It’s wonderful to live in the moment, but most of us can’t help longing for the past from time to time. After all, there’s something decidedly special about reminiscing about days gone by, particularly when it comes to memories and nostalgic places in Detroit. When you’re ready to take a trip down memory lane or even simply learn about once-bustling attractions from the Motor City, check out our list of well-missed things to do.
1. Catch a game at Joe Louis Arena
It’s no secret that Detroiters love a good hockey game, and many of us grew up attending Red Wings events at the beloved Joe Louis Arena. First opened in 1979, the arena was the site of exciting matches, Red Wings wins galore, and plenty of city pride. Sadly, “The Joe” was closed in 2017 and later demolished, making way for hockey games to take place at Little Caesars Arena.
2. Visit Boblo Island
If you grew up in or around Detroit, you might remember the thrill of hopping aboard a ferry and making your way through the Detroit River to visit Boblo Island, an amusement park that operated from 1898 until 1993. Throughout the generations, thousands of locals and visitors alike enjoyed thrill rides, refreshments, dance hall gatherings, and so much more at this vibrant locale on Ontario’s Bois Blanc Island.
3. Walk around the zoo at Belle Isle
While Belle Isle is undoubtedly one of the most bustling spots in Detroit, boasting everything from a historic aquarium to a beautiful conservatory, many locals don’t realize that it once housed a zoo. The Belle Isle Zoo initially opened its doors in 1895 and later changed its name to the Detroit Children’s Zoo. Prior to its final closing in the early 2000s, this spot housed everything from monkeys to deer.
4. Enjoy football at the Silverdome
We Detroiters sure do maintain our loyalty to the Lions, despite the fact that they continually leave us disappointed. For many years, our favorite boys in blue played games at the Pontiac Silverdome, a large stadium that first opened in 1975 and housed plenty of awesome sporting moments throughout the decades. After closing its doors in 2006, the Silverdome sat abandoned until its demolition in 2017.
5. Shop at Crowley’s
If you’re a longtime Detroiter, you might have fond memories of shopping at Crowley’s or another one of Detroit’s most iconic department stores. Alongside competitors like Kern’s and Hudson’s, Crowley’s offered a go-to shopping spot in downtown Detroit and boasted stunning Christmas decor during the holiday season. The downtown location operated between 1909 and 1977, with a secondary location remaining in business until 1999.
6. Enjoy dinner with a view at Iridescence
For a more recent dash of nostalgia, we turn to Iridescence, a brilliant restaurant that once offered stunning city views from the 16th floor of the Motor City Casino Hotel. While this breathtaking space is still available for private event rentals and special gatherings, many regulars mourn its unique city vantage point. For a comparable view, though, we recommend checking out Hearth 71 or Highlands in the Renaissance Center.
7. Spend a night at the Statler Hotel
History fanatics might long for the chance to visit the now-defunct Statler Hotel, which was opened in early 1915 along Washington Boulevard. Throughout the years, this large hotel hosted guests like magician Harry Houdini, who went on to pass away in Detroit during his visit. Following a series of name and ownership changes throughout the year, the 18-story hotel was demolished in 2005.
Did we include any of your favorite nostalgic places in Detroit on our list? Are there any activities here in the Motor City that you wish you could still take part in? We would love to hear your thoughts, so drop us a line in the Facebook comments or speak your mind by filling out our official nomination form here.