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Old 08-03-2017, 02:30 PM
 
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I am planning to travel from Pittsburgh, PA to Detroit, MI (through Cleveland, OH and Toledo, OH) with my two kids and my wife.

Please advise what would be good memorable attractions in Detroit, MI and on the way from Cleveland, OH to Detroit, MI that can be covered in a day
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Old 08-03-2017, 04:05 PM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
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Greenfield Village and Henry Ford Museum, but that would be your whole day. You can also tour the River Rouge Ford F-150 plant. People come form all over the world just to go to the Village and museum. It is best when there is something special going on in the Villiage (like a civil war renactors weekend).

Fort Wayne (in SW Detroit) is a neat star fort that is in its civil war configuration with other parts dating to WW II. The fort was never actually used for battle, but it is pretty neat. Call ahead for a tour. Much of the fort complex is in disrepair or collapsing. But the Star fort itself and the original barracks building are in great shape. There are also some WWii era buildings and a few late 19th century barracks/ officers quarters that are open to tour.

There is a great Zoo in Royal Oak (past Detroit a little).

In Monroe there is a General Custer museum and a Battlefield from the was or 1812. It is not that interesting for kids though. Honestly it is nto all that interesting period. Not a complete dud, but just not something you go home and tell your friends about.

The Detroit Institute of Arts is amazing. Even kids tend to like it if you go through it quickly. Especially the Armor room.

Depending on what is going on that particular week, Campus Martius in downtown Detroit can have some fun stuff, especially on Fridays.

There is a creepy puppet museum downtown as well. It is advertised as a kids venue.

Greektown can be lively. Sometimes there are street musicians and other performers (other times not much but panhandlers). There is a Cold Stone Ice Cream parlor in the outer part of the casino. Astoria Bakery is pretty neat.

Kids like to ride the People mover around downtown. You can hop off to explore the ren cen and riverwalk, greektown, Campus Martius, and the Comerica Park/Ford Field area

You would have go call ahead but Riverside Kayak in Wyandotte has Detroit River Tours. Wyandotte is on your way to Detroit. It is a cute little city.

Do you like fishing? The Detroit River has some great fishing. The place I know best for fishing without a boat is Elizabeth Park in Trenton. There are places in Detroit as well, not sure exactly where or what they catch. You did not say when, but if you were to come in the very early spring, when the silver bass are running, your kids would have a great time. Silvers are junk fish, but big-ish and you can easily catch 20 or so in a couple of hours.

Detroit Princess for dinner might be fun.

Tigers or wings game?

Check the theaters. Detroit had the largest Theater district outside of Broadway New York. There are often family oriented shows running. Pricy though. Figure on $75 - $200 depending on the show and how good your seats are. There may be less popular shows/events that are cheaper.


If you happen to hit the right weekend or week, you may stumble into one of the huge festivals. Some to look up:

Youmacon (at the Ren Cen - 10,000 kids dressed up like Japanese comic book/movie characters)

Jazz Festival.

Movement (Electronic Music)

Country Western Music Festival.

Dally in the Alley.

Festivals and conventions are frequent and many of them are at least amusing. Some are huge.

Are you aware of Cedar Point? It is in Sandusky just outside of Cleveland and is one of the biggest baddest thrill ride parks in the country.

Toledo - they also have a decent zoo. I like Detroit's better, but my daughter likes Toledo better.
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Old 08-06-2017, 04:09 AM
 
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Some other options to consider (Coldjensen's suggestion of Greenfield Village/Henry Ford Museum is best IMO):

EASTERN MARKET
One of the largest and oldest public markets in the country. The main farmer's market is on Saturday's - the Market's 4 huge sheds are filled with vendors selling fresh produce, flowers, prepared hot foods, homemade baked goods, crafts, art, and other things. There is a food truck court, street performers - it is very lively and vibrant environment. The Market is surrounded by all kinds of restaurants, shops, art galleries, breweries, etc. There is a smaller farmer's market on Tuesdays if you can't make the Saturday one.

RIVERWALK
This is 3.5 mile long promenade along the Detroit River. The Section of the Riverwalk from the Renaissance Center to the William Milliken State Park has the most activity/things to do, including a splash pad, a large plaza with concessions and a Merry-Go-Round, and the Outdoor Adventure Center (see this link)

MOTOWN MUSEUM
Learn about the music empire that brought the world the Temptations, Diana Ross & the Supremes, Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, and more. Guided tours are really fun and you get to go to the studio where all of the music was made.

