The biggest shopping season of the year is upon us, and not all of us are heading out to find bargains or stand in lines. If you’re not enticed by sales and want to spend some time - in the city - and don’t want to spend any money, here’s our list of what you can do for free on Black Friday. We’ve included museums, libraries (check their web site first), public spaces, and walking and driving tours. Have more suggestions? Feel free to comment below.
Detroit Institute of Arts: Free for residents of Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb Counties, the DIA is open Fridays from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. You’ll see Thalassa (above) by the Woodward entrance. Make sure to wander through the Detroit After Dark exhibit downstairs.
Detroit Historical Museum: Free and open on Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Historical Museum is across Woodward and Kirby from the DIA. Wander the streets of Old Detroit downstairs.
MOCAD: The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit has a suggested donation of $5, but is free for members, students, and kids under 12. It’s open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and has a fun
Detroit Public Library: The main branch is closed on Friday, but all other branches should be open. Duck inside for some quiet and find a good book or five to curl up with on a chilly afternoon.
Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory: Get out of the cold and into the heat and humidity. The Conservatory on Belle Isle is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Pewabic Pottery: Browse the shop, of course, but you can also wander through the workshop to see how the pottery is made. There’s also some exhibits upstairs so you can see the history of the company and the pottery.
MBAD African Bead Museum: Drive through the Grand River Creative Corridor and stop to visit the sculpture garden and the bead museum. Check out the gorgeous murals around the campus while you’re there.
Get into the holiday spirit at Campus Martius: It’s all decked out for the holidays now, and it doesn’t cost a thing to admire the tree, the rink, or the holiday lights.
Try to take that perfect picture: Set yourself up at Sunset Point on Belle Isle for the perfect city skyline. Go to the top of the Z Lot to get that perfect view of the 1200 block of Woodward. Or go to the Ferry Street overpass over 75 to line up the St. Josaphat Church with the Ren Cen.
Check out some of the best lobbies downtown: Stop into the Guardian Building to see what’s arguably, the most beautiful lobby in the city. Check out the Chrysler House (Dime Building) down the street and look up at the renovated skylight. Then head down to the David Whitney Building to admire the restored lobby of this great building.
Visit the Fisher Building: The lobby has recently been reactivated with the Beacon Project (we know the photographers).
Take a mural walking tour of Eastern Market: The neighborhood will be busy on Saturday, so take some time on Friday to find new murals around every corner.
Find as much public art as you can: With our map as a starting point, find as much artwork as you can throughout the city.
Admire historic neighborhoods: A free afternoon is a good time to drive around the winding streets of Palmer Woods to see the gorgeous mansions. Or drive through Boston Edison (their site lists who lived in which house) or Indian Village.
Check out churches, cemeteries, and more: Our Pocket Guide has 26 places to go in Detroit (many on this list). Check off a few more, tell us what else we can add, and enjoy the rich history of the city.