Eco-friendly travel guide to Detroit advises how to be a responsible tourist. Learn how to explore the attractions in a sustainable way and how to respect the local people and culture. Make your trip green by supporting locally owned hotels, organic restaurants and other businesses. Read more on how to protect the environment by making conscientious choices and how to travel green in Detroit, Michigan, United States of America.
- Air quality: 2.75 / 5
- Exploring by foot: 5 / 5
- Exploring by bicycle: 5 / 5
- Public transportation: 3.8 / 5
- Parks: 5 / 5
- Outdoor activities: 4.5 / 5
- Locals' English level: 5 / 5
- Safety: 3.9 / 5
- Accommodation: US$20 - $800
- Budget per day: US$70 - $1,000
- 1 Responsible Travel
- 2 Air Quality and Pollution
- 3 Respect the Culture
- 4 Top 10 Places to Visit
- 5 Explore
- 6 Eat
- 7 Drink
- 8 Activities
- 9 Accommodation
- 10 How to Get There
- 11 Moving Around
- 12 Sustainable Shopping
- 13 Recycling
- 14 Work and Study Abroad
- 15 See Also
Busting at the seams with culture and life, Detroit is commonly referred to as the Motor City, and it's one of the unique places that shouldn't be left out from the list of the cities to visit in the United States of America. The three words that best describe Detroit are; Charming, Progressive, and Vibrant. Detroit is an underrated cultural capital of the United States as it boasts a thriving arts community, a stunning riverfront, buzzy restaurants, a new crop of boutique hotels, and has welcomed laudable development and improvements in the past few years.
Filled with technological advance and historic charm, it's undoubtedly an exciting travel destination where visitors can have a great time with its plenty of fun opportunities. From its new developments and attractions to the bustling downtown and many renovated historic buildings, Detroit has pulled back after it went into decades of decline and it boasts several features that ring its popularity as Michigan's largest city. As an eco-friendly traveler in Detroit, traveling responsibly is a necessity, and here are a few tips you could use;
- You may need a car. If you want to be uninhibited in this Motor City, you'll need a car. With over 100 neighborhoods, Detroit is a large and sprawling city, and the need for a car to go around conveniently might be unavoidable.
- Even so, you may still not find it that important to get a car. Detroit is a city that offers a lot of things to do and this is a place where you're likely to try to do too much. Howbeit, you can get a better sense of life in Detroit when you familiarize yourself with some of the neighborhoods in the city like Greektown, Corktown, and Downtown, and this may probably facilitate the need for you not to use a car.
- If you'll be driving in Detroit, understand how the city's parking works. One of the things you'll appreciate about Detroit is that its parking system is not in any way complicated at all. Depending on the particular lot's proximity to city attractions, the price varies, and compared to other major cities, the price for parking in this city is still relatively reasonable. You could be spending around $8 to $20 if you want to park at one of the downtown lots and finding a meter on city streets is not beyond the realm of possibility, although it depends on where you are going. More and more parking structures are getting built in Detroit and parking prices should get more reasonable as time goes on.
- Public transit is improving, don't be scared to use it. The bus service across the city is improving day by day and this reflects the effort that the city has been putting in. The two great tourist areas in the city; New Center and Downtown, are connected by the QLine shuttle which opened in 2017. Things are actually getting better in Detroit, particularly in terms of public transit because everyone knows that the city has had its share of downs in public transportation.
- Know the difference between Detroit and (Metro) Detroit. A lot of people when they're traveling in Detroit often seem to get Detroit and Metro Detroit misconstrued and as you'll be traveling around the city, it's important for you to have a firm grasp and understanding of this. To begin with, the difference between Detroit and its suburbs is unmatched and unparalleled. Where are you heading to? Is it Shelby Township? West Bloomfield? Detroit? While Metro Detroit has varying racial and economic demographics, a population of more than four million people, and encompasses Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne Counties, Detroit is a city with roughly 700,000 residents boasting more Blacks and an influx of Whites.
- Get on your bike. Biking is an activity you'll enjoy doing in Detroit. If you know how to use the pedals well, you will enjoy going around conveniently because unlike many other cities, Detroit boasts a stunning amount of bike lanes and relatively light traffic being a flat city. Launched in the year 2017, MoGo is the first citywide bike rental service in the city, and you can always pick up and drop off a bike at any of its 43 stations.
- Detroit is greener than you think. Being an eco-friendly traveler in Detroit, it could be so pleasing for you to know that Detroit has tons of green spaces where you can get on your bike. Connecting the Belle Isle and the riverfront, Downtown and Eastern Market, the recreational path; the Dequindre Cut, is one of the plentiful green spaces in Detroit that gives you a fine opportunity of traveling green in the city.
- Give yourself enough time. Detroit is a city bustling with loads of amazing shopping, restaurants, and museums, and while one would naturally love to make the most out of these places, it's very important that you find yourself enough time so that you don't crash in the moment of trying to be in so many places in such a short time frame. The simple fact is, Detroit offers way lot more than many visitors expect, and taking your time to do things is also a part of traveling responsibly.
