Tuesday Travelers: Detroit – Fun, Family Activities!

by Carrie with Children with 4 comments

Welcome to this week’s edition of the Tuesday Travelers series! This week, Alysia from Michigal tells us all about her hometown – Detroit, Michigan!

Check out Alysia’s recommendations for “can’t miss” spots and when you’re done, jump over and check out Alysia’s at Michigal.

I love her Life List – filled with events and goals that she wants to accomplish! (psst…wanna be a featured traveler? Here’s the scoop!)

As a native Michigander, I am fiercely loyal to and fond of Detroit, our southeast Michigan metropolis; otherwise known as Motown or the Motor City. Detroit has gotten a bad wrap in the media, and the truth is times have been tough around here. But as a huge proponent of the city, I am always quick to point out its positive attributes, and to remind everyone that it has a lot to offer. If you find yourself in the Detroit area, here are some of my favorite family-friendly things to do in the city.

Belle Isle is the only urban island park in the United States. In the spirit of full disclosure, it’s a bit unkempt and a little grimy. But it is also really unique, and a family could easily spend an entire day exploring. Make sure you check out the historical Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory, the Belle Isle Nature Zoo (actually a nature center), Kids Kingdom Playscape (by far the nicest – but not the only – play area on the island), the Dossin Great Lakes Museum, and the James Scott Memorial Fountain. Picnic spots are plentiful, but food and refreshments are not, so pack a lunch and plenty of water. Everything I mentioned is free, and there is no entrance fee to get on the island.

Another of my favorite spots, the Detroit RiverFront, is a three mile long, lovely walkway along the Detroit River. Aside from the scenery, including views of Canada, one can enjoy an inexpensive carousel ride, an ice cream cone, and splashing in the fountain in front of the Renaissance Center – bring swimsuits and towels for the kids! I’ve heard that there’s a brand new playground, and that works of art are being installed along the way as well. This area of downtown is clean and well-populated with lunchtime executives as well as families. If you’re hungry for more than ice cream, there’s plenty of green space to throw down a picnic blanket, there are restaurants in the Renaissance Center, or you can catch a ride on the People Mover, Detroit’s elevated transit system, which can take you to other areas of the city and lots more dining options.

In fact, I recommend that you don’t leave Detroit without taking a turn or two on the Detroit People Mover, which is a great and inexpensive way to see some awesome views of the city from above. There are 13 stations located in key areas, including another of my favorites – Greektown. Here you will find a plethora of authentic Greek restaurants (as well as pizza and TexMex), the divine Astoria bakery, the Greektown Casino, and if you’re lucky, some street musicians and artists.

There is so much to see and do that I haven’t mentioned, including world class museums, theater and concert venues, and if you’re into sports, our baseball, football, and hockey teams are all housed right in the heart of downtown. Give Detroit a chance, you’ll be glad you did.

Alysia George


  • April

    I’ve always enjoyed these Tuesday Traveler posts but I think I will start paying extra close attention now that I’ve gotten the travel agent job. Have you ever spotlighted St. Louis?

    april@Party of Five

  • Pam King

    My uncle and family lived in Kalamazoo, Michigan. My family and I went to visit one year and he took us to the Henry Ford Museum in Detroit or is it Dearborn? I know we went through Detroit also because he took us into Canada just to say I’ve been there :). We always enjoyed visiting Michigan growing up also when my parents would take us to visit. I do remember Lake Michigan was COLD and we went in the summer.

    • Carrie with Children

      I bet the Henry Ford Museum was really neat! I’ve never been to Michigan! Maybe one day I’ll get there! 🙂