The Motor City offers a wide variety of cultural events to combine with the best brunch, coney dogs, pizza, and soul food
Commonly known as “Motown” and “The Motor City”, Detroit has always been known for its music and cars. These two things have long been the pillars of this city’s cultural makeup, but the Detroit renaissance has helped to rejuvenate and recreate the area, converting it into a foodie town with an ample culinary and cultural offering.
What to Do
Detroit is a destination on the rise that stands out for its wide variety of cultural activities fit for any visitor.
To begin, the Motown music scene continues to have plenty of importance in the city. If you’re looking for the most typical music of the area, head to traditional locales like Baker’s Keyboard Lounge. It is believed to be the oldest jazz club in the United States, and there you can enjoy live music like in city’s golden age.
If you’re looking for more modern artists, two intimate concert venues are Saint Andrew’s Hall and The Majestic Theater. Well-known artists frequent the locales, including legendary musicians like Bob Dylan, Nirvana and R.E.M. in the case of Saint Andrew’s Hall, and The Black Keys, Depeche Mode and Sia at The Majestic Theater. While the former is ideal for classic rock concerts, the latter tends to host more alternative groups.
If you still haven’t had a sufficient dosage of music, you can always visit the Motown Museum. This spot pays homage to the famous record label of the same name who signed artists like Diana Ross & The Supremes, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5, and Marvin Gaye. There you can see the famous recording studio and temporary and permanent exhibitions.
Another museum that you simply can’t miss is the DIA, the Detroit Institute of Arts. It possesses one of the largest art collections in the United States, with more than 65,000 works from every era of art. However, one of its strong points is certainly the giant mural by Mexican painter Diego Rivera, which occupies an entire hall and depicts the automotive industry that has so much historical significance for the city.
If you prefer to get a little bit of fresh air, you also have plenty of options. Each Saturday you can visit Eastern Market and buy fresh produce, meats, dairy products, and other artisanal goods. In summer, every Sunday the market displays the works of local artists, jewelers, musicians, cooks, and more, a perfect opportunity to discover the artisanry of the region.
Finally, to enjoy some greenery, discover Belle Isle, a small island in the middle of the Detroit River. There you can rent a bicycle, visit the greenhouse, or take in some rays on the island’s quaint beach.
What to Eat
One of the best parts of the city is its wide variety of cuisines. It won’t be hard to find the best brunch and soul food joints, along with some typical Detroit eats.
To begin your day, you can visit a wide variety of brunch locales. Try Dime Store or Brooklyn Street Local for some classic brunch staples. The Hudson Cafe offers a modern twist on classics, like eclectic pancakes and crepes. For the best bakery offering, head to Ochre Bakery and try one of their various fresh baked breads or pastries.
Soul food is a cuisine that is typical of the south of the United States. This food has its roots in African American culture and history, which is why it is such an important part of the Detroit food scene. Some of the best soul food spots include Kuzzo’s Chicken & Waffles, Chef Greg’s Soul ‘N’ the Wall, Le Culture Cafe, Detroit Soul, andFusion Flare Kitchen and Cocktails.
You can’t leave the city without tasting some of its most typical foods: Detroit style pizza and coney dogs. Detroit style pizza is characterized by its rectangular shape and thick crust, and some of the best places to try a traditional slice are Buddy’s Pizza and Loui’s Pizza. When it comes to coney dogs, hot dogs covered in chili sauce, the two original joints, which are located right next to each other in the center of the city, are American Coney Island and Lafayette Coney Island.
There are plenty of places in the city to satisfy your sweet tooth as well. Good Cakes and Bakes is a bakery that only uses fresh and natural ingredients that are sourced organically and locally whenever possible. Sweet Potato Sensations is a great place to find, you guessed it, delicious sweet potato treats, and Dutch Girl Donuts is a classic Detroit locale that has been open for over 70 years where you can find the best donuts in town.
What to Drink
Just as important as the culinary culture in Detroit is its wide offering of beverages, from coffee to cocktails. There are plenty of cafes, breweries, and bars that you can’t miss during your stay in the city.
Starting with coffee, there are plenty of artisan coffee shops with international bean offerings prepared by expert baristas. Anthology Coffee, Narrow Way Café, Desert Oasis Coffee Roasters, The Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Company, and Urban Bean Co. are all excellent options, among others.
Another beverage with a strong presence in Detroit is beer, specifically craft beer. There are various breweries in the city that you can visit and sample their products, like Atwater Brewery and Detroit Beer Company. Two restaurants that serve their own brews are Jolly Pumpkin and Motor City Brewing Works, and both happen to dish out great pizza as well.
Finally, there are plenty of great bars in Detroit. Standby and The Sugar House have some of the best cocktails in the city, offering classics and new creations. Monarch Club is a rooftop bar with excellent views of the city where you can grab a bite to eat and enjoy a drink in an elegant setting.
How to Get There
The Detroit Metro Airport is under 20 miles (30 kilometers) from the city and is the best way to get to town, thanks to the fact that it offers plenty of domestic and international flights, both direct and connecting.
For a complete, entertaining, and delicious trip, plan your visit to Detroit and discover the best of culture and cuisine that this city has to offer.