City Guide 2024: What to Do in The Detroit Suburbs

Had enough of football in the city? There’s plenty more to do in Metro Detroit.
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Illustration by Ryan Olbrysh

Art & Culture

Arab American National Museum

The Arab American National Museum is the sole museum of its kind in the country dedicated to Arab American history and culture. The Smithsonian affiliate is fittingly located in the city of Dearborn, where over 50% of the population possesses Arabic heritage. 13624 Michigan Ave., Dearborn; 313-429-2535; arabamericanmuseum.org.

Cranbrook House & Gardens, Cranbrook Institute of Science, and Cranbrook Art Museum

Enjoy the seasonal flowers and trees of this architecturally significant Bloomfield Hills manor on your own or make a reservation for lunch or afternoon tea with a group. The Institute of Science is a natural history museum with exhibits, a planetarium, and an observatory. The art museum is a leading museum of contemporary art, architecture, and design. They are all public areas on the Cranbrook Educational Community property. 39221 Woodward Ave., Bloomfield Hills; 248-645-3200; cranbrook.edu.

Edsel and Eleanor Ford House

Once home to Edsel Ford, son of Ford Motor Co. founder Henry Ford, the historic Edsel and Eleanor Ford House rests along the shores of Lake St. Clair, at a place known locally as Gaukler Pointe. Dine in at The Continental or pack a picnic when you tour the home and property. 1100 Lake Shore Road, Grosse Pointe Shores; 313-884-4222; fordhouse.org.

Ford Rouge Factory Tour

The Ford Rouge Factory Tour combines environmental innovation with industrial ingenuity. Watch Ford F-150s get assembled, visit what’s billed as North America’s largest “living” roof, watch a short film about the history of Ford and the company’s assembly process, and check out the actual cars, which have been produced at the plant since 1928. 20900 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn; 313-982-6001; thehenryford.org.

Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village

Explore American innovation at the 12-acre museum in Henry Ford’s hometown. The Driving America exhibit’s world-famous collection of historically significant vehicles is a notable highlight. Or, head to Greenfield Village (on the same campus) for glassblowing demonstrations, Model T rides, and a tour of the Wright brothers’ home. 20900 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn; 313-982-6001; thehenryford.org.

Meadow Brook Hall

The story behind Meadow Brook Hall is not your typical boy-meets-girl tale. Lumber baron meets widow of automotive aristocrat by the surname of Dodge, husband and wife found Oakland University, and the two live happily ever after in their 110-room Tudor revival mansion. Nevertheless, the Dodge and Wilson families’ ornate Rochester manor makes a fantastic venue for house and garden tours. 350 Estate Drive, Rochester; 248-364-6200; meadowbrookhall.org.

The Zekelman Holocaust Center

The just-remodeled Zekelman Holocaust Center is a stunning documentation of the Holocaust as well as Jewish culture and Jewish peoples’ contributions to society. 28123 Orchard Lake Road, Farmington Hills; 248-553-2400; holocaustcenter.org.

Activities

Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum

This museum displays 250-plus interactive exhibits on nature, physics, health, mathematics, and more. 220 E. Ann St., Ann Arbor; 734-995-5439; aahom.org.

Blake’s Orchard & Cider Mill

This year-round 800-acre family-friendly venue was founded in 1946. It has a cider mill, a children’s activity area, a store, a taproom, a tasting room (plus many other dining options) — and it’s where Blake’s Hard Cider is produced. 17985 Armada Center Road, Armada; 586-784-5343; blakefarms.com.

Detroit Zoo

This nearly 100-year-old zoo is located north of Detroit, in the sleepy city of Royal Oak. Its campus feels both old (in a good way) and new. More recent additions include a penguin conservation center, an expanded red panda forest, a tiger forest, and four gorillas. It’s a lovely place to take a walk, ride a carousel, attend an event, and meet furry friends. 8450 W. 10 Mile Road, Royal Oak; 248-541-5717; detroitzoo.org.

Fowling Warehouse

Feeling inspired to toss the ole pigskin? Now, try heaving it at bowling pins! Sip a beer from the Fowling Warehouse’s full-service bar while you take a stab at fowling. It’s also the designated pregame spot for the Northern Guard Supporters — a lovably rowdy group of Detroit City Football Club fanatics. 3901 Christopher St., Hamtramck; 313-264-1288; fowlingwarehouse.com.

Huron-Clinton Metroparks

This regional park system consists of 13 Metroparks in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Washtenaw, and Livingston counties. Each Metropark provides a natural oasis from urban and suburban life by offering an ever-growing variety of year-round outdoor recreational and educational activities in safe, clean environments. Picnicking, hiking, nature study, biking, golf, and disc golf are a few activities you can enjoy in the spring. Each park is unique and offers its own slate of outdoor experiences. Daily passes are $10. Locations and information can be found at metroparks.com.

Skip’s Huron River Canoe Livery & Outfitters

Park at Delhi Metropark to rent kayaks, canoes, or tubes, then catch a ride. 3902 E. Delhi Road, Ann Arbor; 734-769-8686; paddlethehuron.com.

University of Michigan

Whether you’re a Wolverines fan or simply seeking out a scenic route, the elegant historical architecture of the University of Michigan’s central campus makes it a great place for a brisk walk or a day of people-watching. (Tip: Don’t step on the “M” in front of the Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library. It’s said to be bad luck.) For a tour of Michigan Stadium (aka the Big House), fill out a request form online at least two weeks in advance. The campus is located just north of South University Street in Ann Arbor; umich.edu. The stadium is at 1201 S. Main St; for tours,
go to facilityrentals.ath.umich.edu/index.php/facility-tours.

Shopping

Birmingham Shopping District

Birmingham’s vibrant downtown features a wide variety of shopping, dining, and hotel options (many of them high-end). There are also world-class spas and salons. Two movie theaters and a centrally located park add to the fun. Old Woodward Avenue and Maple Avenue, Birmingham; 248-530-1200; allinbirmingham.com.

Great Lakes Crossing Outlets

For deals on designer handbags and clothing, visit Great Lakes Crossing Outlets in Auburn Hills. This enclosed shopping mall has more than 200 stores and restaurants, plus it’s home to the Sea Life Michigan Aquarium. In other words? There’s something for both kids and adults. 4000 Baldwin Road, Auburn Hills; 248-454-5000; greatlakescrossingoutlets.com.

The Rust Belt Market

The Rust Belt Market houses a collection of local small businesses selling unique products, such as those you might find at an art fair. Visit to help support local artists and vendors. 22801 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-238-8728; rustbeltmarket.com.

Somerset Collection

With stores like Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Balenciaga, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Dior, Tiffany & Co., Tory Burch, Prada, Burberry, Versace, Apple, and Zara, Somerset Collection represents the pinnacle of luxury retail excellence. 2800 W. Big Beaver Road, Troy; 248-643-6360; thesomersetcollection.com.

The Village of Rochester Hills

With a clock tower, a fountain, a gazebo, a variety of dining options, and tree-lined boulevards, The Village of Rochester Hills is a picture-perfect place to shop for loved ones. This bustling shopping district features respected national and local retailers like Banana Republic, Francesca’s, Pottery Barn, and Williams Sonoma. 104 N. Adams Road, Rochester Hills; 248-375-9451; thevorh.com.


This story is one piece of our 2024 City Guide, which appeared in the April 2024 issue of Hour Detroit magazine. For the rest, pick up a copy of Hour Detroit at a local retail outlet. Our digital edition will be available on April 5.