Things to See in Detroit: 7 Incredible Free Attractions You Can Walk To

Things to See in DetroitThings to See in Detroit

Things to See in Detroit: 7 Incredible Free Attractions You Can Walk To | By Sherry Trautman | Traveling Michigan

Detroit Michigan is home to stunning museums, architectural marvels, cutting edge restaurants, casinos and theaters.  Revitalization projects are in full swing and tourists are exploring the city like never before. 

See our main Detroit page for our full listing of fantastic things to see in Detroit all year round.

We wanted to create an exciting Detroit guide that was within walking distance for a full day of fun!

And like the mural says below, "This Town Ain't for Weenies!!"

Townhouse RestaurantTownhouse Restaurant

Just in the past 3 years, its breathtaking and thrilling to watch such powerful revitalization efforts happening all over the city and surrounding regions. 

See my article on Matador network about the city's massive efforts

Interactive Map of This Detroit Walking Tour

How to Use the Interactive Map:

  • Click on the + and - button to zoom in and out of the map.
  • Click on and off the rectangle in the upper left to see a menu.
  • Click on the icons to obtain addresses and additional information.

Are you ready to go?  Lace up your shoes and let's hit the streets! 

Hart Plaza-Let's Start Here!

Hart Plaza, Detroit MichiganHart Plaza, Detroit Michigan

Since Hart Plaza is the heart of everything, let's begin here!

Hart Plaza offers amazing views of the Detroit river, Canada and the Riverwalk.  Take time to wander the grassy grounds to check out this sculpture, Michigan Labor Legacy Monument, which symbolizes the never-ending cycle of work.

David Barr designed the stainless steel sculpture and Sergieo De Giusti created the bronze reliefs mounted on granite stones surrounding it. The area below the massive sculpture is composed of tiles bearing quotations from numerous labor leaders.

The Little-Known Story Behind the Massive Joe Lewis Fist 

It’s impossible to miss The Fist, an imposing 8,000 pound, 24-foot-long bronze sculpture if you are wandering near Detroit’s Hart Plaza. Read more on the little-known history of The Fist! Put this tour on your things to see in Detroit list!

The Spirit of Detroit

The Spirit of DetroitThe Spirit of Detroit

Located within view of The Fist, the Spirit of Detroit sculpture holds great meaning for the people of Detroit.

In wisdom gathered over time I have found that every experience is a form of exploration.

Ansel Adams

Guardian Building is Possibly the Most Striking Art Deco Skyscraper in the World

Detroit's Guardian Building is a historical landmark and possibly the most striking Art Deco skyscraper in the world.  We recommend stopping into this remarkable building to be inspired by the impeccable artwork!

Tour the GM Renaissance Building (GMRENCEN)

GM Renaissance Building-DetroitGM Renaissance Building-Detroit

These magnificent buildings in the Detroit GMRENCEN houses shops, businesses, the Marriott hotel and several restaurants.  Be sure to check out the GM store for fantastic clothing and accessories! 

Our favorite stop is exploring the GM Showroom, a 44,000 sq.ft. interactive showroom featuring Buick, Chevrolet, Cadillac and GMC vehicles and specialty cars. It's a wow factor!

GM Renaissance Building-DetroitGM Renaissance Building-Detroit
GM Renaissance Building-DetroitGM Renaissance Building-Detroit

Take a Free Tour!!

The free one-hour tour takes visitors through the landmark GMRENCEN and outlines the rich history that General Motors shares with the city of Detroit.

FREE tours are offered twice daily, Monday-Friday at 12:00 Noon and 2:00 pm on a first-come basis; with a limit of 25 people per tour. Registration and tours begin in the Jefferson Lobby located at the front entrance of the GMRENCEN on Level 1.

Definitely put this tour on your things to see in Detroit list!

Detroit Riverfront, Shops and Restaurants Are Divine!

The Detroit Riverwalk is easily accessible behind the Renaissance Center. The Renaissance Center has several restaurants, including this one that has outside seating!

As you walk, you can see Canada from across the Detroit River!  Pretty cool! Continue along this paved walk all the way to the Milliken State Park, our next stop. 

Milliken State Park Wetlands and Lighthouse is Stunning!

Address: 1900 Atwater St, Detroit, MI 

The William G. Milliken State Park and Harbor is located just east of downtown Detroit along the Detroit River. The park's expansive 31 acres include wetlands, paved trails, and a 52-slip harbor of refuge.  Keep your eyes open for geese, hawks, pheasants, muskrats and foxes!

Did you know it was Michigan's first urban state park? There's even a pretty lighthouse!    

The paved trails are perfect for biking, walking and rollerblading. Milliken State Park is located just east of downtown near the Outdoor Adventure Center and Belle Isle Park. Definitely put this tour on your things to see in Detroit list!

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Things to see in DetroitThings to see in Detroit

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When we were wandering around Belle Isle, I discovered this very cool round abandoned structure. I was reading that it used to be a zoo on Belle Isle in Detroit! You can still see the gates to get into the zoo, some cages and exhibits but it now stands abandoned. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ In 1947, the Belle Isle Zoo was downsized to a children’s zoo and finally closed in 2002. Bummer, huh!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #deservetopreserve #abandoned #abandonedzoo #belleisle #belleislepark #detroit #abandoneddetroit #photooftheday #michigan #michigander #michiganphotographer #detroitmi #detroitmichigan #motorcity #detroitcity #detroitdecay #detroit_igers #detroitlove #forgottenplaces #beautyindecay #urbanexploration #urbanexplorers #explore #michiganaddict #detroitgraphiti #urbanexplore #abandonedplaces #beautyindecay #deserve2preserve

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About the Lead Author | Sherry Trautman

Thanks for stopping by!

Our Words of Wisdom: “Never follow anyone else’s path. Unless you’re in the woods and you’re lost and you see a path, then by all means follow that path.”

"Sherry & Chris"

We're Sherry and Chris the founders of one of Michigan's most comprehensive and Top Travel Blogs!

    Sherry Trautman is a seasoned business owner and a multifaceted content creator, deeply entrenched in the world of travel in Michigan. With her extensive background in writing, editing, photography, marketing, website design, web mastering, social media, and publishing, she is the driving force behind the acclaimed Michigan Travel site "" A lifelong Michigander, Sherry's journey began in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan led her to St. Joseph during her formative years, and further to Kalamazoo for her higher education. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Design and Fine Art from Western Michigan University. Her career initially blossomed in Battle Creek, where she contributed significantly to aviation, marketing, and the art industry.

    In 2018, Sherry, alongside her husband Chris, embarked on a passionate endeavor with the inception of This venture was not just a business but a full-time commitment to exploring and celebrating the diverse landscapes and communities of Michigan. Together, they tirelessly traverse the state, curating unique experiences, capturing stunning visuals, and weaving engaging narratives that showcase Michigan's rich cultural tapestry and natural beauty. From her early experiences in different Michigander locales to her extensive professional background, Sherry's life and work epitomize a deep-rooted expertise in Michigan travel, making her an authoritative voice in this niche.

Sherry & Chris are at the Inn at Bay Harbor and looking out at the lake.
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