- Try some local specialties. Missing out on some local flavors is something you wouldn't love to do. Aside from the fact that you'll be supporting the city's local scene, it also shows your respect for the city's cuisine. From late-night Coney Island hot dog and Asian corned beef to square deep-dish pizza, there are lots of iconic food dishes to try out in Detroit and you shouldn't miss out on them if you want to enjoy a complete experience of the city.
- Don’t explore abandoned buildings. Since you'll be going around to check out some of the fine and special spots in the city, it becomes imperative to be apprised that exploring abandoned buildings is far from a classy way to spend your time in Detroit, it's very dangerous, it's illegal, and it's considered to be trespassing. Being a responsible traveler in Detroit, you should avoid anything that could lure you into exploring abandoned buildings because it's not the best thing to do, and it's totally unsafe.
Air Quality and Pollution
In accordance with a report from the American Lung Association, there have been improvements for short-term particle pollution but the results for ozone pollution have worsened generally in the state of Michigan. Detroit is constantly listed amongst the top most populated cities in Michigan and being the state's largest city and an industrial one, it's worthy to point out that the city's degree of air pollution varies based on where you are and the pollutant itself. The southwest section of the city is regarded to be the main attention of pollution in Detroit and due to the emitting of higher levels of harmful particulate matter emanating from the dense concentration of heavy industry, it's regarded to be one of the worst locations for pollution in Michigan and the most polluted region of Detroit.
With the presence of an oil refinery in Boynton neighborhood, the area has been regarded to be the most polluted in Michigan, and it's advisable that you take precautions when visiting Detroit if you're sensitive to air pollution and avoid Southwest Detroit because of its incessant unhealthy air. Southwest Detroit is home to a six-lane bridge, three heavily-trafficked highways, two power plants, a wastewater treatment plant, a steel mill, an oil refinery, and all these contribute immensely to the reduction of the overall air quality in the city.
Respect the Culture
Detroit is a city filled with locals who take pride in where they're living and respecting the city's culture is actually not something big sort of, you can actually start by keeping an open mind and respecting the city's history irrespective of what it has been through in the past. Visiting Detroit with an open mind is quite important and regardless of what you might have heard or read about Detroit, Detroiters will always be glad to identify themselves with the city. And, you shouldn't let your bad attitude make you miss out on so many things to be inspired by and so much to enjoy.
The locals in this city are a bunch of happy people who love talking about why they love their home and they're very passionate about telling people why they moved to this city. The residents, who are either bred natives, typically born, or perhaps, immigrants, are cool people to relate with. So, basically, you should be able to have a great time in the city keeping an open mind and treating people fairly with kind gestures and this could go a long way in showing respect to the city's culture. No stress. Just be you and enjoy.
Top 10 Places to Visit
Visitors in Detroit can enjoy the multitude of experiences the city offers, of which they will always cherish. Detroit is famous for its unique people, cars, music, and it's indeed a true jewel of the American midwest. From beautiful public spaces and historical sites to stunning architecture and world-class art museums, Detroit boasts plenty of attractions to excite and delight its visitors and locals alike. And, even though it may not be the most touristy city in the United States of America, you'll surely have a great time checking out some of these top spots in the city;
- The Detroit Masonic Temple: By 7 p.m on the first/third Friday of July and August and by 3 p.m on the first/third Sunday of any month, it's available for tours. Although it has come to be primarily used as an event space, it remains to be one of the finest things to see in the city. Since 1926, it has never failed in wowing guests, and it's the biggest masonic temple around the world. The auditorium, ritualistic tower, and the Shrine Club are its three known main areas, and you'll get to see how great of an attraction it is with each part of its trio of sections. If you're interested in buildings, make sure you check out this place.
- The Motown Museum: It's almost impossible to talk about the best places to visit in Detroit without mentioning this museum. Children aged four and below can enter for free, and while seniors and youths are to pay $10, adults are to pay $15 for admission. Days of operation vary based on the season and it offers an incredibly rich experience for visitors. You'll have no choice but to mention Motown when you're talking about music in Detroit. Once you're here, do well to feel how amazing the history surrounding you is and close your eyes to get immersed in the experience. Here, you'll get to see the residence of the Motown Records founder Berry Gordy and the historical, popular Motown recording studio.
- Belle Isle Park: The good times you'll have here are the ones you'll keep close to your heart. It's one of the most beautiful places in the United States of America and it's an evidence of the beauty that radiates in Detroit. You need to come to Belle Isle Park if you seek stunning things to see in Detroit and it can be buzzing with people during the spring and summer. You have the option of just enjoying yourself on the land or spend time out on the water. This is a place where you can escape from all life's troubles and get lost freely. This nearly 1,000 acres is perfect for picnics and playing tennis. It has plenty of recreational opportunities and it's an island surrounded by the Detroit River. It's as fun as it is beautiful.
