• Most Popular!

Detroit’s Rise, Fall, & Renewal

Tour Highlights

  • Explore the fascinating city of Detroit with a local guide.
  • Discover the rise, fall, and renewal of this seriously underrated city.
  • Marvel at all of Detroit’s vacant buildings and what the future might hold for them.
  • Admire the classic and cool architecture of some of Detroit’s best landmarks.
  • Listen to local stories as your sip on a drink at a local brewpub.

See Some of Detroit’s Best Landmarks

Detroit may have filed for bankruptcy, but it’s still a city rich in history, architecture, and innovation. See which buildings have been restored and which await renewal on this Detroit tour led by a passionate and proud local.

Language: English

Inclusions: Local English-speaking guide, fares for a ride on the People Mover, and one beer (or coffee, tea, or soft drink) at Detroit Beer Company

Exclusions: Tips and gratuities for your guide

Schedule details

  • Duration: Two hours
  • Meeting point: 1555 Broadway Detroit, MI 48226. View Location on What3words.
  • Starting time: 4 p.m.
  • Ending point: Detroit Beer Company, 1529 Broadway, Detroit, MI 48226
  • Chevron down Full Itinerary
  • Get the local lowdown on a city that’s seen its fair share of drama in recent years on this historical Detroit tour that takes you through the city’s storied past. Begin your Detroit tour at a cafe on Broadway, where you meet your local guide and head out onto the streets. From the minute you leave the meeting point, you start seeing some famous Detroit landmarks, such as the 95-year old Detroit Athletic Club, the renovated Opera House, the vacant Wurlitzer Building, and the fine new downtown YMCA. Your local guide tells you all you need to know about these spots and what they mean to the city of Detroit.

    Continuing on your tour in Detroit, see the site where one of the biggest department stores in the U.S. once stood. When it closed in the 1980s, it left a hole in the city that hasn’t been filled. There are not many stores in the old retail district, but apartments and lofts have brought new life to the area.

    Next on this Detroit city tour, the Compuware Building from 2002 is worth a visit for its 15-story atrium and colorful fountain. Outside that building, you can see a panorama that includes landmarks like the 47-story Penobscot Building from 1928, the Guardian Building from 1929, and the Renaissance Center from 1977, which is home to the tallest hotel in the entire Western Hemisphere (72 floors!) as well as the headquarters of General Motors.

    Next, you see Campus Martius Park in the heart of downtown, which opened in 2004 and features an ice-skating rink in winter and activities year-round. It recently won an award as the nation’s most transformative urban park and is a fine example of how Detroit is making a serious comeback.

    A visit to the Guardian Building gives you a picture of the greatness of Detroit in the late 1920s. The lobby and banking room of this art-deco skyscraper are truly incredible. We make a stop here, and then we take a ride on the elevated People Mover, which has been moving people around downtown Detroit since 1987.

    From the Michigan Avenue Station, see the $800 million MGM Grand Casino and hotel that were completed in 2008 and the new Rosa Parks Transit Center (named for “the mother of the Civil Rights Movement”) with its dramatic canopies.

    If the weather is nice, we walk to a nearby hotel that’s a great example of Detroit’s rise, fall, and renewal. When it opened in 1924, it was the tallest hotel in the world and one of the fanciest, but it closed in the 1980s and stood vacant for more than 25 years on a prominent street corner. Detroiters were thrilled when it reopened after a $200 million renovation as the wonderful Westin Book Cadillac Hotel, a proud moment in Detroit’s history! A block down from here is one of the world’s tallest vacant buildings at 36 stories high. Your guide tells you stories of its past and how it awaits a new life.

    Next, we visit the area near Grand Circus Park, which is full of examples of Detroit’s rocky history. Here we find even more vacant buildings as well as legendary parks and music venues that have hosted the likes of Bruce Springsteen and Detroit’s own Eminem. This gives us many more opportunities for your guide to let you in on all the local secrets behind them. It’s one thing simply seeing these buildings, but to get to know the history behind them makes the experience even more special, especially when it comes from the mouth of a local!