BELLE ISLE
One of the most unique city parks in the country. In addition to the beauty of the island, the architecture, and the views of the Detroit skyline, 3 main attractions include the Conservatory & Botanical Gardens, the Belle Aquarium (small, but the nation's oldest since 1904), and the Dossin Great Lakes Museum.

MUSUEM OF AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY
Was the largest African-American history museum until Washington DC's was completed last year. Guided tours provide the best, most informative, and moving experiences.

DIAMOND JACK RIVER TOURS
Boat tour of the international waterway, the Detroit River. Two-hour cruises that start downtown, and go from Lake St. Clair to the Ambassador Bridge (bridge to Canada), with the tour guide highlighting different landmarks on both sides of the border. Tours are $15 this month on Thursdays and Fridays.

ARAB AMERICAN MUSEUM
In suburban Dearborn; affiliated with the Smithsonian Institute. The only museum of its kind in the U.S. A cultural museum that focuses on the contributions of Arab and Arab Americans to music, science, medicine, mathematics, exploration, literature, fashion, architecture, furniture, entertainment, etc.

THE FORD PIQUETTE AVENUE PLANT
The birthplace of the famed Model-T automobile that swept the nation. The restored plant features Henry Ford's Office, many restored cars from the era, and as well an informative tour that gives insight into the early years of the automotive industry in Detroit.
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Old 08-06-2017, 09:18 AM
 
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- Henry Ford museum/Greenfield Village/Ford Rouge factory tour in Dearborn just outside of Detroit

- GM headquarters in downtown Detroit

- Detroit Institute of Arts in Midtown Detroit

If I only had a day to visit Detroit, those are the places I'd visit. But you're going to have to budget your time because you can spend a whole day in the Henry Ford museum/Greenfield village.
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Old 08-09-2017, 02:52 PM
 
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how about:

Mexicantown -- near (SW of) downtown/Corktown area nice Mexican-food restaurants; pretty lively area.

Midtown area
-- just north of downtown (and now accessible from downtown via the brand new Q-Line streetcar along Woodward Ave, Detroit's main drag). Growing street life (esp along Woodward, Cass, 2nd Ave and Warren), with bars, restaurants and college/artsy kinda stuff -- Wayne State University is there. Also nearby the aforementioned museums (DIA, Charles Wright African American museum, etc).

Baker's Keyboard Lounge -- (Livernois Ave near 8 Mile Rd near the edge of town) if you truly love quality jazz, this is the place; it's nationally recognized, stays open very late on weekends.

Royal Oak -- about 12 miles north of downtown. Downtown area very lively street life with bars, restaurants and shops of many types.

Birmingham -- similar to Royal Oak although 16 miles north of downtown and is older, more upscale and quaint. Lots of upscale residential areas surrounding...

Casinos -- esp the MGM Grand are worth a visit if you like gambling and some shows, but obviously, the kids will have to remain at the hotel (but if you're staying at one of the casinos, no problem).

... also, if you can somehow make it to Detroit in January, the annual International Auto Show at the Cobo Convention Center is, quite naturally, the biggest and best such events in the nation. Check out what's gonna hit the showrooms come June as well as antiques and cars of the future. Lots of fun stuff for kids and adults.

... also, also, the Big 3 used to allow tours of their plants when I was a kid. Not sure this is done these days, but it is well worth it if they do.

Last edited by TheProf; 08-09-2017 at 03:04 PM..
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Old 08-09-2017, 04:19 PM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
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A few things to keep in mind. Many of these places being suggested are not very suitable for kids.

Casinos - do not allow anyone in the casino are who is under 21.

Royal Oak has the zoo which is awesome, but the downtown is mostly bars and more serious restaurants plus at lest one , adult (ie sex) toy/clothing store. In the evening Friday or Saturday it is common to encounter extremely drunk people singing arguing vomiting etc., or just staggering about being loud and stupid. Go during the day if you go to downtown royal Oak. But realistically, if you go to Royal Oak you will likely be going to the zoo and will be exhausted afterwards.

Birmingham offers little for kids. When our kids were young they hated it. "Boring!" When they got to be teens they liked it (depending ont he kid).

Jazz clubs - not for kids. Many do not allow people under 21 once the bands start playing.

Museums tend to bore kids. Although Henry Ford has some kid oriented things and if you move fast, they will probably like it Greenfield village is more popular with younger kids than the Henry Ford (if you can only do one).

