Detroit is really changing back into the vibrant city it once was, and as a lifelong metro Detroit resident, I love being able to experience the revitalization by exploring the city, both old and new. There is of course more work to be done, but it’s important to recognize the many efforts.
My friends and I like to often wander downtown. There’s a lot to do and experience! From our sports teams (love me some hockey and football!) to many festivals and events to numerous cultural institutions to a variety of opportunities to be active, Detroit offers something for all ages. I especially love heading downtown during our summer weather. Lots of people wandering the market, riverfront, restaurants, parks and more, enjoying good weather and good energy.
These are just a few of the places I like to visit when downtown.
Michigan DNR Outdoor Adventure Center: This great education and activity center brings Michigan’s outdoors indoors for all ages to explore. I’ve been here a few times and learned something new each time (read about my visit with my nephew). Lots of hands-on activities let you learn about hiking, fishing, camping, hunting, recycling and more in our great state. As a nature lover, I’m always thrilled to see so many people in this facility learning to appreciate our outdoors.
Atwater Brewery: One of my favorite downtown Detroit stops is Atwater Brewery. This is favorite spot to stop after a bike ride, walk along the river, sports game, or whenever! Atwater brews a variety of beer (love Whango and Dirty Blonde), serves a variety of food, and even offers a variety of board games to play while you’re hanging out.
Belle Isle Park: This 987-acre island, located on the Detroit River between Detroit and Windsor, offers a lot of activities for all ages. Since the DNR began managing the island a few years ago, many updates have occurred to the roads and buildings. It’s a great spot for family gatherings, picnics, walks, biking and more. The Conservancy, aquarium, and museum are some places I like to visit. There are also a lot of year-round events hosted on the island. I especially love Belle Isle in the mornings, before the crowds arrive, when I can bike with pretty views of downtown Detroit and Canada.
The Hudson Cafe: This is a great place for breakfast and brunch. I’ve only been here twice when company was in town and enjoyed the food and ambiance both times. There are eggs, crepes, pancakes, French toast and much more. Good servings and service. The only bummer I experienced is when I ordered the Mickey Mouse pancakes off the kids’ menu and was told no because I was too old. So bummed.
Grand Trunk Pub: This Detroit favorite is a converted 1900s-era railway station (this place has a cool history you should read about here). Grand Trunk has great architecture, a huge selection of beers, wines and liquors, good food options and awesome atmosphere. A win with me.
Eastern Market: This hot spot is packed with so many places. From wandering the numerous vendors to indulge in fresh fruit, vegetables, flowers and products to dining at a variety of restaurants to shopping at the fun stores lining Eastern Market, this is the perfect spot for a morning or day-long getaway. Some days after my shopping, I’ll wander down the Dequindre Cut to enjoy the views and breeze at the Detroit Riverfront.
Shinola: One of my favorite stores to wander through is this Detroit-based company that produces stylish watches, handbags, notebooks, jewelry, bags, bikes and more. I appreciate the well-crafted pieces. I probably shouldn’t admit that I casually touch the leather bags as I walk through – the leather is oh so soft.
Jolly Pumpkin: Two doors down from Shinola (with Third Man Records in between and definitely worth checking out) is this brewery. With other locations in Traverse City, Royal Oak, Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor and Dexter (and Chicago), I love the ambiance of all. Good food and craft beer.
There are a lot more places I could share on this list, and I definitely will in the future! What are some of your favorite downtown Detroit hot spots?