    Our last stop is at a local brewpub, where you can sip on a local beer or soft drink and continue to chat about Detroit with your local guide. The first drink’s on us!

    Additional information

    Dress standard: Dress casually and comfortably. Wear shoes that are good for a fair amount of walking. Depending on the weather, you may want to have a jacket, hat, or an umbrella.

    Your trip: For your Urban Adventure, you are in a small group of a maximum of 12 people.

    Confirmation of booking: If you have your voucher, your booking is confirmed. See you at the starting point. Get in touch if you have any concerns or require more information via the email address or phone number (business hours only) on your voucher.

    Additional information: On the occasional day when a steady heavy rain might dampen the mood on a walking tour, we start from the same location but stay dry by using Detroit’s public transport.

    Closure of sites: On a very rare occasion, the People Mover or one of the venues that we usually visit may be unavailable.

    Child Policy: Children between the ages of 6 and 11 inclusively are permitted on this tour at the rate listed above. Please select “child” when booking. Children below the age of 6 are not permitted on this tour.

    Local contact

    Office phone number: + 1 313 701 1900
    Email address: [email protected]

  • Chevron down Reviews
  • Mr. Kevin A. from Canada traveled on 06 Aug 2018:

    The guide was very knowledgeable. I learned a great deal of Detroit’s history and renewal process.

    Ms. Lee Anne D. from Canada traveled on 01 Aug 2018:

    Bob: Your passion, knowledge and commitment to the rebirth of Detroit made our tour memorable.
    We look forward to having you guide us on our next tour!
    Your Canadian Fans

    Mr. Sam P. from USA traveled on 23 May 2018:

    Guide was very knowledgeable and clearly invested in the community!

    Mr. Timo L. from Finland traveled on 16 Nov 2017:

    Great tour with a great guide!

    Mr. Michael D. from Canada traveled on 27 Sep 2017:

    Would have liked to access some of the older buildings and appreciate the feel of that Detroit era ??
    Bob was very well informed on the history and current state of affairs. I loved it and saw a side of Detroit that I didn’t know existed.

    Mr. Phillip M. from Canada traveled on 09 Aug 2017:

    Rob was a terrific guide! I would highly recommend this tour. He is very knowledgeable, friendly, and enthusiastic. It was a lot of fun.

    Mr. John J. from Canada traveled on 05 Aug 2017:

    Bob was an excellent host … tour was very educational

    Mr. Julien P. from France traveled on 19 Jul 2017:

    I usually prefer more industrial buildings like plants or factories but overall this was really great and Jesse is very cool, I had a really nice experience.

    Mr. Robin N. from Australia traveled on 15 Jun 2017:

    Really interesting insight into Detroit ‘s history, Bob gave us a perspective which we didn’t have before doing the tour. He is very enthusiastic and loves Detroit !

    Ms. Ekaterina B. from France traveled on 13 Jun 2017:

    Excellent tour of Downtown Detroit with insight into what is going on in the city at the moment against the background of its history. A beer at the end of the tour was a great way to wind it up!

    Mr. miec h. from United Kingdom traveled on 13 Jun 2017:

    very nice guy and very passionate

    Mrs. Mary Ann F. from USA traveled on 02 Jun 2017:

    Terrific tour – subject matter was extensive and fascinating. Bob Goldsmith was a great guide!! He was enthusiastic, knowledgeable and a huge Detroit booster.

    Mr. Sean C. from USA traveled on 26 Apr 2017:

    Bob was a very welcome surprise for our tour. Very knowledgable, enthusiastic. Enjoyed the trip very much

    Mrs. Nicolette R. from Canada traveled on 30 Mar 2017:

    The guide explained things well and pointed out a lot of great things. He took his time explaining everything and asking questions.

    Ms. Melanie D. from Canada traveled on 04 Dec 2016:

    Bob was incredibly knowledgeable about architecture and the history of it within the city. He was polite when taking us inside of buildings to point out specifics. I would definitely recommend this tour to others, and may even try it again in the future to see how the city has changed since our last visit!

