Woodward Avenue is known as “Detroit’s Main Street.”

It’s pretty easy to see why. This 21 mile stretch of road, also known as Michigan Highway M-1, is one of the most important avenues in the city. 

It’s also been around sine 1805. So it’s easy to see why so much of Detroit was built around it and not the other way around. 

In this post, we’re going to help you explore this stretch of this historic road. 

While it might be only a short distance, there is plenty of history that accompanies your drive. 

Buckle up, and let’s get ready to roll!

Exploring Downtown Detroit

Woodward Avenue starts in the heart of downtown Detroit. It’s only a few blocks from the shores of the Detroit River and the Detroit Riverwalk (a nice place to start your journey!). 

Once you’re in the car, head north.

It won’t be long before you reach Comerica Park, home of the Detroit Tigers. If you’re visiting during baseball season be sure to check out a game! But, if you happen to be exploring Detroit during the off-season it’s ok. Just a few blocks north you’ll find Little Caesar’s Arena, home of the Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Pistons.

Enjoy the Historic Districts

Once you’ve got all those sports out of your system, you can enjoy the some of the historic districts.

Woodward Avenue cuts right through the Midtown Woodward Historic District.

In this area, you’ll find a number of places on the National Historic Register that were built in the early 1900s. 

The Cultural Center Historic District is home to Wayne State University. Within this area, you can also visit the Detroit Institute of Arts and the Detroit Public Library too. 

New Center and North End

Entering the New Center and North End Neighborhoods, you’ll start to see quite a few churches dotting the road. A few of these will allow you to make a stop and visit them. Otherwise, be sure to enjoy the architecture of the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament, for example. 

This area of the city is also home to the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant, which showcases and preserves the Ford Model-T car. 

Into the Highland Park area, you’ll find Palmer Park. A large park that has some hiking trails and a beautiful public fountain. 

Heading into the Suburbs

As you continue north, you’ll notice there’s a decidedly more suburban feel to Woodward Avenue. But, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t plenty of things to see along the way.

The Detroit Zoo is in the Royal Oak neighborhood. And for architecture buffs, the Frank Lloyd Wright Affleck House is a few miles up the road in Bloomfield Hills. Tours are hosted May through October, so check the dates. 

Woodward Avenue ends (or starts depending on how you decide to route your trip) in Pontiac, Michigan. 

For a relatively small stretch of road, you can see quite a bit along your Woodward Avenue journey. Don’t miss it the next time you’re in and around Detroit.