Experience the architectural legacy of Detroit’s former eras alongside forward-thinking modern designs on these top architecture tours.
In the Roaring 20s, the citizens of Detroit must have thought the city had it made. Ford was churning out cars faster than ever before, money was pouring in and many of the finest Art Deco buildings in the world were reaching towards the sky. But the city’s fall from grace through the 20th century was halted in the 21st and to date, Detroit remains the only recipient of UNESCO City of Design status in the United States, rewarding modern architectural innovation. Here are three great ways to see it for yourself.
Detroit Spirit and History Self-Guided Audio Tour
The best-value architecture tour in Detroit is a self-guided one, which involves downloading an app on your phone and following a pre-designed route. This tour includes architectural highlights such as the Guardian and Penobscot buildings, the Kern’s Clock and Campus Martius Park. An audio guide accompanies the tour, which you can listen to as you explore. The tour also includes some street art and tasty food recommendations. Another benefit is that you can follow this tour whenever you like. From $7 per person.
Preservation Detroit Tour
To benefit from a local guide’s keen insight and personal knowledge, then consider opting for a tour run by the team at Preservation Detroit. The organization was established to protect the valuable historical heritage of Detroit and the non-profit status of the tours means you’ll be getting a rare blend of unmatched expertise and great value. Explore the city’s architectural and cultural heritage, focusing primarily on the city’s Modernist and Art Deco highlights. Tours only run from spring to late summer and only a few times a month. Check the website for the latest dates. From $20 per person.
Detroit Architectural Beauty and Hidden Gems Walking Tour
For a broader tour that encompasses architectural highlights along with Detroit’s cultural history and its role in developing the city’s rich musical legacy (Motown in particular), then opt for this 150-minute walking tour. It serves as a comprehensive introduction to the city, unlocking central areas such as Belle Isle, Downtown and some lesser-known landmarks. Stop by highlights such as the Motown Museum, Fox Theater and the Fisher Building. Tours run daily from mid-spring until the end of summer. From $130 per person.