    Ms. Andrea M. from Canada traveled on 01 Dec 2016:

    Had a great time learning about Detroit. Bob is very knowledgeable and as a local had a lot of great insight about living in Detroit. Highly recommend this tour!!!

    Mr. Henri B. from Netherland traveled on 01 Dec 2016:

    A really interesting tour of Detroit Center. The guide Bob is very enthusiastic and proud of his city. Many details were told that i did not know and which have positively changed my view of the. Ity.

    Mr. Rob K. from Canada traveled on 21 Nov 2016:

    Very much enjoyed the tour, the insights into Detroit’s history and recent developments, and Bob’s personal take on city issues.

    Mrs. Cynthia C. from USA traveled on 07 Nov 2016:

    I would recommend not taking large groups up to the office. The logistics of getting in the elevator and then the noise in the hall are difficult to manage with large groups.

    Ms. Su Lin H. from Australia traveled on 04 Nov 2016:

    Liked it a lot. Great to hear about all the buildings.

    Mr. Christopher M. from USA traveled on 03 Nov 2016:

    More information on the ‘Why’ the urban fall and why the urban renewal is happening would be great

    Mr. Travis L. from Australia traveled on 26 Oct 2016:

    Bob was brilliant. His knowledge of the building architecture, period built and the building ownership was fantastic.

    Mrs. MARIA M. from Germany traveled on 21 Oct 2016:

    Great tour! Bob is a really good guide. We did the tour upon arriving in Detroit. Our visit to the city would not have been the same without having done the tour. Not only we learned a lot from the city and its architecture but also helped us to guide us in the coming days. Highly recommended!

    Ms. Gillian F. from USA traveled on 10 Sep 2016:

    Excellent all round, just a shame there was no control over the extreme temperatures we experienced that afternoon!

    Mr. John B. from USA traveled on 18 Aug 2016:

    David was very informative about the area and history. I had to be late and he contacted me to help me meet up with the group, Very much appreciated! Thanks David!

    Mr. Gisela F. from Switzerland traveled on 01 Aug 2016:

    Bob did an excellent job and gave a very insightful and reflected tour. It was extremely interesting to learn about the different styles of architecture that can be found in Detroit. It really was a tour about the dramatical rise and fall of the city, but just as much about the renewal that is going on now. Thank you Bob!

    Mr. Troy P. from USA traveled on 09 May 2016:

    Bob did a great job giving us the history of downtown Detroit. It was our first day on our trip, and this was exactly what we needed to learn a little more about the city and give us a sense of where Detroit currently is. Thank you for the information and experience.

    Mrs. Brianna S. from USA traveled on 10 Mar 2016:

    We loved this tour! Bob was very knowledgeable and showed us a different side of the city.

    Mr. Kenneth R. from USA traveled on 30 Jun 2015:

    The guide was great! Enthusiastic and knowledgeable. I had a great time and came away feeling a bit more connected to Detroit. It’s an interesting cit. y with a unique history

    Mr. Mark C. from Canada traveled on 28 Apr 2015:

    I took two Detroit tours and they were both excellent. My guide was very knowledgeable and passionate about his city. I said I would be in touch with him about going on the Corktown tour as well. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to get to know Detroit.

    Mr. Brent P. from USA traveled on 05 Mar 2015:

    Our tour guide was great. He had a deep knowledge of the city, showed us the historic sites and buildings in a thoughtful way, and gave us an insider’s view of this wonderful city.

    Mr. Kevin H. from Canada traveled on 26 Aug 2014:

    Bob was a fantastic guide. He is proud of his city and it shows. I have no connection to Detroit but have been fascinated by this great city for a few years now. It was a great experience to see Detroit through the eyes of a proud citizen. Thanks for a great experience.

    Mrs. Veronique R. from Canada traveled on 08 Jul 2014:

    Bob is the best! We had a wonderful experience. Bob gave us an enthousiastic look of Detroit and changed our perception of the city.

