Detroit is the kind of city where you can get lost in architecture, beautiful restaurants and the open spaces of municipal parks. But where Detroit is best is through its surprisingly lovely views of its skyline, bright skies and delightful sunsets across many locations that locals are happy to share with you when asked.
Finding a quiet spot in a city may seem like an oxymoron, but it can be done. Detroit stretches out across 143 square miles, and there are lots of green spaces where you can get lost and watch the sun rise or set. There also are tall skyscrapers, great bars with open rooftops as well as private places where you can go to see the glory of the stars despite the city’s regular bright lights.
So how do you find out where to go for one of these open-sky viewing spots? Think big. You can consider a spot like the Ford-Wyoming Drive-In theater as a good example. It is on the border of Detroit and Dearborn within what looks like an industrial area, although there are some newer restaurants nearby.
What makes the drive-in a good spot to see the sky is that it is located away from any homes or larger businesses, giving you a sense of freedom and relief from city life while you watch a movie under the stars. The movies tend to start right at dusk or just after, so you can get a good view of the sky as it fades into darkness while preparing for a blockbuster Hollywood film. It’s a good business to support as there are less than 10 drive-in theaters left in Michigan.
Here are five more locations that locals in the know highly recommend for their night view of Detroit as the stars come out or fade away into the morning.
This park is more than a century old and one of the hidden gems of Detroit. Located near the Delray neighborhood of the city, Fort Wayne sits right on the Detroit River so you can have top-notch views of the water and Canada. If you are lucky enough to be here early in the morning or late at night, the views are spectacular and quieter than quiet.
Watching the city light up from Belle Isle is one of the greatest treats of being a Detroiter. You are on an island oasis, surrounded by statues, historic buildings like the Albert Kahn-designed aquarium and far away from the fast-speeding traffic and hustle of downtown. There, you can view the boats and barges as they float by on the Detroit River. It’s like an island paradise of the city kind.
You might not be able to see the stars as much here in either of the two locations. But you can get a stellar view of Detroit from either facility. Comerica Park is a baseball field of note with a great skyline view from its upper decks. The Detroit Athletic Club has views of the entertainment district and right into the baseball diamond, so you feel like you’re seeing a million-dollar view from a great private club. It’s worth the extra effort to get inside to see that view.
A hotel might not seem like a spot to get a view of Detroit, but something about this rooftop bar inside the Metropolitan hotel really sings. You can see the People Mover, the DAC, Shinola Hotel and many other classic buildings from this lofty space while enjoying an adult beverage with friends. It has a fun yet light vibe to the space so you’ll enjoy the conversations as much as the starry sky from this height.
Now this is real insider knowledge. Check out the true night sky from the Humbug Marsh Unit, which will give you “a hotspot of biodiversity in an urban landscape,” according to those in the know. Located along the Detroit River and straddling both Trenton and Gibraltar, this site is the last undeveloped mile of the Detroit River on the U.S. side of the border. Talk about a peaceful place – you’ll likely see as much wildlife as you will the stars.