SemSeg's Segway experts equip urban explorers to cruise through Detroit at up to 12.5 miles per hour during self-guided tours. A brief orientation covers proper techniques for turning, stopping, and impromptu jousting. Then, motorists hop aboard scooters and travel up to 24 miles on a single charge. The long battery life allows motorists to cruise down the Riverfront, circle 14-acre Hart Plaza, and crisscross the Rivard Plaza in a single trip. Though SemSeg encourages DIY tours, their guides lead weekend tours through downtown and down the Riverwalk.
Offering unique "backseat" tours of Detroit, tour guide and Michigan native Joseph C. Krause hops into tourists' cars where he guides them through the streets and sights of the city. Often taking roads less traveled, his tours take visitors on an insider's route through the ever-evolving metropolis where he sheds light on little-known facts. Tour routes are entirely customizable, Krause is a wealth of knowledge on any trip, which can last anywhere from a few hours up to an entire day.
The Social Connection scans the cultural horizons of Detroit and plots to add an extra dose of fun to all it has to offer. One example: the city's Fourth of July celebration, featuring one of the biggest fireworks displays in the country. For more than a decade, The Social Connection has been putting together viewing parties all across the city, in such glamorous spots as the Marriott Courtyard Roof and chartered yachts, rather than just in houses with their roofs sawed off. The other 364 days of the year, the team stays just as busy putting together network-expanding events such as dinner parties, pub crawls, and craft-liquor tastings.
Preservation Detroit, founded in 1975, is Detroit's oldest group dedicated to historic preservation. Over the past three decades, the architectural preservation organization has become a leading advocate for the protection and rehabilitation of Detroit's historic abodes, skyscrapers, and culturally rich sites. They have used a variety of educational and research programs, along with advocacy and awareness campaigns to help grow support for the conservation Detroit's built heritage. Part of this mission includes encouraging the redevelopment of neighborhoods throughout the city around these historic structures, providing an anchor for residential areas and helping increase economic investment.
An all-volunteer organization, Preservation Detroit's staff continues to nurture their community's passion for historical treasures through lectures, seasonal newsletters, and tours. The organization continues to live up to its name; it recently helped conduct a historic preservation resource survey that recorded property-by-property information in six historic Detroit districts.
The Detroit River's international waters stretch out for miles in either direction, winding along the Detroit skyline and kissing the Canadian border. As ships snake their way through the current, they pass lighthouses on small green islands, bridges stretched across overhead, and workers milling about on the riverside docks. Building on 20 years of boating, the captains of the Diamond Jack, Diamond Belle, and Diamond Queen let passengers take in these sights to the tune of guided narration as their ships' white and sea-foam green hulls slice through the water. The three ships have proven impervious to squalls and Poseidon's road-construction crews since their maiden voyages in the mid- to late 1950s, and safely gather up to 250 passengers on their panoramic upper decks or in protected lower cabins. Today, passengers on these storied steel decks can sip beer, wine, and soft drinks or nibble on snacks from an on-board snack bar during tours. Captains also pilot each ship on private group excursions, as well as school field trips past the river's ships, yacht clubs, parks, and docks.
Regardless of which tour you crawl along with, you'll be traveling under the flapping jaw and friendly wings of a veteran Inside Detroit guide. Along the way, your guide will help arrange personal time with each bar's staff and pull a few strings designed to shower you in a few complimentary surprises (complimentary surprises vary by tour and do not involve pulling shiny pennies from behind your ear). Fill your cranial cup with local Detroit history and culture while enjoying each brew house's distinct lineup of taps and tipplers. While you're at it, strike up a conversation with fellow tour goers, who may be presumed to have at least four common interests—bars, tours, stuff that is "pretty neat," and conversation.