Preservation Detroit's historic walking tours resume Saturday

Erica Hobbs
Special to The Detroit News
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After a two-year hiatus following the COVID-19 pandemic, Preservation Detroit’s historic walking tours re-start this weekend, offering Detroiters and visitors alike the opportunity to understand the city on a deeper level. The 2.5-hour tours will run at 10 a.m. every Saturday morning until September.

“Like the thousands of people who take our tours every year, Preservation Detroit was disappointed that we had to cancel last year’s tour season,” said Devan Anderson, president of the organization’s board of directors. “Now we’re back, and our dedicated volunteers have been hard at work planning some truly phenomenal tours.” 

The tours are a fundraiser for the nonprofit organization and reflect its mission to preserve the city’s architectural heritage. Four tours are available and highlight different areas of the city: Downtown, Eastern Market, Midtown and Cultural Center. The Downtown tour focuses on Detroit’s historic high rises, towering monuments, grand boulevards, parks and plazas. Eastern Market highlights Detroit’s historic farmer’s market, though Anderson emphasized it is not a shopping tour, it is a history tour.

Preservation Detroit takes people on a tour of the Eastern Market, one of many places the tour highlights.

“It’s for people who want to see a bigger picture of Eastern Market,” he said. “It’s not related to commerce at all, aside from the history of commerce.”

The Midtown and Culture Center tours cover a similar part of the city but showcase different areas. Midtown, Anderson said, focuses on the vibrancy of the neighborhood, highlighting businesses like The Whitney and Traffic Jam and Snug, as well as the Canfield Historic District, churches and the renovations of buildings like The El Moore and The Willys Lofts. 

Culture Center takes participants around many of the city’s most prominent museums like the Detroit Institute of Arts and the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. It also takes visitors outside other arts-oriented buildings like the Scarab Club and the College for Creative Studies, among others. The two tours alternate with Midtown occurring the first and third Saturdays of the month, and Culture Center the second and fourth Saturdays of the month.

“If there’s an aspect of the city that intrigues you, one of these four tours likely touches upon it,” Anderson said. 

Tailored private tours are also available.

To protect against COVID, tours must be purchased in advance and will be capped at 10 guests. Social distancing and masks are required, and tours that typically include visits to building interiors will be outside-only. Restroom facilities on the tour are scarce and may not be available to tour attendees. 

Depending on COVID, Preservation Detroit is aiming to offer its cemetery tour and possibly its theater tour in the fall, and more in 2022.

“At this point, we’re dealing with 2022 when 2022 comes,” Anderson said. “At the least, we’re hoping to offer a slightly more robust tour season.”

Individual tours are $15 for Preservation Detroit members and $18 for nonmembers. A season pass for all of the tours is $50 for members and $60 for nonmembers. Tours begin at 10 a.m. Saturdays and can be booked at 

Preservation Detroit 

Historic walking tours

10 a.m. Saturdays, now until September 

Tickets: $15 for Preservation Detroit members; $18 for nonmembers


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