A Family’s Guide to Visiting Detroit

Welcome to the D!  So you’ve booked a family trip to Detroit, the city known for cars, music, culture and sports, but have no idea where to begin your planning? Look no further! Welcome to Detroit Moms Blog’s kid-friendly visitor’s guide to Detroit.

Detroit is full of great things to do in+around Motown, all  year-round, and for all ages!

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Getting Around

In Detroit we are known as the Motor City, so as you would guess the best way to get around is by the automobile.  If you happen to be in driving distance bring your own car along on this adventure or plan to rent a car at one of the many transportation providers throughout the Motor City. You can rest assure Detroit freeways are some of the most efficient systems in the US. Downtown Detroit is pedestrian-friendly, but attractions can be spread out. And if you plan to visit attractions outside of downtown, a car is a must. 

For kids who are proficient on two wheels, Wheelhouse Detroit is a wonderful option for getting around town. Detroit’s bike industry is booming right now, Detroit Bikes is a leader and follows Detroit’s legacy in manufacturing and design.   If you are looking for a truly unique experience and happen to be here on a Monday then Detroit’s Slow Roll is a must!  It’s Michigan’s largest weekly bike ride, working on their 5th season, they have been exceeding 3,000+ riders weekly!

It you are here for a 24 hour quick visit taxi’s and hotel shuttles are available.  Check out Skoots for airport transportation and Uber, which is used through an app, to help you get around town.  Staying downtown only? The Detroit People Mover will get you there!

Be sure to check out some travel tips shared by some of our mommas here at Detroit Moms Blog!

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Where to Stay

Downtown

Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center :: Newly renovated and located along the river with 70 floors overlooking the city, you will find spectacular views of the City, Detroit River and Windsor it is ideally located downtown. 
400 Renaissance Drive, Detroit, Michigan  48243

Aloft Detroit at The David Whitney :: On the modern side, this is historic glamour all the way and is located within the historic David Whitney Building and next to the Grand Circus Park. This newly renovated hotel is vibrant and in the heart of the city, close to all the must-see’s in Detroit.  
One Park Avenue, Detroit, Michigan  48226

The Westin  Book Cadillac Detroit :: This is a historical icon, a 1924 landmark restored to its former grandeur.  Offering easy access to Comerica Park and Ford Field. 
1114 Washington Boulevard, Detroit, Michigan  48226

Atheneum Suite Hotel :: A premier Detroit hotel located in the center of Greektown surrounded by great food and entertainment. 
1000 Brush Avenue, Detroit, Michigan  48226

Crowne Plaza Detroit Downtown Riverfront :: A historic yet modern hotel located along the Detroit River and near Detroit’s must-see attractions.  
2 Washington Boulevard, Detroit, Michigan  48226

DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Hotel Detroit Downtown – Fort Shelby ::  Recently this historic hotel had major renovations and offers modern all-suite hotel rooms with complimentary wi-fi and shuttles to get you around to all the great museums and attractions. 
525 West Lafayette Boulevard, Detroit, Michigan  48226

Oakland

Detroit Marriott Troy :: A modern hotel located near many Detroit area attractions.  Also, a certified Michigan Green Lodging Facility, you can count on the Detroit Marriott Troy hotel for a relaxing, eco-friendly stay. 
200 W. Big Beaver Rd., Troy, Michigan  48084

Detroit Marriott Livonia :: Located at Laurel Park Place Mall, near shopping, theaters and restaurants.  You are sure to find yourself in a family friendly neighborhood.
17100 Laurel Park Drive North, Livonia, Michigan  48152

Baronette Renaissance Detroit – Novi :: Modern and sophisticated, this hotel is in a great location, near great shopping and fun for the entire family.
27790 Novi Road, Novi, Michigan  48377

Macomb

Best Western Sterling Heights Inn :: Family fun with an indoor water park! The indoor water park features 32,000 sq. ft. of fun including a 5,000 sq. ft. zero entry swimming pool with a water slide, interactive splash play park, lazy river, full-time lifeguards, indoor running track, video game arcade, two large whirlpools, saunas, and a poolside snack bar.
34911 Van Dyke Avenue, Sterling Heights, Michigan  48312

Wayne

Dearborn Inn :: A Mariott property with a unique history, built on the grounds of the Ford Motor Company in 1931 and spanning 23 landscaped acres. Distinctive guest rooms & suites with modern, yet Colonial décor define this perfectly-located hotel in the Detroit area.
20301 Oakwood Boulevard, Dearborn, Michigan  48124

Double Tree by Hilton Hotel in Dearborn :: Located near Downtown Detroit and Dearborn, close to Ford Headquarters.  There are many things to enjoy near Dearborn, food, culture and family fun.  
5801 Southfield Expressway, Detroit, Michigan  48228

