When you think about Detroit the first things that jump into your mind probably aren’t kid friendly activities, but in fact there is a lot of family fun to be had in the Motor City.
Despite the current financial difficulties the city is undergoing a renaissance and is ready for a come-back. So, whether you live in the Metro area or you’re just driving through, it’s well worth checking out these fun activities for kids to do in “the D”.
10 Things to Do with Kids in Detroit
1. Detroit Institute of Art – The mission of the DIA is “creating experiences that help each visitor find personal meaning in art”. The 658,000 square foot museum houses a wonderful diverse collection, including van Gogh’s “Self Portrait” and Diego Rivera’s “Detroit Industry”. It is a cultural gem to the city and hosts a variety of events for kids and families, so as their tagline says, “Let Yourself Go”.
2. Michigan Science Center – Previously the Detroit Science Center, The Michigan Science Center (Mi-Sci) is a fun, hands-on museum with many attractions to capture the curiosity of children and adults alike. Exhibit galleries include exploration of motion, speed & direction, manufacturing; various stages and theaters make science come alive through demonstrations on electricity and engineering; KidsTown is a great area for young ones to pretend and play; and the planetarium allows you to take a virtual-reality trip to outer space.
3. The Heidelberg Project – Over 27 years ago, artist Tyree Guyton began his mission of reclaiming his community by using his paintbrush in a whole new way. The Heidelberg Project is a vibrant and unique outdoor community art environment created with recycled materials & found objects. “As a whole, the HP is symbolic of how many communities in Detroit have become discarded.”
4. Belle Isle – Just minutes from downtown, Belle Isle, America’s largest city-owned island park, offers something to do for everyone. Located on the Detroit River there are over 5 miles of scenic shoreline – perfect for viewing Detroit, Canada, the Ambassador Bridge, and frieghter traffic. Make sure the kids don’t miss the Aquarium, 1/2 Mile Beach, Water Slide, and the Kid’s Kingdom Playscape!
5. Grab a Coney Dog – The Coney Dog is a Detroit area classic! The metro area has hundreds of Coney Island restaurnants (a unique type of Greek American food), but it all started in Downtown Detroit in 1914 at Layfayette Coney Island. Minimalist and very sloppy, a coney dog is a hot dog in a bun smothered in chili, diced onions, and yellow mustard. A great place to take the kids for lunch!
6. RiverWalk – Take a stroll along 3 miles of the Detroit Riverfront enjoying pavilions, plazas, and parks. Don’t miss the Cullen Family Carousel or the Butterfly Gardens and Labyrinth! And make sure to check out the website before go so you won’t miss any family events – like family fun night, Reading & Rhythm on the Riverfront, Yoga, and walking tours.
7. Go to a professional sporting event – Lions, Tigers, and Red Wings – OH MY! The city of Detroit has no shortage of great sports teams. With the football, hockey, and baseball teams venues all located right in the city it’s a great opportunity to take the kids to a game anytime during the year!
8. Ride the People Mover – Take a ride on the 2.9 mile elevated single track loop around Detroit’s central business district. It’s a fun, easy, and safe way to travel and see the city.
9. Campus Martius Park – Campus Martius is a 2.5 acre public square and year round entertainment venue right in the heart of the city. Surrounded by amazing historical to comtemporary architecture, families can meet up friends, catch a free show or concert in the summer, or go ice skating in the winter.
10. Experience Saganaki in Greektown – Filled with culture, you must check out the shops and restaurants in Greektown. I highly recommend eating at Peagus Taverna for some of their famous Saganaki – kasseri cheese set aflame tableside. OPA!
I really hope you get the chance to come experience all the wonderful things downtown Detroit has to offer. It is an amazing, strong, creative place to visit as a family.