| Filed in | Disclaimer: I use affiliate links and may receive a small commission on purchases. | Leave a Comment

(Last Updated On: January 14, 2021)


Detroit gets a bad rap, but it is truly an inspiring city that has made a major impact on my life. I spent a year and a half doing home health care in the “not so nice” areas of Detroit and learned to love this city.

Day Time Activities

  • Head to Belle Isle, the 2.5 mile island park on the Detroit river that is in between Windsor, Canada and Detroit. $9 for out of state vehicles, $11 for in state vehicles. Or walk over for free.
    • Belle Isle Aquarium – Oldest Aquarium in the country designed by Albert Kahn (You’ll hear that name again) *FREE*
    • Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory – oldest continually-running conservatory in the United States. It is divided into five distinct sections: Palm House, the Tropical House, the Cactus House, a sunken Fernery, and the Show House. *FREE*
    • James Scott Memorial Fountain– The fountain features 109 water outlets in the shape of lions, turtles, Neptune figures and artistic horns and 16 bas-relief panels depict early Detroit life. (I seemed to have misplaced my picture of it – but google it/IG it. It is gorgeous)
  • Dequindre Cut – Walk/run along this 2 mile well paved path that used to be a railway with Detroit style graffiti decorating the walls leading to the Detroit Riverfront Park.
    • There are different entrance points. Check out the site to see maps of exactly how to access. I parked along Orleans street in front of Lafayette Towers (free) and then walked over to Lafayette and St. Aubin cross street to access it, as I could not run the whole trail that day. I took it down to the riverfront park to get a great view of the city skyline.


  • Detroit Institute of Art – $12.50 for adults not living within metro Detroit counties. See one of Diego Rivera’s most famous murals when he and Frida Kahlo lived in Detroit. “It is considered the finest example of Mexican mural art in the United States, and the artist thought it the best work of his career.” DIA.org


  • Detroit Historical Museum
  • Detroit Museum of Contemporary Art
  • Michigan Science Center
  • Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History

Architecture –

  • Fisher Building – Detroit’s Largest Art Object – designed by Albert Kahn. A truly impressive art deco building with some of the finest craftsmanship.
    • Walk in for a quick walk through of the first floor
    • Free Guided tour on Saturdays and Sundays to explore upper floors. Go to Pure Detroit for details.
  • Guardian Building – Known as the “Cathedral of Finance” with Aztec and Native American influence in the craftsman ship. (I unfortunately don’t have my own picture. You SERIOUSLY need to google images of this building).
    • Walk in for free
    • Tour for free on Saturdays. Check out Pure Detroit again for tour info
  • Michigan Central Station – the now abandoned station is still grand. It is a bit eerie with the barbed wire fence surrounding it.


  • GM Renaissance Center – Or as locals call it, “Ren Cen”
    • Shopping, dining, lodging.
    • One of my last nights in Detroit I went to Coach Insignia to have drinks on the 72nd floor.


Graffiti Tour –

There are some amazing displays of graffiti all over Detroit. Some of my favorites are easy to see if you start near downtown and drive up Grand River. Some previews HERE.

Check out the Bleeding Rainbow that cascades down a 9 story building. Article for more info HERE .

HEIDELBURG PROJECT – Truly an inspiring story about a man that returns to the east side of Detroit where he grew up to find it in shambles and soaring crime. Instead of picking up a weapon to avenge his 3 brothers he lost to the street, he picked up a paintbrush to rebuild his community.

Eastern Market –

  • Saturday 7am-4pm (year-round)
  • Tuesday 9am-3pm (June-Sept.)
  • Sunday 10am-4pm (June-Sept.)
  • Check out this large eclectic market in Detroit
  • Head to Germack Coffee Roastery next door to warm up or cool down depending on the time of year.

Mexicantown, Detroit

“One of Detroit’s most vibrant communities” – I have to agree. While much of this community is a bit run down, it is diverse, colorful, and filled with culture. I saw many patient’s here and all had different opinions on the best food/bakeries/margaritas.

