I’ve lived in Royal Oak for over half my life and it’s definitely one of my favorite Detroit suburbs. It’s a city that has evolved so much since I was young and continues to do so every day! It has a vibrant residential area, but still strives to keep a thriving downtown. With all that said, below are my favorite things to do in my home town!
- Royal Oak Farmer’s Market: One of the best places to be on a Saturday or Sunday morning. Visit on Saturday for fresh fruits and vegetables or on Sunday for lots of antiques. They also have tons of fun events on the weekends like wine tastings and Baconfest.
- Arts, Beats and Eats: A festival that takes over downtown Royal Oak on Labor Day weekend. People come from all over the state to see (you guessed it!) artist booths, local food tents and bands playing live.
- Gusoline Alley: One of my favorite dive bars: they have cheap drinks, a juke box and bring in a great crowd. You can see anyone here from a biker gang to a paranormal specialist (I’ve spoken to both while at Gus’s). Make sure to order the white blossom and pink lemonade shot!
- Jim’s Frostie Treats: I’ve already declared my love for Jim’s in a previous article, but I’ll say it again. They are an awesome family owned business with great ice cream treats!
- UHF Record Store: This downtown record store is a great place to pick up the newest vinyl and my favorite part is that they sell tickets to local venues with no fees at the store. Just be sure to bring cash!
- Detroit Zoo: This large zoo has over 125 acres of exhibits. My favorite part is their famous Arctic Ring of Life that takes you through to the North Pole (and you can see lots of polar bears)!
- Vinsetta Garage: A restaurant made from an old garage (decorated to still feel like an old garage) that has everything from burgers to alcoholic milk shakes. They also have outdoor seating, a bunch of craft beers, pasta and hot dogs. What else could one ask for in a restaurant?!
- Royal Oak Music Theatre: A great venue for big and small bands. They have a huge range of artists (from Ingrid Michaelson to Jurassic 5). They also have a big general admission area and a balcony with seats, if that’s more your style.
- Lost and Found Vintage: Located right next to UHF, this vintage store is what dreams are made of. They’ve got men and women’s clothes from every decade and there’s always something new to find. I love to visit their sale section for some good vintage steals.
- Mark Ridely’s Comedy Castle: They’ve got big acts, small acts and Open Mic Night Wednesdays. The comedy castle is a different choice for date or night out with friends.
- Rail and Anchor: Rail and Anchor is a newer store to the downtown area and I’m glad I gave it a chance. When I first walked in, I was offered a fresh cup of tea and was overwhelmed by all the unique items they have: books, coffee mugs, soaps, plants and so much more!
- Wine and Beer Strolls: Strolling around downtown sampling beer and wine from the best restaurants and bars? Yes please! Join the Beer Stroll this year on 10/18 and the Wine Stroll next spring.
- Goldfish Tea: This is the cutest tea place I’ve been in a while! You can get single cups or a full pot and sit down at one of their quiet and ornate tables. They have every type of tea you can think of and knowledgeable employees that will help you pick out the perfect one for your mood.
- Mae’s: This little retro restaurant is actually located in Pleasant Ridge, but is the best place to brunch. They have cheap, yet delicious bloody marys/mimosas and a menu filled with egg, potato and bacon creations. Every time I go, the line is out the door, but it’s definitely worth the wait.
- Landmark Main Art Theater: This is the original movie theater of Royal Oak and still remains my favorite. It’s one of the only places in the area that you can find independent movies that haven’t hit the big circuit. I also love that they play old movies at midnight on the weekend. The best is during October when classic horror movies are played all month long.
What are your favorite local Royal Oak things to do?