The Detroit River Walk – What to Visit?

Visitors to Detroit must visit the acclaimed Detroit Riverwalk, a stunning public space located in downtown Detroit.

It is alive and well by day with the creative spirit of Detroit. MI, while at night it transforms into a breathtaking waterfront view of the city.

The Detroit Riverwalk runs three-and-a-half miles along the Detroit River from the Joe Louis Arena up to Gabriel Richard Park.

The Detroit Riverfront Conservancy is working hard to make the riverfront a destination for families, tourists, and unique Detroit experiences.

Enjoy a leisurely cruise down the Riverwalk, which includes stops at scenic parks and eating at unusual restaurants. You can also enjoy the many attractions and plazas that the Riverwalk has to offer, something most east riverfronts are lacking.
This guide will allow you to see the Riverwalk and Detroit’s riverfront from a closer perspective.

Readers Choice: Detroit Riverwalk named Best

USA Today’s readers voted the Detroit Riverwalk the Best Riverwalk in America in the USA Today 10 Best Readers Choice Awards.

You can see the results of the awards contest when you walk along Riverwalk. The experience is worthy of being voted the best by 10 readers. However, the area surrounding Detroit is a great place to enjoy the beauty and joy of Detroit.

Learn about the Detroit Riverwalk

River walks are a reflection of the community that created them. The city of Detroit is a vibrant, diverse and lively place.

The Detroit River, one of the most important waterways in the country, runs from Lake St. Clair up to Lake Eerie. You will be part of the Detroit public as you stroll down the riverfront and get to experience the city firsthand.

The Detroit international Riverwalk was once difficult to access. But, abandoned lots, uncontrolled greenery and gated sidewalks have been transformed into wide walkways, lush gardens and populated plazas.

Since 2003, this remarkable transformation has been underway, and the Riverwalk now attracts over three and a quarter million visitors each year.

Detroit Riverwork still growing

The work is not done. The Detroit Conservancy’s project will finish the western Riverwalk, which will be 5 and 1/2 miles in length and have more green space. There will also be ample room for fishing, walking, biking and cycling along the riverfront.

You can read more about the Riverwalk’s historic routes as it winds through these areas. You’ll see beautiful fountains and colorful carousels as you travel along the river. You can enjoy a beautiful view of the Detroit River as boats glide gracefully down it. In the background, you’ll see skyscrapers rising in the distance.

How to Plan a Day at the Riverwalk

This guide will help you navigate the Riverwalk and other highlights of Detroit. These are the top things you should be paying attention to on your trip.

The Renaissance Center

Follow the Riverwalk to the GM Plaza or Promenade for a taster of Detroit. The Renaissance Center is a collection of seven tall skyscrapers that can be seen along the Riverwalk’s route. You will find GM World, where you can see up-close the latest General Motors automobile show in their car showroom.

You’ll also find restaurants and shops in the Renaissance Center. The Detroit Marriott is also located here, on a 73-story building.


You’ll find a few amazing places along your riverfront walk that you’ll want in your day.

Cullen Plaza

Cullen Plaza is a great spot for a family-friendly hangout. Cullen Plaza hosts the Cullen Family Carousel, which features dancing swans and sea snakes as well as ecstatic children riding on their backs.

The area includes a children’s playscape, beautiful, lush scenery, and fountains. Cullen Plaza’s Wheelhouse Detroit is the best place to rent a bike for a riverwalk ride.

Hart Plaza

Hart Plaza is located at the intersection Woodward Avenue and Jefferson Avenue. It’s a historic spot.

It was opened in 1975, and has been used for concerts and summer festivals ever since. The famous Horace E. Dodge and Son Memorial Fountain is located within Hart Plaza’s fourteen-acres. It lights up against the backdrop of bright city skyscrapers at night.

Detroit Parks To Visit

The Detroit Riverwalk is the best way to find parks in Detroit. Detroit is home to Comerica Park and 308 parks that are great for refreshing, fun afternoons. This is not a comprehensive list. However, you can add these parks to your Riverwalk list to take a tour of some of the best.

Milliken State Park, and Harbor
1900 Atwater St. Detroit, MI 48207

Milliken State Park’s 31 acres are like an oasis of green in the middle Detroit. You can enjoy picnics on the lawn or fish at the harbor from the Milliken State Park Lighthouse.

