Despite what you may hear, Detroit is a delightful place to visit (and live). If you come, you’ll meet a diverse range of people, many of whom are eager to show off the positive points of this city. Yes, there are some spooky parts, empty of people and even buildings, but many neighborhoods such as Corktown and Midtown are alive with people and businesses. Find out what Detroit has to offer.
Do & See
Motown Historical Museum: Where music in Detroit got famous, Berry Gordy Jr.’s studio is a must for music lovers.
Detroit Institute of Arts: Thanks to money from the auto industry’s heyday, the DIA boasts works by Mattisse, Picasso, van Gogh, and more. The real treat is Rivera Court, with murals by Diego Rivera. The Museum stays open late on Fridays and features concerts.
Eastern Market: Go on Saturday when more than 250 vendors sell fresh food, some of it grown right in Detroit. In summer, gather a picnic and head to Belle Isle for a relaxing respite. If a picnic’s not your thing, stop by Russell Street Deli for something delicious and fresh.
The Henry Ford & Greenfield Village: While not in Detroit proper, a visit to the Henry Ford is a great way to understand just what Henry Ford thought he was doing when he built his factories. It is admittedly an idealized version of industry, but one that is interesting nonethelss.
Wheelhouse Detroit: Rent a bike and follow one of their maps for an easy ride around the city. Detroit is nearly flat, so biking is enjoyable.
The Heidelberg Project: It a street that is filled with art. Some may think it’s crazy, some may think it’s genius, but it’s worth a look.
Choosing just a few restaurants is nearly impossible. For a full rundown of everything food in Detroit, check out the excellent blog Eat it Detroit. That said, here are a few places I like to go when people are in town.
Roast: Meat is on the menu here, and it is done right. Vegetarians can pig out on the delicious sides. This is a pricey meal, but boy is it good.
Lafayette Coney Island: Coney dogs are a Detroit tradition, and if you must choose one, eat at Lafayette, which hasn’t changed much since it was first built. A coney dog is basically a chili dog and is a must-eat in Detroit.
Good Girls Go to Paris Crepes: If the name alone doesn’t win you over, these delicious crepes will. Perfect for breakfast!
Slows: Okay, just about every article about Detroit has to mention Slows. It’s like in the contract for writing about Detroit. But it’s good. Really good, and when you go there, you get a nice view of Michigan Central Station. If you don’t want to wait in line and are hungry for lunch, try Slows to Go.
Detroit is no New York when it comes to downtown shopping, but there are some gems.
City Bird: Find some adorable Detroit-themed goods in this trendy shop.
Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit: Yes, also a museum with some exellent exhibits (and fun weekend events), the MOCAD shop sells fun and funky wares as well as a superb collection of art books.
Detroit Artists Market: A gallery featuring the work of local artists.
John K. King Used and Rare Books: I could spend days lost in here. It’s one of the largest used book stores I have ever seen.
DuMouchelles: You will not be able to afford anything in this shop, but it is eye candy for those who want to look at some amazing pieces of art and furniture from the 1%.
Eastern Market: I already mentioned this for food, but the Eastern Market also has some great antique shops.
Pewabic Pottery: Founded in 1903, this Detroit landmark still produces the distinctive tiles and pottery that you see all over buildings in the city.
Westin Book Cadillac: Newly restored to its former glory, this Detroit landmark is a great base from which to explore the city.
Hostel Detroit: That’s right, Detroit has a hostel! Cheap beds and friendly owners make this a great budget choice.
Inn on Ferry Street: I once attended an event here and would love to spend a night in this sweet place.
There are of course many other hotels in the area, but these are my recommendations!