 

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What to Do

Downtown

Belle Isle :: An island in the Detroit River full of architecture and natural beauty.  You can bike or walk to explore the many things to see + do.  Visit the Belle Isle Aquarium, Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory, Dossin Great Lakes Museum, Belle Isle Nature Zoo, monuments and beautiful gardens.
900 Inselruhe Avenue, Belle Isle State Park, Detroit, Michigan  48207

Detroit Institute of Arts :: The DIA’s art collection is one of the top collections in the United States.  With a large diversity of art with the most notable pieces being the Detroit Industry fresco and Van Gogh’s portrait.
5200 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, Michigan 48202

Eastern Market :: This market is a historic city icon and actually began in the 1800’s.  They serve Southeastern Detroit with nutritious food by working closely with local farmers, growers and food entrepreneurs throughout the year.   Explore and indulge in great food  at the many cafes, shops and paths around the market.
1445 Adelaide St, Detroit, Michigan  48207

Michigan Science Center :: This adventure is a hands-on experience for your mini-explorers who have curious minds and want to learn more about the world around them.  They offer many programs, exhibits and shows.  
5020 John R Street, Detroit, Michigan  48202

Motown Historical Museum :: Hitsville U.S.A. is home of the Motown legacy.  The museum began in 1985 when visitors began stepping foot into Studio A where many of their favorite musicians and groups recorded the much loved Motown tunes.  
2648 West Grand Boulevard, Detroit, Michigan  48208

The Detroit Riverfront :: Five-and-a-half miles of riverfront from the Ambassador Bridge on the west to Gabriel Richard Park, which is just east of the MacArthur (Belle Isle) Bridge, plus three-and-a-half miles of the East Riverfront, spans from Joe Louis Arena to Gabriel Richard Park and its sister rails-to-trails greenway, the Dequindre Cut, host attractions along the Detroit River and include parks, plazas, pavilions, pathways and open green space, all connected by the ever popular RiverWalk.
Along the Detroit River, Detroit, Michigan

Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History ::  This museum began in 1965 and opens minds and changes lives through the exploration and celebration of African American history and culture.  They offer their core exhibit and many other events including concerts, film screenings, lectures,  and performances.
315 East Warren Avenue, Detroit, Michigan  48201

Historic Fort Wayne Coalition :: History buff?!  This group is dedicated to preserving the history of Michigan men and women who served their country between 1845 and 1973.  Explore the grounds and take a look at how the fort would have looked back in time.  
6325 West Jefferson, Detroit, MI  48209

Ford Piquette Avenue Plant :: The birthplace of the Model T Automotive Heritage Complex.  The Model T, the legacy of the Motor City, this automobile became the most popular car and shaped our city, and our state.  
461 Piquette Street, Detroit, MI  48202

Michigan Sports Hall of Fame :: Are you a go-blue fan or a go-green fan?!  Any huge sports fan would enjoy, Michigan Sports Hall of Fame has honored the most influential sports stars in the history of Michigan.
1 Washington Blvd, Detroit, Michigan  48226

Diamond Jacks River Tours :: Explore the city on a river boat, jump on board for a two-hour narrated Detroit River Tour that all ages are invited to experience.  Views of our friendly neighbor, Canada and our favorite city Detroit running along the river front.  
1340 Atwater Street, Detroit, Michigan  48207

Garden Bowl :: Looking for a unique experience, check out America’s oldest active bowling ally!  Built in 1913 and was considered the working man’s country club in the roaring 20’s.  Bowl and dine at one of the Detroit’s favorite restaurants!
4120-4140 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, Michigan  48201

Cadieux Cafe Feather Bowling :: Does the word feather bowling spark your interest? This game is played with any number of participants using six balls and a feather protruding from the lane approximately 60 feet away. Cadieux Cafe has been known as a social hub for Detroit’s Belgian population and has won awards for continuing family and cultural traditions. You may have also noticed Cadieux Cafe on Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations for its Belgian Beer Stew. 

