Does anyone even go on dates anymore or did I basically write this with the 1940’s in mind? NO ONE KNOWS. Honestly, though, the rhyming and potential click factor was just way higher than me saying, “40 places I’d recommend in Detroit.” To be frank.
Reality: people know that I love the city and are often like, “Hey, where should I go?” So, this list is kind of for them. It’s also for the people who want something fun to do, of course. I mean, I’d recommend them even if you’re just dating yourself…or having a friend date…or whatever. And I tried to toss you ones that are on the cheap, you’re welcome. 😉 Nothing like enjoying a beautiful place without breaking the bank.
I have these called out by category for easy reading. But, like, if you want to mix-and-match…go forth and be awesome, ya’ll.
And if you see something here and try it because you saw it here…you should leave a photo of yo’self in those comments.
Their fish tacos. YESH. I sometimes dream about them. Yes yes yes. If my body didn’t require actual nourishment or wasn’t phased by the double-tortilla-ed, deep fried excellence…I would probably eat these every day.
Detroit Vegan Soul
I’m a vegetarian, and I love me some vegetarian food. BUT! I have heard from my non-veg friends that they even enjoy this fresh, local, beautiful, new-spin-on-comfort-food option. I have attempted to recreate their catfish-tofu sandwich several times, that’s how much I love it.
I’ve done some lovin’ in El Salvador, and let me tell you, pupusas are these El Salvadorian dumplings/ stuffed pancakes with all kinds of cheesy goodness fillings. And America needs to get on board. You may need someone who speaks Spanish to accompany you, that’s how authentic we are talking, here. But, if you’re cool pointing and nodding…that’ll work, too. (Also, the door is probably not locked. It’s just stuck. Pull a little harder).
Green Dot Stables
I think that one of the ugliest things about Detroit is the segregation. Somehow, whenever I attend Green Dot, there is a really nice blend of all kinds of folks. And I appreciate that. And I appreciate their old school jams, their cozy seating room, and their weird little baby sliders full of classic taste and newfangled creations alike.
You know how sometimes you just want a sandwich? But, you also want it to be delicious and full of really tasty ingredients and maybe you’d even like some hipster waitstaff? Mudgies. Plus, they have gluten-free bread options. Heart-eyed emoji.
Lafayette Coney Island/ American Coney Island
So, there are two coney dog restaurants housed directly next to each other. Being coney dogs, I don’t partake anymore. But, there is a fierce rivalry, and it’s worth knowing about. AND NOW YOU KNOW.
I will grant you that it is pricier. Yes. But, after the coney dog place, you deserve another lovely vegetarian option. And this is it. And the food is beautiful.
Honorable mention: Alley Taco
These actually aren’t as good IMHO, but, my siblings really like them. Plus, ordering from a counter in the back of a storefront is…an experience. A Detroit experience.
But, like, maybe not a first-date experience. Maybe not a boo-from-out-of-town experience. More like a, “Hey, what’s something weird that we’ve never done on this low key Saturday” experience.
I’m tossing you this as your suburb option. This is a pizza place in Royal Oak, and I think that it is delicious and cozy and classy and if I was a man and I needed to take a woman on a date, I would probably take her here.
Not that I am a man. Or that I need to take any women on any dates.
But. If I was and I had to…
Largest open-air flower market in the U.S. of A., but it sells more than flowers, yo. You can get vegetables and fruits and handicraft swag and teas and stuff, too. They honest to goodness used to sell livestock you could prepare (???) yourself until a few years ago. I remember them goats and chickens in crates, yo. Take a basket and a coupla dollars and get yourself some fresh noms, homie.
John King Books
There are, I’m told, introverted people in the world who enjoy books and lots of books. I also enjoy books but, frankly, the amount contain herein are more than a little overwhelming to a woman like myself. But! Exciting nonetheless. Would recommend.
Wayne State Theater
College students doing theater. What’s not to like? It’s an excellent program, too. Undergrad and grad have their own theaters, but both are good. This is literally how baby-Nell received her first introduction to Shakespeare.
So, Pewabic is a very distinct and specific kind of pottery, made in Detroit, but featured across the nation (and world?) And if you go to the place where they make it, there is a studio for you to puruse. For, you see, the potters also stray from the traditional method sometimes, and you can view their artistic interpretations as well. Very beautiful and awesome and good.
