9 New Attractions to Check out in Revitalized Detroit
Don’t Overlook Detroit
Thanks to the funding of numerous philanthropic organizations, there has been a steady rise of new things to do in Detroit over the last two years.
Abandoned buildings, vacant lots and dilapidated neighborhoods have been revitalized, encouraging growth in the Motor City. Officials have approved multi-million dollar development projects, particularly in the downtown area, to boost tourism and put Detroit back on the map.
Despite the skepticism you may have about a city with the largest municipal bankruptcy in the country, Detroit has made a serious comeback. In 2018 it was named the second best city in the world to visit by Lonely Planet and it has topped other lists of must-visit places to visit in recent years. In short, Motown is having a moment and these are just a few of the best new Detroit attractions.
N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art
A long overdo addition to the Detroit art world, the N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art provides both an exhibition and performance space for local artists. In addition to art shows and openings, the gallery hosts public events and lectures for the area community.
Housed in its own complex, the center also has a vegetarian restaurant, gift shop, wine bar and multiple retail stores. In short it’s not just another art gallery, but a destination worthy of exploration.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia
Although Eastern Market now encapsulates an entire district full of interesting businesses, it’s still home to multiple specialty markets. On Tuesdays you can stock up on fresh produce and meats — or even take a free yoga class. Their Saturday market has become a quintessentially Detroit thing to do, as every weekend over 225 food and art vendors open up shop to tourists and locals alike.
Sunday’s market merges artisan foods with art, jewelry, clothing and special events, making it a perfect one stop shop — especially during the holidays.
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Photo Credit: Detroit Kid City
Detroit Kid City
A unique take on an indoor playground, Detroit Kid City has created a mini-version of the city to explore and play make-believe in. Children can play dress-up amid locations like a bank, post office and baseball stadium or play instruments in the music studio. While best suited for kids ages 1 to 8, parents can get in on the fun too.
After chasing the kiddos around all day, just walk on over to the onsite coffee bar for some organic coffee, fresh fruit smoothies and vegan/gluten-free snacks.
Photo Credit: Getty Images
Campus Martius Park
Since 2004, Campus Martius Park has been slowly but surely revitalizing the heart of downtown Detroit. With year-round events and seven different dining options, the park functions as both a meeting place and entertainment hub. No matter what season you visit, there are always plenty of things to do.
You’ll find ice skating in the winter and outdoor concerts in the summer, but the real highlight of the park is its urban beach. Enjoy a unique lounge experience with your toes in the sand and a margarita in hand, surrounded not by ocean, but by high rises, skyscrapers and bustling city life.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia
The Dequindre Cut Greenway
While it was once a part of the Grand Trunk railway line, now you can run, bike, skate or walk the Dequindre Cut Greenway. A 2.5-mile recreational path — that just had a recent expansion — the Dequindre Cut provides a safe thoroughfare for pedestrians and non-motorized traffic.
Explore downtown Detroit from Eastern Market to the Detroit River amid lush greenery and urban street art. Benches line the pathway, allowing you to stop for a snack or just to rest up a bit. There are even bike rentals available through Wheelhouse Detroit, a bike shop that offers tours around the city and along the Dequindre Cut.
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The District Detroit
Detroit’s Midtown district recently enjoyed a huge face-lift with the creation of an impressive entertainment complex. The District Detroit encompasses three separate sports venues, including one that doubles as a concert arena. Six smaller music venues like The Fillmore and Fox Theatre are also nearby, surrounded by a slew of upscale bars and eateries in converted, historic buildings.
Although it functions as an inclusive neighborhood to live, work and play in, The District is poised to serve as Detroit’s newest (and hippest) tourist attraction.
Photo Credit: Getty Images
GM Ren Cen
Only in Detroit could you find a car company with its own zip code. At the GM Ren Cen you can tour the impressive complex of skyscrapers that make up the company’s headquarters, which includes a 40,000-square-foot auto showroom with current and vintage model cars.
Located along the Detroit riverfront, the recently renovated Ren Cen now has 30 different dining options on site, from fast food to gourmet tastes. During the summer, the center plays host to the annual Rockin’ on the Riverfront concert series, featuring a variety of classic rock bands.
Aside from concerts, the riverfront along the GM Ren Cen also has plenty of things to do during the year like 5-K runs, a carousel and riverboat tours.
Photo Credit: Pop + Offworld
Pop + Offworld
If you’re traveling with friends, a stop off at Pop + Offworld is a must. Arcade bars are the latest trend among millennial hang outs, but Pop + Offworld has managed to truly channel the retro gaming vibe of the ’80s. Located on the second floor of Checker Bar, you can pig out on their quirky pizza menu that’s filled with wacky toppings and even wackier names.
But even if you’re not into Cheetos or pork rinds on your pizza, there are still tons of classic arcade games to play like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Paperboy and Tron. Sometimes they even host board game nights, live music or a culinary festival called The Pizza Throwdown.
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Outdoor Adventure Center
Another family-friendly option that recently opened in 2016, the Outdoor Adventure Center provides interactive exhibits about the outdoors and Michigan’s own natural resources. Both kids and adults can learn about activities and wildlife related to the Detroit River, what certain animal habitats looks like, and the different kinds of accommodations available at state parks in the area.
Explore the center’s indoor waterfall or ride the snowmobile simulator. Special events and lectures are also held on the weekends and have touched on subjects from archery to star-gazing and everything in between.