Belle Isle sits in the Detroit River just off of downtown (and slightly north of the Canadian border) and features a 1,000-acre park lined with hiking trails and one of the most historic aquariums in the country. Begin your visit with a stop at the Belle Island Nature Centre where you can get a feel for the layout of the island and the park. If you visit between May and October, hit up Riverside Kayak Connection and explore the river by kayak or canoe (the Full Moon Tour is particularly noteworthy) to enjoy fabulous views of the city. The island also has a zoo and a expansive greenhouse and botanical garden filled with spiky cacti and calming palms. Pop into the free Dossin Great Lakes Museum to learn about the extraordinary maritime history of the Great Lakes region.
Source: Detroit Journalism
Established by Greek immigrants in the 1880's, historic Greektown was one of the few downtown neighborhoods to remain a bustling entertainment center throughout Detroit’s dark times. Today, it continues to thrive and the remarkably restored Victorian buildings that make up the Greektown Historic District are an attraction on their own. As you would expect, there are excellent Greek dining options but Greektown is also home to restaurants of all types, as well as plenty of bars and clubs for getting your groove on. If gambling is your thing the Greektown Casino-Hotel is here and has slots, table games and poker. If you visit on a Thursday take advantage of the district-wide happy hour from 4-7 p.m. that offers $3 drinks and $5 plates at 15 participating locations.
Source: Metro Times
Stretching from downtown north to Wayne State University’s campus, the Cass Corridor is a popular neighborhood that epitomizes Detroit’s ongoing transition. Breweries like Motor City Brewing Works, hipster hangouts such as Honest John’s, cocktail lounges with live jazz and some of the most innovative restaurants in town are gradually replacing the empty lots and boarded up storefronts of years past. The Detroit Shipping Company food hall makes lunch quick and easy with a variety of local food options and the City Sculpture Park is a fine place to relax and take in the special Detroit vibe. Third Man Records (see below) and Nora are especially cool places to shop and browse.
With over 100 galleries and more than 650,000 square feet of display space, DIA is a mammoth center of culture and history that dominates Detroit’s midtown. It is one of the most visited museums in the world and the collection of American art is considered by experts to be among the top-three in the nation. The design of the building itself is architecturally revered and the museum has breathtaking displays, such as William Randolph Hearst’s collection of body armor that lines the main entrance leading to the grand court. It is here that visitors will encounter the stunningly powerful Detroit Industry Murals painted by Diego Rivera between 1932 and 1933. The 27 intense frescoes document the Ford Motor Company’s heyday and also highlight the medicinal and technological advances of the post-Depression period. Any visit to Detroit should include a trip to this remarkable museum.
Source: Mowtown Museum
Detroit is known around the globe for cars and perhaps more importantly, for music. Motown Records was created and nurtured in this modest house owned by Barry Gordy on W. Grand Boulevard. It was here that Gordy recorded seminal releases of the 1960s and ‘70s by Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, the Jackson 5, Stevie Wonder, the Supremes and countless others. A tour of the small yet robust museum provides a glimpse of how a small operation changed music history and includes the opportunity to sing in the legendary Studio A.
Detroit may be booming but there is still plenty of evidence of urban abandonment and decay. This fun and educational tour is a great way to experience a different side of Detroit and learn the history of fundamental parts of the city where visitors would normally not venture. Be prepared to enter dark buildings vacated long ago and scramble across concrete ruins of factories left to the elements for decades. Guides are well versed on the background of each location on the tour and expertly explain how and why the city developed and then deteriorated to the extent that it did. Whether you are a professional photographer or simply a visitor with an iPhone this tour offers plenty of unique and unusual locations and landscapes. Pro tip: wear heavy shoes or boots.
This sprawling open-air facility is one of the oldest and largest year-round public markets in the country and you could easily spend the better part of the day here. It is busiest on Saturdays but provides plenty of stimulation regardless of the day of the week. Start your visit with a survey of the incredible food options. There are homemade pierogies, fresh pasta, delectable vegan donuts, Filipino satay, handcrafted licorice and a shop devoted to pistachios. Once you’ve satisfied your stomach, do some shopping at one of the local vendor shops selling Detroit and Michigan products, vintage clothing and antique furniture. The market also hosts book fairs, educational workshops and yoga. Check the website for the latest schedule.
