So, we just got back from Detroit and have to share what a wonderful time we had! Honestly speaking, we spent the last three years travelling the globe and haven’t gotten to explore our own neighboring country much. So when we got the chance to take this trip, we jumped on it right away! if you are following us on social media, check out our highlights and watch us explore and eat our way throughout the Motor City. 🙂
Detroit may not be on everyone’s list of must-see destinations but I am here to tell you that it makes for the perfect road trip, so you should think about taking it on! We all know Detroit has been through its ups and downs, but in the last 10 years, it has been on the rise thanks to young artists and entrepreneurs turning abandoned buildings and homes into cafes, museums and clubs, as well as tech companies. The vibe in Detroit is very calm, yet hip. With that said, if you are planning on visiting the Motor City, here is our list of 6 best things to do in Detroit.
- Shop ‘til you drop
Whether you’re a casual browser or a serious fashionista, the shopping in Detroit and its suburbs is top notch — particularly for us Canadians —YAY! While we were there, we spent a lot of time checking out novelty shops, as well as antique stores. If you are into little trinkets and antiques, make sure you check out Hugh in Midtown. You can find tons of housewares and bar items. Also head on over to Eastern Market, where you can wander endlessly and pick up interesting old furniture as well as jewelry and collectibles. I actually found a really beautiful gold antique mirror for our bedroom!
Another must-check-out is Third Man Records. They have a record booth as well as a performance stage where you can enjoy different artists playing music, but our favorite was the vinyl record pressing plant in the back where you can literally see how vinyls are made. It was an incredible thing to watch and something of a lost art.
- Check out the food scene
Slathered in chili sauce, mustard and onions, Detroit’s homegrown Coney Island hot dog remains a city staple; however, Detroit has a very diverse food scene that begs to be checked out. From hipster restaurants and trendy bars to the large Arabic and Greek restaurant selection in Dearborn, you will not be disappointed. And although we don’t drink, Detroit has a really strong craft beer and cocktails game.
A few top recommendations from locals were Two James Spirits Company, Sugar House and Eastern Market Brewing Company. Two James Spirits Company offers tours of its distillery, which was the first licensed distillery in Detroit following Prohibition. After the tour, you can check out the barrel-lined tasting room for signature cocktails.
Sugar House, which calls itself the original craft cocktail bar of Detroit, has tons of seasonal cocktail options, Whiskey Wednesdays and Sugarcane Sundays, and other fun options. They also offer upscale bar snacks, paninis and alcohol-infused ice cream.
Eastern Market Brewing Co, is just a fun, chill place to stop in, whether you’re getting a brew or checking out the giant elephant mural.
Our recommendations food-wise are Folk for brunch or lunch. This cute cafe is in Corktown, but make sure you either go early or make reservations because it is always full — that should tell you a lot about how delicious it is. The food is mouthwatering: think pretty pink lattes and fusion dishes that will make your taste buds go wild. If you are a meat lover, you have to check out Grey Ghost for dinner. They have such good steak! We tried the dry aged New York strip, as well as seared lamb chops — they were a hit. Oh, and we also had cauliflower risotto — Yum!
- Check out the music scene — Movement Electronic Music Festival
Did you know that Detroit was the birthplace of techno? It’s no wonder that this annual three-day celebration of electronic music and dance held in downtown Detroit every Memorial Day weekend brings out thousands of party-goers from all over the globe. There are five stages total and an amazing lineup every year. Plus the tickets are actually affordable compared to some other more popular mainstream festivals. Whether you attend the festival or not, during this time, techno spills out of Movement Electronic Music Festival to all over the city. There are many pre-parties and after-parties, including all-night raves that take over the city. It’s a great time to check out the underground acts that don’t make it to the main stage.
P.S. If you don’t end up visiting over Memorial Day weekend, don’t worry! Detroit has plenty of summer festivals and nightlife that you can check out.
If live music is your thing, another stop should be Cliff Bells or the Willis Show Bar. Cliff Bells is a historic jazz club, something that is so near and dear to the heart of Detroit. It’s a perfect girl’s night out or date night-type place, with its low lighting and swanky atmosphere.
The Willis Show Bar is without a doubt one of a kind. It’s an upscale cabaret and cocktail bar with cabaret and burlesque performers. They require a more upscale attire, so it’s a perfect excuse to get dressed up and go out on the town! They have your well-known cocktails alongside some custom Willis Show Bar options.
- Take a stroll at Belle Isle
Originally we didn’t have any plans to visit Belle Isle Park, known as Belle Isle, but I am so glad we did! It is a gorgeous spot and well worth a visit. Situated in the Detroit River, Belle Isle is a small island that’s just a short drive away from the city center. The 982-acre island park is a beautiful stop.
There’s plenty to keep visitors to the island entertained here. We arrived during the afternoon, so we took a stroll down by the water and enjoyed some ice cream. I never say no to ice cream, and when I saw the ice cream trucks, I couldn’t resist. You can also visit the aquarium or the beautiful greenhouse, and the best part is that it’s free! The island also offers a stunning golf range, relaxing beach, quaint and historic boat house and so much more.
- Head to the GM Renaissance Center
Whether or not you love cars, the GM Renaissance Center is a must see — it’s on the Detroit International Riverfront and is owned by General Motors as its world headquarters. Although I am not into cars, I found it pretty cool to learn about the history and evolution of the technology of cars. Also since it’s by the riverside, right after we explored the complex, we went outside for a walk along the Detroit RiverWalk. It’s very pretty, and you can see the Windsor skyline. When you visit, be sure to take the hour-long free tour of the facility, which features the plaza and promenade, Wintergarden and incredible “Borealis” glass sculpture.
This whole area is one you can get lost in, with shopping and dining options galore.
Okay guys, so don’t just take our word for it. Go to Detroit for yourself and I am sure you will have a great time! If you need any tips or suggestions, feel free to message us on Instagram and we would love to help you out.