Home of popular Detroit Institute of Art, The Motown Museum, The Ford Piquette Avenue Plant and lots of things to do on Memorial day in Detroit. We've compiled some of the best things to do in Detroit on this Memorial Day holiday.
The Detroit Institute of Arts displays a representative cross-section of man's artistic creation from the earliest cultures to the present day. Its permanent collection includes more than 65,000 works of art within more than 100 galleries. This includes pieces from Africa, Oceania, and the Indigenous Americas; art of the Near East and classical antiquity; collections from medieval Europe; and American art and culture.
Among the museum's most popular are masterpieces of European painting, including works by Rembrandt, Van Gogh (self-portrait), Matisse, and Picasso. There is also an extensive collection of Islamic art with pottery, bronze, stone, and other works that span from ancient to modern and a gallery dedicated to African American art, which includes a variety of media.
In addition to traditional art forms, the museum is home to a performing arts collection that includes film and theater memorabilia, as well as the Paul McPharlin Puppetry Collection.
Also referred to as "Hitsville USA" for its iconic sign, the Motown Museum is a small shingle-clad building that was occupied from 1957 to 1972 by the studio where records of the "Motown sound" were produced. Visitors can see the actual recording studio where Marvin Gaye and others produced hit songs and the apartment where Motown founder Berry Gordy Jr. lived with his family.
The museum chronicles the history of the recording studio and the historic days of Detroit's rise to fame as the birthplace of some of the biggest hits of all time. Be sure to call ahead to reserve your tour on Memorial Day - admission sells out quickly.
The Ford Piquette Avenue Plant is where the Model T was born, revolutionizing the automotive industry and shaping the way for the future of personal transportation. The building is a National Historic Landmark, formerly the center of manufacturing for what was once the world's most popular car.
Visitors during Memorial Day can walk through the plant on the original worn floorboards and admire dozens of beautifully maintained early model vehicles, including Ford's cars and his competitors. You can also see the "experimental room" just as it was when Ford and his team worked on developing and testing new ideas, including a drafting table, tools, and even his mother's rocking chair.
The grounds of Fort Wayne feature a five-pointed bastion fortress built in the 1840s, which tourists enter through the Sally Port, a fortified wooden door made with three layers of wood. Inside the fort stands the large limestone barracks building, which was constructed in 1848. Visitors on Memorial Day can tour the first floor to get a peek at what life was like for a soldier in the 1860s.
The fort's interior also includes its oldest building, the powder magazine, and the large open parade grounds. Other features include a restored officer's quarters; the Demilune, which once held the water-facing cannons; and a dry moat. The fort hosts a number of events throughout the summer, as well as several special tours, including nighttime ghost tours that explore the spookier side of the fort.
Belle Isle is an island in the Detroit River, approximately three miles long and up to one mile wide, laid out with beautiful parkland, hiking trails, and sports facilities. One of the primary features is the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory, which opened in 1904 and includes palms, cacti and desert plants, tropical plants, and a lily pond.
The island is also home to the Dossin Great Lakes Museum, which has numerous ship models and other exhibits illustrating the history of shipping on the Great Lakes, as well as reminders of the days of grand Great Lakes cruises, like the restored Gothic Room from the S.S. City of Detroit III.
Other attractions include the Belle Isle Nature Zoo, where visitors on Memorial Day can feed deer, and the recently remodeled Belle Isle Aquarium. There are plenty of recreational opportunities on the island, including a driving range, bicycle and boat rentals, a giant slide, and plenty of swimming holes and hiking trails in and around the park's three lakes.
Comerica Park is a combination ballpark, theme park, and baseball museum. The park is most famous as the home of the Detroit Tigers baseball team whose history is celebrated along the main concourse in a series of exhibits that highlight the team's accomplishments and milestones, as well as a "Walk of Fame," which celebrates its most famous players.
Behind first base, families during Memorial Day can enjoy a nice ride on the carousel, while in the third-base section there is a 50-foot Ferris wheel with seats that look like giant baseballs. If you have the chance to attend a game or event at the park, you will see the famous "liquid fireworks" in action on the center-field wall, where a colorfully lit fountain punctuates home runs and wows the crowd.
The Masonic Temple of Detroit is classical Gothic architecture built with Indiana limestone. The temple was dedicated in 1926 and is the largest temple of its kind in the world. The building has three major divisions: the ritualistic tower, the auditorium, and the Shrine Club. The facility hosts concerts and other events. During Memorial Day, visitors who would like a tour of this impressive building need to call ahead for a reservation.