Family Vacations

Memories created on summer vacations can stick with you forever. Our 10Best list can help ensure that those memories are related to the fun things done and great places visited. Belle Isle Park located in the Belle Isle area is highly recommended by 10Best users, as a place to visit when in Detroit with the family.

10 Belle Isle Park
Belle Isle is a 983-acre island park on the Detroit River. It's a favorite picnic spot and is ideal for fishing and outdoor recreation. The park features a nature center, tennis courts, beach areas, a waterslide, and playgrounds, and it's connected to the city by bridge. Belle Isle boasts spectacular views of the downtown skyline. (313-331-7760)

9 Eastern Market
Little has changed at Detroit's historic Eastern Market, which, since 1892, has provided downtown shoppers with a terrific place to find fresh produce, meats, fish, and plants. The open-air market is open throughout the week, usually hanging on until stock runs out. However, if you want to experience the Eastern Market in its truest form, stop by early on a Saturday morning and see the place a-bustle with pro and amateur barterers trying to get the best deals possible. A "must see" if you're visiting Detroit for the first time. (313-833-9300, 586-393-8800)

8 Detroit Zoo
The Detroit Zoo is home to more than 1000 animals from almost 300 different species and is one of the first zoos to feature bar-less animal exhibits. One of the zoo's major priorities is to house its population in a more naturalistic habitat. Moats and other natural barriers separate the animals and the visitors. The zoo is wonderfully landscaped and during the warmer months it can be enjoyed aboard a miniature railroad. (248-398-0900, 248-541-5717)

7 Detroit Science Center
Get involved with science and technology close-up at this hands-on museum. Interactive displays help visitors learn more about solar energy, fossils, holograms, and laser lights, and an OMNIMAX theater presents fascinating films that put you right in the middle of the action. "Stand" at the edge of a volcano, or "roll and dive" in a supersonic jet — adventure and discovery await! (313-577-8400)

6 Cranbrook Art Museum and Institute of Science
[Cranbook Art Museum is closed for renovations.] This dual-purposed suburban complex offers patrons the chance to explore the marvels of science and encounter the intriguing beauty of 20th-century art. Cranbrook Art Museum's collection of contemporary art includes works that represent a variety of movements and schools, including Art Deco, Arts & Crafts, Modernism, and Post-Modernism. The Institute of Science features laser-light shows, rocks and minerals, dinosaur skeletons, and a slew of fun interactive exhibits meant to thrill children and their parents alike. (877-462-7262, 248-645-3200)

5 Henry Ford Museum
Henry Ford Museum showcases the development of technology in the US and documents the width and breadth of American inventions and innovation. The facility occupies nine acres and includes exhibits on agriculture, the automobile, freedom, timepieces, home appliances, jewelry, presidential limousines, and much more. Thematic itineraries provide a more directed focus for visitors who wish to follow them, and temporary exhibits nicely shake up the regular slate of displays. (313-271-1620, 800-835-5237)

4 GM Showroom
You haven't "been" to Detroit unless you've paid a visit to the GM Renaissance Center, the city's most recognizable — and looming — landmark. The complex's best-known resident is General Motors, whose world headquarters is located here. In an effort to stimulate new interest in Detroit's downtown, the company opened this high-tech exhibit, which showcases dozens of new, classic, and concept cars and trucks in showroom-style settings. Videos and interactive kiosks also offer information on the GM brand. If car shows are your thing, don't pass up the chance to see this enormous exhibit. (313-667-7151, 313-567-3126)

3 Automotive Hall of Fame
Tour the center that celebrates the accomplishments of individuals throughout history who have contributed to the growth and expansion of the worldwide motor vehicle industry. It features a full-size replica of the world's first gas powered car as well as a mural that chronicles automotive history. Hands-on exhibits and interactive displays are also featured. (313-240-4000, 888-298-4748)

2 Cranbrook House and Gardens
This historic English Arts & Crafts-style mansion, built for Detroit newspaper mogul George Gough Booth, dates from the early 1900s. The home still contains much of its original artwork, tapestries, and furnishings, affording an insightful glimpse into the lifestyle of the wealthy during the pre-World War I era. Surrounding the manor and estate are more than 40 expertly landscaped acres, including dozens of bright-hued annual and perennial flowerbeds, an Oriental garden, a bog garden, and a sunken garden. House tours include a visit to the gardens. The Thursday house tour is available with an optional luncheon — call ahead to reserve. (248-645-3147, 800-462-7262)

1 Edsel and Eleanor Ford House
This splendid, tasteful mansion overlooks Lake St. Clair. Edsel, the only child of Henry and Clara Ford, and his wife Eleanor built this home in 1929, and it remains today as it was back then — an oversized version of an English country home. Much of the paneling and furnishings were imported from the UK. Today, the estate is open for tours of the home, gardens, gallery, and grounds. You can also catch concerts, children's activities, bird walks, and lectures on art, history, or astronomy. (313-884-4222)

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Maps and Directions

Belle Isle Park 10Best List Arrow
Type: Family Friendly, Outdoor Activities, Parks
Neighborhood: BELLE ISLE
Eastern Market 10Best List Arrow
Type: Attractions, Historic Sites
Detroit Zoo 10Best List Arrow
Type: Zoos
Neighborhood: ROYAL OAK
Detroit Science Center 10Best List Arrow
Type: Family Friendly, IMAX Theaters, Museums, Planetarium / Observatory, Science Museums
Neighborhood: DOWNTOWN
Cranbrook Art Museum and Institute of Science 10Best List Arrow
Type: Art Museums, Museums, Science Museums
Henry Ford Museum 10Best List Arrow
Type: History Museums, Museums
Neighborhood: Dearborn
GM Showroom 10Best List Arrow
Type: Attractions, Museums
Automotive Hall of Fame 10Best List Arrow
Type: History Museums, Museums
Neighborhood: DEARBORN
Cranbrook House and Gardens 10Best List Arrow
Type: Architecture, Gardens, Historic Sites
Edsel and Eleanor Ford House 10Best List Arrow
Type: Architecture, Historic Sites
Neighborhood: GROSSE POINTE
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