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Ice Skating at Campus Martius.
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The 20 best things to do in Detroit with kids

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Ice Skating at Campus Martius.
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From the Detroit Institute of Arts to the Motown Museum, Detroit is full of intriguing spots sure to impress any seasoned traveler or local. But what about families with kids? The city may not have the flashy kid-centric tourist traps like Disneyland, but there's still plenty for the younger crowd.

We've rounded up the 20 best spots that will keep the entire family happy while exploring the Motor City. Whether it's checking out the aquarium on Belle Isle or munching on snacks in the Eastern Market, there's something for everyone on the list.

Traveling to other cities with your kiddos? Don’t miss Curbed’s maps of the best family activities in Washington, D.C., Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco, New Orleans, Austin, and New York City.

Note: Map points are ordered west to east.

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1. Greenfield Village

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Greenfield Village
Dearborn, MI 48124

As the outdoor living history museum section of the Henry Ford complex, the 90-acre Greenfield Village is worth its own day of exploring. With 83 historical buildings from the 17th century to the present, kids will love the costumed interpreters who demonstrate period tasks like glass blowing or husbandry on the working farm.

Other highlights include a ride in a real Model T car, a trip in a horse-drawn omnibus shuttle, and the Weiser Railroad that navigates around the village. 

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2. The Henry Ford Museum

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Greenfield Village
Dearborn, MI 48124

Although it’s a 25 minute drive west of downtown Detroit, the Henry Ford Museum is worth the trek for kids looking to learn about auto mogul Henry Ford and the history of transportation in the United States. The living history museum boasts 18 interactive touch screens and a huge collection of activities and games.

Older children will love building their own race cars, while younger kiddos can service their own 1960s replica car in a garage. Pro tip: Don’t miss the Rosa Parks Bus which is on exhibit in the "With Liberty & Justice for All" section of the museum.

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3. Detroit Zoo

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8450 W 10 Mile Rd
Royal Oak, MI 48067
(248) 541-5717
Visit Website

Since the 1880s, the Detroit Zoo has been entertaining kids of all ages, and the parklike grounds spread over 125 acres offer adults a scenic experience too. Don’t miss the Polk Penguin Conservation Center, a 33,000-square-foot marvel where visitors can see more than 80 penguins in action.  

4. Motown Museum

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2648 W Grand Blvd
Detroit, MI 48208
(313) 875-2264
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As the hometown of Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson, and more, there’s a reason Detroit’s Motown Museum is also known as Hitsville U.S.A.. Not far from downtown you’ll find Motown’s first recording studio, Michael Jackson’s hats, and lots of original instruments.

Tours are given by museum docents and tickets often sell out, especially on Saturdays.

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5. Detroit Historical Museum

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5401 Woodward Ave
Detroit, MI 48202
(313) 833-1805
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This free museum located in Detroit’s cultural center takes a deep dive into the region’s history with permanent exhibitions like the Streets of Old Detroit, Doorway to Freedom: Detroit and the Underground Railroad, and America’s Motor City.

There’s all kinds of kid-friendly activities and events planned throughout the year, so check the museum’s calendar to stay up-to-date.

6. Detroit Public Library

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5201 Woodward Ave
Detroit, MI 48202
(313) 481-1300
Visit Website

The weather is getting colder and it’s time to get some winter reading done. The Detroit Public Library is open on Sundays now and hosting Sunday Family Sundays, which includes special family programming.

7. Detroit Institute of Arts

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5200 Woodward Ave
Detroit, MI 48202
(313) 833-7900
Visit Website

Adults will love this world-class museum with a permanent collection that includes African art, Impressionist paintings, and Diego Rivera’s Detroit Industry murals. But kids can also have a great time too thanks to eye-spy activities, audio tours, and weekend art demonstrations. 

8. Michigan Science Center

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5020 John R St
Detroit, MI 48202
(313) 577-8400
Visit Website

Called Mi-Sci for short, the Michigan Science Center features over 300 hands-on exhibits that give kids of all ages (there’s even a 5-and-under area) real-life experiences with engineering, space, health, and physics. You can also expect live stage shows, demos, and the state’s largest IMAX movie screen. This is a perfect indoor spot. 

9. Garden Bowl

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4120 Woodward Ave
Detroit, MI 48201
(313) 833-9700
Visit Website

Hit the lates at one of the country’s oldest continuously operating bowling alleys. The Garden Bowl has some groovy neon lights the kiddos are sure to love. There’s also pizza available at Sgt. Pepperoni’s, which shares the space.

