Does just the term "tourist attraction". cause feelings of anxiety? While there certainly are some attractions that you are better off driving on by, there are plenty of good ones too. Our Detroit 10Best list can help you sort the worthwhile from the worthless, ensuring only good memories are created this trip.


Grosse Pointe Woods

This riverfront park, accessible to the Renaissance Center via a promenade, is best known for its covered amphitheater, which hosts fantastic summer concerts. Able to seat 6000, the venue is a favorite of jazz, blues, soul, and classical performers. Chene Park also offers walking trails and the opportunity to catch sight of barges on the water.

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Bloomfield Hills

Whether you know of Eliel Saarinen's work from art and architecture classes or by virtue of his son Eero's furniture, you'll want to tour this house that the elder Saarinen designed and lived in with wife Loja, an accomplished textile designer. The two were Cranbrook faculty members when they completed the home in 1930, and they deliberately unified architectural and domestic elements to create a cohesive whole. Decorative inspiration was largely Art Deco but also came from the Arts & Crafts movement and from a Finnish aesthetic, familiar to both husband and wife. The home was restored in the late '80s and early '90s and features many original family furnishings and accessories.

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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.

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Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory, the brainchild of renowned architect Albert Kahn, is home to a variety of different plants and flowers, including Michigan's largest orchid collection. If you're homesick for that bright, Florida sunshine or the warm Arizona spring, then plan to log some time walking amongst the conservatory's ferns, palms, and cacti.

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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.

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IMAX Theatre

Known for incredible cinematography and cutting-edge technology, IMAX constantly provides the most fascinating, educational programs available on the big screen. Digital sound and towering movie screens ensure that each ticket-holder takes in the action and spectacle to their most intense degree. You'll be swept away by glorious photography and a seductive soundtrack, experiencing movies (including 3-D ones) in a singular way. Films vary, but you can count on educational and family-friendly offerings.

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Although you may think this library and archives documents only automobile-related data, its scope is much broader, encompassing American manufacturing in many arenas. Built initially from Henry Ford's book collection, the research center also includes information on industrial design, trade publications, business records, artifacts, advertising campaigns, product literature, and lots of prints, posters, and photographs. Many American companies are represented along with Ford, and actual and electronic resources are available to researchers and interested folks.

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Extending from East Congress to East Fort, this impressive stretch of brick buildings is noteworthy for housing a cornucopia of restaurants, popular nightspots, and trendy boutiques, all products of the city's on-going urban revival initiative. Aside from renovated storefronts and brick facades, the neighborhood is home to Wayne County Building, Detroit's oldest-standing Italian Renaissance structure.

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Detroit's most well known ethnic neighborhood, Greektown includes Monroe Avenue and its various side streets. Aside from boasting the Motor City's most intoxicating night-life scene, Greektown hums with activity during the daytime, as people flock here to check out the deals in boutique and specialty shops. In addition, some of the city's top restaurants call this part of town "home," as does the ever-popular Greektown Casino.

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Visitors can get a glimpse into one of Ford's industrial production facilities (named for its setting along the Rouge River) on this five-part tour. The entire excursion (buses shuttle folks to and from the site, running 20-30 minutes each way) includes videos of the factory itself, along with the auto-making process. Visits to an observation deck and information about the plant's green roof are also provided, and guests can walk through the assembly factory before viewing vehicles that were manufactured onsite.

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