Our Best Theatres :: Fox Theatre,  Gem Theatre, Michigan Opera Theatre, Fisher TheatreDetroit Symphony Orchestra, Freedom Hill

Our Sports Venues :: Commerica Park, Joe Louis Arena, Ford Field, The Palace of Auburn Hills

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Oakland

Detroit Zoo :: Home to more than 2,500 animals and lays across 125 acres.  The Detroit Zoo is a family favorite with award winning exhibits like the Arctic Circle and the National Amphibian Conservation Center.  They also host many attractions including the Tauber Railroad, Giraffe Encounter and Dinosauria.
8450 W. 10 Mile Rd, Royal Oak, Michigan  48067

Cranbrook Art, Science, House and Garden :: Cranbrook campus is one of the world’s leading centers of education, focused on science and art. Located on 319 acres, you will find on campus a graduate Academy of Art, Contemporary Art Museum, House & Gardens, Natural History and Science museum.  You can explore and learn while walking around beautifully kept grounds and gardens.
39221 Woodward Avenue, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan 48303

Holocaust Memorial Center Zekelman Family Campus :: Jump into history as you explore not only the evil parts of the Holocaust but also the courage and strength. Explore it’s exhibits and programs through this interactive museum paying tribute to the lives lost and the lives celebrated. 
28123 Orchard Lake Road, Farmington Hills, Michigan  48334

Great Lakes Crossing Outlets :: Outlet shopping at its finest!  Over 185 retailers both outlets and traditional stores, you are sure to shop until you drop.  With features like the Rainforest Cafe, Johnny Rockets, movie theater and arcade. 
4000 Baldwin Road, Auburn Hills, Michigan  48326

Sea Life Michigan Aquarium :: New in 2015! The first of its kind in the Detroit area, families are flocking here to experience this new local attraction! With over 5,000 under water creatures you are sure to come close to sharks, stingrays and jellyfish.  Walk under an ocean tunnel and observe sea life up close.  Read an experience one of our moms had at SeaLife!
4316 Baldwin Road, Auburn Hills, Michigan  48326

Somerset Collection :: Luxury shopping at its finest!  With Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Burberry and much much more.  With a fabulous collection of cafes and restaurants.
2800 West Big Beaver Road, Troy, Michigan  48084

Palazzo di Bocce :: Yes, this is an indoor bocce arena!  This classic European sport is fun to play anytime all in good fun and sportsmanship!  
4291 Lapeer Road, Lake Orion, Michigan  48359

Lucky Strike :: Home of state of the art bowling lanes, billiards, one hundred arcade games, great food and a great location.  Located in Fountain Walk where you can enjoy shopping, restaurants, and entertainment for all ages.   
44325 W. Twelve Mile Ste. H-160, Novi, Michigan  48377

Dave and Busters :: Do you have a gamer who would love 100’s of arcade games?! This is the place, new facility with great service and great food!
19375 Victor Pkwy, Livonia, Michigan  48152

Twelve Oaks Mall :: Great shopping + food, you will find a wide range of retail selections including Nordstroms, Lululemon, Coach, Cheesecake Factory, and Sur La Table.  
27500 Novi Road, Novi, Michigan  48377

Macomb

Sanders Chocolate Factory :: Do you have a choco-holic in your family?!  Visit this FREE tour of the Morley Candy Makers, the home where Sanders chocolate and desserts are created.  Taste testing is included in this FREE tour!  You can pick up the perfect souvenir for your chocolate lover.
23770 Hall Road; Clinton Township, Michigan  48036

Mall at Partridge Creek :: Shopping in the open air!  With over 90 retail stores and restaurants and features including bocce ball courts, free Wi-Fi, pop jet fountains, a TV Court, and a 30-foot fireplace.
7420 Hall Road, Clinton Township, Michigan  48038

Dave and Busters :: Do you have a gamer who would love 100’s of arcade games?! Games, tickets, food and fun.
45511 Park Avenue, Utica, Michigan  48315

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Wayne

The Henry Ford :: History fan, this adventure is jam packed with meeting people and places of the past. This is a local favorite for families!  With many exhibits and events all throughout the year.  The main attractions include The Henry Ford Museum, Greenfield Village, IMAX theater and the Ford Rouge Factory Tour.  Read an experience one of our moms had at The Henry Ford!
20900 Oakwood Boulevard, Dearborn, Michigan  48124

Edsel and Eleanor Ford House :: This is a unique experience to step inside history and visit the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House.  They were local pioneers in art and design.  The beautiful grounds engage you in history and the environment, while celebrating family traditions and community relationships.
1100 Lake Shore Road, Grosse Pointe Shores, Michigan  48236

Automotive Hall of Fame :: This is the Motor City afterall  and we are known for our leadership and history in making great american cars.  This museum celebrates the men and women who have changed the world and revolutionized our lives.  
21400 Oakwood Boulevard, Dearborn, Michigan  48124

Arab American National Museum :: The first and only museum in America dedicated to the Arab American culture.  Their mission is to document and share the history, culture and contributions from ancient to modern world Arab Americans.
13624 Michigan Avenue, Dearborn, Michigan  48126