    Mr. Mike K. from USA traveled on 20 Nov 2013:

    Bob was entusiastic and knowledgeable – we enjoyed our time with him.

    Mr. Ben D. from USA traveled on 21 Sep 2013:

    Bob gave a great tour.

    Ms. Yayoi S. from USA traveled on 15 Aug 2013:

    Bob is an excellent tour guide — he is extremely knowledgeable and shared his excitement and enthusiasm for living and working in Detroit. We returned from Detroit with a sense that its renewal will be based on the human capital of those like Bob. Thank you again!

    Mr. James S. from Australia traveled on 08 Jun 2013:

    Bob was a knowledgable and friendly guide. The tour showed Detroit in a much more positive sense than what is portrayed through the media. I will be recommending the tour to my friends.

    Mr. Andy R. from United Kingdom traveled on 05 Jun 2013:

    Bob is a conscientious, friendly and well-spoken tour leader. He has a genuine love for the city of Detroit, and great knowledge about the history and geography. His tour takes you through the key aspects of the rise and fall of the city, and it’s current state of attempted rebirth. Detroit is an extraordinary urban environment, and Bob’s tour gives you a nice cross-section of the Downtown. The pace of the tour is appropriate – there is quite a bit of walking, but all of it is on level ground, and very few stairs. If you’re in Detroit and have never thought about touring the city, book yourself on to one of Bob’s tours. You’ll have a great experience and learn a lot.

    Ms. Michele P. from Canada traveled on 22 May 2013:

    For our first visit in Detroit with only two nights booked – our family of four took the Rise-Fall-Renewal tour with Bob in order to learn as much as we could about the city. I liked the fact that Bob goes beyond the city’s usual portrayal of crime, poverty and ruin and focuses on the positive changes seen over the last decade. For anyone interested in architecture, urban planning or the encapsulated history of a once great American metropolis – this tour is perfect.
    Would love to see bike tours of the downtown area. The lack of vehicular traffic on week-ends makes it an ideal place to ride.

    Mr. Robert J. from USA traveled on 24 Apr 2013:

    As an architect and planner, I really enjoyed Bob’s knowledge about the history of the buildings. The fact that he was a resident of downtown Detroit made it all the more interesting.

    Mrs. Kimberly M. from USA traveled on 17 Apr 2013:

    Never having visited Detroit, I had no idea where to start so I booked the tour. Bob is very personable and knowledgable. We had a wonderful time and I would suggest the tour to anyone visiting Detroit.

    Mrs. Rineke L. from Netherland traveled on 11 Sep 2012:

    Woud recommand the tour to everyone!

    Mr. James O. from Canada traveled on 25 Aug 2012:

    This trip is an excellent starting point to a visit to Detroit. Bob showed us the urban history of Detroit written in the ruins and renovations of the downtown area. Finishing with a trip on the People Mover and a beer in the local pub made us feel like we were at home in Detroit! Bob gives a very fair and balanced picture of Detroit life – he doesn’t try to hide problems in the modern Detroit situation, and he explains all the opportunities. If you are at all interested in urban design, this tour is a must.
    We asked Bob at the end of the trip if he would run for public office: with his knowledge and his love for the city, he’d be a great mayor!
    Thanks for a great tour.

    Mr. Eric D. from USA traveled on 19 Jul 2012:

    Bob the tourguide is AWESOME.
    He knows his stuff, and is extremely passionate about the city of Detroit. He integrates a wide range of information about culture, heritage and history of Detroit in his tour. He engaged well in dialogue and employed good sense of humor.
    Well worth the money.

    Mr. chris d. from USA traveled on 11 Jun 2012:

    Bob was great very focused and neutral about the circumstances that brought Detroit to its current condition. Plus he lives right there. Brave man!

    Mr. Aaron M. from United Kingdom traveled on 31 Mar 2012:

    Bob was a great guide, we had a really good time. Detroit really is a fascinating place. If your anywhere near Detroit then do this tour.

    Mr. james W. from United Kingdom traveled on 29 Nov 2011:

    Thanks Bob. Loved Detroit.