Filled with history and culture, Dearborn, Michigan, is a great place to take your family. From automobile museums and cultural experiences to delicious eateries and shopping, there’s something for everyone to do. The home of Henry Ford and the largest mosque in America, Dearborn has many things to boast about. The question is – what are the top things to see and do?
Keep reading to learn about the best 14 things to do in Dearborn and plan the best getaway with your loved ones!
Things to Do in Dearborn with the Family
1. Rouge River Gateway
The Rouge River Gateway Trail is the perfect excuse to get outside and enjoy the sunshine! Bike along the scenic Rouge River with your family, or kayak through one of the water trails as you enjoy the surrounding nature.
If you’re looking for outdoorsy things to do in Dearborn, this trail provides a refreshing break from the hustle and bustle of the big city, and it’s a fun way for everyone to get some exercise in.
2. Fairlane Town Center
Look no further than Fairlane Town Center if you’re searching for things to do in Dearborn with the girls. Filled with all your favorite clothes shops and snack stops, this giant shopping mall is perfect for a day of retail therapy.
Fairlane Town Center has over 125 stores, including major department stores like Macy’s and JC Penny. The mall also hosts several exciting events throughout the year, including the Jurassic Nation Dinosaur Exhibit and Cirque Italia, a water circus. Check out their website events tab for more information on upcoming events.
3. Ford Drive-In
Watch the latest cinematic release in style at Ford Drive-In! Pay one set price per vehicle, tune your FM radio to the coordinating station, and relax as you watch one of five movie screens located on the property.
This classic American drive-in theatre opened in 1950, showing the movie “Road to Rio” as its first film. In the 1980s, Ford Drive-In expanded to nine screens and a 3,000-car capacity, making it the world’s largest drive-in movie theatre.
The drive-in has since decreased its capacity, but it remains a must-see in the Dearborn area with its historic charm.
4. Dearborn Farmers and Artisans Market
Try taking part in one of the locals’ favorite things to do in Dearborn, visit the Dearborn Farmers and Artisans Market, which is open every Friday from June through September. The market offers a wide variety of fresh produce, flowers, cheeses, and baked goods.
If you come for homemade goodies, the market’s artisans provide a selection of handmade jewelry, woodwork, soaps, and candles. After you’ve shopped, make sure to stop and enjoy the live music provided by local entertainers.
Children will enjoy the market as well. Swing by the Pop (Power of Produce) Club Kid’s Corner, where the kids can participate in crafts, gardening workshops, and cooking demonstrations. They also receive a token for registering, which they can spend at the Dearborn Farmers and Artisans Market!
Automotive Museums in Dearborn
5. Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation
There are so many things to do in Dearborn for history lovers. Visit the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation, and you’ll see how many American innovators have changed the country we live in, from the Wright brothers to Rosa Parks.
Tour a collection of the first agricultural equipment in the country, or walk through different vehicles that our 20th-century presidents rode in.
The museum also hosts different exhibits that change every few months. For example, the current exhibit is dedicated to costume design throughout Disney’s cinematic history, and it displays over 79 costumes used to create 32 different Disney films. You can purchase tickets ahead of time on the museum website.
6. Fair Lane – Home of Henry and Clara Ford
Have you ever wondered where Henry Ford lived throughout his creative lifetime? Tour Fair Lane’s grounds and find out! The Fair Lane mansion is home to Henry and Clara Ford from 1915 to 1950, with 56 rooms covering five stories. It also contains a laboratory where Henry Ford was able to work on his projects and host visitors such as Thomas Edison and Harvey Firestone.
While the home is closed for restoration, you can tour Fair Lane’s grounds and view this beautiful home. You can also take in all the gardens of Fair Lane that Clara Ford enjoyed not too long ago.
7. Ford Rouge Factory Tour
There are so many things to do in Dearborn for car lovers. Add the Ford Rouge Factory Tour to your list. While most automotive museums in Dearborn focus on historic vehicles, you can tour the latest car technology at Ford Rouge Factory Tour.
