This is more of an experience than a tour. Four major conductors in the UGRR, dress in character and walk you through the city’s major locations, where, in the 1840s and 50s, was a hotbed of abolitionist sentiment and where thousands of fugitive slaves were spirited in secret to various “stops,” then onto awaiting boats to take them to freedom—less than a mile away in Windsor, Ontario. I’m a native Detroiter and this was my second time on the tour; it was that good! Read more
Incredible Journey to Midnight: Detroit Underground Railroad Walking Tour
Dramatized tour brings history to life
Detroit’s role as a major stop on the UGRR told
Authentic historic sites and events revealed
Embark on this Unique Experience highlighting Detroit’s Underground Railroad History
The Incredible Journey to Midnight isn’t an ordinary tour. It’s an immersive experience where history comes alive!
Travel back to pre-Civil War America when the horrific institution of slavery was legal in much of the United States. Learn about those who spoke out against this unimaginable yet widely accepted practice, challenging both its legality and morality. Follow in the footsteps of Freedom Seekers who made the dangerous journey through Midnight, code word for Detroit, to escape the oppressive shackles of bondage in favor of freedom across the Detroit River. Discover the compelling stories of those who risked their lives to make this dangerous journey and those who dared to help them. Meet significant historic figures of this era such as Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, and John Brown portrayed by actors who insure their mighty voices and powerful messages continue to be heard today.
If you like history told in a compelling and interactive way, then this memorable tour is for you.
Real history brought to life through actor portrayals
Follow in the footsteps of Freedom Seekers who made the dangerous journey to Midnight
Discover where profound historic events took place
Participate in an immersive and emotional "safe house" reenactment
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Youth: $18 (17 and under)
6% booking fee assessed on tickets booked online (you can avoid booking fee by purchasing tickets via phone).
Guardian Building, 500 Griswold Street, Suite 250, Detroit MI 48226
Note: Tour ends at Gateway to Freedom Monument in Hart Plaza.
Select Thursday nights only!
June 15, July 20, August 17 / 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm
10 minimum, 30 maximum
- Advanced registration required
- Tour involves walking for about two to two-and-a-half miles, standing for periods of around 10 minutes, and going up and down short flights of stairs
Narrated tour and People Mover tokens
What to bring
- Dress for the weather and wear comfy walking shoes
- Bring a lightweight, folding camp chair if desired
No refunds on tickets purchased unless tour is cancelled by tour operator.
Are you looking for unique and compelling things-to-do in Detroit? If so, then our Incredible Journey to Midnight walking tour should be at the top of your list! Using elements of street theatre with Downtown Detroit as the stage and actors to convey important American history, it’s more of an experience than ordinary tour. So, get ready to travel back in time with us to pre-Civil War America where the horrific institution of slavery is legal in much of the United States?
Your journey begins in Midnight – code for Detroit. There, a conductor will meet you and the other brave people who risked life and limb to escape the shackles of this immoral and cruel form of involuntary servitude and covertly escort you to the banks of the Detroit River where you’ll make safe passage to freedom in Canada. Along the way, you’ll meet others willing to help with your transport despite the danger to them and their families. You may also encounter well-known abolitionists such as Sojourner Truth, John Brown, and Frederick Douglass or high-ranking politicians like Senators Jacob Merritt Howard or Zachariah Chandler who are all speaking out against slavery and changing the course of history.
Although a narrow river literally separates you from freedom, sadly you still cannot let your guard down while in Midnight. Slave catchers lurk around every corner, eagerly awaiting your arrival. So, just like every other place you’ve been on this long, dangerous road to freedom, you may have to hide at a moment’s notice. And just like before, you must remain silent and invisible as if your life depends on it – because it does! God-willing, the danger will pass, and you’ll be able to complete your journey.
Limited tickets are available for the Incredible Journey to Midnight, an immersive experience where history comes alive! If you like history told in a compelling and interactive way, then this memorable tour is for you.
Frequently asked questions:
Although we ride the Detroit People Mover occasionally, this tour is geared towards people who can easily walk about 2-2.5 miles, climb up and down short flights of stairs, and stand for 10 or so minutes at numerous sites over a period of three hours.
The tour starts at the Guardian Building near the Financial District People Mover Station and ends at the Gateway to Freedom monument at Hart Plaza which isn’t far from the starting point. The Buhl Garage is located across the street from the Guardian Building. Numerous surface lots and metered street parking can be found nearby. Online parking guides such as www.parkwhiz.com can be helpful.
Actors return to the starting point so you can walk with them if you’re unfamiliar with the area.
There are restrooms available at the beginning, and we take a restroom break near the middle of tour. If there is a bathroom emergency along the way, we usually can direct you to the nearest one.
We frequently have young people on this tour. They learn a lot and enjoy being part of the experience. That said, slavery – the subjugation of humans through brutal tactics, is a very tough topic even for adults to comprehend and can be especially frightening for children. Please make sure your children are of an age where they can handle the subject.
The Underground Railroad is figurative. In most instances, freedom seekers didn’t escape via railroads or underground tunnels. The tour takes place on street level.
Check out what our guests are saying
Nancy was our guide for the See the D tour. We decided to take a visiting out-of-town relative down to Detroit, but realized we didn’t know much about it despite having lived here all of our lives. Nancy was extremely informative and accommodating. Read more
To be honest, I didn’t have the best impression of Detroit before visiting but Pat at City Tour Detroit changed all that! She was a wonderful tour guide that had so much passion and love of Detroit…it was definitely contagious! I learned so much from her — she had great facts about all the locations we visited. 10/10 Read more
My girlfriend and I took a trip to Detroit and reserved The see the D tour. Our guide Nancy did a great job. She covered a wide range of topics and made the city feel very unique. Read more
This was a very fun activity to enjoy downtown Detroit. The stories are interesting and some are quite grim. I think that much of the enjoyment is dependent upon how well the group interacts and plays along with the tour guide. This 2.5 hr tour on foot is very easy to walk. Read more