Mt. Elliot Park
110 Mt Elliott St, Detroit, MI 48207

This interactive park has been recently renovated and features a beautiful landscape, a children’s water feature with water cannons, waterfalls, and cement walking trails. This park is a great place to have a relaxed lunch at a nearby cafe.

Campus Martius Park
800 Woodward Ave. Detroit, MI 48226

Campus Martius is beautiful throughout the year. Enjoy the beach, lush green space, flowers and beach in summer. In winter, the ice rink is available and lit Christmas trees are on display.

Gabriel Richard Park
7130 E Jefferson Detroit, MI 48207

This park gives you a front row seat to the Detroit River and will make it seem like you won’t want to leave. You can’t leave the Detroit Riverwalk without visiting the butterfly garden, the labyrinth and the tranquil atmosphere of Gabriel Richard.

Belle Isle Park
99 Pleasure Dr. Detroit, MI 48207

Belle Isle is one of the most distinctive parks in Detroit. It sits on an isolated island just off the coast of Detroit Riverfront. MacArthur Bridge is the bridge that connects Belle Isle to the mainland. It provides easy access to the park from the mainland. You can visit the Belle Isle Aquarium, Sunset Point, the boat house, the Belle Isle Aquarium and the Belle Isle Aquarium. There is even a giant slide.

Chene Park
2600 Atwater St. Detroit, MI 48207

Chene Park is one of the most popular concert venues in the world because it houses the Aretha Franklin Amphitheater. The park is home to Aretha Franklin and boasts beautiful views from the water.

Discover More Detroit Parks

Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Centennial Park includes trails that lead up to West Jefferson Avenue.

Robert C. Valade Park offers family-friendly beach activities, a children’s music garden and a community barbecue pavilion.

The Dequindre Cut, also known as Riverfront Fit Park, is a two-mile stretch of greenway that’s ideal for walking and biking. The Dequindre Cut Greenway connects the East Riverfront, Eastern Market and other Detroit neighborhoods.

There are many other things to do around the Detroit Riverwalk

Detroit Institute of Arts

There are over 100 galleries at the Detroit Institute of Arts. The DIA’s incredible art collection can be used to relax from the hustle and bustle of the riverwalk. Friday Night Live is a free concert at the DIA, as well as movies at Detroit Film Theatre and many other special events and clubs that cater to all ages. Visit their website for more information.

Ambassador Bridge

Before you can say goodbye to Detroit, you must drive across the Ambassador Bridge. This suspension bridge is the longest international suspension bridge. The view from the bridge of the city and river is jaw-dropping.

The Guardian Building

The Guardian Building in Wayne County is a landmark skyscraper located downtown Detroit. The Guardian is a National Historic Landmark that represents Detroit’s history. It is 40 stories tall and easily recognizable with its brightly colored bricks and ornate architecture. You can walk in and see the beauty inside.

Visit Wayne County

Another landmark worth visiting is the Historic Fort Wayne Coalition. This fort is almost 200 years old and was built as an American first-time construction in Detroit.

The riverside Fort Wayne can be explored on a walking tour, or by yourself. The Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority is also located in Wayne County.

The port authority is not just a government agency. It’s an organization with a mission to improve the community and increase awareness about the port’s economic impact. This is the right place to be if you are interested in maritime tourism.

Detroit: Explore More

Inline skating is a fun way to explore Detroit. You can start at roller skating rinks like Detroit Roller Wheels or Royal Skateland!

There are many opportunities in Downtown Detroit. You can find unique places to eat Detroit-style Pizza. The downtown area has colorful murals that are painted on alley walls and can be found with days worth of shopping!

The Detroit People Mover is an elevated train which travels nearly three miles around Detroit. The people mover offers a panoramic view of the city from high above the streets.

You can spend a relaxing day at the Detroit Public Library, Detroit Botanical Gardens and the Eastern Market in Downtown Detroit.

You might also want to visit the top beaches in the Metro Detroit area.

Where to Stay in Detroit

It’s not just a day trip to Detroit. You can stay in comfort overnight at these places! These are the best places to stay in Detroit
* Robert Riverwalk Hotel
* MGM Grand Detroit
* Greektown Casino Hotel
* Detroit Foundation Hotel
* Airbnb Detroit

It is easy to see why Detroit Riverwalk was chosen as the best Riverwalk in America. It was a well-respected choice by USA Today readers.

It’s difficult not to book a trip after learning all about Detroit. A trip to Detroit is worth it, no matter if you live in Ann Arbor or are flying from all over the country.

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