Midtown Detroit Walking Tour (Self Guided), Detroit

Midtown Detroit is a mixed-use area consisting of a business district, cultural center, a major research university, and several residential neighborhoods, located along the east and west side of Woodward Avenue. Most of all, it is a cultural epicenter with numerous activities huddled in one place, especially when it comes to museums, restaurants, and bars.

Start your journey with the Wayne State University's Old Main building and its Elaine L Jacob Gallery – a top-of-the-line exhibition space housing numerous high-caliber artists; then, continue with the Detroit Historical Museum, which takes a look at some of the people who were involved with the city’s historical and cultural activities – including music, theatre, the automotive industry, government, religion, law, and architecture, giving you an idea of the long-lasting influence of their presence.

Touring the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant is absolutely amazing, and you’ll be very impressed with the original building while learning all about the Machines That Built America. Next, you can take some photos of the Fisher Building, often cited as “Detroit's largest art object,” having brightened the city’s skyline since 1928.

Finally, don’t miss a visit to the Motown Historical Museum which offers a glimpse into all things Motown, vertical and horizontal!

Take this self-guided walking tour to explore the major attractions and museums in midtown Detroit.
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Midtown Detroit Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Midtown Detroit Walking Tour
Guide Location: USA » Detroit (See other walking tours in Detroit)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 5
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.5 Km or 2.8 Miles
Author: vickyc
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Old Main (Wayne State University)
  • Detroit Historical Museum
  • Ford Piquette Avenue Plant
  • Fisher Building
  • Motown Historical Museum
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Old Main (Wayne State University)

1) Old Main (Wayne State University)

Old Main is one of Wayne State University's oldest buildings, having served as a high school before becoming an important college building. The style is Romanesque Revival, with a yellow brick exterior that stands out on this building that spans almost a full block. One of the architectural highlights is a four-faced clock tower.

Wayne State University's Museum of Anthropology is in this building. The exhibits on display highlight how crucial this social science is to understanding human society. The museum is one of Old Main's most popular features.

The university's planetarium is also in this building, giving visitors a perfect chance to learn more about the galaxy. Another feature that visitors enjoy is the school's dance studio, where some of the leading dance stars of the future might receive their training. The exciting features in this building demonstrate how much of a role it plays in the school's present, as well as its past.
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Detroit Historical Museum

2) Detroit Historical Museum (must see)

The Detroit Historical Museum is on Woodward Avenue and located inside Detroit's Cultural Center. This museum boasts a range of signature, changing, and traveling exhibitions for rent that introduce visitors to the wealth of history that this area has seen for over 300 years. Some of the signature exhibits cover exciting subjects like the music scene in the city, the Underground Railroad, and the automotive industry.

Changing or limited-edition exhibitions include collections from local non-profit groups. Artifacts that are part of the collection of 250,000 are shown on a rotating basis, being changed out every quarter. Local Detroit artists are always front-and-center with these exhibitions.

The museum also hosts events that can introduce you to some of the city's important historical figures. These events include detailed presentations given by local historians and sometimes feature documentaries.

Operation hours: Tuesday - Friday 9:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.; Saturday, Sunday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Sight description based on wikipedia
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Ford Piquette Avenue Plant

3) Ford Piquette Avenue Plant (must see)

The Ford Piquette Avenue Plant is a popular tourist site dedicated to the preservation of the Model T car. This Victorian-era brick building dates to 1904, with a design that resembles the famed New England textile mills. The building was the first purpose-built structure constructed by the Ford Motor Company.

This building has an extensive collection of Model T vehicles that represent the company's early production years. Visitors can take a closer look at these vehicles and read informative placards that provide information about each of the models. Henry Ford's office has been preserved with period furniture to give visitors a sense of what working here was like.

Another feature worthy of mention is The Jerry and Dorene Hammes Museum Store. Some of the souvenir items you can buy are replicas of original Model T booklets and price lists. Other items that you might want to consider are commemorative books, ornaments, and bingo games.
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Fisher Building

4) Fisher Building (must see)

The Fisher Building is a local landmark in Detroit, in the ever-popular New Center. This building dates to 1928 and stands 30 stories tall. Like many other buildings of the time, the skyscraper features an Art Deco style. Granite, limestone, and several kinds of marble make up the construction, creating a very impressive sight. This skyscraper has been a National Historic Landmark since 1989.

One of the building's signature attractions is the Fisher Theatre, which seats 2,098. The theater specializes in Broadway and off-Broadway productions. Another exciting thing about this theater is that it has been used for tryouts for significant productions. Three radio stations for the area also have their studios in this building. A radio antenna on the top of the building highlights the importance that these radio stations have had.

The theater entrance area features impressive traditional decor. Visitors are sure to love the opportunity to take pictures of this decor.
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Motown Historical Museum

5) Motown Historical Museum (must see)

The Motown Museum draws visitors into an experience that introduces them to the unique music that makes Motown what it is. This museum celebrates the iconic music style's history, going back to 1959. One of the highlights of the museum is Studio A, where some of Motown's first hits were recorded. The upper flat where Gordy Berry once lived has also been restored and a favorite with visitors.

You'll also want to visit the Control Room, which has the original recording equipment on display. When you go through this room, you'll be able to imagine the artists at work easily.

One of the things that keeps everything in this museum fresh and exciting is that the main exhibit changes monthly to bi-monthly. Examples of main exhibits have included an exhibit dedicated to Jim Hendin. These themed exhibits help perfectly captured the spirit of the era that they represent.

If you want to have an experience that stands out from the crowd, consider an interactive guided tour. You'll learn a lot about the music and artists that made it great through these tours. One of the top highlights for many visitors is taking selfies to share across social media.

Visiting this museum is an excellent way to catch special performances and events. From spoken word to singing competitions, there is something to please almost anyone. Many of the events include educational offerings geared towards the larger community.

Why You Must Visit

The chance to see where everything began with your favorite Motown artists and appreciate how they paved the way for others.

Tips

This museum is customarily open Thursdays through Sundays, so you may want to confirm that the museum is open before visiting.

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.
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Travel Distance: 1.8 Km or 1.1 Miles
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