- Detroit Riverfront: All thanks to the Riverfront Conservancy that has been bringing innovations and new things to enjoy here. You can choose to enjoy leisurely strolls of your life here, attend a concert, or try out tai chi here. The Riverfront offers treats for people who love being active and it's often bustling with smiling faces, especially on a sunny day. This place is consistently becoming more lovely gradually and spending an afternoon on the Detroit Riverfront is one of the most fun things to do in Detroit.
- The Detroit Public Library: You don't need to be a book buff before you'll check out this place. You should try to see any of its branches as it has dozens of them around. Once you step in, you'll see how captivating and amazing it is, and aside from the fact that it serves as a reminder of the importance of education and understanding, the Detroit Public Library hosts lots of interesting events such as the talks with authors at its many branches. You'll definitely enjoy yourself even though you may not have the time to check out and return a book. And, its shelves and walls are full of so much historical value. It's one of the greatest libraries in all of Michigan and this public library is worth checking out.
- Henry Ford Experience: Coming to this place is about catching a whole lot of experiences such as riding in an actual Model T, exploring the retro world of Greenfield Village, seeing a functional Ford plant, and learning about Ford’s vision. The complete experience this place offers is topnotch and you'll get to have an understanding of why Henry Ford is very revered. The impact he made is immeasurable and with all said, you should try to enjoy the Henry Ford Experience if you’re scheduling a trip to Detroit.
- Comerica Park: Tours are conducted here at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m on non-Game Days and 11 a.m. and 1 p.m on Tuesdays and Thursdays on Game Days. non-Game Days, tours cost $6, and $5 for everyone who’s four and up on Game Days. You should come to Comerica Park if you're looking for things to do in downtown Detroit, and you're a baseball fan. You can get to see what makes this park so beloved for an hour-and-a-half, and you'll get to see the Champions Club, the Party Suite, and the dugout, most of which are off-limits to a lot of people during games. Seeing different parts of this park is amazing and you'll love it here even if you're not a baseball fan and if you are, you can come for a tour of a great baseball game. Comerica Park is fun and spellbinding.
- Fort Wayne: Guided walking tours here cost $5 per guest and you can come around from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m from May to October on Saturdays and Sundays. Fort Wayne displays Detroit’s military importance originating in the mid-19th century and it's still in shape for all generations to adore. Although it's no longer used for actual fighting purposes, it shows how vital military sites can be, and having exhausted its combat purposes; today, it now functions for many purposes which include training and lodging. Fort Wayne has a remarkable story as it's the first defense in Detroit to be built by American citizens. You should include a visit to Fort Wayne if you fancy historical site seeing tours.
- Cliff Bell’s: It has its doors open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m on Sunday, 5 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. on Saturday and 5 p.m. to 12 a.m from 5 p.m. to 12 a.m. You might be wondering why this restaurant is included on the list but you'll get your answer when you come here for a good meal which goes hand-in-hand with a good time. Cliff Bell’s is one of the most fun places in Detroit and the general positive energy of the place coupled with its mood will sweep you off your feet, all you just have to do to enjoy this experience is to put your phones away. The ambiance of the restaurant also adds an exquisite touch and there's live music to get you jiggy too. With its delectable steaks, pasta, and more, it brings to mind the scenes of a classic 1930s club, and there's nothing wrong with it being one of your top Detroit experiences.
- The Michigan Science Center: Admission prices here vary based on what sort of packages you purchase. This center opens from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m on Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m on Saturday, and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m from Tuesday to Friday. Visiting the Michigan Science Center is a fun and mentally invigorating thing to do and there's a wonderful planetarium and lots of great exhibitions here. During your visit, you could be lucky to have a budding scientist around who will make you enjoy the fun exhibitions and activities better. This place is family-friendly, it has something for everyone, and it's a place for curious minds.
The city of Detroit has taken on a new appeal through its revitalization today and its popularity rings louder worldwide for its beloved sports teams, contributions to the early music industry, and auto manufacturing sector. The famed “Motor City” has a beautiful story of "grass to grace" to share and without doubts, it's one of the cities in the United States that keeps attracting nearby residents and it's a great place to explore looking at its eclectic garage-like music scene, culturally-inspired dive bars, an incredible assortment of eateries, an amazing collection of world-class museums, and many more. There are tons of things to see and do in Detroit and since exploring the city can be so much fun, here are a few ideas you could oblige to:
- Take a Free Walking Tour
- Detroit Experience Factory
- Visit the Detroit Institute of Arts
- Relax at Belle Isle
- Wander the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory
- Hit the Belle Island Golf Range
- Enjoy the Beach
- Explore the Eastern Market
- Walk or Bike Along the Dequindre Cut
- Check Out One of the Largest Bookstores in the World
- Visit the Fox Theatre
- Take a Tour of the Guardian Building
- Walk Around Campus Martius Park
- Snap Photos at The Belt
- See the Motown Museum
- Check out the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation
- Visit the Museum of African-American History
- Take a Food or Brewery Tour
Detroit is home to a lot of nice parks and one of them is the Belle Isle Park. Stretching along the river for over five miles and covering over 900 acres of brilliant green space, Belle Isle Park is one of the must-see parks in Detroit and another one which is super nice is one of the newer parks; Beacon Park. In a nutshell, here are some of the best city parks in Detroit;
- Beacon Park: The atmosphere of this park is vibrant. The food trucks are worth experiencing and you'll enjoy the interactive light installations. There's a rooftop seating overlooking the park offered at the two-story Lumen restaurant you can head to anytime you feel famished. Known for hosting a wide variety of events, activities, festivals, concerts, and more, it has something exciting on the go and children can feel free to run around and let off some steam at its large central grassed area. Offering an inviting green space for relaxation and recreation for both visitors and residents, it opened in downtown Detroit in 2017.