Source: Where's Weed
Healing Tree opened in 2018 as the first licensed provisioning center in the Detroit area and one of the first six provisioning centers to be licensed in the entire state. It has quickly established a devoted client base thanks to its inclusive environment and focus on patient care. Its budtenders are highly trained and treat customers like family. They consistently carry over 25 different strains of flower and their pre-roll selection is probably the best in town. You could say the same about all of Healing Tree’s products, the options for concentrates, vaporizers, edibles and CBD solutions are impressive. Address: 15308 East Eight Mile Rd, Detroit, MI
Source: Detroit Metro Times
This small but well-stocked dispensary carries a huge variety of state licensed products. It is known for its welcoming staff and daily specials like 20% off all tinctures or topicals. It is clean, secure and provides some of the higher-quality flower options in the city. THC Detroit also carries an ample selection of the super-tasty Terpene Tanks Premium Concentrate and has better hours than most other provisioning centers in town: seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Address: 19533 West Warren, Detroit, MI
Source: Crains Detroit
Owned and operated by two African-American sisters and located on the east side of town, House of Zen is a great excuse to explore more of Detroit and take advantage of the quality products and lower prices offered at this unique dispensary. House of Zen is not your normal provisioning center. It’s a place to relax, chat and learn. The sisters are incredibly knowledgeable and you probably will not find top-shelf flower at a better price than at House of Zen. Address: 14501 Mack Ave, Detroit, MI
Source: Detroit Metro Times
This professional operation is one of the few dispensaries that has an app and offers the option of ordering ahead, which is helpful because it is popular and can get crowded. Another thing that sets House of Dank apart from its peers is the awareness of the need to carry strains that are higher in CBD and lower in THC. This doesn’t mean that they only cater to those seeking a more medicinal experience. House of Dank offers plenty of THC-heavy edibles and concentrates. Grab a spliff from Ganja Gold’s Tarantula line. Its high-quality flower, coating of clear distillate and dusting of kief and hash will be just the thing to get your Detroit adventure off and running. Address: 3340 East Eight Mile Rd, Detroit, MI
Source: City Bird Facebook
City Bird is a cute shop stuffed with all sorts of locally- and hand-made products. They carry unique prints, home décor, stationary, greeting cards, jewelry and party supplies. If you are looking for Detroit branded clothing, this is the place to go. The store is conveniently located in the middle of all of the bars and restaurants of Cass Corridor.
Source: Third Man Records
Jack White of White Stripes famously founded Third Man Records in Detroit in 2001 and opened this retail location in Cass Corridor in 2015. It’s far more than just a record store; Third Man also has a lounge, an in-store performance stage, record booth and a record pressing plant where visitors can view vinyl being pressed and prepared for sale. If you wish to do more than just browse and enjoy the space book a tour of the pressing plant for more insight into this impressive multi-faceted operation.
Source: Simone DeSousa Gallery
Simone DeSousa opened her contemporary gallery in Midtown in 2008 with a goal of creating “…a physical reminder of art’s connectivity to community and social transformation, a space designed to channel inspiration in the form of some of the best manifestations of contemporary art today and cultivate a new culture of art collecting in Detroit.” The gallery has shows featuring local and international emerging and established artists that work across all media. The gallery is open Wednesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and by appointment.
2019 James Beard Award finalist Lisa Ludwinski founded and owns Sister Pie and she and and her crew of bakers produce some of the most sumptuous sweets and treats in town. Ludwinski gained national notoriety after her cookbook was published last year, but that has done nothing to affect the high quality at this special spot that thrives on the creativity, cooperation and communal spirit of the expert staff. Ingredients are locally sourced and the menu is created to reflect the seasons with pies such as blueberry plum balsamic and cookies like orange peel poppy seed cornbread. Savory treats include handheld pies and scones.
Location, location, location. Parks and Rec Diner has the honor of occupying the gorgeous sliver of a building known as the Grand Army of the Republic Building that used to house the City of Detroit Parks and Recreation Department. The beautiful setting is augmented by the food that is “diner” in name only. There are classic diner mugs but the coffee they contain is far better than your standard joe. The pancakes are made from scratch and can be graced with apple compote and the fried chicken benedict takes the classic dish in a fun new direction. There are vegan and vegetarian options and although you might have to wait due to the small space, it is worth it.
Source: Marrow Detroit
Marrow is justifiably nabbing accolades left and right at the moment. It is a butcher shop and restaurant of the highest caliber and attracts carnivores from all over the country. While steaks here are likely to be the best you’ve ever had, it’s the restaurant’s practice of using the whole cow that sets it apart and makes it so popular. Dishes such as roasted marrow, corned tongue, grilled navel and heart on yakitori skewers and tallow fried Brussels sprouts are the real draw at Marrow. All of the meat comes from local farms and most is cut on site. The $50 Chef’s Tasting Menu is an excellent deal.
Genevieve Vang has run her venerable Thai restaurant, Bangkok 96, in nearby Dearborn since 1996. Her new place is located inside the Detroit Shipping Company food hall and focuses on fast casual Southeast Asian cuisine with a twist. The candied beef and pork steak with sticky rice are mouthwatering, but it is the pad thai roll that steals the show. It is basically a pad thai burrito and its taste and presentation are spectacular – certainly at a much higher level than you would expect from a stall in a food hall. Vang also serves up excellent pho and delicate dumplings.