Best Attractions & Activities

With all of the things to do and see in a city, deciding how to spend your time can be quite an agonizing decision. 10best has narrowed all of the available attractions in Detroit to a list of the most appealing and reputable, to aide in your decision making. You can rest easy knowing that any choice you make from our list is sure to please.


This museum was established to preserve and document the history, growth, and development of Detroit and its people, including the fascinating "Motor City" exhibit. Children love "Streets of Old Detroit," with its cobblestone streets and old-fashioned storefronts. Other exhibits chronicle Detroit's history as a fur-trading outpost, the Underground Railroad routes leading through Detroit, and the old Boblo Amusement Park.

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This extravagant "castle," built during the Roaring '20s for Matilda Dodge, widow of John Dodge, is open to the public. Meadow Brook features 110 rooms, and most of them still present period decor and priceless art and furnishings. The home was inspired by traditional English Tudor country homes. Among its most notable features is a luxurious grand ballroom, which spans two stories and served as the setting for some of Detroit's most legendary social galas.

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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.

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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.

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Holocaust Memorial Center

This center, which opened in 1984, exists as the country's first freestanding facility devoted to remembering the Holocaust and working to prevent future abominations. It presents a variety of exhibits that grimly document the horrors of the European Jews' near-extermination in the early 20th century. They begin with an overview of Jewish culture, track the rise of Hitler, examine concentration camps and oppression, and look at the world in the aftermath of such horrors. Tributes to people who helped save Jews are featured, along with artwork, a library, and a memorial flame. It is advised that children under the age of 12 not attend.

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This impressive museum, dedicated to the history, culture, and arts of African-Americans, is the largest of its kind in the world. It chronicles the journey of African-Americans, beginning in the 14th century, when African slaves were brought to America, and continuing to the present day.

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Motown Museum

The Temptations, Supremes, "Little" Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, and other Motown greats helped establish Detroit as one of the most influential centers in the history of pop music. Motown founder, Berry Gordy, from a modest home in the northern part of Detroit, helped launch huge careers and found a recording dynasty that continues to influence the music of today. Visit the famous Hitsville USA complex and tour Studio A, which is Motown's original recording studio. Witness the rise of this empire through videos, photos, newspaper clippings, and other memorabilia.

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The Henry Ford

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.

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Bloomfield Hills

[Cranbrook Art Museum will be closed for renovations until Spring 2011.] 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. It especially highlights the ways that highly-respected Cranbrook has influenced design, art, and architecture in the 20th century. Works in the permanent collection represent luminaries like Eliel Saarinen and Duane Hanson, while temporary exhibits showcase the newest and best works by prominent working artists and by Cranbrook's own students.

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Greenfield Village, an outdoor re-creation of a 19th-century town, pays tribute to the American people who followed their dreams and made life-changing discoveries along the way. Within the 80-acre site, you'll find historical replicas of the bicycle shop where the Wright brothers created the first airplane and of Thomas Edison's Menlo Park laboratory. You can also ride in vintage autos, learn fine craft-making, enjoy a train or carousel ride, and even shop and dine in the style of yesteryear.

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