- Belle Isle Park: The Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservancy, Belle Isle Nature Center, Dossin Great Lakes Museum, and the Belle Isle Aquarium are some of the premier attractions you can visit on Belle Isle. This park is a place where you can enjoy paddle boating, kayaking, or canoeing at the lakes or join in a game of tennis, softball, or football. You can as well hone your golf skills at the Belle Isle Golf Range if you're a sports enthusiast. Exploring the network of nature, running, and walking trails in the unique ecology it boasts is intriguing and this entire island is a conservancy area offering an experience a day out with a difference for both visitors and locals. It covers over 980 acres and it's situated on an island in the Detroit River.
- Campus Martius Park: There are year-round activities and events hosted at this park and this place offers something unique for each season. People come to enjoy the large outdoor skating rink during the winter and there's sunshine on The Beach to enjoy during the summer and spring. The opportunity to admire several historic monuments has been made feasible here with a walk around the park plus there are lovely gardens to admire. You can enjoy the relaxing sound of the Woodward Fountain and try the comfortable seating while mingling with friends. This park is ideal for relaxation, it's situated close to downtown Detroit, and it's a large green public space popularly known as Detroit’s Gathering Place.
- Capitol Park: It provides much-needed city-center green space with its newly-planted trees which were stemmed from its renovation and revitalization in the year 2018. Dogs can frolic on the grass and make friends accompanied and leashed at its special dog-friendly area and this park is engulfed by loads of exciting boutique stores, interesting eateries, and plenty of historic buildings for it stands on the spot of the original Michigan State Capital Building. Here, you can choose to take your dogs for a walk, relax under a shady tree, or just get out into the fresh air. It's situated in the city's most populace residential neighborhood and nestled in the heart of downtown Detroit
There are five national parks in the state of Michigan and Detroit is home to one of them; MotorCities National Heritage Area. Experiencing southeast Michigan and getting acquainted with the long, somewhat tenuous relationship between Labor and Industry are some of what await you here. The creation of General Motors and DamilerChrysler is a beautiful one to be apprised of and this is a place where you can learn all the stories. Here, do well to tour the factory where Henry Ford created and built the Model T. MotorCities National Heritage Area is the place to be if you are interested in automotive history.
Before it earned the appellation "MotorCities National Heritage Area", it was initially called the Automobile National Heritage Area when it was established on November 6, 1998. The heritage area comprises more than 1200 automotive-related sites which include the Arab American National Museum, the Sloan Museum, the Automotive Hall of Fame, various Ford plants, Fair Lane, and Henry Ford Museum. Commemorating and promoting the automobile industry in Metro Detroit, this National Heritage Area is federally designated, and it's one of the unique national parks in the United States of America.
Within driving distance of the Motor City, you'll find a wide array of fine beaches if you crave shoreline relaxation and a healthy dose of sunshine. Although Metro Detroit may not be as a popular destination for beachgoers, there's nothing stopping you from enjoying some nice beach time if that's what you crave; all you just have to do is to be up for the ride.
- Belle Isle is still within the city's limits and it features a botanical garden, a giant fountain, hiking trails, a golf course, and many other attractions. Summer visitors can stay relaxed at the beach's plenty of room and this place is a delight for residents for many reasons.
- Jefferson Beach Marina: There's volleyball, lounge chairs, and a waterfront picnic area; should you be looking for a place to relax by the shore. Offering docking facilities for about 800 boats, a bar and grille, Internet, showers, and several many amenities for a relaxing vacation, the area along Lake St. Clair's "Nautical Mile" is a great place to hang out, and this beach caters mostly to boaters - just as its name suggests. Jefferson Beach Marina is located along Lake St. Clair.
- Metro Beach Metropark: Biking, hiking, mini-golf, and golf are some of the activities you'll enjoy doing here. Boating is a big hobby at this park and it's quite easy to notice that when you spot the three marinas and at least eight boat ramps here. Boasting a splash park, water slides, and an Olympic-size swimming pool, it has a 1,000-foot sandy beach along the lake, and you'll find the Metro Beach Metropark situated along the shores of Lake St. Clair - it's just north of Detroit proper in the lakeside town of Mt. Clemens.
- Van Buren Park: It offers several summer day camps for local kids, nature trails, volleyball and basketball courts, and most importantly, a sandy swimming beach. With its atmosphere that stands in stark contrast to the industrial feel of Detroit, this park is situated on Belleville Lake. It's only a few miles west of the Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport and it's situated southwest of Detroit.
