Whether you’re visiting Detroit for the first time or you proudly rep the 313, there will always be something exciting about experiencing the sights and sounds of the city’s downtown.
Discover downtown Detroit with kids — even if you already live like a local — with our family guide. First time tourists will love eating at Motor City staples and browsing classic shops, and even city dwellers will enjoy seeing Detroit through fresh eyes with these ideas on where to explore and play as a family.
Ready to head downtown? Below are some of our favorite kid-friendly sights and spots around downtown Detroit.
- Address: 1241 Woodward Ave, Detroit
Start off a full day of exploring with a hearty breakfast. At The Hudson Cafe, you can indulge in a sweet breakfast with specialty pancakes, stuffed french toast and sweet crepes, or go savory with eggs Benedict, omelets, and hearty salads and sandwiches. Did we mention there’s a children’s menu with Mickey Mouse pancakes?
- Address: 114 W Lafayette Blvd, Detroit
Nothing tastes more like Detroit than a coney dog. Family-owned and operated since 1917, American Coney Island is serving up classic coney dogs — hot dogs topped with chili, mustard and onions — as well as gyros, Greek salads, cheese fries and other yummy options.
- Address: 118 W Lafayette Blvd, Detroit
We couldn’t include American Coney Island without also including its delicious competitor, Lafayette Coney Island. Our suggestion? Get a coney dog at both locations and put them to a taste test!
- Address: Cadillac Square
Explore limitless lunch options from more than 75 food trucks. From 11 a.m.-3 p.m. from June-October, this daily food truck rally offers hungry downtown patrons a taste of Detroit. Some of our favorites include Cousins Maine Lobster Truck, Hero or Villain Food Truck and Detroit Mini Donuts, just to name a few, but there are so many more great food trucks to choose from.
- Address: 88 W Columbia St, Detroit
Over-the-top milkshakes, classic diner food, trendy decor and a kids menu? What more could you want? A meal at JoJo’s Shake Bar is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth and make your stomach (and your kids) happy.
- Address: 2131 Woodward Ave, Detroit
Detroit-raised rapper Eminem’s spaghetti restaurant may seem like a bit of a tourist trap, but there’s a reason it’s so popular! A clever riff on one of the rapper’s best-known song lyrics, Mom’s Spaghetti has a simple menu of pasta dishes and even spaghetti sandwiches. Who knows, you might get lucky and spot a celebrity — the rapper has been known to make appearances while helping out the restaurant staff.
Hailing all the way from the east coast, Mister Dips’ second location brings all-natural angus beef dipped sandwiches to Detroit. Try a classic dip, or branch out with the bacon hatch chili dip or the vegan dip made with plant-based beef. There’s also shakes, soft serve and even alcoholic milkshakes on the menu.
- Address: 1445 Adelaide, Detroit
Since 1891, the shops and vendors at the Eastern Market have been committed to nourishing a “healthier, wealthier, happier Detroit.” From traditional farmer’s market vendors with fresh produce and goods to local artists, cooks, jewelers and more, you won’t believe all the treasures your family will find.
- Address: 1424 Woodward Ave, Detroit
What began as a state-of-the-art watch factory in 2012 has grown to a distinctly Detroit brand that produces high-quality leather bags and purses, jewelry, accessories and yes, watches. Pick up a top-notch souvenir that will last you a lifetime.
- Address: 1436 Farmer St, Detroit
This local shop lives up to its tag line, “Detroit’s brand name.” Three Thirteen carries everything you need to rep the 313, from stylish Detroit tees and hats to retro-inspired jackets that proudly incorporate the city’s professional sports teams.
- Address: 1435 Farmer St Suite 120, Detroit
Just staring through the window of this chocolate shop will have you drooling. Made locally in Hamtramck, these gourmet Bon Bon Bons are handmade truffles that range from classic, familiar flavors like nonpareils and coffee to Hot Cheetos, birthday cake and black truffle.
- Address: 2100 Woodward Ave, Detroit
Catch a Detroit Tigers game, ride the ferris wheel and take in MLB history with a trip to Comerica Park. Kids ages 4-14 can run the bases after all Sunday home games! Check out our family guide to Comerica Park to make the most of your family’s game day experience.
- Address: 2000 Brush St, Detroit
Cheer on the Detroit Lions during football season, or see a performance from one of the many pop stars, rock bands or other sporting events that stop at Ford Field when they come to town.
- Address: 2645 Woodward Ave, Detroit
The Detroit Pistons and the Detroit Red Wings proudly carry pieces of the city’s history in their names. See an NBA or NHL game in the 313 or, if you’re not much of a sporting family, see what other entertainment and community events are taking place at this massive arena.
- Address: 2211 Woodward Ave, Detroit
Downtown dinner and a show! This iconic Detroit theater hosts some of the biggest names in show business as well as family-friendly musicals and Broadway productions, interactive stage shows and holiday programs.
- Address: 2115 Woodward Ave, Detroit
Nothing completes a night on the town like enjoying live music as a family. The Fillmore hosts a variety of musical performances, from pop, rap and R&B to rock ‘n’ roll, heavy metal and comedy shows.
Detroit’s Riverwalk has it all: scenic, historic plazas; bike and walking paths with views of both nature and urban scenery; the Outdoor Adventure Center; plenty of parks with space to play and even a state park with a lighthouse!
- Address: 1901 Grand River Ave, Detroit
With events for the entire family, Beach Park is so much fun to explore! Listen to live music, watch a movie in the park, play field games and more. Check the park’s calendar to see what’s going on during your visit.
- Address: 800 Woodward Ave, Detroit
During the summer, this public square turns into an urban beach complete with sand, lounging chairs and picnic tables with bright umbrellas. In the winter, Campus Martius Park is your go-to destination for ice skating with a city view.
- Address: Dequindre Cut Greenway, Detroit
This 1.5 mile pedestrian path connects downtown and nearby neighborhoods directly to the riverfront. The greenway was formerly a Grand Trunk Railroad line, but today it is a beloved recreational path that features urban views, murals and plenty of seating options to rest along the route.
Spirit of Detroit Plaza
- Address: 2 Woodward Ave, Detroit
Also known as “The People’s Plaza,” this public space has art, sculptures and event programming that uplift the voices of Detroit residents. The plaza’s family-friendly events include live music, face painting, food and ice cream truck appearances and so much more.
- Address: Between Broadway and Library streets linking Gratiot and Grand River
Located in the heart of downtown, the Belt redefines what an alley can — or should — look like. Captivating artwork, plants and brightly colored benches, twinkling lights and public art fill the small space, packing so much Detroit art and culture into what could have been just another alley.
- Address: 131 Atwater St, Detroit
Once you’ve explored downtown by foot, why not see it by boat? A cruise on Detroit Princess Riverboat combines classic sightseeing and waterfront views with fun themes like Murder Mystery or Motown music that your family will love.
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