Travels & Exploring

Activities to keep you busy in metro Detroit (for free!)

I have plans for this money!

Now that our wedding is over, our new focus is selling our two houses and finding a new home that comfortably merges two households. That means saving money is a priority so I’ve been pinching pennies and dimes when possible. You know I’m serious about saving when visits to Starbucks are down to once per week or even less (sad sigh).


Saving money doesn’t mean we sit on the couch at home every night twiddling our thumbs. There are still many great opportunities for fun that don’t have to break the bank.


If you enjoy cultural attractions, you have plenty of choices. Check out the Museum Adventure Pass for free access to more than 20 participating cultural attractions, including the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House, Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center, Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, and Howell Nature Center to name only a few. You’ll need a valid library card and a date you plan to visit the cultural attraction. Then you simply enter the information online to check availability (each library has limited passes per week) and reserve your pass.


Thanks to a recent successful millage vote, residents of Oakland, Macomb and Wayne Counties can now visit the Detroit Institute of Arts for free (some special exhibits are a small fee). If you aren’t a resident of these counties, the DIA offers free admission to all visitors on the second Sunday of every month. The DIA stays open until 10pm every Friday for special programs that include live music, guided tours and more.


After 5pm on the first Fridays of the month, Cranbrook Institute of Science opens its doors for free to the public (the museum is open until 10pm). Visitors are able to explore the new exhibit, EXTREME DEEP: Mission to the Abyss, which shows the mysteries of the ocean through hands-on activities, close up views of deep-sea research submersibles and models of shipwrecks, including Titanic. Another treat is the newly renovated observatory. Three new telescopes, reconfiguration of the viewing space and a new dome complete this wonderful update.

Check out this library book!

One of my favorite local resources that I frequent often is the city library. I’m an avid reader so would spend tons of money if I bought all the books I read! I love that I can go online to the library’s website to browse for books of interest, then put a hold on them. The library, part of a larger network, emails me when the books are ready for pick up. I also peruse the new book section at the library to see what I may enjoy reading (I admit nothing calms me like wandering through a library or bookstore!). Most libraries also host free education programs, activities for teens and children, and have a decent selection of music, movies and television shows that library card holders can borrow.


While the weather may be cooling, there are still plenty of pretty days to enjoy the outdoors. Metro Detroit residents are fortunate to have so many local parks with tennis courts, basketball nets and trails. Most of these parks don’t have entrance fees. If you participate in the state park pass on your car’s license plate renewal (a mere $10 for the year), don’t forget that serves as an entrance pass to all state parks.

Plenty of trails to wander

The ultimate ‘free’ activity that rewards you with a sense of giving back? Volunteer at a local charity. There are many worthwhile charities in metro Detroit that survive on the generosity of volunteers. Check out your local food bank, soup kitchen, animal shelter or hospital (or whatever type of charity interests you).


These are just a few ideas of the many activities that are no cost fun. So no excuses to sit on your couch being bored! What are some other free activities you participate in?

2 thoughts on “Activities to keep you busy in metro Detroit (for free!)

  1. Great list and thanks for the reminder – I need to get to the DIA soon!

    Another fun freebie? The RenCen does free tours daily. They are pretty interesting too! One other thing is the Heidelberg Project…Always cool to look at (and free)!

    1. Thanks for reading! And thanks for sharing about the RenCen tours. I wasn’t aware those are offered. I’ll have to check it out – a good indoor weather activity!

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