Dowtown Detroit Walk (Self Guided), Detroit

Detroit, being the oldest city in the Midwest, boasts a number of landmarks, many of which are concentrated in the downtown area. The must-see attractions in Detroit include the Renaissance Center, Hart Plaza and Campus Martius Park. This self-guided tour will lead you to the most fascinating landmarks and neighborhoods in downtown Detroit.
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Dowtown Detroit Walk Map

Guide Name: Dowtown Detroit Walk
Guide Location: USA » Detroit (See other walking tours in Detroit)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 9
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.3 Km or 2.1 Miles
Author: Caroline
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Renaissance Center
  • Hart Plaza
  • Joe Louis Memorial
  • "Spirit of Detroit"
  • The Guardian Building
  • Campus Martius Park
  • Grand Circus Park Historic District
  • Fox Theater
  • Greektown
Renaissance Center

1) Renaissance Center (must see)

Renaissance Center is a group of seven interconnected skyscrapers in Downtown Detroit. Located on the International Riverfront, the Renaissance Center complex is owned by General Motors as its world headquarters. The central tower, the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center, is the tallest all-hotel skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere, and features the largest rooftop restaurant, Coach Insignia. It has been the tallest building in Michigan since its erection in 1977.

John Portman was the principal architect for the original design. The first phase constructed a five tower rosette rising from a common base. Four 39-story office towers surround the 73-story hotel rising from a square-shaped podium which includes a shopping center, restaurants, brokerage firms, banks, a four-screen movie theatre and private clubs. The first phase officially opened in March 1977. Portman's design renewed attention to city architecture, constructing the world's tallest hotel at the time. Two additional 21-story office towers (known as Tower 500 and Tower 600) opened in 1981. This type of complex has been termed a city within a city.

In 2004, General Motors completed a US$500 million renovation of the class-A center as its world headquarters, which it had purchased in 1996. The renovation included the addition of the five-story Wintergarden atrium, which provides access to the International Riverfront. Architects for the renovation included Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Gensler, SmithGroup, and Ghafari Associates. Work continued in and around the complex until 2005. Renaissance Center totals 5,552,000 square feet (515,800 m2) making it one of the world's largest commercial complexes.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Hart Plaza

2) Hart Plaza (must see)

Hart Plaza is known as the Philip A. Hart Plaza. Philip Hart was a United States Senator from 1959 to 1976. This 14-acre (57,000 m2) land was dedicated to him in 1956. It is located Downtown Detroit, between the Detroit River and East Jefferson.

In 1979 was the completion of the Philip A. Hart Plaza. Hundreds of people come together during the summer for celebrations, concerts and festivals from May to Labor Day. People all over the Midwest and Canada join together for free, fun filled entertainment. There are a lot of things that happen in these buildings such as The North American International Auto Show (Cobo), many concerts and Detroit Red Wings Games (Joe Louis), and there are offices and restaurants in the RenCen. In recent years Hart Plaza have been added to by the Detroit International Riverfront.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Joe Louis Memorial

3) Joe Louis Memorial (must see)

The Monument to Joe Louis, known also as "The Fist", is a memorial to the boxer at Detroit's Hart Plaza. Dedicated on October 16, 1986, the sculpture, commissioned by Sports Illustrated magazine from the Mexican-American sculptor Robert Graham, is a 24-foot-long (7.3 m) arm with a fisted hand suspended by a 24-foot-high (7.3 m) pyramidal framework.

It represents the power of his punch both inside and outside the ring. Because of his efforts to fight Jim Crow laws, the fist was symbolically aimed toward the South. Graham referred to the sculpture as a "battering ram". The sculpture was vandalized by two white men in 2004, who covered it in white paint and left a sign which read, "Courtesy of Fighting Whities". Graham responded that the piece was "working" if it aroused passion.
Sight description based on wikipedia
"Spirit of Detroit"

4) "Spirit of Detroit"

The Spirit of Detroit is a city monument with a large bronze statue created by Marshall Fredericks and located at the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center on Woodward Avenue in Detroit. It was commissioned in 1955 for a cost of $58,000 (equivalent to $503,195 today), and dedicated in 1958. In its left hand, the large seated figure holds a gilt bronze sphere emanating rays to symbolize God. In its right hand, is a family group symbolizing all human relationships. The 26-foot (7.9 m) sculpture was the largest cast bronze statue since the Renaissance when it was first installed. It was cast in Oslo, Norway.

