One of the best places to visit as a family in Detroit is The Detroit Institute of Arts. Sounds fishy, right? Who goes with crazy kids to an art museum…we do! The trick is, you MUST go on Friday Night Live! On Friday nights the museum stays open late (6-10 pm), is buzzing with people and kids are absolutely welcome. Another good visiting day is during Family Sundays where there are puppet shows and story-telling.

Insider Info.

The Free Concert. There are free concerts at 7 and usually 8:30 pm in an ample theater. We have enjoyed sitting in the back for a few songs then exiting before our kids are a distraction. However, sometimes the artist playing is especially popular, so this might not be an option. It’s a great way to get a taste of Detroit’s musical scene (best for all ages).

Kids’ Art Projects. Downstairs in the childrens’ wing kind artisans will give kids supplies to create their own masterpiece. Projects range from Native American art to Chinese lanterns. You don’t have to be young to enjoy this perk…adults are welcome to explore their creativity too (best for ages 2 and up).

Drawing in the Galleries. In some of the galleries there are small easels set up for kids to try their hands at drawing still life. My boys loved acting like professional artists as they explored their abilities (best for ages 4 and up).

Story Voting. In the gallery adjacent to the kids’ area, the museum displays some new works of art. There are 2 stories behind each picture and you get to vote for the more interesting version (best for ages 9 and up).

I Spy. In the ancient Greece and Roman gallery, there are tablets with little clues. Kids and adults can look through the displayed items to find the piece of art that matches the description. This was a fun way to keep the kids engaged (best for ages 7 and up). 

Chess in the Center. If you need a small break from all the looking, there  are quite a few chess and checker tables set up in the center of the museum where kids and adults enjoy playing together and voices don’t have to stay hushed (best for ages 5 and up). 

Special Exhibits. These are really incredible, and if you have kids over the age of 6, they are worth the extra cost. The exhibits are put together extremely well and are public friendly with easy-to-use headsets that my kids loved. The headsets include a small screen that shows videos for background information and allow you to move at your own pace. Be aware that in the exhibit, kids must be well behaved (best for ages 8 and up). 

We are not a family with much artistic background or knowledge but we also love the armor and weapons exhibit, the Native American exhibit, American Art, Modern Art, and the Detroit Photography exhibit. My biggest laugh always comes as my boys walk through the rooms of scantily clad sculptures and paintings and can’t help but giggle :).

If you go.

$8 adults, $6 (ages 6-17), children 5 and under are free
Special Exhibits: $10-$12
Family Plus: $110 Admission for your family and 2 guests for the entire year (includes special exhibits)

Use the valet! Worth it!

Food: We have never eaten at the museum. Let me know if you have and what you think.