The Best Ways to Tour and Explore Detroit

By: Ken Cross | November 26, 2012

As countless new things start happening in downtown Detroit, more and more people are interested in coming to the city to see what the fuss is. And let me tell you my friend, there’s a lot of fuss going on. Fun fuss if you will. From Free Art Friday art scavenger hunts, to kickball leagues at Belle Isle, outdoor movies at the Corktown cinema to Eastern Market, there are a million great things going on downtown every day. So even if you’re a seasoned Detroit veteran or are just now venturing out of your secluded suburban home, there are a few great places that can show you around and introduce you to all the great stuff Detroit has to offer.

Detroit Historical Society Tours – The Detroit Historical Society takes you on Behind the Scenes tours of historic locations across Detroit. These really informative tours take you to some of the coolest and most interesting buildings in the area. They take place on Saturdays and last anywhere from 90 minutes to two hours.

DTours – DTours offers a variety of tour options, from bar and restaurant strolling tours to monuments and entertainment tours. These tours are focused on creating an “interactive entertainment based experience,” and so far, everyone I’ve known that has gone on a DTour has gone back for more.

D:Hive – Not only are the tours from D:Hive comprehensive and interesting, they’re FREE!  Whether you want to go on a bar tour to find out the best places to wet your whistle, take an “old to new” walking tour of the city to catch the sights or to set up a private tour to get a customized view of Detroit, you can be sure you’ll learn something from a D:Hive tour.

Rickshaw Detroit – Rickshaw? Detroit? I bet you didn’t know Detroit had a Rickshaw service. I didn’t either. I imagined it to be an old “traditional rickshaw” in which you sit in a little cart that’s pulled around by a person, but it’s not. It’s so much better – Rickshaw Detroit is a pedicab service that bikes you around the city while giving some really fun and interesting tips about the sights. You have to try it out at least once in your lifetime.

Feet on the Street Tours – Feet on the Street Tours is one of the few tour groups that works hard to bridge the gap between the city and the suburbs. They can do curb-to-curb bus pick up for those who want to experience Detroit without the drive. You’ll walk on the tour once you’re there, but don’t worry, you’ll be so wrapped up in the tour that you won’t care about the walk!

SemSeg – Don’t discount this tour because it’s on a Segway. You’d be surprised how fast these suckers go. And that just means you can fit more hidden gems of Detroit into your tour. They offer tours on Saturday and Sunday and last approximately 2 hours.

Diamond Jack’s  River Tour – I’ve done the Diamond Jack boat tour a couple of times now and it never gets old. It’s an amazing way to get to see a view of the city you can’t ordinarily see. The tours are narrated and you are guaranteed to learn a ton about our city. Every tour I’ve gone on, I’ve learned something new. And they have snacks!

Motor City Brew Tours – Whether you want to bike, walk or take a bus, Motor City Brew Tours makes it happen. You tour local breweries, drink local beer and support local business.  The Bus tour is about 5 hours and gets to 3 different breweries in the area. The bike tours are roughly 3 hours and tour local prohibition or brewery sites, stopping along the way to learn out historical points of interest.

Wheelhouse Detroit – One of the best bike tours in Detroit. They have a variety of tours depending on your abilities and stamina. Then they take it one step further and cater to your interest. Architecture? Check! Art? Check check! Food? Check, check and check!! One of the cooler things about the Wheelhouse is that they design the tour with a community partner. This guarantees the information you’ll hear on tour is the most accurate, and even better, the community partner gets a portion of the proceeds so the money returns to the neighborhood you just visited.

Hometown History – I’ve had friends go on their Detroit Underground Railroad tour and have come back saying they’ve learned more in this two hour tour than they did in their years of history classes in college. Hometown History tours really make history come alive.

Michigan Modern Tours –  The State Historic Preservation Office has produced a series of walking, biking and driving tours to explore the beautiful architecture of Detroit. There’s more to this city than beers and coneys, didn’t you know?

Experience Detroit – If you want to tour Detroit, but the idea of being chauffeured around with a bunch of strangers is horrific, then visit the Experience Detroit site and set up your own Detroit tour. It’s an amazing resource that will help you set up a self-guided tour of exactly what you want to see on your own time.

With all the different options available to get out and see Detroit, there’s definitely something for everyone. Have you gone on one of these tours and had a great experience? Have ideas for a neat tour? See something I missed? Let us know on our facebook page! Then get out and explore Detroit!