- The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History (a.k.a., The Wright) – Celebrating the history, culture, and lives of African Americans through art and other exhibits.
- Detroit Historical Museum – Telling the region’s history with a mix of permanent exhibits (including “Streets of Old Detroit,” “America’s Motor City” and “Glancy Trains”), traveling exhibits (“Michigan in the Civil War”) and changing exhibitions (“1997: Detroit Red Wings” and “Automotive Showplace”).
- Dossin Great Lakes Museum – Exhibits (including model ships, artifacts, and even the complete Gentlemen's Lounge from an early-1900s-era ship) detail Detroit’s maritime history.
- Ford Piquette Avenue Plant (formerly the Piquette Model T Museum) – Guided tours of The Model T’s actual birthplace.
- Michigan Science Center – An entertaining and informative STEM-centered experience for the whole family, with galleries, permanent and changing exhibits, a planetarium, and several theaters including an IMAX dome.
Sports and Gaming in Detroit
Detroit is a big sports town with three large arenas downtown, that sometimes host non-sporting events:
- Comerica Park – Detroit Tigers baseball.
- Ford Field – Detroit Lions football.
- Little Caesars Arena – Detroit Pistons basketball and Detroit Red Wings hockey.
Downtown also boasts three major casinos that offer fine dining and entertainment as well as cards, dice, slots, and roulette:
Tours of Detroit
If you want to see as much of Detroit in one day as you can, Visit Detroit and Experience Detroit have suggestions for self-guided tours of Detroit centered on topics such as neighborhoods, architecture, pastimes, scenic drives, history, shopping, or some “uniquely Detroit” attractions.
These are just a few of the things to do in Detroit. The Motor City is a phoenix: immortal and ever-renewing. The old and new are both on display and well worth your time.
Whether it’s a last-minute couple outing or a long-planned trip with several friends or family members, Indian Trails can get you there and back again. To book individual tickets go to our ticket page or to charter an Indian Trails bus, visit our charter rental page. Either way, put Detroit on your calendar today!