10. Detroit People Mover

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(313) 224-2160
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It’s a known fact that kids love to ride on things that move: trains, rollercoasters, horses. And if they can be high above everything, all the better. The People Mover offers all this in a tight loop around downtown Detroit, as well as some pretty cool station art, all for 75 cents a ride. You’ll be hard pressed to find a better entertainment value than that.

In the foreground is an elevated train track. There is a train riding on the track. On the other side of the track are many tall city buildings. Michelle Gerard

11. Campus Martius Park

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800 Woodward Ave
Detroit, MI 48226
(313) 963-2225
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Anchoring a two-square block in the heart of downtown, Campus Martius offers year-round fun with plenty of gardens, lawns, and fountains. From November to March, kids can skate on the city’s most popular outdoor rink.

Kids and parents skate on an ice rink downtown at night. Nearby trees are strung with festive lights. Photo by Michelle Gerard

12. The Fowling Warehouse

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3901 Christopher St
Detroit, MI 48211
(313) 264-1288
Visit Website

Gather up the kiddos and check out fowling, the best game you’ve never played. A lot like bowling, fowling uses a football to knock over pins instead of a bowling ball, and it all happens in a 34,000-square-foot warehouse in Hamtramck.

Older kids will love it, and the Fowling Warehouse allows families with children 10 and older to play from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. 

13. POP + Offworld Arcade

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128 Cadillac Square
Detroit, MI 48226
(313) 961-9249
Visit Website

There’s fun for the whole family at the bar and arcade. Kids (and adults) get to play any one of the dozens of classic arcade games while parents get to drink. Plus, everyone loves pizza.

Open seven days a week, it’s a great option during the colder months.

14. Eastern Market

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Eastern Market
Detroit, MI

One of the oldest and largest year-round markets in the U.S., Eastern Market is a gathering place that just so happens to have Detroit’s freshest produce, top-notch cheese and meats, and more. There’s lots to do year round, including the Saturday market and special holiday markets.

The kids will love the popcorn vendors, the candy at Rocky’s, and the murals on seemingly every building.

In the foreground are fresh vegetables on a stand at a market. A person is touching one of the vegetables. There are other people in the background. Michelle & Chris Gerard

15. Rivard Plaza

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1340 Atwater St
Detroit, MI 48207
(313) 566-8200
Visit Website

Although the river-themed carousel and splash fountains only operate in warmer months, the entire Rivard Plaza offers much for kids to explore. If the gorgeous carousel isn’t running, check out the in-laid granite map of the Detroit River, a standing glass sculptured map fo the St. Lawrence Seaway, or the nearby Wheelhouse Detroit, which offers rentals and tours.  

In the foreground is a pedestrian plaza with people. In the distance is a city skyline with tall buildings. Michelle & Chris Gerard

16. Outdoor Adventure Center

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1801 Atwater St
Detroit, MI 48207
(844) 622-6367
Visit Website

Located in the historic Globe Building on the riverfront, the Outdoor Adventure Center exposes kids to the great outdoors without leaving the city. It’s full of hands-on activities, like waterfalls, a real fishing experience, and a snowmobile simulator.

Kids will also learn about state parks, forests, and wildlife, and there’s even a small aquarium. This one’s a don’t miss for kiddos of all ages. 

A rope bridge above a floor in an outdoor adventure center. There are trees above the rope bridge. Michelle & Chris Gerard

17. Detroit City Fieldhouse

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3401 E Lafayette St
Detroit, MI 48207

This 75,000-square-foot multi-sport indoor facility is a boon to the sports community. Kids can register to play soccer or lacrosse on the indoor fields, and a restaurant provides much-needed snacks post-practice.

Checking out a Detroit City FC soccer match at Keyworth Stadium is also fun and kid-friendly.

18. Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory

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900 Inselruhe Ave
Detroit, MI 48207
(313) 821-5428
Visit Website

Located in the sprawling Belle Isle Park, the Anna Scripps Whicomb Conservatory was designed by renowed architect Albert Kahn and opened in 1904. Adults will love the building’s domed architecture while kids will have fun exploring the gorgeous 13 acres of plants. 

The conservatory recently completed a major renovation and is once again open to the pubic.

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19. Belle Isle Aquarium

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900 Inselruhe Ave
Detroit, MI 48207
(313) 402-0466
Visit Website

The oldest aquarium in the United States has more than 1,000 fish and 118 species of sea life. Though this detail is more for the parents, it’s also Albert Kahn designed with an iconic, green-tiled and vaulted ceiling.

Open Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., it’s a perfect weekend destination.

