13 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Detroit
Detroit, the largest city in the state of Michigan, lies on the northwest bank of the Detroit River and on Lake St Clair, between Lakes Huron and Erie.
The city has long been regarded as the "metropolis of the automobile". It is the country's busiest inland port and is accessible, since the construction of the St Lawrence Seaway, to ocean-going vessels of up to 25,000 tons.
The city's name is derived from the French détroit (strait), referring to the narrow waterway between Lakes Huron and Erie. In 1701 Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac established a fort on the site of the present-day city. In 1760 this passed into British hands, and in 1796, after the American victory in the battle of Fallen Timber, was incorporated in the United States. After being incorporated as a town in 1802 and suffering great devastation in a fire in 1805, Detroit was from 1807 to 1847 capital of the state of Michigan. Its economic rise began in earnest with the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825 and the development of steamship traffic. This led to a rapid increase in population. The automobile industry, founded by Henry Ford around the turn of the 19th century, soon took the city's population above the million mark. By 1930 the population was 1.5 million. Following the financial crisis of 2008 the city's industry and population declined significantly.
1 Detroit Institute of Arts
The Detroit Institute of Arts displays a representative cross-section of man's artistic creation from the earliest cultures to the present day. Its permanent collection includes art of Africa, Oceania and the Indigenous Americas; the art and culture of the Near East and classical antiquity; collections from medieval Europe; and American art and culture. The collection includes many masterpieces of European painting, including works by Rembrandt, Van Gogh (self-portrait), Matisse, and Picasso.
2 Comerica Park
Comerica Park is a combination ballpark, theme park, and baseball museum. A carousel, a ferris wheel, a huge water feature in center field and a museum of baseball history on the main concourse are some of the attractions. The park is most famous as the home of the Detroit Tigers baseball team.
3 Henry Ford Estate
Located in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn, Fair Lane is the former home of automaker Henry Ford and his wife Clara. The Fords settled into their new home in 1915 and lived there until their deaths in 1947 and 1950. The grounds of Fair Lane include a powerhouse hydropower plant, which gave the estate the independence to produce its own power, heat and light.
The estate also included a summer house, man-made lake, staff cottages, gatehouse, pony barn, skating house, greenhouse, root cellar, vegetable garden, peony and gardens, a "Santa's workshop" and five hundred birdhouses.
The property is in the process of restoration.
4 GM Renaissance Center
Along the Detroit River are huge skyscraper complexes. Dominating them all is the Renaissance Center, with the 73-storey Mariott Hotel and six other towers containing offices, shops, theatres, restaurants, conference space, and public institutions. This is a central feature on the skyline.
5 Motown Museum
The Motown Museum is a small shingle-clad building that was occupied from 1957 to 1972 by the studio where records of the "Motown sound" were produced. Visitors can see the actual recording studio where Marvin Gaye and others produced hit songs. The museum chronicles the history of the recording studio and its founder.
6 Pewabic Pottery
Pewabic Pottery was founded in 1903 by Mary Chase Perry Stratton and her partner, Horace Caulkins. The studio, operated by Stratton, continued until her death in 1961 and a few more years after that by her assistant. Today Pewabic Pottery operates the ceramics museum, gallery workshop and studio.
7 Charles H. Wright Museum of African-American History
The Museum of African-American History illustrates the historical role of blacks in the United States and their position in the city of Detroit. Exhibits deal with a variety of topics, including the "underground railway" that enabled slaves to flee from Michigan into Canada.
8 The Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village
11 miles west of the city centre is the suburb of Dearborn, in which the automobile manufacturer Henry Ford was born. In 1929 he established two exhibition complexes as memorials to himself: the 12 acre Henry Ford Museum, and an open-air museum called Greenfield Village.
The Henry Ford Museum offers a general survey of the development of American life and technological advances from pioneering days to the present time. Among the most notable exhibits are George Stephenson's first steam locomotive (1829); some 200 automobiles, including the first Ford and the car in which John F. Kennedy was assassinated; the Fokker in which Admiral Byrd made the first flight over the North Pole in 1926; and the Junkers W 33 in which Hermann Kohl, Freiherr von Hanefeld and James Fitzmaurice made the first east-west crossing of the Atlantic in 1928.
Just north of the Henry Ford Museum is the entrance to Greenfield Village, an open-air museum with some 100 historic buildings of the 18th and 19th centuries from all over the United States. Among them are a school, a railroad station and other public buildings, the house in which Henry Ford was born, Edison's laboratory and the Wright brothers' bicycle factory. The numerous shops in the Village Craft Center sell the products of the various workshops in the village.
9 Detroit Historical Museum
Opposite the Institute of Arts is the Detroit Historical Museum, with reconstructions of old Detroit streets, model railways, dioramas and periodic special exhibitions on the history of the city. This is a great museum to gain a general overview of the city and the events that shaped it.
10 Historic Fort Wayne
Built in the 1840s, Fort Wayne includes the star-shaped fort, dry moat, tunnels, barracks, and garrison, an immense parade ground and the restored Commanding Officer's House. The fort hosts a number of events throughout the summer.
11 Detroit Public Library
The Detroit Public Library formally opened to the public on March 25, 1865. The initial collection included 5,000 books and was located in a room in the old Capitol High School. The library moved to its present location on March 21, 1921. There are currently 10 departments within the main library and 23 branches. The building itself is the main attraction and is Listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
12 Masonic Temple of Detroit
The Masonic Temple of Detroit is classical Gothic architecture built with Indiana limestone. The temple was dedicated in 1926 and is the largest temple of its kind in the world. The building has three major divisions: the ritualistic tower, the auditorium, and the Shrine Club. The facility hosts concerts and other events.
13 Belle Isle
Belle Isle is an island in the Detroit River. It is approximately 3 miles long and up to 1 mile wide, laid out with beautiful parkland, hiking trails, sports facilities. One of the primary features is the Belle Isle Conservatory. Also on the island are an aquarium, a and the Dossin Great Lakes Museum, with numerous ship models and other exhibits illustrating the history of shipping on the Great Lakes.