At just 75 cents a ride, the Detroit People Mover is a steal. The light-rail system loops through downtown, stopping close to Greektown, the RiverWalk and the big sporting arenas. (Stay in the middle of it all at the Westin Book Cadillac, which has been restored to its 1924 glory. Rooms from $169.)
Open since 1891, the Eastern Market is the nation’s largest public market and has more than 250 vendors; try the Reuben at Russell Street Deli. (The Saturday market, indoor vendors and restaurants draw crowds year-round.)
Stroll the 1-mile Dequindre Cut from the market to 25-year-old The Rattlesnake Club for a dinner of seasonal, locally sourced dishes.
Take in a baseball game at Comerica Park, football at Ford Field or hockey at Joe Louis Arena.
The vegetarian-only restaurant Seva gets creative with its boldly flavored cuisine. It's only a few minutes from the Detroit Institute of Arts. Its 100 galleries display 60,000 pieces drawing from all cultures, and The General Motors Center for African-American Art contains the nation’s largest curated collection of this genre.
Five minutes northwest of Midtown Motown Records guides breathe life into the stories behind the signature sound that was born here.
Drive a few minutes south to the Corktown neighborhood for dinner and cocktails.
Slows Bar-B-Q is worth the wait, or bring your appetite for beef to Roast, celebrity chef Michael Symon’s restaurant. Pre-Prohibition-style cocktails rule the nights at Sugar House.
For more information: Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau (800) 338-7648; visitdetroit.com
Add a day
The Henry Ford campus in nearby Dearborn merits an entire day. America’s pioneering automaker collected memorabilia (including the rocking chair President Lincoln was sitting in when he was assassinated and the bus on which Rosa Parks stood her ground). You can also experience re-created turn-of-the-20th-century life and catch a ride in a restored Model T at the site’s Greenfield Village. (313) 982-6001; thehenryford.org
5 Great Places to See Detroit's Spirit
1 Detroit Experience Factory A grassroots group of passionate Detroit-boosters runs free and affordable tours out of an unassuming storefront on Monroe Avenue. (313) 962-4590; weknowdetroit.com
2 City Bird This brother-sister team’s hip housewares and gift shop near Wayne State University’s downtown campus brims with city-theme products and gifts. (313) 831-9146; citybirddetroit.com
3 Pure Detroit Shops in three iconic buildings sell Detroit Tigers gear, food and memorabilia, as well as books detailing Motown’s architectural roots, Great Lakes Coffee and chic handbags fashioned from seat belts. (313) 873-7873; puredetroit.com
4 Detroit Artists Market For 82 years, this market has provided support for regional artists within an attractive urban setting. The 2,500-square-foot space sells sculptures, oils, watercolors, textiles and more. (313) 832-8540; detroitartistsmarket.org
5 Motor City Brewing Works The state’s second-oldest brewery pours beers with Detroit-theme names, including Motor City Pale Ale, one of the first produced here. Pizzas cooked in brick ovens sport fresh ingredients from the Eastern Market and herbs grown in a nearby garden. (313) 832-2700; motorcitybeer.com
The Ren Cen Its full name is the Renaissance Center, and it has long been the symbol of American car making (and its return). Ford Motor Company once had offices here; since 1996, it has been the home of General Motors. You’ll find destination dining at Joe Muer Seafood and Coach Insignia steakhouse, perched high in the glass tower. (313) 567-3126; gmrencen.com