20. Arts & Scraps

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16135 Harper Ave
Detroit, MI 48224
(313) 640-4411
Visit Website

This eco-friendly, hands-on center is great for a day of crafting with your kids while integrating STEM learning. Arts & Scraps uses recycled industrial materials not just to create art, but also as an entryway for learning about the environment. There’s even an on-site store to buy goods for crafting in your own home.

A great option for groups and birthday parties.

1. Greenfield Village

Greenfield Village, Dearborn, MI 48124

As the outdoor living history museum section of the Henry Ford complex, the 90-acre Greenfield Village is worth its own day of exploring. With 83 historical buildings from the 17th century to the present, kids will love the costumed interpreters who demonstrate period tasks like glass blowing or husbandry on the working farm.

Other highlights include a ride in a real Model T car, a trip in a horse-drawn omnibus shuttle, and the Weiser Railroad that navigates around the village. 

Greenfield Village
Dearborn, MI 48124

2. The Henry Ford Museum

Greenfield Village, Dearborn, MI 48124

Although it’s a 25 minute drive west of downtown Detroit, the Henry Ford Museum is worth the trek for kids looking to learn about auto mogul Henry Ford and the history of transportation in the United States. The living history museum boasts 18 interactive touch screens and a huge collection of activities and games.

Older children will love building their own race cars, while younger kiddos can service their own 1960s replica car in a garage. Pro tip: Don’t miss the Rosa Parks Bus which is on exhibit in the "With Liberty & Justice for All" section of the museum.

Greenfield Village
Dearborn, MI 48124

3. Detroit Zoo

8450 W 10 Mile Rd, Royal Oak, MI 48067

Since the 1880s, the Detroit Zoo has been entertaining kids of all ages, and the parklike grounds spread over 125 acres offer adults a scenic experience too. Don’t miss the Polk Penguin Conservation Center, a 33,000-square-foot marvel where visitors can see more than 80 penguins in action.  

8450 W 10 Mile Rd
Royal Oak, MI 48067

4. Motown Museum

2648 W Grand Blvd, Detroit, MI 48208

As the hometown of Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson, and more, there’s a reason Detroit’s Motown Museum is also known as Hitsville U.S.A.. Not far from downtown you’ll find Motown’s first recording studio, Michael Jackson’s hats, and lots of original instruments.

Tours are given by museum docents and tickets often sell out, especially on Saturdays.

2648 W Grand Blvd
Detroit, MI 48208

5. Detroit Historical Museum

5401 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48202

This free museum located in Detroit’s cultural center takes a deep dive into the region’s history with permanent exhibitions like the Streets of Old Detroit, Doorway to Freedom: Detroit and the Underground Railroad, and America’s Motor City.

There’s all kinds of kid-friendly activities and events planned throughout the year, so check the museum’s calendar to stay up-to-date.

5401 Woodward Ave
Detroit, MI 48202

6. Detroit Public Library

5201 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48202

The weather is getting colder and it’s time to get some winter reading done. The Detroit Public Library is open on Sundays now and hosting Sunday Family Sundays, which includes special family programming.

5201 Woodward Ave
Detroit, MI 48202

7. Detroit Institute of Arts

5200 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48202

Adults will love this world-class museum with a permanent collection that includes African art, Impressionist paintings, and Diego Rivera’s Detroit Industry murals. But kids can also have a great time too thanks to eye-spy activities, audio tours, and weekend art demonstrations. 

5200 Woodward Ave
Detroit, MI 48202

8. Michigan Science Center

5020 John R St, Detroit, MI 48202

Called Mi-Sci for short, the Michigan Science Center features over 300 hands-on exhibits that give kids of all ages (there’s even a 5-and-under area) real-life experiences with engineering, space, health, and physics. You can also expect live stage shows, demos, and the state’s largest IMAX movie screen. This is a perfect indoor spot. 

5020 John R St
Detroit, MI 48202

9. Garden Bowl

4120 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48201

Hit the lates at one of the country’s oldest continuously operating bowling alleys. The Garden Bowl has some groovy neon lights the kiddos are sure to love. There’s also pizza available at Sgt. Pepperoni’s, which shares the space.

4120 Woodward Ave
Detroit, MI 48201

10. Detroit People Mover

Detroit, MI 48226
In the foreground is an elevated train track. There is a train riding on the track. On the other side of the track are many tall city buildings. Michelle Gerard

It’s a known fact that kids love to ride on things that move: trains, rollercoasters, horses. And if they can be high above everything, all the better. The People Mover offers all this in a tight loop around downtown Detroit, as well as some pretty cool station art, all for 75 cents a ride. You’ll be hard pressed to find a better entertainment value than that.