Super funky fresh. And “fresh” is an exaggeration because actually this is a historic theater that now shows historic movies on the weekend. I think it’s like five bucks for a ticket, and you can watch all the classics. Would recommend if you like that shiney old timey nostalgia. And also old people who kind of give away key parts.
Stuff that doesn’t take a long time, but is still worthwhile
Anna Whitcomb Scripps Conservatory
Palm Trees. In MICHIGAN. Need I say more? Well, I will. This is a giant greenhouse and if I could live here, I would, smelling the smell of earth and plants all winter long.
Honestly, now I want to go and have a poetry reading there.
Do you see what you did, here? Went and got me all excited.
Beautiful plants will do that to a girl, though.
“Cathedral of finance.” No, really, that’s what it is sometimes called in real life. And I know that that’s silly and sacrilegious because money will never be as awesome as a Godhead who personally cares about you but anyway: the inside is gorgeous. It’s not always open (I’m looking at you, weekends), so check the internets beforehand. There is a shop or two inside, and a mini coffee bar thing, which I try to purchase something from so I don’t feel guilty for just entertaining guests in their beautiful lobby for nothing.
But sometimes I do just eat in there. With friends.
Or without friends.
You don’t know me.
Campus Martius Jaunt
This won’t take you very long, but it is a bustle-y little park in the center of the city. Often there are live shows in the summer, along with a sandpit for the kiddos and food trucks scattered about. Winter has the tree-lighting plus an ice skating ring so, if you want to spend some time, you could. Otherwise, there is a marker in the middle that shows where roads that create a wheel-spoke pattern out of Detroit begin, which is cool to note and stand upon.
Mt. Elliot Cemetery
I adore old cemeteries, and this one is pretty neat. Just if you like cemeteries, too. I find them calm and peaceful–but the history is always fascinating, too.
Now, Detroit has several nicknames, and one of those is “City of Churches,” and it definitely has its share of many worship sites of all flavors. However, since I’m Catholic, I only really feel qualified to pass along the Catholic ones, which you’ll see below.
Sweetest Heart of Mary
People say it’s the most beautiful in the Archdiocese (read: “the surrounding 5 counties”). But, you be the judge.
Old St. Mary’s, Greektown
Bonus: they have confessions available quite often. In case you’re, like me, a sinner in need of God’s mercy.
Also breath-takingly beautiful.
Funky architecture, cute congregation, right downtown…what more could you ask for?
Oldest stained glass windows in the city. Final resting place of MY HERO Father Gabriel Richard. You want a sick tour? Call the office and ask for me. For real. We’ll have a party.
Important to Detroit’s history in a beautiful way: in the early half of the twentieth century a man who was considered kind of simple was assigned to be doorkeeper at this Catholic monastery–literally open the door for people. Well, come to find out, he also had a gift of healing. Honestly, if you bring up the name “Father Solanus Casey” in the metro-Detroit area, slowly the stories start of grandparents healed from childhood ailments, babies delivered to infertile couples, miraculous healings of all natures.
The site has a small museum about him and his era, but the entire place is full of beauty.
A TREASURE TROVE OF EXCELLENCE. An island park designed by the same guy who designed Central Park. Places to hike, places to bike, places to fish, even places to rent kayaks and what not. Honestly, Belle Isle is just the realest.
There is a state park fee to get in, though. FYI. I wanna say it’s eleven bucks for the year, though. So, not bad, yo.
You want to see Canada? Because you can see Canada. This is such a pleasant jaunt, and it just keeps getting better as the city expands it over time. BTW, there are snacks here, too. And you can rent bikes if you don’t have one. And they HAVE A CAROUSEL which is awesome.
This isn’t necessarily a destination in and of itself maybe. It’s an old thoroughfare that has been transformed into a trail/ biking route. Maybe less of a destination in and of itself, and instead a place that links the river and Eastern Market. So, not a bad place by any stretch of the imagination.
This was my original circus school! And I love it there! And they often have “play”shops where you can learn amazing things like acrobatics and hand-balancing and what not. Not exactly for the faint of heart, but fun as long as everyone is on the same page…and in workout clothes. (Once I went on a date and the guy was like, “I was thinking we’d go rock climbing,” and I was like, “I’m literally wearing a dress right now…” so, yeah, communicate first, friends).
