Metro Detroit is overflowing with vibrant towns. Over the years, I’ve frequently visited Royal Oak and Birmingham. However, I wanted to discover other downtowns in my Metro Detroit community. Below, find four additional downtowns that are certainly worth a visit.
Berkley’s downtown is a bit smaller than some other Metro Detroit communities. However, the stores are each so individualistic and nostalgic that you could spend hours exploring each one. There’s quite a few collectors’ and used-item shops amidst the pricier stores. One particularly exciting store is Peninsulas, an outdoorsy store that sells USA-made and Michigan-themed products.
One of the highlights from my Berkley trip is an antique shop called Oddfellows’ Antiques. While walking through, I discovered a whole new section of peculiar items every time I turned the corner.
The business that I perhaps loved the most (and spent the most time in) was the Yellow Door Art Market. This store sells homemade goods from more than 60 Michigan artists. Though they are on the pricier side, it’s definitely worth the cost to support local artisans.
Located close to Berkley and Royal Oak, you can find an outpouring of culture in Ferndale’s downtown area. This is especially evident in places like The Rust Belt Market, which is only open on the weekends. Much like the Yellow Door, Rust Belt sells products by Michigan artists. The difference is that the individual creators sit at their booths to communicate one-on-one with their consumers. You can feel a real sense of community there, which I find very refreshing.
One store that I have loved for more than a decade is the Library Bookstore. At low prices, you can find piles of used books and collectible paper products, like maps, vintage magazines, and postcards. You could spend hours in this store alone and not even scratch the surface of what they have to offer.
In terms of drinks, my personal favorite place to go in Ferndale is The Detroit Bubble Tea Company. Bubble tea is a Taiwanese drink that combines tea, milk, fruit, and chewy tapioca balls that create the “bubble” effect. There aren’t many of bubble tea shops in Metro Detroit, which makes this one extra special.
Though I’d never been there before, Northville proved to be one of my new favorite downtowns. It was quaint and historic, and it felt like I was in one of those small towns I wrote about in my prior Greater Lansing small towns article.
A really special business I came upon was The Next Chapter Bookstore & Bistro. Located on Main Street, The Next Chapter has a fairly standard coffee menu. Nonetheless, what makes it unique is that it doubles as a small independent bookstore. You can order a drink and sit at one of their many tables while you read a book, or even walk through the shelves while you wait for your food.
You’ll also find Wok Asian Bistro in Northville, whose menu boasts eclectic Asian fusion. What’s very cool is that they pride themselves on using farm-fresh, locally-sourced ingredients in addition to Asia-imported ones.
Farmington is a town I’d only ever gone to in order to see movies at the Farmington Civic. However, there’s a decent amount of other stuff to do there. For one, there’s a small park outside of their Masonic Temple where one might sit with friends and perhaps even picnic on a nice day.
An obvious standout in Farmington is, as already mentioned, the Farmington Civic Theater. You can watch second-run movies there for only five dollars a ticket, which makes the moviegoing experience all the more enjoyable. Furthermore, the Civic is a place to “experience the nostalgia of an old-time theater” while enjoying recent, modern films.
If you’re either interested in or love learning, an art shop you have to visit is Artisan Knitworks. While the prices may be higher than your typical art store yarn, it’s worth visiting just for the kind, helpful staff and the beautiful yarn from all around Michigan.
Do you have any other downtowns in the Metro Detroit area you love to visit? Drop a comment below to let us know.