- Milan Beach: There's plenty of nostalgia to be found at this beach that has never paused in charming its visitors of all ages since 1962. This privately-owned, publicly-open beach offers everything from a charming snack shack and beach volleyball to a sandy shoreline; there's so much to enjoy here. For a family-friendly adventure, think no further than this beach, and it's as well a great place to spend a summer afternoon.
Historical landmarks are scattered throughout the city of Detroit. The Motor City is undoubtedly a unique and incredible place to live. With its several museums, buildings, and monuments, its landmarks are not worth missing out as well;
- Historic Fort Wayne: You can visit the Tuskegee Airmen Museum, an ancient Native American burial mound, the Spanish-American War guard house, the restored Commanding Officer house, the original 1845 star fort, and the original 1848 limestone barracks building today. In every U.S. conflict from the Civil War to the Vietnam War, it exercised a vital function as a primary induction center for Michigan troops.
- The Spirit of Detroit: The people who live here and those who love the Motor City are those this Detroit icon is dedicated to. Overlooking Woodward Avenue, this large bronze statue was created by sculptor Marshall Fredericks and it represents the city. Make sure you check out this monument.
- Ford Piquette Avenue Plant: While on the amazing tour offered here, you'll feel like you've traveled through time. Before and after the famous Model T, you can stay cognizant of several cars that detail Henry Ford's successes and failures. There's remarkable history wielded at the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant.
- The Guardian Building: It has a cathedral-like feel with its stained-glass, color, and buildings ceiling. It's decorated with stunning Pewabic and Rookwood tile, and the three-story lobby based an interior that is completely breathtaking. Not that alone, the skyscraper's facade is stunning, and it's a brilliant example of Art Deco architecture. The Guardian Building was built in 1928.
- Campus Martius: This park has been a beautiful space for residents to enjoy and it's also open to visitors - all thanks to the renovations it has welcomed. Hart Plaza was initially designed to replace this park but unfortunately, it didn't enjoy that warm reception that was anticipated until the park later came to stay. However, this park used to be a major gathering area for Detroiters.
Detroit is a place teeming with tons of excellent museums and here are some of them;
- Motown Museum: It's almost impossible to talk about the best museum in Detroit without mentioning Motown Museum because of its uniqueness and the importance it weighs. This museum was already featured on our list of "top 10 places to visit" in Detroit and in case it didn't catch your attention, we are reiterating to you that children aged four and below can enter for free, and while seniors and youths are to pay $10, adults are to pay $15 for admission. Days of operation vary based on the season and it offers an incredibly rich experience for visitors. Once you're here, do well to feel how amazing the history surrounding you is and close your eyes to get immersed in the experience. Here, you'll get to see the residence of the Motown Records founder Berry Gordy and the historical, popular Motown recording studio.
- 'The Detroit Institute of Arts: It has its doors wide open for all from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m on Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m to 10 p.m on Friday, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m from Tuesday to Thursday. This museum is an incredible place because of its many kinds of different cultural influences and there are many nice temporary exhibitions that will catch your delight here. It boasts great pieces from different parts of the globe to include Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Americas. It’s a vast reservoir of culture in one of the most important cities in Michigan. It's one of the best art museums in the United States of America.
- Detroit Historical Museum: While children aged six and above are to pay $6 for admission, military personnel, first responders, students, and seniors are to pay $8, and adults are to pay $10. It operates on Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m, Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. This museum will help you appreciate this city better and you'll get to have an understanding of how it flourished. Coming here will give you a full comprehension of how this city became so renowned with all the exhibitions available and it's pretty interesting to know how this city got to be an industrial powerhouse. Situated right by the Detroit Institute of Arts, this museum is where you should be if you seek to have more knowledge about Detroit.
- Charles H. Wright Museum of African-American History: Members and children aged three and below can enter here for free, seniors and youths will pay $7 for admission, and it's $10 for adults. This museum is open on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, on Mondays during Black History Month, on Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m, and on Tuesday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Any historically-minded person would be eager to check out this museum and there are lots of stories to be learnt here. “And Still We Rise” and “Detroit Performs!” are some of the powerful exhibitions here citing the momentum of people's strong will and valor. This museum has become a cornerstone in the city, especially to the black community. When it first opened in 1966, it was called the International Afro-American Museum. Your mind can be stretched in so many ways when you’re at this museum.
- Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit: Admission here is based on a self-chosen donation but it's encouraged to pay a minimum of $5. It's open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m on Thursday and Friday and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m on Tuesday and Wednesday and Saturday and Sunday. Art must stay fresh and relevant because it's always evolving and this is why Museums like the MOCAD exert so much value and importance. There are lots of fascinating exhibitions you'll find inside this Michigan institution, it's one of the finest places to go for culture in Detroit, and one of the top 10 art museums in the Midwest.
