Activities for kids abound in Detroit, Michigan

Mural at Eastern Market
Mural at Eastern Market

By Melissa Miller, Taking the Kids Correspondent

DAY 2 — Detroit, Michigan.

Detroit has plenty of kid-friendly activities too!  If you or your kids are history buffs, the Ford Museum and Greenfield Village are perfect destinations.  The Ford Museum has an impressive collection of artifacts, including the first Mustang ever made, the car in which JFK was assassinated, the chair Lincoln was seated in when he was shot, and the bus that Rosa Parks rode.  There are also many interactive components for kids, including an assembly line.  Many other car and plane models are also on display, along with so much more. You could spend the entire day in the museum and not see it all!

Just outside is Greenfield Village, which has a collection of important historical buildings, including Edison’s house, many buildings significant to the life of Henry Ford, and the Wright Brothers’ home.  You and your kids can ride a train around the 90 acres that brings history alive.  You can even ride in a model T car!   Many of the buildings are accessible and interactive, like a hat shop and candy store.  A main square features yard games of the time that you and your children can play.  Folks walk around or ride horses, wearing traditional clothing of the time as well.  Visit here for more information.

One of my personal favorite stops was the Eastern Farmer’s Market.   The wholesale market is so much more than just a farmer’s market, but home to many of Detroit’s most memorable stops.  The market’s schedule changes depending on the time of year, but they sell everything from produce to plants and flowers, to meat and more.  Many restaurants, cooperatives, and art galleries call this area home.  Places like Salt and Cedar integrate nutrition and food into their seemingly unrelated business of printing, and are involved in the community, holding bookmaking and cooking classes.   This part of town is also known for the elaborate and extravagant graffiti on brick buildings.  Some famous graffiti artists have traveled here to leave their mark.  Galleries like the Red Bull House of Art are open to the community, featuring local artists, and also hold community classes.

Want to get around downtown Detroit without driving?  Easy!  The People Mover was established just for you!  Despite the unoriginal name, it is just 75 cents to ride, and see the city.   This is especially fun for kids, and a safe and exciting way to see what is happening downtown.   If your family loves to walk, check out D Hive for walking tours and places to see.

Like other big cities, you will find a zoo, and three major league sports teams as well. There is also a great Ferris wheel for kids right outside of the Tiger’s stadium.  The cars are all giant baseballs!  To the southeast, the riverfront is a great place to rent bikes and ride around.  You can even see across to Toronto.  The trail continues to connect to an old railroad track that has been converted to a stretch of bike path.

Detroit is full of exciting and delicious places to eat.  Companies like Russell Street Deli are incredibly community-oriented.  One of the owners started at the restaurant himself as a dishwasher.  Although the restaurant has not changed much since then, they are having a great impact on the community with a constant line of devoted customers waiting to have brunch.  They bring good, local food to the community in a quaint, friendly and incredibly popular diner.

Although you have many options of places to stay in Detroit, the Inns at Fairy Street are in a great central location, and promise a unique experience. They are located in Midtown, which is just northwest of downtown.  The neighborhood is walkable, with easy access to places like the Detroit Institute of Art, known for their Diego Rivera collection.

Another great aspect of Detroit is the diversity.  Each neighborhood has its own flavor to add to the city.    Go to Polishtown in Hamtramck to see the Polish Art Center, try delicious pastries, sausages and pieogies at local restaurants and shops, or peek inside St. Florian church.  They may even treat you to some accordion music.

Dearborn holds the largest population of Arabs outside the Middle East.  They have created a unique integrated culture.  Wander into the many Lebanese sweet shops or restaurants for a taste of pastries, ice cream, or variety of excellent hummus, tabouli, and more!  You can find any kind of food throughout Detroit, from deli to barbeque to farm to table.   Check here for more restaurants.

Visit www.michigan.org for more ideas!

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