1) Start at the Detroit Historical Museum – This “pay what you want” museum is the best way to get started when you first arrive in the Detroit. You will learn so much about its creation, history, downfall and current resurgence. The museum is separated into different exhibitions that cover the automobile industry, to the creation of Motown, to some of the city’s greatest athletes and moments in sports. The museum is fun, interactive and teaches you a whole lot about the city, past and present.
2) Grab a drink at UFO Factory – This was hands down my favorite place we went to the entire time we were in Detroit. The reason being: it was a no frills, no hype, just laid back bar located in Corktown. The name drew me in immediately and to find out that the space was even cooler indoors, I was beyond stoked. You can order some great diner-style food from Laika Dog, with classic bar drinks while also picking songs out on the jukebox. The UFO Factory is also a great place to see live music.
3) Midtown & Corktown – These are two areas of the city that have been changing a lot over the past couple of years. Midtown is located along the east and west side of Woodward Avenue and north of downtown. Corktown is located just west of downtown Detroit, it is the oldest extant neighborhood in the city. Both areas of town are packed with beautiful lofts, little shops, restaurants, fitness studios and more. They are both a great place for an afternoon stroll, to grab a coffee or even get a workout in. You can also feel a real sense of community in both of the neighborhoods.
4) Visit the Eastern Market – This may be a classic on everyone’s list who goes to Detroit but the Saturday market is the best place to meet the most locals. You really can get a feel for the city, when you walk around throughout the market and the entire area. Signs like “Detroit Hutles Harder” or shops like Everybody Vs. Detroit showcase not only Detroiters’ strength but also their pride. So many people in Detroit wear apparel with the letter “D” or wear some of their local sports teams’ jerseys, logos, etc. The market has been encouraging local food producers and artisans for the past 125 years.
5) Don’t be afraid to explore – Detroit is full of really unique neighborhoods, but you have to be willing to explore to find some of the coolest things the city has to offer. Not every neighborhood is located side by side and sometimes, appearances can be deceiving. What may look like an abandonned, or not so great neighborhood can potentially have a lot to offer. Just by being curious and spending time driving around the city, I found so many great gems. The Heidelberg Project or even the Michigan Building, the former theatre turned into a parking lot are just some of the amazing things I saw during the weekend. The city is really a photographer’s dream. Though there is still a lot of rebuilding and growth to take place before the city can really thrive again, from the looks of it, thanks to some creative young entrepreneurs, the city really seems to be on an upswing and it couldn’t make me happier. There truly is something magical about Detroit!