Here’s how to get to Detroit’s entertainment district using public transit.
Headed downtown Detroit for a game or concert? Your first impulse might be to jump in your vehicle and drive downtown. Now you’ll have to find a place to park using Detroit’s parking app or Parkwhiz but parking can be quite expensive and you may still have to walk quite a ways. You could take Uber or Lyft but that could cost you a lot of money depending on how far you are traveling. What if you could get dropped off near an entrance for just $2 per person or for free? You can use the money saved on parking on extra food, beverages or souvenirs. Here’s a guide to getting downtown Detroit’s entertainment destinations using public transit.
Regional Transit — FAST
Detroit may not have a rapid rail transit system but it has three regional transit routes which are run by SMART called FAST: (Frequent Affordable Safe Transit). They run all day on Michigan Ave, Woodward Ave and Gratiot Ave and make limited stops every 1–2 miles. These buses are distinguished from local buses with big letters FAST, on the side. They run from early in the morning until late in the evening so you won’t get stranded. They cost just $2 per person ($0.50 for seniors, children & disabled) and your ticket is good for 4 hours of unlimited trips & transfers on SMART & DDOT buses. You can pay using cash on the bus or use the Token Mobile App on your smart phone. To plan your trip & track buses, use the TransitApp.
- FAST Michigan: Hop on this bus at Detroit Metropolitan Airport or any stop along Michigan Ave. This bus drops off on Woodward near Grand Circus Park outside the David Whitney Building. From there you can transfer to the QLINE, FAST Woodward bus, #4 DDOT bus or walk to the entertainment district.
- FAST Woodward: Hop on this bus at Great Lakes Crossing, Troy Park & Ride or any stop along the way to downtown. This bus also stops near Fisher Theatre, Orchestra Hall, Masonic Temple, Little Caesars Arena, Comerica Park, Fox Theatre, The Fillmore, Ford Field, Detroit Opera, Gem Theatre and Music Hall.
- FAST Gratiot: Hop on this bus near Meijer in Chesterfield or any stop along the way. This route ends on Jefferson & Woodward. Exit at Madison to reach the stadium & theater district.
FAST buses are also a great way to reach Huntington Place, Detroit’s convention center.
Detroit’s streetcar is a free to ride and a convenient way to reach District Detroit from New Center and Midtown. You can park for free at the public transit lot south of Amtrak on Amsterdam and ride the QLINE downtown. It operates until midnight every night except Sunday (9pm) and is free to ride. There is plenty to see & do before and after games and concerts along the QLINE so park once & explore the city. For Little Caesars Arena exit at Sproat Station. For Comerica Park exit at Montcalm or Grand Circus. For Ford Field exit at Grand Circus. For Huntington Place exit at Congress.
The Detroit People Mover has been circulating overhead since 1986 and is still a great way to get from parking to District Detroit. There are several parking lots nearby including Huntington Place, Z-Lot and One Campus Martius. You can’t beat the view of the city and Detroit River from the People Mover and it is also free to ride currently. Hours are M-Thrs (7am-7pm), Friday (7am-12am), Saturday (10am-12am) and Sundays (10am-9pm). Popular destinations include Huntington Place, Hollywood Casino, Greektown, GM Renaissance Center, Boll Family YMCA, Detroit Opera, Fillmore Detroit, Fox Theatre, Comerica Park, Ford Field and Music Hall.
You many notice racks full of matching red bikes downtown. These are operated by MoGo, Detroit’s bike share system. They are a great way to get around the city as a last mile solution or for pleasure riding. Stations are located near all major downtown destinations & near transit stops for easy transfers. Rates vary from $1 to unlock & $0.25 a minute (like scooters) to $10 for 1-hour, $15 for unlimited 60-minute trips over 3 days, $18 for 2-hours of consecutive use as well as monthly & annual passes. Use the TransitApp to locate & unlock bikes.
Detroit has been served by buses for over 100 years and they are still a great way to get from the city’s most popular neighborhoods to downtown or vice versa. Fares are the same as SMART and you can use the TransitApp to plan your trip and DART Mobile App to pay using your phone. Park in your favorite neighborhood to pregame at your favorite bar or restaurant and ride DDOT to your destination. Below are some popular neighborhood & bus route combinations using 24/hr routes:
- Mexicantown/Southwest to downtown via #1-Vernor
- Dearborn/Corktown to downtown #2-Michigan
- Cass Corridor/Motown Museum to downtown #16-Dexter
- Dearborn/Core City/East English Village to Woodward via #8-Warren
- Midtown/New Center to downtown via #4-Woodward
- West Village to downtown via #5-Van Dyke-Lafayette
- Eastern Market to downtown via #6-Gratiot
- Jefferson East to downtown via #9-Jefferson
- Grandmont/Rosedale to downtown via #3-Grand River
This regional bus runs 17 times a day between Detroit & Ann Arbor during the week and 8 times on weekends. The downtown stop in Ann Arbor is the Blake Transit Center and in Detroit the bus stops on Park Ave in Grand Circus Park. The stop location make it very convenient to reach sporting events & concerts downtown Detroit. It costs $8 at the stop, $6 purchased in advance and $4 for reduced fares. Buses are large and roomy and can carry several bicycles down below. Transfer to multiple providers in Grand Circus Park or walk to many popular venues.