Christmas Day in Detroit
November 10, 2011 12:57 PM   Subscribe

Please tell me about things to do in Detroit -- on Christmas Day.

I'll be on a road trip between Christmas and New Year's, and the first day -- Christmas Day itself -- is to be a travel day, with a few hours available in the greater Detroit area. (The plan was to go to the DIA, whose website did not show being closed on Christmas Day itself, but upon calling to confirm, are definitely closed.)

So now there's a hole to fill, not wanting to spend Christmas Day itself back at the motel. Is there anything open? Museums, shopping malls? Best guess so far looks like Belle Isle and its conservatory, but I'd like a Plan B available. Having the car extends our range a bit, but it already being a travel day there...

I will be travelling with Mother Renault, a little old lady with a tricky hip, so indoor activities are preferable (but not absolutely necessary). Art and architecture are big interests (but non-trespassy ones). Walking tours? Driving tours? Shopping? Anything?

I've checked out the other Detroit questions, but the Christmas Day angle throws everything off.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I'm at a total loss.
posted by Capt. Renault to Travel & Transportation around Detroit, MI (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
There isnt too much to do. Most things are closed. One thing that may interest you is just to drive through and see the architecture of the older buildings. While Detroit use to have over 2 million people, now with even less than 900000 there is plenty of beautiful urban decay.

The DIA is a treasure, and I do hope you get to see it. Sorry to not offer much else, but there isnt much to do on xmas.
posted by handbanana at 1:10 PM on November 10, 2011

Since it's Christmas, there is one type of older building guaranteed to be open to you: Detroit's churches, among which are several national landmarks. Check out a few at this page.
posted by resurrexit at 1:27 PM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Even if you don't celebrate Christmas, attending a Christmas service at one of Detroit's historic churches could be a nice way to be part of the community that day. Bonus: singing! And stained glass!
posted by argonauta at 1:27 PM on November 10, 2011

Best answer: Casino? Might be a bit depressing on Christmas, but they're definitely indoors and probably open. This could count as post-modern architecture?

I've been to both Motor City and the other large casino in Detroit and had a weirdly fun time.
posted by Cwell at 1:52 PM on November 10, 2011

Response by poster: I've penciled in the casino buffet for dinner, to kill a couple of hours. (Coincidently, it's our usual Christmas dinner plan here at home -- we're not gamblers, but we enjoy gawking.)

As for churches -- I have my doubts that they'll still be open by the time we get there in the afternoon. However, argonauta's link goes to some walking tour options which may be an option.

Is there no tourist attraction (an Asian mall, or outlet mall, or even a neat movie theatre) which will be open regardless of the holiday?
posted by Capt. Renault at 2:03 PM on November 10, 2011

Movie theaters are open. There are none in Detroit except in the GM tower. Pm me with you approximate location and I can give you suggestions.
posted by handbanana at 2:07 PM on November 10, 2011

As a longtime theater projectionist, and even though I'm nowhere NEAR Detroit, I think it's a safe bet to say that pretty much every movie theater will be open. They often close early-ish on Christmas EVE, canceling the last show or so, but every theater I've ever worked in has had a full schedule of shows on Christmas DAY.
posted by easily confused at 3:48 PM on November 10, 2011

Are you going to be staying in the actual city of Detroit or one of the suburbs? There will be more (but not a whole lot) places open in the 'burbs than in the City. But even most of the Chinese restaurants are closed on Christmas Day. The large chain movie theaters are open, as are hotels and some drugstore chains. No liquor sales are allowed on Christmas Day in Michigan so don't expect to be able to get cocktails or wine when you go out to eat.
posted by Oriole Adams at 3:52 PM on November 10, 2011

Does your mother like Indian food?My experience has been that most of them are open on Christmas. I've also read that MI has one of the largest Middle Eastern populations in the US, but I don't know the Christian/Muslim ratio.
posted by brujita at 10:02 PM on November 10, 2011

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