Top Things to Do in Detroit | Midwest Living
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Top Things to Do in Detroit

Connect to this major metro's energy during rides on The People Mover, Pure Detroit’s free walking tours, Comerica Park's ball games or a stroll along the RiverWalk. Check out our tips on what to do, where to eat and where to stay.

What to do

Belle Isle The state park, on an island in the Detroit River, is home to a 1904 conservatory, North America’s oldest aquarium, a marble lighthouse, beach and maritime museum. michigandnr.com

Campus Martius Park On downtown’s Woodward Avenue, a green spot caters to picnics, skyscraper gazing and entertainment. campusmartiuspark.org

Comerica Park Cheer on Major League Baseball’s Detroit Tigers. Kids also enjoy a Ferris wheel, carousel and batting cages. tigers.com

Comerica Park

Comerica Park

Cranbrook Educational Community In suburban Bloomfield Hills, this campus of buildings and institutions includes 40 acres of lovely gardens, plus an art museum with works by Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol. The campus is a National Historic Landmark. cranbrook.edu

Detroit Historical Museum The Streets of Old Detroit provides a look at life in the 1840s, 1870s and 1900s. Visitors can also create music tracks at the energetic Kid Rock Music Labdetroithistorical.org

Detroit Institute of Arts The 66,000-piece collection, one of the nation’s most significant, includes Diego Rivera’s 1932–33 Detroit Industry murals. dia.org 

Detroit International RiverWalk More than 3 miles of riverfront link parks, gardens and an amusement center. detroitriverfront.org

Detroit International RiverWalk

Detroit International RiverWalk

Eastern Market On Saturdays year-round, 225 vendors sell flowers, food and art. Seasonal Sunday and Tuesday markets feature crafts, demos and classes. easternmarket.com

Eastern Market

Eastern Market

Edsel and Eleanor Ford House Edsel Ford (the only child of Henry Ford) and his wife built this country manor in the 1920s. From its setting on Lake St. Clair to its artistic treasures, everything is first-class. Located in Grosse Pointe Shores, 15 miles northeast of Detroit. fordhouse.org

Ford Piquette Avenue Plant Tour the 1904 building where the legendary Model T was created and first produced. fordpiquetteavenueplant.org

The Henry Ford The pioneering automaker amassed an astonishing collection of Americana, including the bus that Rosa Parks rode and a camp bed used by George Washington. See the museum and adjoining historical village in Dearborn, 20 minutes from downtown Detroit. thehenryford.org

Midtown Hand-assembled watches at Shinola and vintage clothing at City Bird bolster Midtown's reputation for eclectic shops, but the neighborhood's museums of art, history and science also make it a cultural center. Refuel at Motor City Brewing Works with brick-oven pizzas and seasonal beers, or at Traffic Jam and Snug, a microbrewery, bakery, dairy and restaurant.

Motown Museum Explore label founder Berry Gordy’s home recording studio, with original instruments. motownmuseum.org

The People Mover It costs just 75 cents to ride the elevated light rail cars, which run in a loop and stop close to Comerica Park, Greektown and the RiverWalk. www.thepeoplemover.com

The People Mover in Detroit

The People Mover

Sports Head to the new $860 million Little Caesars Arena to see the National Hockey League’s Red Wings or the National Basketball Association’s Pistons. The National Football League’s Lions play at Ford Field. nhl.com/redwings; nba.com/pistons; detroitlions.com

Walking tours Free guided tours of the 1929 Art Deco Guardian Building, the 1928 Fisher Building and the GM Renaissance Center begin at Pure Detroit shops inside each location. puredetroit.com

Where to eat

Buddy’s Pizza Locals have thronged to this former speakeasy—in its 71st year now—for its signature Sicilian crust piled with fresh toppings and hand-grated cheese. buddyspizza.com

Cadieux Cafe Visit this former speakeasy for Belgian beer, mussel dinners and a round or two of a game you’ve probably never heard of: featherbowling, in which players roll 5-pound maple wood wheels down a clay lane toward a pigeon plume. cadieuxcafe.com

Gold Cash Gold Pickled-brined fried chicken, blackened jerk steak and other Southern-inspired food stars in a colorful reclaimed pawn shop near Corktown. goldcashgolddetroit.com

Grey Ghost Detroit Named for a rum-running pirate on the Detroit River, the Brush Park/Midtown spot delivers on cocktails with names like Monster Under the Bed (rum, kiwi, coconut). Pair your drinks with a cheeseburger. greyghostdetroit.com

La Lanterna Neopolitan-style pizza and classic Italian dishes draw a loyal following to this family-owned eatery in Capitol Park. daedoardo.net/lalanterna

Michael Symon’s Roast The chef’s restaurant in the Westin Book Cadillac promises paradise for meat-lovers. Come for dry-aged porterhouses larger than shoeboxes. roastdetroit.com

Pegasus Taverna After a dinner of Greek faves at this Greektown spot, walk to a game at Comerica Park or Ford Field. pegasusdetroit.com

Rattlesnake Club Whether you get dinner or just cocktails, plan to sit on the patio along the river. rattlesnakedetroit.com

Selden Standard Three-time James Beard semifinalist Andy Hollyday specializes in small plates with surprising flavor combos, such as scallops with pomegranate seeds. Beers and wines from small producers round out the experience. seldenstandard.com

Slows Bar BQ Mammoth sandwiches such as the Yardbird—smoked chicken with mushrooms, cheese and applewood bacon—make the Corktown spot popular. slowsbarbq.com

Slows BarBQ

Slows Bar BQ

Toasted Oak Grill and Market In Novi’s Baronette Hotel, the restaurant showcases regional foods by an award-winning chef.  toastedoak.com

Where to stay

Aloft Detroit at The David Whitney A $92 million restoration preserved the 1915 building’s four-story marble and terra-cotta lobby while creating 136 thoroughly contemporary hotel rooms. aloftdetroit.com

The Dearborn Inn, A Marriott Hotel Try The Henry Ford package: breakfast for two adults and two tickets to The Henry Ford. marriott.com

Detroit Foundation Hotel Vintage and modern touches blend to create a stellar experience at the former Detroit Fire Department Headquarters. The new-in- 2017 boutique hotel boasts 100 rooms and the Apparatus Room restaurant. detroitfoundationhotel.com

Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center The 70-story downtown hotel offers views of the city and beyond through floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall windows. marriott.com

El Moore Guests find rooftop urban cabins, light-filled main-floor rooms and budget-friendly lower-level quarters in a renovated 1898 Midtown apartment building. elmoore.com

Greektown Casino-Hotel This stylish hotel, connected to the casino, makes a great base from which to explore downtown. greektowncasinohotel.com

The Inn on Ferry Street Four Victorian homes and two carriage houses hold 40 rooms in Midtown, steps from some of the city’s best museums and restaurants. innonferrystreet.com

The Westin Book Cadillac Though the exterior retains its Italian Renaissance styling, the guest rooms are modern. bookcadillacwestin.com

For information: Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau visitdetroit.com
Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce dearbornchamber.org

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