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10 Tips & Things to Do at Detroit Metro Airport (DTW)

Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport—also known as Detroit Metro or DTW—is the major international airport for southeast Michigan and northern Ohio. As a hub of Delta Air Lines, it’s a frequent stop for international travelers to Asia and is the third busiest gateway to Europe. It’s massive McNamara terminal was built in 2002 and hosts 21 major airlines. It typically exceeds moving over 33 million passengers a year. If you are looking for things to do at Detroit Metro Airport, here are some top ideas.

#1 Explore the Art of the Light and Sound Tunnel Between Concourses at DTW Airport

If you have a few minutes in between flights, it’s worth a walk to the famous light tunnel between the A and B/C concourses.

The Famous Light Tunnel at DTW

This 700-foot underground light tunnel is a unique display of sight and soothing sounds. It is accessible via escalators and elevators in the center of the concourses. You can walk the entire length or upon the moving walkways carry passengers through the tunnel, which runs under the terminal and two active taxiways. Jets are typically rolling by overhead.

The one of a kind work of art tunnel is made of sand-blasted art-on-glass panels created by Foxfire Glass of Pontiac, Michigan. This glass artwork is illuminated by 9,000 ft. of LED lighting designed. The music is synchronized to an original piece composed by Mills James of Columbus, Ohio.


#2 Take Advantage of Off-Site DTW Parking

DTW parking

You would think that parking in the DTW airport property would be extremely convenient, but that isn’t always the case. If you’re by yourself with only a carry-on bag, then parking on-premise may not be a problem. However, if you’re traveling with a group or have luggage to check-in, there are advantages to parking off-site at Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

Advantages of Off-Premise Parking at Detroit Metro Airport

  • Shuttle service direct to your vehicle. Offered 24 hours a day.
  • Lighted, monitored lots with lots of activity.
  • Employee discounts for off-prem parking are offered by many employers in Southeast Michigan
  • Generally cheaper by a dollar or two per day.
  • Offers mechanical assistance services such as battery jump starts.

Major Off-Premise Parking at Detroit Metro Airport

NameOn-Line RatingEmployee/Coupon RateRegular Rate
Park-N-Go3.9 Stars N/A/$9.00 $9.50
Airlines Parking 4.2 Stars $7.50/$10.00 $12.00
Qwik Park 4.2 Stars $7.50/$10.00 $11.00
US Park4.1 Stars$7.50/$10.00 $11.00


Did You Know?
Detroit Metro Airport has been the location of 13 movies and television productions.


#3 Another Parking Option – DTW Hotels, Park, Sleep and Fly

Things to do at Detroit Metro Airport (DTW) Hotel
Sleep then fly

Another unique option is to stay at a hotel at the beginning or end of your trip and park at the hotel while you’re away. Just about every hotel clustered around the Detroit Metropolitan Airport offers this option at competitive rates.

Check directly with the hotel your interested in or internet search for “Park, Sleep, Fly, DTW” for more information and rates.


#4 Relax in the Sky Clubs at DTW Airport

If you are facing a long layover, consider using one of the Delta Sky Clubs at DTW. The clubs are clean quiet and offer a place to read, do work or relax. The clubs provide a variety of hot appetizer foods, warm cookies, and other snacks.

Things to do at Detroit Metro Airport
Delta’s Sky Club Source: Delta Air Lines

There is an assortment of cold beverages and self-serve beer, wine, and cocktails. There is also satellite programming, real newspapers, and magazines. If you have a problem with your flight representatives are available to assist. Since these clubs are geared toward business travelers, there is Wi-Fi, and power outlets are located near each chair or workstation. There is also flight status information available in the main area.

Delta has four sky clubs at Detroit Metro Airport (DTW)

  • Concourse C, at gate level near the entrance to Concourse C
  • Concourse A, 2nd level at Express Tram North Station across from Gate A68
  • Concourse A, 2nd level at Express Tram South Station across from Gate A18
  • The main Delta Sky Club is on the second story in the McNamara Terminal in concourse A across from Gate A38. It is one of the largest and therefore can get crowded. There are showers available.