Watch and learn how the new aluminum body F-150 is created through a multisensory experience complete with wind and vibrating seats. You can also take the Living Laboratory Tour, which leads you through ponds and orchards to demonstrate Ford’s dedication to sustainability.
8. Automotive Hall of Fame
Don’t leave the Automotive Hall of Fame off your list of things to do in Dearborn. Since 1939, they have been displaying the impressive history of the automobile. Tour everything automobile from motorsports to the history of the car salesman. By the time you leave, you’ll have all kinds of fun facts to share with your fellow history lovers!
The Automotive Hall of Fame also recognizes the top individuals in the motor vehicle industry each year at their induction and awards ceremony. The first inductees included Henry Ford, Charles Kettering, and Walter P. Chrysler. With such big names, these awards aren’t overlooked.
Cultural Things to Do in Dearborn
9. Sacred Heart Parish
So, you’re not into cars? No worries, and there are other meaningful things to do in Dearborn. Visit the Sacred Heart Parish to relish the beautiful architecture of this early 20th-century Catholic church.
The church started in the early 1800s, but the current building was constructed in 1929 during the Great Depression. From the inside out, you’ll be amazed at the thought and stunning detail put into building this church.
Tour the museum of their church history, or participate in their mass services every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning at nine.
10. Arab American National Museum
Did you know that the Arab American National Museum is the only museum to catalog the history and heritage of Arab Americans? Through documents and artifacts, they highlight the story of Arabs, from their journey as immigrants in America to their contributions to our country today.
The museum also works to encourage and promote Arab artists by displaying their work, growing the museum’s collection every year.
With the country’s largest population of Arab Americans, this greater Detroit area museum is a staple in the community.
11. Islamic Center of America
Mark visiting the largest mosque in America off your list of things to do in Dearborn! Constructed in 2005, the Islamic Center of America is the oldest Shia mosque in America. The mosque was started in 1963 by Imam Muhammad Chirri of Lebanon in response to the growing number of Muslims in the Detroit area.
Today, the mosque hosts prayer services and offers tours for groups to observe the building’s ornate architecture. It also serves as a private Islamic school for elementary and middle school-aged children.
Places to Eat in Dearborn
12. Bangkok 96 Restaurant
Let’s talk about things to do in Dearborn for foodies! Perhaps the most popular restaurant in Dearborn is Bangkok 96. Started by Genevieve Vang, this delicious Thai restaurant is an ode to her journey from refugee camps in Laos to tasting the flavorful food of Thailand. Vang later moved to Dearborn to start Bangkok 96.
Popular dishes at the restaurant include satay and Thai steak. The restaurant is reasonably priced and doesn’t require reservations, so it’s a great last-minute choice for dinner in Dearborn.
13. Ford’s Garage
Ford’s Garage is another must-visit on our fun things to do in Dearborn for car lovers. Enjoy your burger and craft beer while sitting among car-themed décor and memorabilia.
Popular dishes include the Estate Burger, Ford’s Garage Burger, and the Maine Lobster Mac. If you order the burger, look for Ford’s Garage signature logo seared onto your bun!
14. La Pita
If you’re in the mood for tasty Mediterranean cuisine, you must try La Pita. Located in Downtown Dearborn, La Pita provides a fine-dining experience with reasonably priced dishes. Choose from some of their most popular dishes, including the crushed lentil soup, chicken kabob, or Fattoush salad.
La Pita is known for their excellent service and beautiful Middle Eastern décor. They also offer a banquet area for showers and parties, where the chef will prepare a large table of their signature food for your event.
Wrapping Up Things to Do in Dearborn, MI
It takes a lot of work to narrow down the choices with so many fun things to do in Dearborn. You may need to stay a few extra days! Plan your trip now, and get ready for a great time with your family.
For more fun destinations in Michigan, visit our Michigan page to find out where the best attractions and activities are in this exciting state.