Collected by Jessica S. , AFAR Contributor
From the moment you step out of the airport and into metro Detroit, a surprising mix of vintage Americana and forward-thinking optimism surprises you. Tour the city on foot, bus, bike or kayak to view its art, dining, theatre and bar scenes - each one more vibrant than you'd expect.
Detroit, MI 48242, USA
Detroit is a colorful, gritty, oft-misunderstood city. If you get a chance to visit, or if you're connecting to somewhere else, there's one colorful aspect of the city that is a can't miss: the rainbow tunnel at DTW. The tunnel connects Concourse...
21400 Oakwood, Dearborn, MI 48124, USA
Make a pit stop at the Automotive Hall of Fame, halfway between the Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport and downtown Detroit, to fill up on your knowledge of the automobile industry before you hit "Motor City." It's a place to marvel at all...
25331 Trowbridge St, Dearborn, MI 48124, USA
The Glass Academy is the instructive branch of the Furnace Design Studio, a glassblowing gallery and workshop in metro Detroit. Visitors can register for monthly classes and studio workshops that teach everything from beadmaking to beer mug design...
23700 Michigan Ave, Dearborn, MI 48124, USA
Ground beef, a bun, and some melted Velveeta - the famous burger at Miller's Bar in Dearborn, Michigan, doesn't aspire to be anything but delicious. It's been named "Best Burger" multiple times by the Detroit Hour and earned the title of "Best...
Greenfield Village, Dearborn, MI 48124, USA
The Henry Ford Museum is a vast playground for history buffs, children, and couples looking for an unusual date. The collection that was started by Henry Ford himself now contains an estimated 26 million artifacts in displays and collections that...
8606 N Telegraph Rd, Dearborn Heights, MI 48127, USA
If you thought the classic burger, chicken sandwich and shake combo couldn't be improved upon, you were wrong. Moo Cluck Moo opened in Dearborn Heights in 2013 with the simple premise that this classic comfort food can be made better using local,...
13624 Michigan Ave, Dearborn, MI 48126, USA
An affiliate of the Smithsonian, this is the first museum in the U.S. that honors the considerable contributions of Arab Americans to American culture—fitting in that Dearborn, MI, has the largest Arab American community in the United States. Arab...
12710 W Warren Ave, Dearborn, MI 48126, USA
Al-Ameer restaurant has one of the finest reputations in the metro Detroit area for Middle Eastern cuisine. And that's saying something in a neighborhood that's home to America's largest Arab American community! Owners recommend visitors order the...
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...
Belle Isle, Detroit, MI, USA
It's America's largest city-owned island park, and it's right in downtown Detroit. Belle Isle is home to an aquarium, a beach, a museum of Great Lakes maritime memorabilia, and the romantic Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory, which holds one of...
2130 Michigan Ave, Detroit, MI 48216, USA
Step into Sugar House and step 100 years back in time. The saloon's decor, atmosphere, and drinks are based on the pre-Prohibition era, and the name pays tribute to the Sugar House Gang, a group of bootleggers in 1920s Detroit. The impressive...
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...
2901 Grand River Ave, Detroit, MI 48201, USA
Pair a Wine Spectator Award–winning wine list with the menu of the only Four-Diamond restaurant in the city of Detroit, and the stunning views from the dining room's plush booths and cozy tables are really just a bonus. (It's perfect for a group...
400 Renaissance Center Suite A-403, Detroit, MI 48243, USA
One of Detroit's greatest assets is its waterfront and canals, and Detroit River Sports takes full advantage of this with its kayak, canoe, and stand-up paddleboarding equipment. The group leads paddlers into the city's nooks and crannies during a...
4222 2nd Ave, Detroit, MI 48201, USA
Thanks to its starring role in the middle of Detroit's Theatre District, Mario's is a popular spot for dinner before or a show or drinks after. But even if you don't have tickets to the latest vaudeville, this Italian restaurant has diners covered...
2124 Michigan Ave, Detroit, MI 48216, USA
Astro Coffee is a youthful coffee shop located in the historic yet revitalized Corktown neighborhood of Detroit that serves up beans from some of the country's finest roasters, including San Francisco's Sightglass Coffee and Durham's Counter...
3600 Heidelberg St, Detroit, MI 48207, USA
Detroit artist Tyree Guyton took a look around his neighborhood and was unhappy with what he saw. So he decided to do something about it. The Heidelberg Project, a public art display exploding across Heidelberg Street in eastern Detroit, is the...
4620 Cass Ave, Detroit, MI 48201, USA
Nestled in the heart of Detroit's Cultural District—adjacent to Wayne State University, the Detroit Institute of Art, and the College of Creative Studies—sits Cass Café, a restaurant, bar, art space, and music venue. A cornucopia of vegan,...
14300 W Warren Ave, Dearborn, MI 48126, USA
The word “bakery” implies a small, cozy place stocked with loaves of bread; the phrase “baked goods emporium” might be more applicable to Shatila, one of metro Detroit’s most beloved institutions. In fact, it's so beloved by locals and visitors...
114 W Lafayette Blvd, Detroit, MI 48226, USA
Philly has its cheesesteaks; New York, its bagels with lox. Locals in these places are seemingly born with a precise vernacular and ingrained cultural etiquette on how to order these food items. Detroiters are not left without their regional...
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...
555 E Lafayette St, Detroit, MI 48226, USA
Just one bite of moussaka or a sip of ouzo and you'll think you've arrived in the Peloponnese instead of Greektown, Detroit. Although at one time, nearly all of the businesses were owned by Greek-American families, the neighborhood has added...
2200 W Lafayette Blvd, Detroit, MI 48216, USA
With just over a year in business, Green Dot Stables is still new, but owner Jacques and his wife took over a building in Corktown that isn't. Instead, they took it from abandoned and historical to historical but fresh. The interior still retains...
1340 Atwater St, Detroit, MI 48207, USA
Sure, Detroit is known for automobiles. But to get under the hood of the city, head to Wheelhouse Detroit, the epicenter of the city's cyclists. Wheelhouse can provide rental bikes and gear for independent-minded travelers looking to explore their...
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...
460 W Canfield St #101, Detroit, MI 48201, USA
Just next door to its sister shop, City Bird, Nest is under the same ownership and shares the same unique, handmade aesthetic. Where the two differ is that Nest specializes in design-oriented, one-of-a-kind trappings for the home, from candles to...
440 Burroughs St #129, Detroit, MI 48202, USA
D:hive is a walk-in center for residents of Detroit and visitors to the city, conveniently located on Woodward Avenue in the heart of downtown. A large wall map highlights the different sections of the city and what each has to offer, pop-up shops...
460 W Canfield St, Detroit, MI 48201, USA
Brother-sister duo Andy and Emily Linn opened City Bird, a studio and gallery located in Midtown Detroit, to house their line of handmade Detroit- and Great Lakes–themed housewares, apparel, accessories, and objects. The work of more than 200...
2030 Park Ave, Detroit, MI 48226, USA
Come for a sip of the Cliff Bell at happy hour (that's Dewar’s Scotch, sweet vermouth, Absinthe Ordinare, and orange bitters), stay for the live jazz and the lively 1930's atmosphere. Cliff Bell's jazz bar in downtown Detroit is a slinky watering...
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