  • 5 of the best Mexican Restaurants in Mexicantown according to Eater Detroit HERE
  • Los Galanes was my go-to when I had friends in town. Gated parking, colorful murals and lots of seating. May not be the best, but it sure was convenient.
  • El Asador also has good food and a colorful mural.
  • Touristy shops

Cass Corridor-

  • Thirdman Records – Founded by Jack White (White Stripes were produced out of this area)
  • Shinola – Detroit watch company
  • Motor City Brewing, Jolly Pumpkin Brewery

third man records

Tiger’s Game at Comerica Park –

  • If you are visiting during our lovely humid summers and there’s a baseball game, get cheap tickets, pregame at Bookies or Old Shillelagh and enjoy the sunshine.


What we’ve all been waiting for:


Food – There is a good variety of excellent food in Detroit and the scene grows bigger each year. My favorites:

  • Slow’s BBQ, Redsmoke BBQ
  • Mudgies Sandwiches
  • Bucharest Grill – Middle Eastern
  • Sweetwater Tavern – Wings, burgers
  • Parks & Rec – BRUNCH and bloody marys.

Breweries – Detroit has a decent amount of unique breweries to check out if you’re into that:

  • Atwater Brewery (multiple locations. Detroit – Warehouse, Grosse Point Park – Old church – my favorite)
  • Batch Brewing Company – We made this our first stop for a corktown bar crawl. Chill environment with knowledgeable bartenders.
  • Brew Detroit – Open room with lots of space, games (stop #2 on our bar crawl)
  • Detroit Beer Company
  • Motor City Brewing Works
  • Jolly Pumpkin (location in Ann Arbor as well)
  • Traffic Jam & Snug – Apparently featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. I have never been and now am experiencing major FOMO.
  • Hopcat



  • Sugar House. – Hands down my favorite in Detroit. Speakeasy style Tiki lounge
  • Standby – Modern Speakeasy. Cocktail making there is art.
  • The Keep – Casual Speakeasy
  • Coach Insignia – 72nd floor of RenCen
  • Checker Bar – Dive bar, cheap drinks, outside seating
  • Cliff Bells – Jazz Speakeasy, my roommate’s favorite to get dressed up for.
  • Cafe D’Mongos – Jazz Club, Dive bar, insanely eclectic. A MUST VISIT *If you aren’t claustrophobic*
  • Old Miami – my favorite dive bar in Detroit. SO many memories there. Think Grandma’s house mashed into a veteran museum/garage sale… just go see it.
  • Level Two – “Club”
  • Temple Bar – Intense dive. They have a dog.
  • Northern Lights – live music, shuffleboard, outside seating
  • UFO Factory – Dive bar
  • Firebird Tavern – Dancing
  • Bronx Bar – Dive bar, good beer selection
  • 3rd street bar – Dive bar, gourmet pies, yes, pies.
  • Detroit Opera House – rooftop views

Where to Stay:

I suggest finding a hotel downtown or an Airbnb in midtown. Double check the address to make sure it is in Midtown on the map, as people definitely false advertise because they are in an unsafe/undesirable area. My best advice is to not cheap out on lodging. While Detroit is making huge gains in crime and safety, there are still some pretty unsafe areas. There are many hotels downtown near the casinos.

Getting Around…

*Sigh*. The M1-Rail/QLINE is almost up and running. Truly not sure where it goes and if it’s even worth messing with. We have always planned Detroit events around specific neighborhoods and then ubered there or drove if there was parking nearby that was relatively inexpensive. There is a bus system and I have heard from many that it is “challenging”. I wish I could say more for Detroit right now in transportation, but that’s where we are at.

I think Detroit is seeing a lot of new growth and I highly encourage anyone with slight interest to visit Detroit before major developments occur. Detroit is in an interesting art form currently and I think it will be great to talk about what Detroit once was and where it came from in the future.







Explore Popular Posts

Join the Conversation

1 Comment

  1. Ashley Curtis on October 29, 2020 at 1:06 pm

    What an awesome post about the D!

Leave a Comment