Bucket lists are pretty popular these days. Not sure why, but they are. You’ve got one for nearly every time of year and place you can think of, including destinations like The D. Not wanting to be left out of the popular pastime, Visit Detroit staffers, colleagues, friends and acquaintances have put their thinking caps on to create our very own Detroit Bucket List. Nothing so monumental as falling in love or climbing a mountain appears on our list, but we’re still pretty darn proud of how easy it was to come up with a bunch of great things worth doing in metro Detroit during your lifetime. And this isn’t even all of ‘em. (P.S. There’s no particular order of importance here, and since this was published in our Spring & Summer 2016 issue, we picked a lot of warm weather to-dos to die for.)
Cars & Car History
1. Cruise or Spectate at the Woodward Dream Cruise
2. Walk the Worn Floors of the Ford Piquette Plant
…where Henry Ford first tinkered with his auto assembly line and built Model Ts, and then ride in one at Greenfield Village.
Music in Detroit
3. People Watch at Movement and the Detroit Jazz Festival
Take a picnic blanket and hit the grassy knoll of DTE Energy Music Theatre for a concert.
5. Stand Beneath the Famous Echo Chamber in the Second-level Gallery of the Motown Museum
When you clap your hands, snap your fingers or sing your favorite Motown tune, you’ll hear Motown’s rich, soulful signature sound echo back.
Sports in the D
6. Opening Day
Kick off spring by heading to downtown Detroit for the Tigers’ Opening Day.
7. Throw an Octopus on the Ice During a Red Wings Playoff Game*
*Doing said act could result in a fine and ejection from the game. You’ve been warned.
8. Catch a Giant Muskie on Lake St. Clair
9. Go Bowling, Sort of
Try fowling at the Fowling Warehouse in Hamtramck. Two teams, two lanes, 10 pins each and a couple of footballs. Or, feather bowl at Cadieux Cafe in Detroit. Two teams, a dirt lane, wooden balls that resemble a wheel of cheese and a feather.
10. Play Disc Golf on the Championship Course at Stony Creek Metropark
11. Buy a Bike or Rent One and Join the Masses at a Monday Night Slow Roll
12. Ride Your Bike Through the Dequindre Cut
Seek out some space-themed graffiti, actually commissioned art from artist Fel3000ft, or the mural of a gas-masked man by street artists Hygienic Dress League.
History Lessons at Detroit Museums
13. Go to the Wright
Appreciate the city’s African-American heritage at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, and then travel to the First Congregational Church of Detroit for the Underground Railroad Living Museum Tour.
14. Sit on the Historic Rosa Parks Bus in Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation
15. Take a Tour of Cranbrook Art Museum’s Funky Collections Wing
Every Friday at 1 p.m. The door to the vault is massive and eerie, and the flight down the stairs is all-the-way anticipatory. Be sure to seek out samples of iconic home furnishings of the 20th century from the likes of greats such as Eames and Saarinen.
16. Coming to America Exhibit
Read the names of Arab immigrants under the photos showcased in the Coming to America exhibit at the Arab American National Museum. Real people with real stories of courage and hope.
Art & Architecture
17. Explore Detroit’s Heidelberg Project
Spanning two city blocks on the lower east side, the art installation has been heralded as Detroit’s Ghetto Guggenheim. The installation will be changing soon, so check out the People’s House (aka Dotty Wotty House) and Noah’s Arc while you can.
18. Walk Downtown and Look Up at the Architecture
19. Experience the Elegant Lifestyle of a Bygone Era
20. Go to the Detroit Institute of Arts and Admire the Diego Rivera Murals
On the south wall of the courtyard — one of two major panels that depict Ford Motor Co.’s Rouge plant in 1932 — find one tiny red finished car at the end of the assembly line.
The Great Outdoors in the D
21. Get in a Car, Drive Across the Douglas Macarthur Bridge and Ride Around Belle Isle
22. Soak in Some Rays at the Beach at Campus Martius Park
Grab an ice cold something from The Fountain Detroit, sit down and dig your toes in the sand right in the middle of Detroit’s urban jungle.
23. Hike the Wild Wing Trail at Kensington Metropark
…and try and identify at least 10 of the more than 260 birds that have been spotted in the park.
Tours: Classic and Unique
24. Visit The Parade Company’s Studio
New floats, old floats, big heads. Take a tour of where the papier-mâché props and floats of America’s Thanksgiving Parade come to life.
25. Tour the Shinola Factory
See one of their bikes being assembled and then buy one at the on-site store.
26. Take a Tour
Get more intimate with the city through a guided tour by car, bus, bike or even on foot. So many themes, so many options — from ghosts to architecture.
Activities With Kids
27. Fill Your Pockets With Quarters and Go to Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum in Farmington Hills
An arcade out of a time warp, featuring thousands of coin-operated oddities, from fortune-telling automatons and vintage pinball games to its famous tic-tac-toe chicken.
28. Walk With the Kangaroos at the Detroit Zoo
The roos are most active in the a.m. (Tip: If you take a trip to the zoo in the winter, make sure you pop into the Butterfly Garden — it’s nice and toasty.)
29. Take a Spin on the Cullen Family Carousel on the Detroit International RiverWalk
Things That Are Just Downright Fun
30. Go to a Detroit Dive Bar
31. Eastern Market
See, smell and taste the Eastern Market.
32. Order a Detroit Dirty Martini and Listen to Jazz at Cliff Bell’s.
33. Detroit Casinos
Dig out your jester hat and tights and go to the Renaissance Festival. Eat a giant turkey leg.
35. See a Show at the Fisher Theatre
Then check out the Wurlitzer organ in the auditorium. It’s the largest unaltered theater pipe organ around. Would make the Phantom of the Opera drool.
36. Take a Selfie-worthy Photo
Then tag it #DepictTheD. The Fist, Spirit of Detroit and the giant tiger at Comerica Park are all top spots.