While we’re big fans of what to some may seem crazy adventures (such as kayaking in Detroit’s canals.. or spending time in the outdoors of Alaska or hung out of a helicopter) it’s always worthwhile to catch a local tour or two. You can learn from the best storytellers, historians and local Detroiters while exploring the city in a new way.
There’s always more to learn about Detroit. With the tours below, they give you the scoop and a larger piece of Detroit’s story we can’t always cover. Check out our list and let us know what you tours you’ve enjoyed in Detroit.
Detroit Experience Factory
Their motto is “Detroit is a city big enough to matter in the world, but small enough that you can matter in it.” Through a few different incarnations they’ve been offering tours since 2006. Browse the tour offerings and sign up for events on DXF’s website: http://www.weknowdetroit.com
Show Me Detroit Tours
Offering chauffeured deluxe tours of Detroit, they offer not only looks at downtown but their guides with in-depth knowledge can put together a tour on just about any topic with the most interesting facts behind the places you’re seeing. They have a van as well so they can get you anywhere you need to go. We’ve used them multiple times with people out of town. Check out their site at http://showmedetroittours.com/
Detroit Bus Company
Andy Diodorsi’s colorful buses frequently host themed tours and bar crawls around the city, like their “Haunted History” tours or “Scofflaws and Speakeasies.” Check out their upcoming tours online. http://detroittours.com/
Want to experience a bit of unforgettable Motown history? You can always catch a tour of the Motown Historical Museum where you can explore the very studios legends like Stevie Wonder and Diana Ross got their start. Some of these tour guides grew up on West Grand Boulevard during these times, adding a unique experience to the tale. http://www.motownmuseum.org/
Ford Rouge Factory Tour
The blazing automobile born with the sweat of Detroiters. What better way to see this huge part of our city then a tour at the historic Ford Rouge Factory? Their tour includes a theatre experience on how automobiles are made, with a close up look where the popular F-150’s are assembled. It’s being re-tooled right now to relaunch in November. http://www.thehenryford.org/rouge/index.aspx
Flight to Freedom Tours
Detroit played an important role during the Underground Railroad, a part of history not forgotten. The First congregational Church’s Flight to Freedom Tours recount this important role the city played as a final stop for escaped slaves before crossing to Canada. http://www.friendsoffirst.com/ugrr/?page_id=6
Detroit Institute of Arts
Who doesn’t love a trip to the beautiful Detroit Institute of Arts? It’s a must to revisit the infamous Diego Rivera Detroit Industry mural. You can learn and take a tour while you’re there too from one of the insightful staff members at the DIA, many of which are focused on exhibitions or galleries. http://www.dia.org/
Pure Detroit’s Guardian Or Fisher Building Tours
Thanks to the folks at Pure Detroit you have the opportunity for a free guided tour in a couple of the most beautiful buildings in America. The Fisher Building is jaw-dropping and the Guardian Building was called “The Cathedral of Finance,” so grab a Stella or Rowland coffee to perk yourself up and get into a piece of architectural history. http://www.puredetroit.com/index.php/architecture/pure-detroit-schedule-for-october-286.html
Hometown History Tours
Hometown History Tours has four main tours as well as private walking tours. Check out their “Notorious 313 True Crime & Ghost Tour” by lantern, bus or in a cemetery. There’s also the “Incredible Journey to Midnight,” “See The D,” and “Solid Gold Detroit” focusing on Detroit’s music history. http://hometownhistorytours.com/
Feet On The Street Tours
They have a variety of tours including “Delish Detroit” which is a culinary tour as well as an Eastern Market “Come Hungry, Leave Happy, Learn Healthier” tour, private tours, and more. They have been doing Eastern Market tours for 13 years. http://hometownhistorytours.com/
If you’re still not sure what to do, there’s always Visit Detroit. Don’t let the out-of-towners have all the fun! Locals can use their site as well to help rediscover their own backyard.
So no excuses. Go see what Detroit has to offer! If you know of a good tour not on this list, shout it out in the comments.