Detroit may not have a lot of things, but it does have orchids. City-owned orchids were bequeathed by Anna Scripps Whitcomb, who left her 600-plant collection to the parks department back in the 1950s. Their descendants are just part of the appeal of the 106-year-old conservatory located at the heart of the island park in the Detroit River. Belle Isle was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, who is best known as the co-designer of New York’s Central Park. Today’s Belle Isle may not have Central Park’s money—witness the shuttered zoo and abandoned boat club—but it is still mighty impressive, at nearly 1,000 acres. Cass Gilbert’s Scott Fountain is one of the finest pieces of decorative architecture in the Midwest, while the fun Nature Zoo is a must if you're traveling with kids, as is the public beach, where a massive water slide costs just $3 for an all-day pass. On summer Sundays, our favorite is the Jazz on the Beach concerts, held from 6 to 8PM.
Attractions & Landmarks, Parks, Gardens & Cemeteries, Sports and the Outdoors