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Downtown Detroit Parks, Trails and Attractions

Downtown Detroit is a year-round destination for sports and entertainment. The Tigers, Lions, and Red Wings all call downtown Detroit home. The city also boasts top-notch venues for live entertainment, including the Fox Theatre, Detroit Opera House, The Fillmore Detroit, Gem Theatre, and Music Hall.

Parts of the city's riverfront have been revitalized in recent years, adding the Detroit RiverWalk and William G. Milliken State Park and Harbor. During the summer, Chene Park and Hart Plaza welcome visitors to the riverfront area for concerts, festivals and other events.

William G. Milliken State Park and Harbor

William G. Milliken State Park and Harbor opened to the public in 2004 and features a 52-slip harbor for recreational boats. Towering over the park is a 63-foot lighthouse, which was modeled after the Tawas Point Lighthouse. The park is linked to the Detroit RiverWalk and has a bike path near the Detroit River. Fishermen enjoy casting their lines from the area near the lighthouse and from fishing piers along the Detroit River. Milliken State Park also has several covered picnic areas. For boat slip and picnic shelter reservation information, please see the Michigan DNR web site.

Downtown Detroit Parks

Bell Isle Park is a large recreational park located just outside of downtown Detroit. Please see the Bell Isle Park section for more details and a map.

Campus Martius Park is a gathering place in downtown Detroit and features a beautiful fountain and cafe. During the summer, the park hosts outdoor concerts and is popular for lunchtime breaks. During the winter, the park's ice skating rink is a popular spot for outdoor fun. On the southern end of the park, the Michigan Soldiers and Sailors Monument offers a tiered tribute to the armed services. The park also features two tall glass/steel sculptures. Campus Martius Park is located near the Compuware Headquarters and Hard Rock Cafe.

Gabriel Richard Park is located next to the bridge to Bell Isle Park and offers a view of the Detroit River. The park has a large grassy area, pavilion and plaza.

Grand Circus Park is a two-section park, located on both sides of Woodward Avenue. The park was created in 1805 and features classic statuary, fountains, and numerous trees. The Russell Alger Memorial Fountain on the eastern half of the park features a Roman figure bearing a sword and shield. The western section of the park includes the Edison Fountain and a statue of Hazen Pingree. Grand Circus Park is a short walk from Comerica Park and is a favorite with downtown workers, who like to eat their lunches at the park.

Hart Plaza is on the edge of the Detroit River and regularly hosts concerts and festivals over the summer. The park is named for U.S. Senator Philip Hart and opened in 1975. Hart Plaza features several sculptures and historical markers. A shimmering steel sculpture in the shape of a circle stands near the entrance to the park, and at the center of Hart Plaza is the Horace E. Dodge and Son Memorial Fountain, a large donut shaped fountain that is anchored by large pedestals. The "Gateway to Freedom" is a large sculpture located near the Detroit RiverWalk and represents Detroit's significant role in the Underground Railroad. In the shadow of the Renaissance Center, a statue of Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac commemorates his landing from the Detroit River on July 5, 1701.

Maheras-Gentry Park has several baseball diamonds and basketball courts. A paved trail winds through the park and crosses a small bridge near the Detroit River, which provides a nice view of the river. See the map of Bell Isle Park for a map of Maheras-Gentry Park.

Mariner's Park is on the south end of Alter Road, south of Jefferson Avenue. The park is home to Windmill Point Lighthouse and features a few park benches with views of the Detroit river. A large grassy area is located at the front of the park.

Downtown Detroit Trails

Detroit RiverWalk is a wide paved recreation trail along the Detroit River. The route is over 2.5 miles long and stretches from Gabriel Richard Park to the Joe Louis Arena area. It provides a spectacular view of the Detroit skyline and the shoreline of Windsor, Canada. The Detroit River is active with boats and ships of all sizes, and the RiverWalk provides a great spot to relax and watch boats on a sunny, summer day.

The Dequindre Cut Greenway is a non-motorized trail that connects to the Detroit RiverWalk and goes north to Gratiot Avenue. The trail leads to the Eastern Market District and is used for walking, jogging, and bicycling.

Bell Isle Park has a bike routes with spectacular views of downtown Detroit and a few paved trails.


Three lighthouses are located within a six mile area of Detroit along the Detroit River. Each tower has a different style, ranging from steel to marble. You can also see several channel lights in the middle of the Detroit River from Belle Isle Park and Mariner's Park. A short white lighthouse on the Canadian side of the river is visible from Maheras-Gentry Park.
  • Milliken State Park & Harbor Lighthouse was completed in 2004 and is 63 feet tall. The lighthouse was modeled after the Tawas Point Lighthouse, which is located at Tawas Point State Park near Lake Huron. Milliken State Park & Harbor Lighthouse has a white tower with a red cap and adds a different flavor to the Detroit riverfront, which features skyscrapers such as the GM Renaissance Center. The lighthouse is accessible via a short walk on the sidewalk from the park entrance.

  • William Livingstone Memorial Lighthouse is one of the most unique lighthouses in Michigan. The active lighthouse was built in 1929 during the Art Deco period and features a marble tower with staggered square edges. It is named for William Livingstone, who was president of the Lake Carriers' Association from 1902 until his death in 1925.

