Free Activities in Downtown Detroit: The Activity Pass

July 24, 2016 | Detroit Events

One of the most treasured parts of living in downtown anywhere is the plethora of sweet things you can do with just a few minutes’ planning and a few blocks’ walk. But Detroit is special among all of the metropoles of the United States, because we have something called the Michigan Activity Pass, or MAP.

What is a MAP?
Michigan Activity Passes are free (or in some cases merely massively reduced-cost) tickets to a huge variety of places around Michigan. There are MAPs for museums, parks, theatres, and a lot more. In fact, you can check out MAPs for 18 places within a dozen miles of the Lofts of Merchants Row, including:

  • The Detroit Institute of the Arts
  • The Michigan Science Center
  • The Carr Center
  • The Motor Cities National Heritage Area
  • The Outdoor Adventure Center
  • Belle Isle Park
  • The Ford Community & Performing Arts Center
  • The Arab-American National Museum
  • The Michigan Military Technical & Historical Society Museum
  • And more!

Where to Get a MAP
Getting a MAP is simple: go to your local library (literally any library in the state of Michigan), and check one out. Yes, this means you need a library card, but so long as you have one, you can print off MAPs at your library (sometimes printing fees apply). In general, each person is allowed to print out one MAP every 7 days. You reserve a date when you print the MAP, and you have 7 days from the date you reserved to use it.  (Yes, at the majority of the participating locations, you do actually have to bring the paper with you — no photocopies or pictures of the paper will suffice.)

Will a MAP Really Get Me In Free?
Every participating organization decides whether their particular MAP will get you in free, or just at a discount. To determine which is which, you’ll have to head over to and figure out where you want to go. (Note: that URL redirects to a strange-looking one — — but for whatever reason, really is the home of the MAP program.) The “more info” button for each destination will explain the offers for that destination’s MAP.

MAPs for Special Events
Quite regularly, the various venues that participate in the MAP program host special events that are very much worth attending. You can follow each venue independently online, but the MAP Facebook page does a great job of letting the public know when a venue is doing something cool that a MAP could get you access to.

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