From late-night Coney Island hot dog and Asian corned beef to square deep-dish pizza, there are lots of iconic food dishes to try out in Detroit and you shouldn't miss out on them if you want to enjoy a complete experience of the city.
Renowned for dishing up a wide array of tasty, unique-to-Detroit foods, the Motor City is home to more than just cars. Just as New York calls dibs on the best bagels, the Windy City claims a Chicago-style hot dog, and Philadelphia has its cheesesteak, Detroit has these dishes it takes pride in;
- Coney Dog
- Detroit-Style Pizza
- Boston Cooler
- Zip Sauce
- Double-Baked Rye Bread
Detroit is famous worldwide for its delicious and crispy deep-dish pizza; Detroit-style pizza, and it shares a bit of difference compared to the Chicago-style pizza and, finding it outside of Michigan is not really feasible. There are several restaurants in the city where you can enjoy the Detroit-style pizza. Lafayette Coney Island and the American Coney Island are the most known coney restaurants in Detroit and these are great spots where you can enjoy the popular hot dog with chopped fresh onions, mustard, and chili; coney.
Traditional Local Restaurants
Traditional local restaurants in Detroit include:
- Chartreuse Kitchen & Cocktails
- FOLK Detroit
- Taqueria Mi Pueblo
- Royal Grill Restaurant
- Mink Detroit
- Lady of the House
- The Whitney
- Grey Ghost Detroit
- The Apparatus Room
- Giovanni's Ristorante
Vegetarian and Vegan
There's something for every diet, occasion, and palate at these vegan and vegetarian gems. It's so interesting to know that a plant-based revolution is growing in Motor City and you can feel relaxed eating your veggies at these restaurants whether you just want a change of pace from the meat sweats or you're subscribing to the plant-based for life lifestyle.
- Chili Mustard Onions: It uses organic and non-gmo ingredients and you can find vegan cake and ice cream options for desserts. Serving cheezy potato skins, plain fries, loaded fries, seitan gyros, and big mock burgers, it maintains its specialty in chili cheese fries and vegan coney island-style hot dogs. This restaurant opened in August 2018.
- Detroit Vegan Soul - East: Parking is available in the rear lot accessing from VanDyke or on the street. This restaurant is Black-owned and the dessert selection includes ice cream over cobbler. Weekend brunch, mashed potatoes in gravy, tofu poppers, smothered tempeh, 'catfish' tofu, and the day's plate are some of the dishes it serves. It specializes in Southern-style soul food.
- Lions Den: Who says you can't enjoy your veggies without being devoid of fun? There's spoken word starting here at 8:00 pm until the closing hour and Fridays are more profitable for those who fancy open mic/spoken word. This restaurant plays reggae music, it has African art on display, and it's situated in Rastafarian's house. Offering fries, wheat burgers, soy burgers, and more, it serves meals under $5.00, and it's an all-vegan natural juice bar and restaurant.
- Street Beet: It has a website where you can order a carry-out from. With its wide variety of gluten-free options, it strives to be as allergen-friendly as possible. Filet NO fish, phony cheesesteak, fake chicken sando, and the supreme crunchy wrap are some of its fast-food favorites. It specializes in comfort food classics and it's situated inside 3rd Street Bar in Midtown as an all-vegan pop-up.
- Vegan in the Hood: Sandwiches, fries, burgers, and soul-food are some of the options it serves. It's situated in the heart of Motown Detroit and it's a diner-style restaurant startup, fast-casual, vegan, and small.
Detroit’s culinary scene is on the up and up. Detroit’s food trucks are a must in the city and they're renowned for their variety of delicious foods. If you crave some sumptuous street food in Detroit, you can always trust these food trucks to give you the best and affordable grub;
- El Guapo Grill
- RE BBQ
- Chicken Coupe
Speaking of drinks, Michigan has always been a craft beer destination and this doesn't leave Detroit out of the picture. Detroit is known for its dive bar scene and even though it may not come close to other cities like New York City, it does retain its uniqueness being Michigan's largest city and there's a cluster of tasting rooms hosted in Corktown and downtown Detroit where both locals and visitors can enjoy a wide variety of drinks.
Feel free and safe to drink tap water in Detroit for you have nothing to worry about or fear. Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, all federal and state regulatory standards are met and exceeded by the city's tap water and this is an acknowledgment of the fact that the city's water is clean and safe to drink for all.
Go grab a guilt-free bite at some of the healthiest and most Instagram-worthy spots in Detroit whenever you're ready to get serious about what goes in you. Who wouldn't want to be beautiful, delicious, and healthy? Because, we all know that the phrase “you are what you eat” is not just for decoration but spits the truest reality!
- Beyond Juicery + Eatery’s: It has four other locations aside from its Eastern Market shop, and, of course, you have the liberty of hitting up any that's convenient for you. there something that pleases every corner of your mouth at Beyond Juicery, and it's right here waiting for you. From sweet and savory to chocolatey and fruity, you'll get whatever flavor your taste buds are calling for. You can try one of its famous pre-made salads and wraps around as you pop into its Eastern Market digs. Don't sleep on it, drop by! It has been voted Detroit’s best smoothie three years running and this further affirms its quality, stunning juice, and food items.