11. Campus Martius Park

800 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48226
Kids and parents skate on an ice rink downtown at night. Nearby trees are strung with festive lights. Photo by Michelle Gerard

Anchoring a two-square block in the heart of downtown, Campus Martius offers year-round fun with plenty of gardens, lawns, and fountains. From November to March, kids can skate on the city’s most popular outdoor rink.

800 Woodward Ave
Detroit, MI 48226

12. The Fowling Warehouse

3901 Christopher St, Detroit, MI 48211

Gather up the kiddos and check out fowling, the best game you’ve never played. A lot like bowling, fowling uses a football to knock over pins instead of a bowling ball, and it all happens in a 34,000-square-foot warehouse in Hamtramck.

Older kids will love it, and the Fowling Warehouse allows families with children 10 and older to play from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. 

3901 Christopher St
Detroit, MI 48211

13. POP + Offworld Arcade

128 Cadillac Square, Detroit, MI 48226

There’s fun for the whole family at the bar and arcade. Kids (and adults) get to play any one of the dozens of classic arcade games while parents get to drink. Plus, everyone loves pizza.

Open seven days a week, it’s a great option during the colder months.

128 Cadillac Square
Detroit, MI 48226

14. Eastern Market

Eastern Market, Detroit, MI
In the foreground are fresh vegetables on a stand at a market. A person is touching one of the vegetables. There are other people in the background. Michelle & Chris Gerard

One of the oldest and largest year-round markets in the U.S., Eastern Market is a gathering place that just so happens to have Detroit’s freshest produce, top-notch cheese and meats, and more. There’s lots to do year round, including the Saturday market and special holiday markets.

The kids will love the popcorn vendors, the candy at Rocky’s, and the murals on seemingly every building.

Eastern Market
Detroit, MI

15. Rivard Plaza

1340 Atwater St, Detroit, MI 48207
In the foreground is a pedestrian plaza with people. In the distance is a city skyline with tall buildings. Michelle & Chris Gerard

Although the river-themed carousel and splash fountains only operate in warmer months, the entire Rivard Plaza offers much for kids to explore. If the gorgeous carousel isn’t running, check out the in-laid granite map of the Detroit River, a standing glass sculptured map fo the St. Lawrence Seaway, or the nearby Wheelhouse Detroit, which offers rentals and tours.  

1340 Atwater St
Detroit, MI 48207

16. Outdoor Adventure Center

1801 Atwater St, Detroit, MI 48207
A rope bridge above a floor in an outdoor adventure center. There are trees above the rope bridge. Michelle & Chris Gerard

Located in the historic Globe Building on the riverfront, the Outdoor Adventure Center exposes kids to the great outdoors without leaving the city. It’s full of hands-on activities, like waterfalls, a real fishing experience, and a snowmobile simulator.

Kids will also learn about state parks, forests, and wildlife, and there’s even a small aquarium. This one’s a don’t miss for kiddos of all ages. 

1801 Atwater St
Detroit, MI 48207

17. Detroit City Fieldhouse

3401 E Lafayette St, Detroit, MI 48207

This 75,000-square-foot multi-sport indoor facility is a boon to the sports community. Kids can register to play soccer or lacrosse on the indoor fields, and a restaurant provides much-needed snacks post-practice.

Checking out a Detroit City FC soccer match at Keyworth Stadium is also fun and kid-friendly.

3401 E Lafayette St
Detroit, MI 48207

18. Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory

900 Inselruhe Ave, Detroit, MI 48207

Located in the sprawling Belle Isle Park, the Anna Scripps Whicomb Conservatory was designed by renowed architect Albert Kahn and opened in 1904. Adults will love the building’s domed architecture while kids will have fun exploring the gorgeous 13 acres of plants. 

The conservatory recently completed a major renovation and is once again open to the pubic.

900 Inselruhe Ave
Detroit, MI 48207

19. Belle Isle Aquarium

900 Inselruhe Ave, Detroit, MI 48207

The oldest aquarium in the United States has more than 1,000 fish and 118 species of sea life. Though this detail is more for the parents, it’s also Albert Kahn designed with an iconic, green-tiled and vaulted ceiling.

Open Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., it’s a perfect weekend destination.

900 Inselruhe Ave
Detroit, MI 48207

20. Arts & Scraps

16135 Harper Ave, Detroit, MI 48224

This eco-friendly, hands-on center is great for a day of crafting with your kids while integrating STEM learning. Arts & Scraps uses recycled industrial materials not just to create art, but also as an entryway for learning about the environment. There’s even an on-site store to buy goods for crafting in your own home.

A great option for groups and birthday parties.

16135 Harper Ave
Detroit, MI 48224