Discover fine art, cultural history, technological advancements, outdoor adventures, and more at Detroit museums.
Detroit is Michigan’s cultural hub, blending urban revival with unparalleled natural beauty. Whether you are viewing public art along the riverfront or exploring one of the city’s immersive and enlightening museums, you will quickly discover that the Motor City has a flavor all its own.
These are some of the best Michigan museums in Detroit and throughout the surrounding metro area…
Boasting more than 65,000 works of art, the Detroit Institute of Arts is one of the largest art museums in the United States. It is self-described as the town square of the community, serving as a gathering place for people of all ages who want to experience art through the ages in an immersive and interesting way.
The DIA, as it is affectionately called, offers free admission to local residents in Wayne, Macomb, and Oakland counties, making it one of the most accessible art museums as well.
Throughout the museum, you will find famous masterpieces, such as Caravaggio’s Martha and Mary Magdalene, as well as local works of art, artifacts from ancient times, and more.
In addition, the DIA brings in rotating exhibits in order to ensure that each visit is more memorable than the last.
The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History is dedicated to the preservation and celebration of cultural contributions by African Americans. For more than 50 years, it has been highlighting the unique and memorable contributions of the African American community through both permanent and rotating exhibits.
The museum not only showcases the past but also highlights present movements while focusing on the future.
Known locally as The Wright, this museum brings in more than 500,000 visitors each year, many of whom visit beloved exhibits such as the Blanche Coggin Underground Railroad Collection and the Sheffield Collection.
Milwaukee Junction, Detroit
Famously known as the birthplace of the Model T, the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant Museum is housed in one of the world’s oldest surviving automobile plants.
Visitors are invited to come to the museum in order to step back in time and see what life was like for Henry Ford’s autoworkers as they created the first mass-produced automobile in the country.
More than 65 different rare automobiles are on display, making this a favorite museum among adults and school children alike.
The only museum dedicated solely to the city’s history is the Detroit Historical Museum, which is located in Detroit’s Cultural Center on Woodward Avenue in Midtown.
Visitors are invited to travel back in time more than 300 years, where they will learn more about how the city came to be and how cultural changes and social shifts have shaped the city throughout the centuries.
Perhaps the most well-known and well-loved exhibit in this museum is the Streets of Old Detroit exhibit, which allows guests to walk through a life-sized version of a Detroit street in the early 20th century.
In addition to its permanent exhibits, there are always changing exhibits on display that highlight different aspects of the city’s growth and development through the years.
New Center, Detroit
As you travel along West Grand Boulevard, you might be surprised to pass Hitsville U.S.A. — a white home with blue shutters that is also known as the Birthplace of Motown.
Today, Hitsville U.S.A. is home to the Motown Museum, which actively works to preserve the history of the Motown music scene while highlighting the pivotal role that it continues to play in today’s world.
The museum is known for its rotating exhibits, allowing visitors to continue to come back and experience their vast collection. Of course, in addition to seeing these artifacts with your eyes, you will be surrounded by the vibrant sounds of Motown throughout your entire visit.
The Michigan Science Center is a Smithsonian-affiliated museum in Midtown, which has quickly become known as the cultural heart of Detroit.
Designed with curious young learners in mind, the Michigan Science Center describes itself as a hands-on, minds-on museum where people of all ages can explore concepts, test their own theories, and simply discover how the world works.
The museum is home to more than 220 different interactive exhibits, making it the kind of place that you can visit again and again and always learn something new.
Belle Isle, Detroit
Nestled on the shores of the city’s iconic island park, Belle Isle, the Dossin Great Lakes Museum invites guests to stroll through its corridors and discover more about what life is like in the Great Lakes State.
Most of the exhibits in the museum emphasize the critical role that Detroit has long played in the state’s shipping, transportation, and maritime industries.
With a signature collection that includes a historic hydroplane, a pilot house, and a restored Gothic room from the S.S. City of Detroit III, this museum provides an immersive experience that is unlike anything else in the city.
Just steps away from the mighty and magnificent Detroit River is the DNR Outdoor Adventure Center, an indoor museum-turned-playground that provides children with an opportunity to see, touch, and feel the natural beauty of the Great Lakes region.
When you step inside the Globe Building, you will know that you are protected from the elements — but you might truly feel like you have found yourself in the great outdoors.
Giant trees tower above your head, with a canopy walkway for the children to climb on. There is a rushing waterfall for kids to run under, as well as several interactive exhibits and simulations that give visitors the opportunity to feel as if they are truly camping, hiking, or fishing in Michigan.
With its low admission price and endless activities, this has quickly become a favorite among local Detroit families.
Founded in 2006 in an abandoned warehouse building in Midtown, the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit all but redefined and recreated the city’s cultural scene.
Frequently referred to as MOCAD, this museum boasts more than 22,000 square feet of space and has a massive collection of contemporary art that continues to inspire each visitor who walks through the door.
The atmosphere at this museum can be best described as real and raw, and the art that is on display sparks the imagination while touching the soul. The goal of the museum organizers and directors has always been to make art as accessible and comfortable as possible for anyone who wants to enjoy it.
The Henry Ford Museum is consistently referred to as one of the best museums in the state of Michigan, and it’s only located a few miles away from the city of Detroit.
Within the museum itself, visitors will walk through different chapters of American history, with displays including larger-than-life farm equipment, actual steam engines, a vast collection of automobiles, and historic artifacts, such as the chair where Abraham Lincoln was shot.
Greenfield Village is a seasonal attraction and is described as an outdoor living history museum that boasts a collection of famous historic homes and buildings.
The Ford Rouge Factory Tour is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, bringing visitors to one of Ford’s famous factories, so they can learn about how this plant built our past and powers our future.
Farmington Hills, Michigan
About 30 minutes away from Detroit is the Zekelman Holocaust Center, a cultural museum in Farmington Hills dedicated to preserving the raw and horrific history of the Holocaust.
Designed as the first Holocaust memorial in the United States, the Zekelman Holocaust Center has been sharing the stories of survivors and the experiences of victims for decades.
This moving and devastating museum highlights the importance of understanding the past so that we can build a better future together.
Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
Known for its renowned collection of breathtaking objects and incredible artifacts, the Cranbrook Institute of Science aims to showcase the power of science and its relevant role in our everyday lives.
The museum is well-known not only for its interactive science exhibits but also for its Planetarium, which is one of the few of its kind in the state. It’s a favorite destination among school groups and families with curious young children.
Visit One of the Best Detroit Museums Today
You don’t need an excuse to visit one of the best Detroit museums. With a collection of museums dedicated to fine art, cultural history, technological advancements, outdoor adventures, and more, there is sure to be a museum that sparks interest and offers new insight or perspective.
Visit one of the best museums in Detroit on your next visit to the Motor City.