What’s better than spending a day with your loved ones? Spending a day with your loved ones without spending a single dime! Luckily for those of us who live in the Motor City, there are plenty of budget-friendly ways to make memories. When you’re searching for a great adventure that will keep both your family and your wallet happy, check out these nine free activities in Detroit. There’s something for everyone to enjoy.
1. Check out Belle Isle’s many attractions
While there is a small admission fee to enter Belle Isle by car, entrance is free to those who enter the island park via bicycle or by foot – so plan to do a bit of extra walking or peddling if you want to keep your journey 100% free of charge! When you get to Belle Isle, you’ll enjoy free admission to most of its attractions, including the historic Belle Isle Aquarium and Belle Isle Nature Center. The whole family is almost guaranteed to have a blast exploring this unique locale.
2. Visit the Detroit Institute of Arts
Many Detroiters don’t realize that entrance to the DIA is free for residents of Wayne, Macomb, and Oakland Counties. That’s right: if you live locally, you can explore this stunning and impressive art museum without dropping a single dollar. There are over 100 galleries to peruse, covering a vast array of artistic eras and providing guests the chance to embrace art history while making memories with loved ones.
3. Get happily lost at the Detroit Public Library
You might not think of a library as the ideal spot to spend a day, but we beg to differ. After all, the Detroit Public Library’s main branch is a beautiful building that features incredible architecture, a true sense of history, and – of course – a top-notch collection of literature, documents, reference materials, and so much more. Even if you’re simply walking through without a specific destination or title in mind, you’ll be enamored by this (totally free) space.
4. Stroll along the RiverWalk
Stretching your legs is one of the best ways to experience the Motor City, particularly along the lovely RiverWalk. This gorgeous frontage along the shores of the Detroit River truly has a little something for everyone to enjoy, from green spaces to public art to eateries and more. Extend your journey by continuing along the Dequindre Cut, a unique two-mile pathway that meanders all the way to Eastern Market. We can’t imagine a more refreshing way to enjoy the city without spending a dime.
5. Enjoy a picnic at Milliken State Park
While you’re exploring the RiverWalk, take time to unwind at Milliken State Park. That’s right: there’s a bonafide state park right here within the Motor City, and you’ll want to drop in when you’re eager to reconnect with nature. For an awesome free activity, pack a picnic lunch and round up the entire family for a charming meal within the park. You’ll enjoy views of the river, the city skyline, and even a lovely lighthouse along the shore – just don’t forget the sunscreen!
6. Appreciate lush beauty at Indian Village Centennial Garden
Is there anything more relaxing than gazing at blooming flowers and lush greenery? One public garden in a history-rich Detroit neighborhood fits the bill. This community garden along Charlevoix Street within the Indian Village neighborhood is a small but marvelous place to visit for free fun and a serene vibe. There are even live music events and other gatherings in this charming space throughout the warmer months, so you might just find yourself returning time and time again.
7. Explore Campus Martius Park
No matter what the season, there’s something awesome (and free) to appreciate at Campus Martius Park. When temperatures are hot, be sure to check out the man-made city beach that brings the park to life with playfulness and fun. Or, if you’re just hoping to expend some energy, stroll throughout the 1.2-acre space to enjoy monuments, green space, and everything in between.
8. Visit Eastern Market
When you’re eager to embrace the sights, sounds, and aromas of city life, head to Eastern Market and stroll past vendors of all sorts. From fresh flowers to produce to handicrafts, there’s something here to delight each and every visitor – and you can make your way through without spending a single dime. The Saturday market has been a fixture of Motor City life for upwards of 125 years, so you’ll feel like you’re partaking in a time-tested tradition when you stop in.
9. Read the day away at John K. King Used & Rare Books
There’s something magical about losing yourself among shelf after shelf of books, and John K.King Used & Rare Books boasts an entire four stories of titles to peruse. In fact, there are approximately one million books here, so you’ll find treasures galore as you make your way through. Whether you spend hours sifting through rare finds or simply enjoy a quick venture through the shop, you don’t have to make a purchase to fall in love with this bookworm’s paradise in Detroit.
So, there you have it: nine of the best free activities in Detroit, with options ranging from natural attractions to historical sites. Whether you’re a local or an out-of-towner, you’ll appreciate the chance to experience the Motor City free of charge. Did any of your favorites make our list? Share your thoughts with us by leaving a Facebook comment or recommend another free attraction in Detroit by completing our nomination form.