Far from “recovering,” Detroit is a blossoming city with an incredible range of culinary and artistic experiences that now claims a rapidly expanding business community and a vibrant social scene.
More a collection of neighborhoods than one large metropolitan area, Detroit hosts a myriad of home styles and homeowners in pockets that have distinct personalities. Development has been extensive in Midtown Detroit, with new construction and original structures rubbing shoulders on nearly every block. Historic Brush Park, established by the City of Detroit in 1980, anchors this area, boasting homes from as far back as the 1860s within its 22 blocks. Just to the north of Brush Park lies another famed district, Boston Edison, which hugs the Woodward corridor and claims some of the most remarkable historic homes in the Detroit area. Down Michigan Avenue lies Corktown, a bustling enclave of homes and businesses within easy striking distance of downtown or the suburbs. And for a more suburban atmosphere close to the vibrancy of the city, consider the East, West, or Indian Villages. These neighborhoods offer easy access to downtown, waterfront, and major highways. But for those who prefer a more modern take on city living, the Waterfront or Downtown neighborhoods are where you’ll want to focus. These areas offer the newest condominium and loft style living, as well as spectacular views of Canada.
No matter what neighborhood you choose for your Detroit home, you will have unprecedented access to world-class dining and shopping just minutes from your front door.
Shopping in Midtown is a glorious expanse of unique boutique storefronts and merchants. Select your forever watch at the Shinola store, find your new running club and kicks at RUNdetroit, or indulge in extraordinary confections at Bon Bon Bon. Shop for your favorite audiophiles at Third Man Records, or discover singular gifts and home decor at City Bird, Hugh, or Will Leather Goods. Once you’ve worked up your appetite at the shops, pop into the Whole Foods to gather dinner supplies, or visit one of your fabulous neighborhood eateries. Excellent dinner options range from The Whitney – a historic Detroit icon and upscale dining experience – to Selden Standard, a celebration of seasonal and local produce. In the mornings, wake up with coffee from the Great Lakes Roasting Company and a bun from Avalon Bakery. And at night, take in cocktails and live music at the Willis Show Bar, or work your way through the rotating taps at Hopcat.
Options are slightly more limited as we move north into Boston Edison, as this neighborhood is more a celebration of architecture and culture than food and goods. However, it does claim one of Detroit’s many urban farms and the only cider mill in the city itself: Detroit Farm and Cider. The other notable gathering space in this area is the Congregation Farmer’s Market, which offers food and beverages year round, and runs a weekly farmer’s market from June-October.
Further south, the villages span the eastern side of the downtown waterfront. These neighborhoods claim a unique assortment of culinary treasures that identify this area as a low-key food paradise. Discover the most amazing pie you’ve ever eaten at Sister Pie, explore the wonders of Southeastern Asian cuisine at Marrow (home to Top Chef season 19 contestant executive chef Sarah Welch), or find yourself in Morocco with Saffron de Twah’s unparalleled menu options. If you prefer a more traditional diner experience, visit Rose’s Fine Food and Wine for eating, drinking, or shopping.
Moving to the west, we find ourselves in Corktown, a formerly mostly Irish area that now calls an incredible variety of cultures neighbors. Line up for lobster rolls at Mudgie’s diner, sit down for brisket and beans at Slow’s, or enjoy the patio at Mercury Bar with a famous milkshake or malt. The more adventurous eater will discover nirvana at Thai fusion hotspot Katoi or the joy of surprise with Green Dot Stables’ always-delicious mystery meat slider. Specialty drinks abound at classic speakeasy Sugar House (reservations only!), while tasting flights are the name of the game at distiller Two James.
Back toward the central Woodward corridor, the Downtown area contains a wonderful combination of widely recognized merchant names and singularly Detroit dining and shopping experiences. Eateries of every style abound on each block, ranging from the quintessential Detroit competition between Lafayette and American Coney Island (neighbors for over 100 years) to the new Asian fusion experience at PAO. For the diner aficionado, seek no farther than the Hudson Cafe. The carnivore will find his pleasure at Prime + Proper. Fine dining options grow by the week, including gastronomic innovations at BESA and flawless pasta at San Morello, as well as steakhouse classics at Townhouse, Italian perfection at SheWolf, and New American fare at the Apparatus Room. Take in some jazz with soul food at Bert’s, or with scallops at Cliff Bell’s. And for cocktails in an intimate lounge setting, don’t forget D’Mongos. Shoppers looking for names they know will be pleased to see H&M and Lululemon along the recently revitalized Merchant’s Row, while more exploratory individuals may appreciate the eccentric offerings at Spectacles men’s fashion or newly curated space Parker’s Alley. But shopping still pales in comparison to the experiences on offer in this incredible city.
Rather than focusing on consumable goods and fast fashion, the real Detroit leans heavily on art, culture, and public space to create its unequivocal attitude. When the weather is nice, spend a weekend morning or afternoon browsing the largest farmer’s market in North America at Eastern Market. From there, you can take a bike ride or a walk down the Dequindre Cut, a public space for art and athletics, and find yourself at the end of Detroit’s Riverwalk, a paved walkway and park with art installations, including an interactive fountain. Other outdoor adventures can be found on Belle Isle, a 982-acre island park located in the Detroit River directly between the United States and Canada that features an aquarium, conservatory, nature center, and museum, as well as herds of delightfully tame deer. For those who prefer their culture in a climate controlled environment, visit the Detroit Institute of Arts (reservations only!), John King Used and Rare Books, or the stately and iconic Guardian Building. More unique spaces include the Heidelberg Project, the Ford Piquette Plant, and Pewabic Pottery, all of which represent singularly Detroit visions of what art and culture mean to the people who live in this city. For the sports fan, check out Little Caesars Arena, home to the Red Wings and the Pistons, as well as an entirely new shopping area. Ford Field, the Lions’ home, and Comerica Park, where the Tigers live, are only a short distance away as well. The music lover, on the other hand, will likely prefer the Detroit Opera House or Fox Theatre for formal entertainment options, and the outdoor music festivals that grace Hart Plaza on an annual basis for more casual experiences.
Although Detroit Public Schools have historically had many different problems, a quality education is still attainable within city limits. High schools like Cass Technical Institute and Martin Luther King, Jr. represent the academic gains that Detroit has been able to make. And for those who prefer private education, prestigious private schools like the Roeper Institute, Detroit Country Day, University Liggett, and Cranbrook are also easily within reach. For the more religiously minded, other private options include Frankel Academy, Notre Dame Preparatory School, University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy, and St. Mary’s Preparatory School.
There’s no shortage of fantastic hotel experiences in Detroit; it just depends on what you consider fantastic. You can’t go wrong with the classic hotel/casino experience provided at the MGM Grand, or the polished, sleek modernity of the Shinola Hotel. For something a little more unique, try the Foundation, which makes its home in a classic Detroit firehouse, or discover your new Corktown home from the stylish Porter & Trumbull. For a more eclectic vibe, visit the Siren. And if your dream is to bask in historic luxury, try the Inn at 97 Winder or the Inn on Ferry Street. No matter what you’re looking for, Detroit has the hotel, the neighborhood, and the home for you.
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