As we move ahead into the new year with full force, it’s natural to start planning future adventures. After all, Detroit and its surrounding areas are home to some of the most unique and beautiful attractions imaginable, from waterfront restaurants to adventure parks to quaint towns and everything in between. Luckily for you, we’ve compiled a list of some must-visit spots in the region. When you’re ready to plot out your 2022 plans, check out our list of 12 attractions in Detroit and Metro Detroit that deserve a place on your 2022 itinerary.
1. Belle Isle Aquarium
Many Detroiters have lived in the city for years without fully appreciating everything Belle Isle has to offer. If you’ve never made the trip to Belle Isle Aquarium (or even if you have), this fun spot is so worth exploring. The aquarium is America’s oldest, which adds an extra layer of charm. While the aquarium operates under limited hours, it’s so worth the effort – and the unique marine creatures you’ll encounter are fascinating. To learn more, read our previous article here.
2. John K. King Used & Rare Books
You don’t have to be a full-blown bookworm to appreciate John K. King Used & Rare Books, which can be found along West Lafayette Boulevard in the Motor City. This massive building features more than one million books across four stories, so there’s truly something here to interest everyone. You’ll find yourself happily lost among the titles as you venture through the store. If you’re interested in learning more about this book lover’s paradise, click here.
3. Historic Haven Hill Trail
Searching for the perfect combination of nature and history? Historic Haven Hill Trail is the ideal destination for you. This unique spot within Highland State Recreation Area offers visitors the chance to explore the ruins of the Haven Hill Estate, which once housed Edsel and Eleanor Ford. During its heyday, the estate was a breathtaking oasis among the wooded splendor, featuring everything from horse stables to tennis courts. For all the details, check out our previous piece here.
4. Royal Oak Farmers Market
No matter what the weather is like outside, Royal Oak Farmers Market is a fun and worthwhile destination. This indoor market can be reached from Detroit in just 20 minutes and remains open year-round, so there’s never a bad time to drop in and stock up on produce, handicrafts, or other unique goods. With upwards of 100 vendors to explore, there’s plenty to appreciate throughout this weekend hotspot. Learn more by reading our past feature article.
5. Historic Fort Wayne
Military history buffs and adventurers alike will enjoy touring Historic Fort Wayne, which is even the site of a few ghost stories. The fort itself is constructed alongside burial grounds for indigenous people who called the region home, so its history stretches far beyond the fort’s construction in the 19th century. Today, guests can check out everything from barracks to guardhouses. Details are available in our previous article.
6. Milliken State Park Lighthouse
Are you enchanted by lighthouses? It’s tough not to appreciate the beauty of these towering structures, which serve as beacons along the shorelines of the Detroit River, Lake St. Clair, Lake Huron, and beyond. Metro Detroit is home to a handful of gorgeous lights, including the Milliken State Park Lighthouse. This gem on the riverfront is a replica of the Tawas Point Lighthouse. For more information about this and other lighthouses in the area, follow our Metro Detroit lighthouse road trip.
7. Motown Museum
Music fans will be gleeful as they step into the marvelous Motown Museum, a true Detroit original. This former studio space was the original home of Berry Gordy’s Motown Records, which was responsible for some of the world’s greatest hits and most beloved artists. When you visit, you’ll walk in the footsteps of legends from Diana Ross to Smokey Robinson to Stevie Wonder – and you might just leave feeling inspired to create music of your own. Learn more by reading our previous piece here.
8. Amore da Roma
Do you love local history and delicious fare? Look no further than Amore da Roma, which undoubtedly deserves a spot on your Detroit bucket list for the coming months. This restaurant is a reimagining of Roma Cafe, which operated in the same location from 1890 until 2017. When you visit, you’ll find ample reminders of the restaurant’s history and plenty of authentic Italian dishes that will make you feel right at home. For details about this awesome Detroit establishment, read our previous article.
9. Stepping Stone Falls
You’ll have to make the hour-long journey to Flint for this attraction, but we think it’s well worth the extra drive time. Stepping Stone Falls is a manmade waterfall structure that sits at the convergence of the Flint River and Mott Lake. Its fascinating stone structures and rushing water set it apart from other outdoor attractions in the area, and guests can even appreciate colorfully illuminated falls after dark. If you’re interested in reading more, click here to read our feature on Stepping Stone Falls.
10. Blue Heron Lagoon Trail
We’re always quick to sing the praises of Belle Isle as a whole, but the Blue Heron Lagoon Trail is an especially wonderful destination on Detroit’s island park. At 2.2 miles in length, it’s long enough to give your legs a satisfying stretch, but not so lengthy that you’ll be completely exhausted. During your stroll, you’ll pass beautiful Blue Heron Lagoon itself – in addition to the William Livingstone Memorial Lighthouse and gorgeous views of the Detroit River. For details, read our past piece about the trail.
Are you seeking a quiet waterfront escape that won’t take you too far from Detroit? Hop in the car and make a 90-minute jaunt to the tiny shoreline community of Lexington, which houses only 1,000 residents and boasts natural beauty in every season. Known for its harbor, fishing spots, and picturesque downtown, Lexington is a worthwhile attraction for Detroiters who simply need a break from the hustle and bustle of daily life in the city. You can read our previous piece about the town by clicking here.
12. Green Dot Stables
Longtime Detroiters have undoubtedly enjoyed a meal or two from Green Dot Stables, but we firmly believe that it’s always worth another visit. This charming and time-tested restaurant is known for serving over 20 varieties of mouthwatering sliders, so there’s truly something on the menu to keep everyone smiling. Round out your meal with a beer or two as you make memories with loved ones. To learn more, read our previous feature on this classic Motor City eatery.
Have you checked out any of these awesome attractions in Detroit? Do you have any other spots on your must-see list for the coming year? We always love to hear your input, so share your thoughts in the Facebook comment section or make an official recommendation by filling out our nomination form here.