Encyclopedia Of Detroit

Detroit International RiverWalk

The Detroit Riverfront Conservancy was formed with the purpose of transforming the city’s riverfront space into a unique resource with beautiful views and great family attractions along the Detroit River. This ongoing vision includes the Detroit International RiverWalk, and the many amenities and experiences that can be found along what will one day be a five-and-a-half-mile course.

Cullen Plaza, along with approximately two miles of East Riverfront RiverWalk, opened to the public in 2007. Plaza highlights include a custom-designed River Carousel, a standing glass map of the St. Lawrence Seaway and an in-laid granite map of the Detroit River. A ceremonial “first ride” on the River Carousel marked opening festivities, with 5th graders from St. Scholastica Elementary School receiving the honor. Along the riverfront, visitors can access Hart Plaza, Milliken State Park, GM Plaza adjacent to the Renaissance Center, and much more. In November 2020, The Detroit Riverfront Conservancy and Huron-Clinton Metroparks announced a multi-year, pilot partnership that focuses on widening access to new programs and recreation for city and suburban families, and leverages the world-class parks, greenways and public spaces managed by the two organizations.

In 2020, the second phase of the project began. The Detroit International RiverWalk will be expanded to connect Mt. Elliott Park and Gabriel Richard Park, further transforming the east riverfront running from the former site of Joe Louis Arena to Richard Park, just past the MacArthur Bridge to Belle Isle. Eventually, the RiverWalk will span to the Ambassador Bridge. The Detroit Riverfront earned the distinction of Best Riverwalk in America by USA Today readers in their 10 Best Readers’ Choice 2021 Travel Award Contest.