Access to the clubs involves holding a membership with Delta Sky Club or purchasing a single-use pass. If you hold an American Express SkyMiles card, you can get access at a reduced rate.


#5 The Water Feature at Detroit Metro Airport

One of the most interesting yet little-noticed unique items at Detroit Metro Airport is the water feature in the center of the McNamara terminal. This fountain/living art has 45 “leapfrog” devices that shoot synchronized streams of laminar water flow. It is 39-ft. wide, elliptical-shaped of black granite made by WET Design of Burbank, California. Continuous water flows over the granite and creates a mirror-like smooth surface that travelers love to touch. All the coins flipped into the water feature are donated to local charities.

Hint: The feature is surrounded by cafes and coffee bars. It is a great place to grab an espresso and people watch. The fountain is in a great central location to the tram station and main Delta Sky Club.


#6 The Tram at DTW McNamara Terminal – Ride on a Bed of Air

Covering nearly a mile, the main McNamara Terminal is the world’s second-longest airport concourse. Luckily DTW has a set of trams that run the entire length of the concourse. The tram can get travelers from one end to the other in about three minutes. Needless to say, is a great way to see the entire terminal and not limit yourself to restaurants and shops on only one end.

Cursing at about 30 mph each of the trams rides on a half-inch of air created by 72 air pads on the bottom of each train. It’s an amazing sight, and the tram is so quiet that you hardly notice its whizzing by above you.


#7 Meet at the Westin Hotel at Detroit Metro Airport

If your meeting up with friends or family at the airport consider joining them at the atrium lobby of the Westin Hotel. This is the only on-site hotel located on airport property. Renovated in 2017, the hotel’s skylight atrium restaurant offers a classy rendezvous point away from the terminal crowds. You can enjoy a meal or a craft beer and watch the status of your flight on nearby monitors.

Reflections Lounge in the Westin Hotel Atrium. Detroit Metro Airport
Reflections Lounge in the Atrium. Source: Westin Hotel

When your ready to travel you can go through security at the hotel’s private security checkpoint which is located in the lobby. If you’re staying at the hotel the Westin offers a unique Beyond the Screening Checkpoint Program, which allows registered overnight hotel guests to visit the shops and restaurants in the McNamara Terminal. Shopping is one of the highlighted things to do at Detroit Metro Airport.


#8 Pet and Service Dog Rest Stop at Detroit Metro Airport

For those traveling with pets and service animals, Detroit Metro Airport has facilities for their relief.

DTW Airport service dog rest area sign
Even our furry companions need a break

The McNamara Terminal has two Service Animal Relief Areas. In the main terminal, it’s near Gate A-34. The other is outside the International Arrivals area at the lower level. Both sites provide plastic bags and a container for disposal of solid waste.


#9 Picking Up Arrivals at Detroit Metro Airport DTW

One of the frustrating aspects of DTW is picking upon arrival. The pick-up area for both the North Terminal and McNamara can be quite busy and sitting for long periods of time in the arrival zone will result in the attention of airport security and the local sheriff.

Things to do at Detroit Metro Airport (DTW) pickup

Fortunately Detroit Metro has two cell phones waiting for areas. They are free and offer a fairly good vantage point to watch take-offs and landings as you wait for your arrival. Look for signs directing you to the lots as you arrive.

South Lot – Off of Eureka Road

North Green Lot – Off of the East Entrance Service drive

When your party lands have them give you a call then head for their arrival terminal. It’s a stress-free and very convenient way to navigate at DTW airport.

Cell Phone Waiting DTW Airport
Cell Phone Waiting Lots Source: Wayne County Airport Authority

Related Reading Things to do at Detroit Metro Airport (DTW)


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Mike Hardy

Mike Hardy is a Marketing Information Technology Manager and author of a fun-loving blog covering topics of the Upper Thumb of Michigan. Starting in 2009, he authored a vast range of content and established a loyal base of 15,000 visitors per month. Mike welcomes your feedback, which can be found on Thumbwinds, "About" page.

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