Private and Custom Tours

Over the past 20 years of hosting visitors and residents of Detroit on walking tours of the city, we’ve amassed a wealth of knowledge that we’re happy to share with you! We offer several different types of private and custom tours, from intimate tours of downtown for small groups to multiple-day itineraries for large groups in town for conferences and reunions. Most of our tours are walking tours, since we believe the best way to see the city and experience its dynamic energy is from the ground. We can also offer guide services for tours booked with private transportation. For all requests, we ask that you contact us at least one month in advance to discuss opportunities to for you and your group to discover Detroit! Please email Mickey Lyons at mlyons@preservationdetroit.org For more info and a price quote.


Featured Walking Tours of Detroit

Our most popular walking tours of the city embrace the vibrant neighborhoods and unique cultural highlights of each area. Each guide specializes in this area of the city, so you know you’re in expert hands. Walking tours generally take about 2 to 2-1/2 hours. Cost is on a sliding scale based on the number of people in your group. We are happy to accommodate large groups and will work with you to develop a pricing structure and itinerary that works with your needs. 

Downtown | Long the beating heart of Detroit’s dynamic business and commercial industry, the downtown area has seen dazzling change in recent years as renovation and restoration continue to evolve the city’s buildings and streets. Highlights of the tour include the stunning Art Deco masterpiece Guardian Building, the emerging Capitol Park area, and an architectural walk down memory lane as we stroll Woodward Avenue from Grand Circus Park to the riverfront. Along the way, the tour loops past many historic houses of worship and significant sculptural and architectural works.

Eastern Market | Since the late 19th century, Eastern Market has hosted a weekly farmer’s market-one of the oldest and largest in the country-as well as restaurants, warehouses and gathering spots. The stroll through Eastern Market brings to life the sights, sounds and smells of 100+ years of public commerce in Detroit. This tour highlights the commercial and development history of the market, with plenty of time to stop and smell the flowers (or cumquats, or butcher shops, or whatever you prefer).

Midtown | Formerly known as the Cass Corridor, Midtown is perhaps the most dramatic example of Detroit’s adaptive reuse. Cultural institutions live side-by-side with architecturally significant private housing and apartment complexes in this part of the city. A tour of Midtown is a great way to catch up on the changes a modern industrial city experienced over the span of the twentieth century and beyond, and our guides discuss in depth how shifting real estate changes have impacted the area.

Cultural Center | The Detroit Institute of Arts hosts one of the finest art collections in the world. The Detroit Public Library’s renowned architect, Cass Gilbert, designed some of the country’s greatest Italian Renaissance masterpieces. From the Maccabees Building, an Art Deco gem, to the residential oasis of Ferry Street’s historic mansions, the Cultural Center tour is a compact exploration of the city’s large-scale architectural variety.

Premium and Custom Tours 

Our premium tours are detailed examinations of specific aspects of Detroit’s cultural, architectural and biographical history. In many cases, your guide developed this specific tour out of a passion for the subject, and is likely a leading authority in the city on this particular subject. Have a burning desire for information about a certain person, group or spot in Detroit’s history? Want to get the insider’s tour of a place you’ve been wondering about for ages? We can help. We have highly trained researchers and guides eager to craft a custom tour to fit your group’s needs. Preservation Detroit’s archives, combined with our award-winning guides, can design a tour around your specific interests. Please direct all inquiries to mlyons@preservationdetroit.org for more details about the length and price of these tours, as they vary by subject matter and expert availability.

Premium and Custom Private Tours include, but are not limited to:
• Downtown via the People Mover: Transit History and Public Art in Detroit
• Downtown Parks and Public Spaces: Adaptation and Evolution
• Yamasaki and Detroit: A Midcentury Love Story
• Public Monuments of Detroit: Shaping the Narrative History of a City
• Secret Detroit: Strange, Wacky and Unknown Sites in Detroit
• Prohibition Detroit: City on a Still
• Historic Ferry Street: Or How to Save a Victorian Residential District
• Detroit’s New Center: Khan, GM, and the Automotive Influence on Detroit’s Architecture
• Downtown Detroit’s Historic Houses of Worship: Faith Communities on Old and New Detroit
• Theatre Tour: The Public Entertainment Palaces of Old Detroit
• Historic and Legendary Cemeteries of Detroit: Landscape, History, and the Movers and Shakers of the City

 

Info about our private walking tours:

We ask for at least 1 month advance notice for all private tour requests. Cost is on a sliding scale based on the number of people in your group. Payment is due in full 2 weeks prior to the date of the tour. Refunds can be done up to 7 days prior to the date of a tour; after that, we cannot do a refund but we can reschedule if need be. All tours take place rain or shine, and are about 2 to 2.5 hours long but can be longer or shorter based on your needs.

Read reviews or leave a comment about our tours on Trip Advisor.