Reimagining Detroit: The Motor City

Advisor - Kelly Weber
Curated By

Kelly Weber

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  • Detroit

  • Michigan

  • Arts & Culture

  • Food & Wine

  • Entertainment

  • Nightlife

  • Foodie

coastal city with skyscrapers
Curator’s statement

The city of Detroit has an energy that is hard to find anywhere else in the world. There is no doubt the city has a rich and difficult history. But Detroiters embrace their past and move forward making the city vibrant and rich in culture. Detroiters love their city and you will feel that everywhere you go.

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Insider knowledge

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Where to stay in Detroit, Michigan

Shinola Hotel Detroit

Historic hotel given a handsome, modern rinse, in the downtown district of Woodward.

Aloft Detroit at The David Whitney

Discover a vibrant and modern hotel experience in the heart of Detroit, where contemporary style meets historic elegance.

Element Detroit at the Metropolitan

A stylish, modern, eco-conscious hotel in downtown Detroit.

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Things to do in Detroit, Michigan

bridge USA to Canada

Head down Woodward Avenue towards the Riverfront. You’ll walk through Campus Martius which is located in the heart of downtown. It is a public gathering spot for residents and visitors. Throughout the year, you’ll find a variety of events taking place here, whether that be an ice skating rink, musical performances, tree lighting, food trucks and even a man-made beach in the summer months.

Then continue your stroll to the Riverfront, voted the Number One riverwalk in the United States. This pathway spans 5.5 miles from the Ambassador Bridge (one pathway into Canada, if you have your passport) to Belle Isle. Walking along the river you may notice the Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority which sits above your second option to getting into Canada, the Detroit Windsor Tunnel!

Continue along the river and you’ll see General Motors World Headquarters, GM Plaza. Beyond the fountains out front, you can walk into the Renaissance Center to explore some dining options and for the car enthusiasts, you’ll check out some of GM’s latest cars, trucks and SUVs!

After your walking tour through downtown, check out the Monarch Club at the top of the Element Hotel. You’ll get some incredible rooftop views of the city, including Comerica Park, Ford Field as well as the GM Renaissance Center. Have a cocktail, craft beer and some food to cap off your evening.

Take some time to walk through some of the newly developed alleys in downtown Detroit. Walking through “The Belt” and “Parker’s Alley”, you’ll find a variety of small boutiques to grab some Detroit swag, a bouquet of flowers, beauty products and more! If you’re lucky, you may stumble upon one of the few speakeasy bars in the alley ways.

If you are a sports fan, downtown Detroit is the place to be - all 4 major sports arenas are within walking distance of each other. So, you could take in a baseball game at Comerica Park then walk across the street to watch the Detroit Lions play an afternoon NFL game at Ford Field or visa versa. Of course, that depends on the time of year. The Detroit Pistons and the Detroit Red Wings both play at Little Caesars Arena, about a 10 minute walk from the Comerica Park and Ford Field. And if you’re in the area, or just up to walk to the LCA, definitely check out Grey Ghost for specialty cocktails and delicious food and/or Second Best (across the street) for some pre-game tailgating.

FUN FACT: The NFL 2024 Draft is set for Downtown Detroit in April 2024!

If you’re up for a quick trip into music history, take an Uber or Lyft to the Motown Museum to see where Motown all began! It’s about a 10 minute drive from downtown.

Day Trips:

Belle Isle and/or Ann Arbor(home of University of Michigan).

Places to eat & drink in Detroit, Michigan

Cityscape in Detroit, Michigan

Detroit Michigan is no stranger to excellent food and drinks. If you’re looking for an upscale and intimate evening with excellent food and an extensive wine list, look no further than Vertical Detroit. Easy to walk to from any place in downtown Detroit, you’ll find incredible cuts of meat and over 2,200 wines to choose from off the menu. Ask any of the servers for a wine recommendation and you will not be disappointed. If you happen to be visiting in the summer, sit outside on the patio for your dinner and drinks.

Before leaving the Motor City, you’ll definitely want to grab some Detroit style pizza. There is a difference among New York style, Chicago style and Detroit style. The thickness of Detroit style is somewhere between New York and Chicago. The most popular spot to have some Detroit style pizza is Buddy’s Pizza, there are several locations throughout Michigan but there is one right at the heart of downtown Detroit! If you want more of a “mom and pop” spot for really delicious Detroit Style Pizza, you will want to find Michigan and Trumbull!!

Need to Know

For more travel tips, check out Fora Advisor Tori Petry's guide, Motor City Revival: Arts, Culture & Food in Detroit.

Advisor - Kelly Weber

Travel Advisor

Kelly Weber

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Michigan.