How to Spend 3 Days in Detroit
With three days in Detroit, you have plenty of time to learn about the city’s auto-manufacturing heyday and turbulent history and experience its cultural highlights, plus you can get out into the country and explore some of Michigan’s natural beauty. Here’s how to make the most of three days in Detroit.
Day 1: Explore Downtown Detroit
Spend your first morning getting to know the city on a walking or cycling tour of Downtown. Detroit was once an economic powerhouse, home to the booming auto industry and one of the wealthiest cities in the US. Reminders of its glorious past can still be seen throughout town, especially in the Downtown area, where some of the city’s most beautiful buildings have been renovated and reopened. Follow your guide to highlights such as the Guardian Building, the Westin Book Cadillac, and the Book Tower. In the afternoon, wander through the Detroit Institute of Arts, one of the largest collections of fine arts in the country. Round off your day with evening entertainment at a jazz club, perhaps the historic Cliff Bell’s.
Day 2: Day Trip to Ann Arbor
Devote your second day to the nearby university town of Ann Arbor, exploring independently or on a half-day guided tour. Less than an hour’s drive from Detroit, this lively and prosperous town is home to the University of Michigan, established in 1812. It’s easy to spend a day here, especially when the weather is good, exploring the town’s many shops, cafés, and arts centers. Wander the gardens at the Nichols Arboretum, visit the University of Michigan Museum, stroll by the Huron River (or even kayak on it if you like), and check out the attractive university campus. One of Ann Arbor’s landmarks is the beautiful Michigan Theater—catch a movie or a live show to check out the interior.
Day 3: Natural Highlights
With Detroit and Ann Arbor in your pocket, strike out on your third day into the Michigan countryside. If you’re up for a bit of a journey, make the trip out to Saugatuck, a small town bordering both little Kalamazoo Lake and enormous Lake Michigan. Ranked among the best beach towns in the US, it’s a glorious place to spend a summer day, on the shores of Lake Michigan or just north of town in picturesque Saugatuck Dunes State Park. If you’d rather stay closer to Detroit, spend the day at Belle Isle Park instead. On an island in the middle of the Detroit River and very close to Downtown, the park is home to such attractions as an aquarium, a nature center, a beach, and a golf range.