Day trip ideas in Detroit for 2021

Traveling on its own can be difficult right now, but travel planning doesn’t have to be.

So what are your travel plans for 2021? How about a day trip to Detroit? We know it’s a hotspot for automotive culture. Yet we could all equally benefit from the healing effects of being surrounded by a little bit of nature. But how do you integrate automotive culture into a day trip? And what has Detroit done about city parks? Let’s find out.

Auto Culture Day Trip Ideas

For pedal enthusiasts or just metal enthusiasts, some ways to spend time with cars outdoors, in the event of a pandemic pending due to local laws and safety, may include participating in one annual Detroit auto events such as the Detroit Grand Prix, the Woodward Dream Cruise, or the North American International Auto Show.

Packard test park

Perfect for vintage car enthusiasts, the Woodward Dream Cruise, considered the world’s largest cruise with classic cars galore, is scheduled for August 21, 2021. The cruise itinerary is a 16 mile radius within the Oakland County, northwest of Detroit. The Dream Cruise even has a new official parking app called ParkStash!

Although NAIAS took place indoors in the middle of winter, starting in 2020, the show is slated for the warmer months of next year. Motor Bella is more than just an auto show. It is an experience and a journey through the innovative mobility industry. Held at the Pontiac M1 Concourse from September 21 to 26, tickets go on sale in July!

For history buffs, some ways to spend time with cars inside, also pending a pandemic due to local laws and safety, may include visiting the Henry Ford Museum, the Ford Rouge plant or the Packard test park. All three locations are considered national historic sites.

The Henry Ford Museum has resumed operations and is hosting a Marvel exhibit featuring over 300 pop culture artifacts through January 31 in addition to its usual features. Advance ticket reservations are encouraged. Self-guided tours of the Ford Rouge factory reopen on January 21, 2021.

Located in Macomb County, 45-minute guided tours to the Packard Proving Grounds can be scheduled on the same day if availability permits. Their website recommends “weekdays 9am to 3pm are best for group tours.”

So day trippers can see race cars, cruise cars, new cars and vintage cars, maybe on the same day! Or, at least two out of four.

Ideas for day trips to the urban park

In addition to museums, factories, and car-centric events, Detroit has many city parks and other nature-based options to consider including in a day trip plan, both at downtown and in the metropolitan area.

For a good winter atmosphere, Campus Martius offers an outdoor skating rink with hot and hot fireplaces at the edge of the rink. According to the Detroit Parks website, “skaters are required to wear masks or face coverings, as well as to practice social distancing at all times, but the memories are limitless.”

For an active downtown setting with views of the skyline of Canada, the Detroit Riverwalk is 3.5 miles long with a mix of green grass and sidewalks. An urban park par excellence, the Riverwalk is ideal for walking, running and cycling. Check the website for 2021 details regarding the Riverfront Run and Riverfront Days.

For an active setting on the Detroit subway, including places to walk, run, bike, and kayak, Hines Drive Park begins in nearby Detroit, Dearborn, and ends in Northville. Hines Drive is a Wayne County highway and conglomerate of parks. It can be a bit difficult to access for those who don’t know the area. But once on board, it’s a two-lane, breezy, figurative breath of fresh air to take a lazy stroll among the usual multi-lane and bustling traffic grids of the Detroit Metro. Kayak rentals are available at Newburgh Pointe during the weekends of the summer season by reservation.

Up the alley for animal lovers, the Detroit Zoo in Royal Oak excites and amazes visitors with the sights and sounds of its variety of habitats, including the Arctic Ring of Life, “one of North America’s largest polar bear habitats’ and the Butterfly Garden inside the Interpretive Wildlife Gallery. The zoo, primarily an outdoor environment, is currently open and requires that “all guests ages 5 and over wear masks at all times …” according to their site.

Belle Isle Conservatory

Excellent for plant lovers, the Belle Isle Conservatory has a parkland feel while refreshing mind and body with its naturally purified air. The conservatory, mainly an indoor environment, “is an exotic and rare collection of plants from around the world”. Although currently closed to the public, it is generally open Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with free entry and parking. Check the website for the 2021 updates for planning purposes.

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