- Mudgie’s: It's very popular for its deli sandwiches and it serves a brunch, lunch and dinner menu. If you're in the New Center area, Medical Center, Wayne State, or “downtown proper,” Mudgie’s can get its food delivered to you. It recycles and composts, uses local products whenever possible, and roasts its own meats in the restaurant. It's situated in Corktown, and from 2010-2014, it has been voted best deli four years in a row.
- Brooklyn Street Local: Lunch is served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m on Tuesdays through Fridays and there's breakfast served here from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. It doesn't open on Mondays and you should take note of this. There are lots of vegan and vegetarian dishes on its menu and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m on weekends, you have the opportunity of enjoying its served breakfast, lunch, and brunch. Salad dressings, veggie/chicken soup stocks, fries, pastry crusts, scones, and lots more are some of its made-in-house ingredients and toppings. Serving up organic ingredients and “whole foods,” it's situated in the Corktown area of Detroit.
Metro Detroit is bustling with a fine array of breweries and here are some of the finest ones you'll find in and around the city of Detroit;
- Atwater Brewery: It sells wine and spirits which include bourbon, gonna, and vodka, and this is to justify that it also welcomes those who are not into beer. From pizzas to sandwiches, it offers a variety of appetizers on its menu and it's reputed for making unique boutique ales and traditional German-style lagers. It opened in the year 1997 and it's situated in the historic Rivertown district.
- Batch Brewing Co.: It gladly tells its guests that "food is something it does" and not something it also do. Do you get the trick? Featuring a handcrafted, scratch kitchen pub cuisine as an additional package, it boasts a menu of small-batch, handcrafted beer that evolves constantly.
- Brew Detroit: This brewery features a foosball table, a professional billiards table, three bristle professional dart boards, a 22’ tournament-style shuffleboard, shooter and racing, air hockey, and pinball at its arcade plus it has six 50-inch flat-screen TVs and two floors of entertainment in addition to the beer it offers. Brewed on a two-barrel system, its ten constantly-rotating taps are featured in its tasting room, and it's one of the largest breweries in Michigan.
- Detroit Beer Co.: This brewery has grown to be a very fine spot for pre-and post-event dining and drinks. It shares close proximity to the Detroit Opera House, Ford Field, and Comerica Park.
- Eastern Market Brewing Co.: With the freshest Eastern Market ingredients, it creates original beers with local flavor and some special kind of classics. It opened its doors in 2016 and it has been living up to the mission it sets for itself.
If you seek to experience the great outdoors in Detroit, you don't need to look too much because Detroit is overflowing with fun-filled outdoor locales to explore. Even though nature might not be the first thing that comes to mind when it comes to Detroit, it still doesn't make it less of a place to enjoy rejuvenating outdoor activities. If you would love to take advantage of the sunny days in Detroit to go have a great time outdoors, here are some rejuvenating activities you can indulge in;
- Learn about the history of African Americans’ struggle for voting rights
- Figure out the best mask to complement your cosplay at Youmacon
- Discover the magic of an uncrowded DIA Detroit Institute of Arts
- Have an intimate tour of Hitsville USA
- Go to a drive-in movie, no matter the weather
- Eat Detroit-style pizza
- Comfort Yourself with a Coney
- Head to outdoor art installations unlike any you’d find elsewhere
- Take a car tour of some amazing street art
- Snag a growler from a local brewery
- Cruise the Streets of Old Detroit
- Check out the Marvel Comics exhibit at the Henry Ford
- Walk about Hallowe’en in Greenfield Village
- Stroll the Dequindre Cut
- Take in the RiverWalk
- Take a virtual tour of the birthplace of the Model T
Yoga and Retreats
For your Yoga and retreats in Detroit, you can visit any of;
- Living Waters Yoga Detroit
- Detroit Yoga Lab
- Citizen Yoga Detroit
- Kundalini Yoga in Detroit, LLC
- Midtown Yoga Wellness Center
- Sacred Space Yoga Centre
- Santo Santo
- BE NICE Yoga
There are lots of accommodation options for you to explore in Detroit and you can choose to rent an apartment or probably stay in a hotel. Hotels in Detroit are a draw for many visitors right now and you may choose to join the trend.
If you desire to stay in a green and eco-friendly hotel, here are some great options for you;
- El Moore Lodge & Residences
- Hotel Indigo Detroit Downtown
- Trumbull And Porter Hotel- Detroit Downtown
- Roberts Riverwalk Urban Resort Hotel
- Crowne Plaza Detroit Downtown Riverfront
- DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Hotel Detroit Downtown - Fort Shelby
- MGM Grand Detroit
- Baymont by Wyndham Downtown Detroit
Hostels and Guest Houses
234 Winder Street Inn - Detroit, Hostel Detroit, and The Cochrane House Luxury Historic Inn Detroit are some of the best and popular hostels and guest houses in Detroit you can trust.