Washtenaw

Ann Arbor Hands On Museum :: This museum is hands down one of the best museums to take the little ones.  With over 250 hands-on exhibits your little one is sure to discover the wonder of science, technology, engineering, art, and math.  Located downtown and close to many great restaurants and retailers.  
220 E. Ann St. Ann Arbor, Michigan  48104

University of Michigan Matthaei Botanical Gardens :: These gardens are considered one of Ann Arbor’s greatest nature destinations.  A 300 acre landscape containing many formal gardens, an indoor conservatory and miles of hiking and discovery trails all ages will enjoy.  It is a perfect place for a picnic!
1800 N. Dixboro Road, Ann Arbor, Michigan  

University of Michigan Museum of Natural History and Planetarium :: Your science lover is sure to enjoy the state’s largest collection of dinosaur skeletons.  They also displays Michigan’s own prehistoric past.  The Planetarium offers a 360-degree domed screen that surrounds the audience.
1109 Geddes Avenue, Ann Arbor, Michigan 

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Where to Eat

Downtown

Russell Street Deli :: Located within Eastern Market they serve breakfast and lunch with locally grown produce.  Classic deli with a unique local twist. Great service and great food. 
2465 Russell Street, Detroit, Michigan  48207

Supinos Pizza :: Another Eastern Market favorite!  Great reviews and a little piece of pizza heaven.  Whether you are sitting down or just grabbing a slice and walking through the market!  
2457 Russell St, Detroit, Michigan  48207

Roma Cafe :: Also located within Eastern Market, Detroit’s oldest Italian restaurant serving the city since 1890!  The building is original and they have been serving classic Italian cuisine since 1890. 
3401 Riopelle, Detroit, Michigan  48207

Fishbones Rhythm Kitchen Café :: Located in Greektown where you can find many great restaurants and bakeries.  At Fishbones you will find a unique Detroit experience, the New Orleans cuisine meets the Midwest. You will find great service and great food here.
400 Monroe Street Detroit, Michigan  48226 and other locations

Los Galanes :: Located in Mexicantown where you can find many great neighborhood restaurants.  Los Galanes is one of my favorites, I immediately think of fresh tortillas, authentic food and yummy margaritas!  
3362 Baggley, Detroit, Michigan  48216

Joe Muer Seafood :: Are you looking for an amazing dining experience?!  There menu features classic fresh fish and creative dishes as well.  They are located along the Riverfront with spectacular views and inside the Ren Cen a great place to walk and explore!
400 Renaissance Center Suite 1404 Detroit, Michigan  48243

Buddy’s Pizza :: Detroit’s number one square pizza since 1946!  Another Detroit favorite you are sure to enjoy some delicious pizza at one of the many locations throughout Detroit and Metro-Detroit!
Many Locations throughout Detroit!

National Coney Island :: Founded in 1965 home of the World Famous Coney Dog!  Family friendly, great food and great prices.  You will find All-American classics including traditional Detroit-style Coney Island hot dogs, their world famous Chili, fresh salads, delicious desserts like Sanders hot fudge sundaes and breakfast served anytime.
Many Locations throughout Detroit!

Hockeytown Cafe :: Located in the heart of downtown entertainment near the Fox, Ford Field and Commerica Park this is a classic pre-game destination with a great atmosphere! 
2301 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, Michigan  48201

Traffic Jam & Snug :: A hidden gem in Midtown, established in 1965.  They offer an eclectic menu and are known for their in-house bakery, microbrewery, and dairy.  
511 West Canfield Street, Detroit, Michigan  48201

Slows BarBQ :: The best BBQ in Detroit!  They are located in Corktown and have a great outdoor patio!  Your picky eater will most likely LOVE the mac and cheese!  
2138 Michigan Avenue, Detroit, Michigan  48216

The Detroit Foodie :: Are you a foodie and want to the best reviews for Detroit food?!  If you are looking for GREAT reviews and suggestions check out this local blogger.

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Off the Beaten Path

Bronners Christmas Wonderland

Zehnders Splash Village

Michigan Adventure

Great Wolf Lodge

Mackinaw Island

 

Top 5 Detroit Souvenirs

Sanders Chocolate 

Pewabic Pottery

Germack Pistachio Company 

Pure Detroit Shops

Mackinac Island Fudge 

 

Detroit Moms Blog features a weekly list of family friendly Weekend Happenings to do In+Around Detroit!  Be sure to visit this list when you come visit Detroit!

Detroit is full of things to discover and do with your family!  We wish you safe travels and a forever memorable experience in Detroit.  We hope Detroit continues to be a great family destination and only continues to grow in culture and entertainment! Enjoy the D ~

A familys guide to detroit Visit Detroit

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