The Perfect Weekend In Detroit From A Local
Detroit is the largest city in Michigan- with several nicknames. We lovingly refer to our beloved city as “The D”, “Motown”, “The Motor City”, or most recent- “America’s Comeback City.” I grew up just 30 miles north of the city, and have done my fair share of traveling around the world, I still feel Detroit is seriously underrated as a travel destination. But fear not! Detroit city is making a comeback. Lonely Planet recently ranked the D- No.2 in the top 10 cities to travel in 2018. Making it the ONLY continental U.S. city on the list.
Ready to see what all the hype is about?
Here’s your perfect weekend guide to Detroit Michigan from a local!
Fly into DTW Detroit Metro International Airport, and take rideshare into downtown Detroit. The easiest way to move about the city is on foot or by bus. But you will need another form of transportation if you plan on exploring outside the city. I recommend getting a rental car.
There are several different districts in Detroit, each with its own vibe. To find out what area is best for your weekend getaway to Detroit you can check out my post. The best places to stay in Detroit.
Brunch Instead of Lunch
Brunch: My favorite meal of the day. Detroit has so many options for a delicious mid-day meal, and many are centrally located right downtown. Here are some of my personal favorites!
Dime Store: This dime is a little hidden gem- it’s located inside the Chrysler House. Order a peach mimosa, with your eggs benny and find out why they call it Detroit’s #1 breakfast spot.
Pro Tip: While you’re waiting for a table, go around the corner of the Chrysler Building to Bon Bon Bon and snack on the most adorable, tasty, handmade chocolate boxes you’ll ever taste.
Located in the heart of downtown Detroit, the namesake comes from the old Hudson’s department store that was across the street. I would recommend trying their delicious Baklava French Toast- covered in walnuts, and pistachios, and drizzled in honey.
Parks & Rec Diner
To get here- enter at the corner of Grand River and Cass Avenues. Breakfast & lunch are served all day, every day. The artisanal menu boasts a number of traditional fan favorites. I had the mouthwatering C-Day Benny. Thanksgiving spiced, smoked & pulled local chicken, poached eggs, sweet potato biscuit smothered in sausage gravy. But the real winner was the melt-in-your-mouth delicious Crème Brûlée French Toast. It was so different than I expected- soaked in orange Anglaise coated in a crackly sugar crust and fresh fruit.
Gold Cash Gold: Located in Corktown, this old pawn shop turned hipster eatery has a fantastic farm-to-table rotating seasonal menu. Try their take on the classic chicken & waffle. Made with a cornbread waffle, hot & spicy fried chicken, and orange sorghum butter. It’ll satisfy your sweet AND savory cravings.
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When my out-of-state friends come home to visit, I ask them where they want to go for food. They immediately respond with something or somewhere only Michigan can provide.
Shop at Detroit’s Eastern Market
You can’t visit Detroit without experiencing the Eastern market Detroit. During the busy season, Eastern Market has over 225 market vendors with up to 40,000 visitors in one day. Depending on the season, you can expect fresh Michigan-grown produce, fresh proteins, TREATS, flowers, hand-crafted goods, and all kinds of fun stuff.
Eastern Market is the oldest and largest year-round market in the US.
Get there early on the weekends (around 7-8 a.m). Parking is free but fills up fast. So the earlier you get there the better chance you have of getting a good parking spot. After you’re done shopping walk a couple blocks over to the Detroit Distillery and grab one of their hand-crafted cocktails.
Get Inspired By The Heidelberg Project
The Heidelberg Project is an outdoor art environment on Detroit’s East Side- about 5 minutes from Eastern Market. The project is on Heidelberg Street- the same street where the local artist grew up.
The old abandoned houses were cleaned up – refuse collected was recycled back to create the artwork.
In 1986 the artist started transforming his childhood neighborhood now in poverty and shambles, into a massive piece of art. The street, sidewalks, trees, and anything else on this street have become a part of this neighborhood art project.
Campus Martius Park
Visit Detroit’s gathering place, Campus Martius Park. Located downtown, the park has spectacular skyline views and is home to the always-flowing Woodward Fountain. Gardens, historical monuments, and the popular Parc Restaurant surround the park.
