11. The Detroit Institute of Arts | Places to visit in Detroit

Erected in the 1920s in the Beaux-Arts style, the Detroit Institute of Arts is the fifth largest museum in the United States. The Institute houses a museum, a theatre, and other public amenities such as food service, gift shop, and an education centre. 

The building’s edifice is cladded in Danby marble while the north and south wings were originally adorned in black granite to provide a contrast to the white marble structure. Even though the galleries of the museum have been modernized, its historic fabric has been preserved.

Places to visit in Detroit for the Travelling Architect - Sheet32
The Detroit Institute of Arts_©Scripps Media, Inc
Places to visit in Detroit for the Travelling Architect - Sheet33
Hall between old and new sections_©Andrew Jameson
Places to visit in Detroit for the Travelling Architect - Sheet34
The Great Hall_©Detroit Institute of Arts

12. David Whitney House

Erected in the 1890s, the David Whitney House was a private house of David Whitney Jr. The massive, gabled, round-arched, and turreted house attains a between the Gothic style’s picturesqueness and the Romanesque style’s solidity. 

The historic mansion with exterior walls of purplish-pink quartzite stone, the house contains 42 rooms, 218 stained glass windows crafted by New York’s Tiffany, and 20 fireplaces of different marbles or onyx. It was the first private residence in Detroit to have a personal hydraulic elevator. The grand hall and stairwell added to the grandiose of the mansion.

The Whitney House_©Jason Mrachina
Fireplace at Whitney House_©Tudor ApMadoc
Fireplace at Whitney House_©Tudor ApMadoc
Stairwell and Tiffany-stained glass windows at David Whitney House_© Tudor ApMadoc

13. Hart Plaza | Places to visit in Detroit

The Hart Plaza is a 14-acre outdoor public space in Detroit designed by Japanese-American landscape architect and designer Isamu Noguchi. The Plaza is based on the concept of blending by intermingling performance space with gathering space, and by introducing sculpture to an urban landscape. 

The monumental abstract aluminium and steel sculpture by Noguchi, known as the Horace E. Dodge and Son Memorial Fountain, emerges above a bubbling circular fountain spraying water from its ring in computerized dispositions and providing a converging point for the pedestrians in this urban space. Summer festivals and winter ice skating draw large crowds to a large amphitheatre near the fountain. 

The Plaza includes a Veterans Memorial Hall and the Detroit International River Walk, which will eventually stretch from the Ambassador Bridge to Belle Isle.

Detroit Hart Plaza_©Brian Cassidy
Detroit Hart Plaza_©Brian Cassidy
The Transcending Monument Towers_©Robert Levy
The Transcending Monument Towers_©Robert Levy
The many levels and winding paths of Hart Plaza_©Michelle Gerard
The many levels and winding paths of Hart Plaza_©Michelle Gerard

14. Old St. Mary’s Church

Completed in 1885, the architecture of the Old St. Mary’s church is a mix of Pisan Romanesque and Venetian Renaissance styles. Made of red bricks, the west façade of St. Mary’s features twin towers that surround a large rose window. There are four bells in the church towers, three of which are in the north tower. 

The ten polished granite columns that divide the main and side aisles are one of Old St. Mary’s most amazing architectural features. Its Lourdes Grotto is equally lovely, with embedded shells and magnificent candles. In 1979, St. Mary’s was added to the Michigan Historic Sites list.

Old St. Mary's Catholic Church of Detroit, Michigan_©Steve Brown
Old St. Mary’s Catholic Church of Detroit, Michigan_©Steve Brown
Inside Old St. Mary's Catholic Church_©Steve Brown
Inside Old St. Mary’s Catholic Church_©Steve Brown
Rose Windows Old St. Mary's Catholic Church_©Mark D. Hellekjaer
Rose Windows Old St. Mary’s Catholic Church_©Mark D. Hellekjaer

15. Detroit Riverfront | Places to visit in Detroit

One of the most recent gems of this architecturally jeweled city, the Detroit riverfront has reinvigorated the city’s otherwise mundane waterfront. The esplanade tells a story about the life and times of the Detroit River and how it shaped the city through artwork, ornamental pavings, native landscape, and other amenities. 

Beautiful landscapes with seasonal plantings, four pavilion/plaza areas, a custom carousel, and ample space for fishing, walking, biking, and inline skating attract visitors who stay for the story. 

The project has helped preserve the city’s cultural and architectural identity with its interventions spread around classic buildings such as the Renaissance Centre and the Guardian building by filling in the city’s critically inadequate urban fabric while retaining the best of what it already has.

Water Spouts at Detroit Riverfront_©Tricia J
Detroit Riverfront_©Maurice Williams
Water Spouts at Detroit Riverfront_©Tricia J
Water Spouts at Detroit Riverfront_©Tricia J
Detroit Riverfront at Night_©Roving Drone


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An architecture student who is a besotted reader and believes that writing is for the soul. She is always receptive and surmises that learning is growing which is fuelled by her fascinated for history, travel, architecture and literature.