Michigan Central Station

A Newcomer’s Guide to Sharing Detroit

Street art in Eastern Market. Photo courtesy of Rachell Weeks.
Street art in Eastern Market. Photo courtesy of Rachell Weeks.

Moving to Detroit was a major life choice, and one that met a lot of resistance from family and friends. I’m not at all surprised that the reoccurring reaction was “Why in the world would you do that?” or “Are you really sure you want to move there?” Hell, I wasn’t even sure that I wanted to move here, but sharing Detroit with my friends and family over the past year has made me realize, over and over again, just how lucky I am to be here.

As the one year anniversary of my move to Detroit approaches I find myself extremely grateful for opportunity to be here. It helped that I moved with my (now) fiance, who has continued to act as my fellow explorer. We both found ourselves adjusting to the city, becoming more confident with every day, however, that growing boldness was dashed the moment our families expressed an interest in visiting us for the first time. My dad and 11 year old little brother were the first to visit, followed by my fiance’s parents, friends from college, and then my brother from New York City. Each and every guest we had visit came with different expectations. Needless to say, I found myself stressing out over planning.

Below is a list of places and activities we shared with our visitors to demonstrate how beautiful Detroit is, how much potential Detroit has, and how similar it can be to so many other places.

Motor City Brew Works menu. Photo courtesy of Rachell Weeks.
Motor City Brew Works menu. Photo courtesy of Rachell Weeks.

1. Midtown is our home in Detroit and often where we begin with breakfast and end with dinner or drinks with our guests. Avalon Bakery is great all day for a coffee and a snack, but we generally stop by for a quick breakfast before we begin the adventures of the day. The Detroit Institute of Art could be an all day event meandering around looking at the artwork, although, going for live music in the evening is just as fun! If anyone is interested in Detroit history and architecture, make a stop at the Detroit Public Library – you don’t need a card to  walk around. If you’re still in the area around lunchtime be sure to stop at Motor City Brew Works for a beer and one of their artisan pizzas. I’ve spent hours in there catching up with friends! My favorite combination is the Ghettoblaster and Pear & Fig pizza. If pizza and beer aren’t on the menu, consider stopping by Dangerously Delicious Pies located inside of Third Street Bar for lunch!

2. Eastern Market is worth checking out any time of the year but it’s particularly splendid during the summer months! Some of our favorite stops (other than the market) include the gallery at the Redbull House of ArtGermack Coffee Roasting Company (their coffee is fantastic, but if you go in the fall be sure to get their chai apple cider), Rocky’s (a grocer and candy shop this is a fun stop for both children and adults), Supino Pizza (the staff is wonderful and the pizza is even better), and Gabriel Import Co.(a multi-level antique store for those who like finding hidden gems).

Photo courtesy of Rachell Weeks
Detroit Institute of Bagels, Corktown, Detroit, MI. Photo courtesy of Rachell Weeks

3. If guests are still hungry and up for exploring, Corktown has some fantastic options for food, drink and sight-seeing. Breakfasting in Corktown? Stop by the Detroit Institute of Bagels for a breakfast sandwich and cup of coffee. Sticking around for lunch? Walk over to Mudgie’s Deli and enjoy a sandwich with one of over 100 craft beers offered. While you’re in the area, take some time to walk around and admire the houses. If you’re in the mood for a burger and a milkshake stop by Mercury Burger Bar (their burgers are cooked up in lard and they can spike the milkshakes). If you aren’t entertaining children, make a stop at Two James Spirits Tasting Room and The Sugar House, both offer beautiful handcrafted cocktails and make the long wait for dinner worth it. After all of that food and drink it’s time to walk some of it off around the hauntingly beautiful Michigan Central Station.

Photo courtesy of Rachell Weeks
Michigan Central Station, Detroit, MI. Photo courtesy of Rachell Weeks

4. Now a Michigan State Park, Belle Isle makes for a great day trip for those who enjoy being outside playing all day! Belle Isle features a brand new disk golf course, a quaint aquarium, Belle Isle Casino, the Anna Scripps Conservatory, Dossin Great Lakes Museum, and a nature zoo.

We really enjoy sharing a meal (or two…or three…) with our guests when they visit but I couldn’t possibly list all of the other amazing things to do in Detroit in this one post!

What are some of your favorite things to share with people when they visit Detroit? Can you think of anywhere else I should share with visitors (or just experience myself)?

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  1. Rachell, what a wonderfully written piece on Detroit!! Keep eating, you are making me hungry!!
    Some more great ideas for food….the Lafayette or American Chili Dog challenge, right next to each other…..you decided! Also, Polonia in Hamtramck for the Hungarian Potato Pancake, city chicken or the Dill Pickle Soup!- yummmm! ( just a little biased here since I am Polish and grew up in Hamtramck).

  2. Thank you for writing this blog. You are what is amazing about Detroit, so much positive energy. Can’t wait to try some of these gems.

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