The park is open year-round with activities for everyone. In summer the park transforms into a small beach. You can relax and sip on cocktails in the middle of the city. During the winter the park transforms into a winter wonderland, with the most popular ice skating rink in the area. Make sure to check the calendar of events before you go. There are often special events on weekends- you don’t want to miss out!
Things to Do in Detroit for the Weekend
The Detroit District is one of the largest sports and entertainment developments IN THE COUNTRY. Located in the heart of Detroit, the 50 blocks include just about everything. This includes businesses, parks, restaurants, sports arenas, shopping, and bars.
The newly formed district brings together eight world-class theaters, five neighborhoods, and three professional sports venues.
The district is also home to the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Red Wings, Detroit Pistons, and Detroit Lions. Making it the district with the most professional sports teams in one downtown…again… IN THE COUNTRY. This is where the action is so grab some game tickets if you’re in Detroit on game day. So you can experience what Detroit is really like, and see a game. No matter the sport, Detroit fans are loyal from every win to every loss.
Visit Belle Isle State Park
Belle Isle State Park is a 982-acre island on the Michigan side of the Detroit River.
The park is home to an aquarium, conservatory, Dossin Great Lakes Museum, a Nature Center, and a marble fountain. No matter what season it is- there’s always something to do on Belle Isle. Take a walk around the island and explore. You’ll find an old lighthouse, several historical sites, and incredible views of both Detroit and Windsor across the river.
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Coffee in Detroit
Detroiters love their coffee; it’s also a requirement for me to start my day with something that contains caffeine. The Roasting Plant is the perfect place to grab a fresh cup of joe. (It just so happens to be my favorite coffee shop in Detroit). The coffee beans are stored in a Javabot (super cool tube machine that shoots the beans out through tunnels you can see) at the center of the shop. Each cup is measured out per order.
You can blend up to four different varieties per cup, brewed within seconds – fresh just for you.
I would recommend the Jamaica Blue Mountain blend- a bright acidity with a butter-soft body. Aromas of almond and praline come first, followed by dark chocolate, and energetic lemon zest.
Great Lakes Coffee has a few locations in Southeast Michigan including one in Midtown. If you’re looking for somewhere cozy with tea options, yummy baked goods, and sandwiches, head over to Astro Coffe
Astoria Pastry Shop
Located in the Greektown District of Detroit. Astoria Pastry Shop is open till 1:00 a.m. on weekends for all your late-night sweet tooth cravings. They have TONS of yummy treats- you’ll find something for everyone,
from muffins to cannoli, to fancy cheesecakes.
Astoria has been filling Detroiters with goodies since the 1970s. Making it a local staple and a must-try on your visit to Detroit.
Where to Eat in Detroit
Detroit is rapidly transforming itself into a food mecca with foodie-approved eateries throughout the entire city. The majority of which are locally owned and operated.
Head to Hamtramck over to Polish Village for some pierogis that will give your taste buds an explosion of flavor. Feeling spicy? You’ll want to go to Mexican Town for some tasty tacos.
Some of the best sushi I’ve had has been at Maru. It’s the perfect spot for a nice night out and a warm cup of Japanese tea.
Wright & Co is great for sharing. Their menu consists of creative seasonal small plates. My friends and I always order a couple of plates a person, and then share family style.
Go vegan at The Original Detroit Vegan Coney Island Restaurant – Chili Mustard Onions. Indulge in Detroit-style comfort foods like chili cheese fries, cheeseburgers, chicken finger hani’s, and more. There is also Seva, a fresh imaginative vegetarian restaurant.
My favourite place to eat when I’m in Detroit is Mexican town. Great margaritas
Yes! The tacos are also so good my mouth waters just thinking about them.
I haven’t been since before covid but now that there’s no border restrictions I’ll be back soon….and shopping in Port Huron!
Try shopping in Birch Run at the outlet stores if it’s not too far from you. It’s right by the cute German town Frankenmuth – also worth checking out.
I been but years ago. I’d love to go back!
It’s funny, I have spent a bit of time in Detroit, as I had an ex who lived in a suburb of there quite a few years ago. Maybe I visited it when it was on the downside. I was none too impressed. They really must have made a turnaround since then to get rated so high on the list of places to visit. I will have to check it out again.
I admit that I would never have considered spending a whole weekend in Detroit, but you had the ability to let me see it from another perspective!
Great info! Thank you for sharing. I’ll be visiting this summer for the first time.
Very nice article Chelsea!