Things to Know When Visiting Detroit Michigan

Underground railroad sculpture at Renaissance Center.

 Lou Jones/Getty Images

It helps to have a guide when exploring a city and Detroit is no exception, especially with its spoke-and-wheel street design that's messed with more than one visitor's directional sense. There are several different types of tours to choose from in terms of both method of locomotion and/or theme. For instance, there are walking, Segway, bike, bus and boat tours. There are also tours that explore different facets and/or neighborhoods of Metro Detroit, including Eastern Market, urban agriculture, architecture, beer, and ghosts.​

01 of 03

Detroit Michigan Driving Laws and Cell-Phone Restrictions

Woodward Avenue, downtown Detroit
William Andrew/Getty Images

Michigan does not currently have any laws that ban mobile phone use while driving, but the state does allow its municipalities to make their own laws. Detroit has two that concern cell-phone use while driving:

  • Detroit's Hands-Free Ordinance bans the use of a cell-phone while driving unless the driver is using a hands-free device. The ban, however, is a civil infraction and only enforced as a secondary offense. In other words, the driver must be pulled over for another traffic violation before he/she can be ticketed for cell phone use. Fines are $100. Like most laws that ban cell-phone use while driving, the ordinance excepts emergencies.
  • According to an article posted on, the Distracting Behavior Ordinance is similarly enforced and bans other distracting behaviors, such as text messaging, applying makeup and eating while driving.

Note: Michigan passed legislation that will ban text messaging while driving as of July 1st, 2010. Unlike the Detroit ordinances that make cell-phone infractions secondary offenses, however, police will be able to pull over Michigan drivers if they're seen texting while moving down a highway or street in a motor vehicle. The only exceptions to the new infractions are for the use of GPS, the reporting of emergencies, or emergency personnel. While an infraction comes with a hefty fine -- $100 for the first offense, $200 for the second -- it won't translate into points. The fines collected will go toward supporting local libraries.

Some other notable driving ordinances in Detroit:

  • Only two people can be in the front seat while driving, and they have to keep their distance. In other words, the driver is forbidden from slinging an arm around their front-seat passenger. Likewise, the passenger can't put their arm around the driver.
  • Drivers cannot splash pedestrians.
  • Right on red is allowed in the absence of a posted restriction.
  • Motorcycle drivers must wear a crash helmet.
Continue to 2 of 3 below.
02 of 03

Parking in Downtown Detroit

Michigan Theater, now Parking Garage
Rainer Grosskopf/Getty Images

The price for parking in Detroit is relatively reasonable compared to other major cities. Of course, the price varies a lot depending on the particular lot's proximity to city attractions. Depending on where you are going, finding a meter on city streets is not beyond the realm of possibility. Generally speaking, parking at one of the downtown lots ranges in price from $8 to $20. If anything, prices should get more reasonable over time as more and more parking structures are built.

Tip: If you combine your trip downtown with some gambling at the Greektown Casino, you can park for free at the new Greektown Casino parking lot. The People Mover has a stop at the casino's new lot that can take you to most city attractions.

If you want to plan ahead, check out the ​Click-and-Park service, which allows you to reserve parking in advance to a particular downtown-Detroit event.

Continue to 3 of 3 below.
03 of 03

Climate, Time Zone and Weather

High Angle View Of Road In Detroit
Reese Lassman/EyeEm/Getty Images

Detroit's weather runs the gamut from humid and warm to bone-chilling cold -- sometimes from one day to the next.

Generally speaking, summers in Detroit are humid and warm, although the city's proximity to Lake St. Clair helps to moderate temperatures a bit. Expect temperatures averaging 58 degrees Fahrenheit in the evenings to 84 degrees during the day. Summer days are also very long because Detroit is on the far west side of the Eastern Time Zone. Sunset at summer's height can be as late as 9:13 p.m.

Winters days, on the other hand, have temperatures that range from nightly averages of 17 degrees to daily averages of 35. Snow is hit or miss.

More Information

Was this page helpful?