12 Reasons We Love Detroit
Detroit is a city on the brink of rapid growth and change. No longer the butt of jokes, the Motor City is thriving, with a wealth of cultural, sporting, and culinary offerings. From the artistic wonders on display at the DIA, to the art deco beauty of the Fox Theatre, to cheering on the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park, the city boasts a wealth of exciting activities for every age and interest.
2211 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48201, USA
Detroit’s theater district is said to be the second-largest in the United States after New York City’s, and the historic Fox Theatre is the nucleus of the district. Although the surrounding area exudes a cosmopolitan cool left over from the days of variety entertainment, and there’s no shortage of watering holes and clubs, it’s this 5,000-seat theater where you’ll get the best glimpse of Detroit’s past glory. Even if you’re not coming for one of the frequent shows, take a minute to appreciate the interior and exterior of the U.S.'s largest surviving 1920’s performing arts house.
5200 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48202, USA
New York, Washington D.C., and Chicago get a lot of the good press when it comes to the arts and art museums, but the Detroit Institute of Arts helps Detroit give these cities a run for their money. The diverse collection is spread out over 100 galleries and includes African, Asian, Islamic, and modern and contemporary art (and the list goes on). But don’t ignore the local contributions to the art world. Make sure you take proper time to stand before Diego Rivera’s enormous Detroit Industry fresco to give you some historical context before exploring the rest of the city.
Eastern Market, Detroit, MI, USA
The eat-fresh, know-your-farmer trend that’s sweeping the United States hasn’t skipped over Detroit. But lest you think Eastern Market is just like the pokey farmer’s markets cropping up all over the country, know this: Eastern Market is an entire neighborhood with a goal no less grand than becoming the food district for Detroit, and doing it in a way that retains the neighborhood’s intrinsic funkiness. There’s produce aplenty at the Saturday and Tuesday farmer’s markets, but if you miss one of those days, you’re in luck: The neighborhood is stocked with butchers, bakers, fishmongers, and everything else you’d need to prepare for your next city picnic.
118 W Lafayette Blvd, Detroit, MI 48226, USA
“Oh my God, we have to take you into town to get a Coney. It’s a taste of pure Michigan,” exclaimed one of my friends who I visited for a summer weekend. Take a hot dog on a steamed bun from New York’s famed Coney Island, throw in a bunch of Greek and Macedonian immigrants and a booming auto industry, add meaty chili sauce, chopped onions, and mustard and you have a staple that has dominated the Motor City landscape for nearly a century. Although it is unclear who exactly brought the delicacy to Michigan, many credit the Keros Brothers, Gust and Bill, as the pioneers with their neighboring downtown Detroit spots, American Coney Island and Lafayette Coney Island. My friend and his family’s dedication to Lafayette runs so deep that I had to opt for the latter. At first blush, it may be more dingy and cramped than its counterpart, but the informal, homely service coupled with the simple menu has consistently made it a draw for diners. Order “one with everything” along with a side of their crispy fries and wash it down with a can of Labbatt Blue beer.
901 W Lafayette Blvd, Detroit, MI 48226, USA
If John K. King Used & Rare Bookstore looks more like an enormous factory than a sweet independent bookstore, consider this: The building, which was once an old glove factory, stuffs more than a million secondhand and rare books onto each of its four floors. Each of these floors is open for browsing Monday through Saturday, but inquisitive readers must schedule an appointment to view the Rare Book and Art Book Rooms. With such a colossal selection, it’s rare that readers leave without an extraordinary find.
23825 John R Rd, Hazel Park, MI 48030, USA
No other restaurant in the Motor City is as celebrated as Mabel Gray. Earning a James Beard nomination in its first year of operation, the Hazel Park eatery is known for an ever-rotating menu of modern American cuisine. Guests rave about the locally sourced dishes prepared daily by chef James Rigato.
1384 Michigan Ave, Detroit, MI 48226, USA
Considered one of the friendliest sports bars in this sports-loving town, Nemo’s is a haven for anyone looking to catch a Detroit Red Wings, Tigers, Lions, or Pistons game. A tin ceiling draws the eye but it’s the gregarious staff, classic drinks, and popular burgers than keep locals returning.
1500 Woodward Ave floor 2, Detroit, MI 48226
American small plates and craft cocktails are what’s on the menu at this airy bar-cum-restaurant that features floor-to-ceiling windows, hardwood floors, exposed brick, and an expansive tufted banquette. It also serves one of the best brunches in town.
225 Gratiot Ave, Detroit, MI 48226, USA
Nestled in the mural-laden Belt in Downtown, Standby is a speakeasy and lounge that caters to imbibers who desire craft cocktails using local or unique ingredients. The laid back atmosphere is enhanced by the friendly and knowledgeable staff, with DJs spinning cool tunes several nights a week.