    The lighthouse is located on the eastern end of Belle Isle. To visit the lighthouse, you will need to park in the lot along Lakeside Drive and walk half of a mile to the lighthouse. You can either walk on the grass or on the paved path; if you decide to walk on the grass, look out for goose droppings where you walk since the area is popular with geese. Also look out for tankers and other large boats using the Detroit River since the area is frequented by shipping traffic, and Belle Isle has excellent views of passing ships.

    You can see Windmill Point Lighthouse in the distance from the eastern end of Belle Isle.

  • Windmill Point Lighthouse was built in 1933 and has a white steel tower. The structure has a unique lantern-style light on the top. There is no windmill currently at Windmill Point, but the lighthouse is supposedly on a site that featured a windmill that was built by early French settlers. In 1928, a Marine hospital had been built near the site, which was later closed and razed. The area is now Mariner's Park, which has large grassy area, a NOAA weather station and great views of the Detroit River.

    You can visit the lighthouse in person at Mariner's Park, on the south end of Alter Road in Detroit. It is not located in the best area in Detroit, so use caution when visiting the lighthouse.

Downtown Attractions

Detroit has concert venues, theaters, casinos and sports stadiums that attract visitors to downtown year-round.
  • Cobo Conference/Exhibition Center (also known as Cobo Hall) is Detroit's downtown convention venue. The facility has 600,000 square feet of exhibition space and regularly hosts large conferences, technology shows and other events. Cobo is located at 1 Washington Blvd. in Detroit.

  • Comerica Park is the home to the Detroit Tigers. The baseball stadium has a spectacular view of Detroit's skyline beyond the outfield walls and offers kid-friendly features, such as the Fly Ball Ferris Wheel and Comerica Carousel. In the outfield area, there are larger-than-life statues of several Tigers greats, including Ty Cobb, Charlie Gehringer, Hank Greenberg, Willie Horton, Al Kaline and Hal Newhouser. Comerica Park is located at 2100 Woodward Avenue in Detroit. Parking is available adjacent to Comerica Park and at other parking facilities in downtown.

  • Detroit Opera House is the premier venue for dance and opera in Detroit. Performances of headlines shows are offered throughout the year. Backstage tours are available, where visitors can learn about the history of the beautiful venue. You can also book the Detroit Opera House for an unforgettable wedding. Detroit Opera House is located at 1526 Broadway Street in Detroit.

  • The Fillmore Detroit (formerly the State Theatre) is a large concert venue in downtown and regularly showcases national music acts. The Fillmore is located at 2115 Woodward Avenue, next to the Fox Theatre.

  • Ford Field is the home turf for the Detroit Lions. The football stadium also hosts high school football championship games, concerts and other events throughout the year. Ford Field is located at 2000 Brush Street, just south of I-75 (Fisher Freeway). Parking is available adjacent to Ford Field and at other parking facilities in downtown.

  • The Fox Theatre is an historic venue that hosts live theater, musicals, concerts and other events. There's nothing like the thrill of seeing a live show, and the Fox Theatre is a superb location with great sight lines and acoustics. Ornate fixtures and sculptures add to its incredible ambiance. The Fox Theatre is located at 2211 Woodward Avenue. A parking garage is located across the street from the venue, near the Hockeytown Cafe.

  • Gem Theatre hosts a limited number of live shows during the year. It's an historic, cozy theater with ornate decorations. The Gem Theatre is located at 333 Madison Avenue in Detroit. A lighted parking facility is located next to the theatre.

  • Joe Louis Arena is the home ice for the Detroit Red Wings. The stadium also hosts college hockey tournaments, concerts and other events. Joe Louis Arena is located at 600 Civic Center Drive in Detroit. A parking structure is located next to the arena.

  • The Motown Historical Museum remembers the musical and cultural impact of the Motown Record Corporation. Motown Historical Museum is located at 2648 W Grand Boulevard.

Suburban Detroit Attractions

There's other great places to visit in the Detroit area when you venture into the suburbs.
  • The Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village combines one of the nation's best museums with an outdoor village of historic structures, homes and workplaces. Henry Ford Museum features special collections and many must-see exhibits, including:

    • The chair that President Abraham Lincoln was sitting in when he was assassinated on April 14, 1865.
    • George Washington's camping bed.
    • Presidential limousines for John F. Kennedy, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, and Dwight D. Eisenhower.
    • The bus where Rosa Parks made her statement for freedom.
    • An extensive automotive history exhibit that features many, many original vehicles.
    • Wright Flyer Replica.

    When you're finished seeing the museum, you need to stroll around Greenfield Village, where you can see Thomas Edison's factory, Henry Ford's Model T inspiration and the original building for the Wright Brothers' Bicycle Shop. There are also original homes for Robert Frost, Noah Webster, George Washington Carver, and many others. It's a unique trip back in time when you visit Greenfield Village.

  • In Royal Oak, the Detroit Zoo offers a kid-friendly adventure, featuring many wild and exotic animals in tailored habitats.

  • Somerset Collection in Troy takes shopping to a new level. The mall features three levels in two different buildings, which are connected by a bridge over Big Beaver Road.

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