Top Recommended Layover Activities:
1. GM World Renaissance Center - DBA
100 Renaissance Ctr, Renaissance Center, Detroit, MI 48265 · 313-667-7151
You haven't "been" to Detroit unless you've paid a visit to Renaissance Center, the city's most recognizable - and looming - landmark. That is especially true considering that Renaissance Center's most well known resident is General Motors, whose world headquarters is located here. In an effort to stimulate new interest in Detroit's downtown area, the company opened its high-tech GM-World, which allows visitors to see a variety of new and classic cars and trucks in "mock" showroom-style settings." If car shows are your thing, don't pass on the chance to see this enormous exhibit.
2. Belle Isle Aquarium (CLOSED)
3. Detroit Zoo
8450 W Ten Mile Rd, Royal Oak, MI 48067 · 248-398-0900
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 zoos 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 can be enjoyed aboard a miniature railroad.
4. Belle Isle
Douglas Macarthur Brg at Picnic Way, via E Grand Blvd, Detroit, MI 48201 · 313-852-4078
Belle Isle is a 1000-acre island park on the Detroit River. It is a favorite picnic spot and is ideal for fishing and outdoor recreation. The park features a nature center, zoo, tennis courts, beach areas, a waterslide, and playgrounds, and is connected to the city by bridge. It boasts spectacular views of the downtown skyline.
5. Greektown & Trapper's Alley
Monroe Ave, Detroit, MI 48226 · 313-963-3357
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 the neat boutique and specialty shops located along Monroe. Once home to one of North America's largest fur warehouses and processing centers, Greektown's Trapper's Alley features a wide range of retail and dining options. Indeed, some of the city's top restaurants call this part of town "home," as does as the ever-popular Greektown Casino.
Top Weekend Getaways And Day Trip Excursions:
1. Detroit International Jazz Festival
Jefferson Ave at Woodward Ave, Philip Hart Plaza, Detroit, MI 48226-4344 · 313-963-7622
A Labor Day festival that features some of the best live jazz on the peninsula, the Detroit Jazz Fest dates back to 1980, when community leaders felt it may help put a positive spin on the downtown area and celebrate the city's jazz heritage. Today, the event has taken on a life of its own, becoming one of the United States' largest free jazz festivals by drawing in upwards of 800,000 people to Detroit's attractive Riverfront area. Featured headliners annually include the likes of Tommy Flanagan, Freddy Cole, "Fiddler" Williams, James Carter, and Toshiko Akiyoshi.
2. International Freedom Festival
Downtown Detroit, Detroit, MI · 519-252-7264.
A joint venture with the Canadian City of Windsor. The two countries celebrate America's Independence Day and Canada's Dominion Day. See a great fireworks show from the banks of the Detroit River.
3. Michigan State Fair
1120 W State Fair Ave, Michigan State Fairgrounds, Highland Park, MI 48203-1084 · 313-369-8250
A summer time event that annually draws record crowds to the Motor City area, the Michigan State Fair dates back to 1849, making it the oldest such event in the United States. Each year, the families flock to the fair to enjoy rides of all kinds, live music performances, games, and clowns. On the serious side, the State fair hasn't lost sight of one of its original aims, to help promote farming and agriculture via exhibits and forums.
4. North American International Car Show
1 Washington Blvd, COBO Conference/Exhibition Center, Detroit, MI 48226
Dating back to 1907, when the first Detroit Auto Show was held at Beller's Beer Garden, this international festival annually attracts more than 700,000 people. See the latest concept and production cars – both foreign and domestic – and rub shoulders with some of the industry's most elite collectors, journalists, and movers and shakers. The show is held downtown in the Cobo Center.
5. Automotive Hall of Fame
21400 Oakwood Blvd, Dearborn, MI 48124 · 313-240-4000
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. Group tours are available to groups of 20 or more. Call for group rates.
6. Henry Ford Estate - Fair Lane
4901 Evergreen Rd, Dearborn, MI 48128 · 313-593-5590
Located on the University of Michigan-Dearborn campus, this formidable mansion, known as Fair Lane, was built in 1914 by Henry and Clara Ford. Ford, a nature lover, wanted a home that blended in with the pastoral setting, so the designers used rough-hewn Ohio limestone, making the mansion almost melt into the landscape. Acre after acre of sculpted gardens, green spaces, riverwalks, and woodland areas flank the beautiful residence, and visitors are free to tour the grounds as they wish. Enjoy lunch in “The Pool” a bright, airy restaurant that once housed the family’s swimming pool. Ford’s grandson, Edsel II, led restorations efforts to return the home to its original state.
7. Chene Park
DETROIT, MI · 313-393-0292
One of four parks in the small city of Grosse Point Woods, Chene Park is a three sq. mi. area located in Wayne County and bordering Lake St. Clair. Enjoy a low-key fishing excursion or a concert in the riverfront amphitheater. Top blues, jazz and classical musicians often perform here. Watch for the “Medusa Challenger” and the smaller barge “Medusa Conquest,” both of which bring cement from the Charlevoix county plant to the Medusa Cement silos next to the park.