The name emerged from an inscription from 2 Corinthians (3:17) on the wall behind it. It includes the seals of the city and the county. A plaque in front of the sculpture bears the inscription, "The artist expresses the concept that God, through the spirit of man is manifested in the family, the noblest human relationship."
Sight description based on wikipedia
The Guardian Building

5) The Guardian Building

The Guardian Building is a landmark skyscraper in the United States, located at 500 Griswold Street in Downtown Detroit, Michigan, within the Financial District. Built in 1928 the building is a bold example of Art Deco architecture, including art modern designs. At the top of the Guardian Building's spire is a large American Flag, complementing the four smaller flags atop nearby 150 West Jefferson. The building has undergone recent award-winning renovations. It was designated a National Historic Landmark on June 29, 1989, and the associated Detroit Financial District is on the National Register of Historic Places. The Guardian building includes retail and a tourist gift shop.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Campus Martius Park

6) Campus Martius Park

Campus Martius Park is a re-established park in Downtown Detroit, Michigan. The original park covered several acres and was a major gathering area for citizens. Campus Martius Park is the home of the annual Motown Winter Blast and it has become the site of the city's annual Christmas tree lighting celebration, held the Monday before Thanksgiving. Thousands come to hear Christmas music and countdown to the lighting of the city's official Christmas tree and other decorations to mark the start of the holiday season.
The Michigan Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument stands on the southeast tip of Campus Martius Park. Capping the monument, the heroic "Amazon figure" Michigania, or Victory, brandishes a sword in her right hand and in her other she raises a shield, prepared for attack.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Grand Circus Park Historic District

7) Grand Circus Park Historic District

The Grand Circus Park Historic District contains the 5-acre (2.0 ha) Grand Circus Park in Downtown Detroit, Michigan that connects the theatre district with its financial district. Among the notable buildings encircling the park are the David Broderick Tower and David Whitney Building on the south, Kales Building, and Central United Methodist Church on the north, and Comerica Park and Detroit Opera House on the East. The Detroit Opera House overlooks the eastern edge of the park and the grounds include statuary and large fountains. Along the east necklace there are other venues including the Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts, the Gem Theatre, Century Club, The historic Harmonie Club and Harmonie Centre. The district was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Fox Theater

8) Fox Theater (must see)

The Fox Theatre is an ornate performing arts center in the United States, located at 2211 Woodward Avenue in downtown Detroit. Opened in 1928 as a flagship movie palace in the Fox Theatres chain, it is noted as the first theater designed and built to include a speaker system for sound films. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985 and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1989. The area surrounding the Fox is nicknamed Foxtown. The city's major performance centers and theatres emanate from the Fox Theatre and Grand Circus Park Historic District and continue along Woodward Avenue toward the Fisher Theatre in the city's New Center.

The Fox has 5,048 seats (5,174 seats if removable seats placed in the raised orchestra pit are included). It is the largest surviving movie palace of the 1920s and the largest of the original Fox Theatres. The Fox was fully restored in 1988. The adjacent office building houses the headquarters of Olympia Entertainment and Little Caesars.
Sight description based on wikipedia

9) Greektown

Greektown is a historic commercial and entertainment district in Detroit, Michigan, located just northeast of the heart of downtown, along Monroe Avenue between Brush and St. Antoine Streets. It includes St. Mary Roman Catholic Church, Second Baptist Church, the Athenium Suite Hotel, and the Greektown Casino Hotel within its boundaries. The neighborhood is a popular restaurant and entertainment area, having many restaurants that serve authentic Greek cuisine, as well as one of the city's three casinos, Greektown Casino. The district was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.

Walking Tours in Detroit, Michigan

Create Your Own Walk in Detroit

Create Your Own Walk in Detroit

Creating your own self-guided walk in Detroit is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Historical Churches

Historical Churches

Detroit is a multicultural city, which is reflected in the variety of churches found here. There are splendid Orthodox and Catholic cathedrals, as well as historic Protestant churches. This self-guided tour will lead you to Detroit's most magnificent places of worship.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.1 Km or 3.2 Miles
Museums Tour

Museums Tour

You will find many interesting museums in Detroit that specialize in art, history, science and more. The most popular museum in the city is the Motor Sports Museum. Detroit historically has had close ties to the auto industry, and this strong relationship continues to this day. Take this self-guided tour to visit Detroit's best museums.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.3 Km or 2.1 Miles
Monuments Tour

Monuments Tour

There are many monuments and statues in the city of Detroit. Many wealthy Detroit residents have bequeathed money to the city specifically to build notable landmarks. Monuments to great personalities in the history of the city and the country are scattered across the city. Take this self-guided tour to see Detroit's unique monuments and statues.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.8 Km or 3 Miles
Henry Ford Tour of Detroit

Henry Ford Tour of Detroit

Dearborn, a suburb of Detroit, is the town where the famous car maker Henry Ford was born. There are many attractions related to Henry Ford here. Visit the museum of Henry Ford, the Henry Ford Estate, historic Greenfield Village and more. Take this tour to learn more about Detroit legend Henry Ford.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.7 Km or 3.5 Miles
Tour of Detroit's Belle Isle

Tour of Detroit's Belle Isle

Detroit's Belle Isle is a wonderful island connected to the city by a bridge. There are many interesting tourist attractions on the island. You can visit a museum, stroll through a fairy-tale-beautiful park, see a memorial lighthouse and more. Take this self-guided tour to explore Belle Isle, which is fittingly named 'beautiful island'.

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.8 Km or 4.2 Miles