Campus Martius Ice Skating
Full disclosure: I’m not very good at skating. I’m not AWFUL at it, mind you, but I’m kind of at that stage where I’m wise enough to know that I’m not great at it and that makes it less fun. But, if you like it: MORE POWER TO YOU. Enjoy the cold.
Orion Oaks County Park
Last winter I founded a hiking club, and this was one of my favorite finds. There are several potential trails, each one maybe one or two miles long. But! If you link the trails and do the furthest ones, it’s a nice jaunt. And I love me some long hiking trails.
Purchase a picnic
Because picnics are bae. I love them. Friends and outside are the two best things.
Previously listed, I know. I love this option, though. Buy some fresh cheese, some fresh berries, some fresh crackers or cookies or whatever. Emphasis on cheese. I love the cheese-mongers and their excellent suggestions. Honestly, I’m so game for whatever contains dill. Dill for dayyyyyyyyys.
Right up the street from Ste. Anne’s! The guacamole is the stuff dreams are made of. I don’t think you can find better guacamole anywhere in the world.
At least, I never have. Plus they have a deli, too, with authentic cuisine.
A leetle more expensive. But! Their prepared food looks amazing. Plus, you can get smoothies! Hipster cred through the roof.
Green Room Salads
They only have a picnic option, really, since there are no tables. This is such a good place, though. Here you essentially walk through a salad bar, create a salad, pay for said-salad (not bad prices though!) and leave to eat your salad. They have soups, too! But, they’re only really open for lunch and weekdays. Just FYI.
Eat a picnic
One of the first green spaces downtown, full of raised bed gardens, and sometimes I just go in there to inhale the lavender and remember that I am alive.
Hart Plaza by the Detroit Princess
To the right of the statue of the folks escaping slavery, right behind where the Detroit Princess riverboat parks, there is a patch of trees and a patch of grass and, if you sit there, you can look over the Canada and watch the river and it seems like the kind of place you could sit forever.
First turn onto Belle Isle
I have two favorite overlooks of the city. And this is one of them.
That hill by the carousel
There aren’t any natural hills in this part of the state, really. Most of them are created from landfills or maybe the mounds of basement-dirt shoveled from places that eventually created the basements of subdivisions. Either way. There’s a hill by a carousel, and you can go and sit on it and watch the river and the sun set and what not.
Prime location for picnicking, I’d wager.
Yeah, I already mentioned it once. But. It is cool. And I have been known to eat snacks in that coffee shop.
Spring: DCFC game
I really just wrote this because my sister helps run this show.
If you like rowdy people throwing smoke bombs and yelling homegrown cheers and semi-semi-pro soccer…this isn’t a bad time. At all.
Just don’t sit in the official “fan” section if you don’t like foul language. Let that be your warning, yo. 😉
Summer: New Center Park
Oh my! New Center is out of downtown a short jaunt. But, they have really cool art programming and under-the-stars movies all summer long. Summer. Heart-eyed emoji.
Bonus is the Shakespeare in Detroit that shows every summer. Extra heart-eyed emoji for good luck.
Fall : Big Band Dance
If you love:
(2) AN INCREDIBLE hardwood floor
(3) The best band in the Union
Then the Big Three is for you. Vintage dancers all night, yo. Love. Love love love.
Winter: Noel Night
A bunch of museums and galleries and places-of-worship open their doors to artists and performers and the general public for a night of holiday festivity. Detroit in beautiful finery–mixture of peoples, holiday love, and even Christmas carols with the Salvation Army on Woodward. And Christmas carols are straight magic, so that’s good.
Places that I’ve heard are cool, want to see, but I haven’t checked out for myself and therefore can’t make a judgment
- Hitsville, U.S.A.
Detroit Outdoor Adventure Center
That one weird looking restaurant that is colored in hippie colors off of Woodward by Palmer Park that no one in my family will go to with me because they all think it’s weird
And, there you have it! My mom was like, “Why didn’t you include the museums?” and I was like, “I guess because I didn’t want to,” which is to say that this is a subjective list more than anything, because we do have some awesome museums.
Adventure away, mine friends! And feel free to use your own subjective suggestions in the comments.
Visit Detroit! You might just fall in love! 😉