GM Headquarters. There is literally nothing here of much interest, especially for kids. It is a big building that is mostly empty except the office towers and hotel. There are a few pieces of moderately interesting art scattered around and the basement has a food court with lots of fast food joints and a car display which usually just has the same cars you will find at a GM dealership. I worked in the building for 8 years and never understood why tourists came to see it. There is a moderately interesting free guided tour where they will tell you how much concrete was used to build it and things like that. Other than the cars, you will not see anything identifiable as being part of GM. Mary Barra and Dan Ammann do not walk around welcoming visitors. It is a giant misplaced building that belongs in a suburb not a city. It is pretty impressive as a large self contained complex (except that most of the store/resturuant spaces are empty), but there is virtually nothing specific to see or do there. - -0 Unless you come during Youmacon, then your kids will love it. Get them pickachu costumes. Oh and you will be lost within fifty seconds of entering the buildings. That is kind of entertaining. There is also a glass balcony walkway around the central circle tower that kids sometimes like or are terrified to walk on.

Riverwalk just outside the Ren Cen is pretty. It is a wide sidewalk the goes along the river. Across the river is Windsor Canada. There are some park-like nature areas you will not believe are in a major downtown. There is a little cafe and a merry go round. The is also a fountain made of a lot of holes in the sidewalk that randomly squirt out jets of water. Very young kids love to play int hat fountain. The water is not particularly clean but kids are not getting diseases or anything from playing in it. You can rent bikes along the river walk (at the cafe plaza). With the bikes, you can ride through the Dequindre cut to Eastern Market where you can buy fresh fruits and vegetables and other produce type things (lus some stores, clubs restaurants etc). Along the river part of the path, there are lawn chairs and little lending libraries as well as art displays (sometimes). Basically, it is a pleasant riverside path to walk or ride on. It is not exciting, but pleasant and usually good people watching. It could be fun for a young family.


Also along river walk it the DNR outdoor center. That is quite neat, especially for youngish kids. They have a reproduction of a Michigan forest and a mine, a forest service airplane suspended form the ceiling with a walkway so you can go sit in it. Kayak simulators, Snowmobile simulators, lots of taxidermied animals, a few other interesting things. They may also have an indoor archery range. I am not sure whether they ever got that opened. I have not been there in a year or more.
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Old 08-09-2017, 04:33 PM
 
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^Yes, I noted the kids couldn't go to the casino but that if they stayed in a casino hotel much of the problem would be solved. The jazz aspect would be likely after hours anyway for the parents... Most things I noted, though, were for the family. Some aspects of museums can be of interest like, as someone noted, the armor room (Cleveland's art museum has a neat room like that also). Most museums these days have interactive exhibits that kids can enjoy.

Birmingham boring? Really? I remember an ice cream shop and other stuff kids can enjoy. I'm sure the old-time movie theater is there. Maybe kids are different these days. I know I always enjoyed places were there was variety and street life.

Note: even though the OP did mention he'd have his family (not sure how old the kids are) he didn't restrict his list of sights to only kid-friendly things...

... but he did mention sights on the way to Detroit from Cleveland, and the most obvious would be Cedar Point... No kid problem there.
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Old 08-09-2017, 04:34 PM
 
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^Yes, I noted the kids couldn't go to the casino but that if they stayed in a casino hotel much of the problem would be solved. The jazz aspect would be likely after hours anyway for the parents... Most things I noted, though, were for the family. Some aspects of museums can be of interest like, as someone noted, the armor room (Cleveland's art museum has a neat room like that also). Most museums these days have interactive exhibits that kids can enjoy.

Birmingham boring? Really? I remember an ice cream shop and other stuff kids can enjoy. I'm sure the old-time movie theater is there. Maybe kids are different these days. I know I always enjoyed places were there was variety and street life.

Note: even though the OP did mention he'd have his family (not sure how old the kids are) he didn't restrict his list of sights to only kid-friendly things... Hitsville, the Motown Museum isn't necessarily for kids either -- I could see today's kids being bored by it -- but one has to mention Hitsville as a prime Detroit tourist stop. Along with cars, of course, Motown was (and still is, really) a part of Detroit's DNA.

... but he did mention sights on the way to Detroit from Cleveland, and the most obvious would be Cedar Point... No kid problem there.
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Old 08-23-2017, 02:30 PM
 
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Nice description of places to go to...thanks
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