These days, apartments are easy to come by, especially when you have your money with you; you'll always find what suits your taste. If you're looking for an apartment in Detroit, you can choose to talk to some of the locals around you or perhaps, find one conveniently online. Airbnb is also available.
Couchsurfing makes you spend little or no cash on accommodation and you might be lucky to find a host for couchsurfing in Detroit.
Do you prefer camping to the usual accommodation options around? Here are some of the spots in the city you can hit up for such purpose;
- Belle Isle Park
- Dequindre Cut
- Me dá um beijo bebê
- Erma Henderson Park
- Blue Heron Lagoon Trail
How to Get There
With abundant international non-stops and being a major hub for Delta Airlines flights which also services routes on Frontier Airlines, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Alaska Airlines, and American Airlines, people coming in Detroit from far distances are likely to be flying into the Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW).
Detroit Metro Airport (DTW) offers direct flights to and from a variety of cities. It's a major Delta hub and operational headquarters, it's close to many hotels, and it's just about 20 minutes west of the city proper.
There are varieties of bus service providers serving Detroit and nearby cities. Greyhound, Megabus, and Transit Windsor have stops in the D.
Amtrak offers service to many connections in Chicago and people coming from Washington DC and New York can use its connecting trains to get in.
All forms of hitchhiking are illegal in the entire state of Michigan.
Several interstates converge in downtown Detroit and driving into Detroit from nearby cities is feasible.
There are lots of nice options of moving around Detroit. SMART buses service the entire metro area, you can take a DDOT bus around the city, or hop onto a QLINE streetcar in Detroit’s urban center. Car-sharing services like Lyft and Uber function effectively in the city too and if you choose to rent a car to move around, don't forget to avoid morning and evening rush hour.
Detroit is quite walkable and most of the popular areas in the city have a good and increasing walkability score. The city is constantly growing to be more pedestrian-friendly with the pop-ups of businesses, bars, and restaurants here and there. While it's notable to point out that Detroit is safe to an extent, you should as well apply common sense when walking at night or in some places where there's no-one around.
Biking in Detroit is highly encouraged and the city is home to many budding bike co-ops. Bikers should feel safe biking around Detroit and all thanks to MoGo Detroit; the city's bike-share program, you can hit up any of its forty-three locations in ten different neighborhoods around Detroit to rent a bike.
Electronic vehicles are often available for rentals at some of the rental companies around.
The Detroit Department of Transportation is charged with the responsibility of providing mass transit bus service within Detroit –the standard fare $1.50. You may as well use the SMART bus system if you're traveling throughout Detroit and the suburbs.
Tram, Train and Subway
Sadly, Detroit does not have an elevated/subway network that covers the entire city but it has its automated light-rail system; People Mover, which serves the downtown area.
Being an eco-friendly traveler, you should find it easy to shop sustainably in Detroit. And, a simple way to do that is to shop at eco-friendly shops which are pretty rife in the city and patronize environmentally conscious stores.
Eastern Market is a mini-city and it's the top destination when one speaks of food markets in Detroit. Bustling with culture, art, business, a plethora of restaurants, and fresh food, it's in the heart of the city, and one of the busiest.
Other food markets in Detroit include;
- Royal Oak Farmers Market
- Corktown Farmers Market
Everybody loves a good flea market and here are some of the good ones in Detroit;
- The Detroit Flea
- Eastern Market Antiques
- Boston-Edison Attic Sales
- Royal Oak Flea Market
- Dixieland Flea Market
- Greenfield Flea Market
Second Hand Stores
Some of the best second-hand stores in Detroit include;
- Value World
- Community Thrift Store
- ElDorado General Store
- Thrift on the Avenue
- Fred’s Unique Furniture and Antiques
- Nu2U Thrift
- St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Stores
- Ann Arbor PTO Thrift Shop
Eco-fashion can come in many forms. And, these fashion shops can be trusted for your eco-fashion in the Detroit area;
- Fotoula Lambros
- Reware Vintage
- Bamboo Styles
- Homeslice – American Organic Apparel
Recycling materials placed in the designated container at the curb are collected weekly. Some of the acceptable recyclables in Detroit include;
There are residential pickup services for wastes of the residents of the city. Detroit strongly frowns at illegal dumping and it has waste drop-off locations for dumping as well.
Work and Study Abroad
Home to plentiful prominent higher institutions of learning like Wayne State University, University of Detroit, and more, Detroit is a popular location for work and study abroad, and its industrial fame also volumes up its popularity.
Most of the colleges and universities in Detroit offer exchange student programs with each having their respective requirements to be met.
Are you an au pair in Detroit looking for opportunities? You might want to mingle more with the locals who might be cognizant of offers you can take advantage of.
There are several ways you can lend a helping hand in Detroit and you can start by checking out some of these local organizations;
- The Greening of Detroit
- Back Alley Bikes/The Hub of Detroit
- Home FurEver
- Arts & Scraps
- Meals on Wheels/Detroit Area Agency on Aging
- Gleaners Community Food Bank of SE Michigan
- The Capuchin Soup Kitchen