Located in downtown Detroit, Library Street Collective features contemporary artists, putting the focus on the creatives who have developed their skills in a public sphere. The gallery showcases both local and international artists, as well as iconic names and upcoming young creators. As the exhibitions change regularly, you’ll always discover something new and exciting here.
For art lovers, the Heidelberg Project is a must-see place. This outdoor art project aims to transform and improve the lives of local people through the power of art. It was created in 1985 by artist Tyree Guyton who, encouraged by his grandfather, slowly began reclaiming abandoned lots and buildings and transforming them into outdoor art installations. The Heidelberg Project has received a Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence in 2005, was featured in the W magazine, and was one of the 15 projects that represented US at the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2008.
If you want to relax for a couple of hours while still seeing some fascinating parts of the city, then The Riverfront is a great choice. The Detroit Riverfront Conservancy project transformed the area, creating new parks, walkways, plazas, and gardens. Walk along the waterfront and admire the flowers in bloom and the butterfly gardens if you’re visiting in spring/summer, ride a bike to see the entire East Riverfront transformation (the West is currently in development), or buy some quality food and make a picnic out of it.
Dedicated to promoting experimental art and sculpture, City Sculpture features a large selection of artworks created by artist Robert Sestok. This non-profit organization allows locals and tourists to wander among the welded steel, bronze, or aluminum sculptures. The park has a rotating exhibition schedule as well as a visiting artist program. A perfect choice for a sunny afternoon.
Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History is not just any museum. It holds the world’s largest permanent exhibition dedicated to African American culture and history. Established in 1965, the 120,000 square foot museum now houses over 35,000 artifacts and archival items, as well as a theater where visitors can watch performances, films, or lectures.
An homage to one of the most iconic record labels of all time, Motown Historical Museum opens its doors to welcome music lovers from all over the US and the world. Motown artifacts, rare photos and memorabilia are just a fraction of what you can discover here. Indeed, you can even enter the famous Studio A and see some of the original equipment and instruments that helped make musical history.
Many tourists overlook this art gallery. Don’t be one of them. The College for Creative Studies Gallery features vibrant and ultra-cool exhibitions from both established artists and young creatives. The contemporary visual, literary and performance arts forum promotes local, national, AND international artists, so you’ll surely find some amazing things to see here.
A beautiful (but also convenient) way to discover more about Motor City’s past. The Detroit Historical Museum was established in 1928. Apart from chronicling the history of Detroit, the museums also features an array of interesting collections, including a fur trading post from the 18th century, an auto assembly line, and the signature exhibit Streets of Old Detroit, which shows the city’s incredible transformation between the 1840s to the 1900s.
More than just an amazing gallery, the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD) is a hub for the city’s best contemporary, visual, literary, and performance art, along with music, film, lectures, and much more. A former auto dealership, the museum’s expansive 22,000 square foot space is always filled with incredible art. And before you get back to exploring Detroit, you can recharge your batteries in the museum’s cafe.
If you want to dress the part while visiting Detroit, a visit at SMPLFD is a must. This cool shop sells cool apparel and accessories in a cool interior. Everything with a SMPLFD label has a Detroit or athletic-inspired design and is printed in-house on high-quality materials, but the store also provides a range of vintage items.
You can’t visit the birthplace of Motown Records and not enter at least one records shop. Hello Records Detroit is a perfect choice, because it offers a large range of vinyl and shellac recordings from the 1940s all the way to the 2000s. Apart from the many records you can browse through here, you can also check out stereo equipment and memorabilia – all in all, a treasure trove for music lovers.
Like many other Motor City companies, Detroit Denim leads the way in the expansion of American manufacturing. Proudly designed and made in Detroit, the brand’s collection of jeans feature the finest domestic raw denim, and they are all handmade with vintage shuttle looms and sustainable practices. Jeans don’t get more American than this.
Founded in 1893, Henry the Hatter has a rich history – president Eisenhower wore a Henry the Hatter hat at his inauguration in the 1950s. Moving with the times, the store offered Indiana Jones hats in the ’80s as well as Kangol hats for hip-hop fans in the ’90s, continuing to adapt to the needs of its customers over the years. After changing its location numerous times across the decades, the store found a new home at the end of 2017 in the historic Eastern Market.
Originally founded by Jack White – none other than White Stripes’ frontman -Third Man Records is not an ordinary records store. Sure, you can find a huge selection of vinyls here, but this place offers much more than that. The shop includes a novelty area filled with the treasures that can make music fans shed tears of joy, a performance stage, a record booth, and a window that offers a direct view of the vinyl pressing process – the very same records that will go onto the store’s shelves.
The art of letterpress printing is alive and celebrated at Signal-Return Press. Located in the Eastern Market area of Detroit, this art studio and shop supports the city’s ever-expanding community of artists and creatives. In the store, you’ll find an array of prints, cards, and posters created by local artists as well as gift items and letterpress printing books.
An American success story and a perfect example of Detroit’s spirit. Shinola makes bikes, watches, and leather goods in Motor City, bringing back the quality of ‘made in the USA’ products. Beautifully designed and expertly made, every item you buy here supports American manufacturing and the local economy. It’s a win-win-win!
Passionate about good design, Nora’s founders have curated an exquisite collection of Scandinavian and Japanese-inspired housewares as well as handmade items and jewelry made by Detroit artists. Quirky designs and unusual objects make the shop even more charming. All of these things come together to put Nora high up on your ‘must-visit’ list.
Go to Source Booksellers if you want to buy niche non-fiction books that you can’t find anywhere else. This independent bookseller opened its doors in 2002, welcoming customers into a cozy space filled with many Detroit-focused books, history and culture tiles, as well as a large selection of books written by women.
The largest bookstore in Michigan and one of the largest in the US, John K. King Used & Rare Books offers a huge selection of books spread across four floors. Customers can use a map (!) to navigate through the topics, request the help of the friendly staff to find a specific book, or simply browse through the shelves to discover hidden gems.
El Asador Steakhouse. The name offers you some hints. Yes, here you can order Mexican food and steaks make to perfection. What you can’t tell just by hearing the name? This restaurant is obsessed with quality and fresh ingredients. How obsessed, you ask? Well, it doesn’t even have a freezer. Every dish is made from scratch with local and responsibly sourced ingredients. Before entering the restaurant, don’t forget to Instagram the mural painted on the Southern wall by street artist Marka27.
Like many places in Detroit, Gold Cash Gold has a special story. Located inside a vintage pawn shop – hence, the name – the restaurant welcomes customers with a charming bistro-style décor and laid-back atmosphere. The New American menu features plenty of delicacies, all expertly crafted by the chef and his dedicated crew. Whom you can actually see in action if you make a Kitchen Table reservation. In summer, the restaurant’s outdoor space is perfect for enjoying lunch or dinner.
Grey Ghost is a steakhouse and bar that takes its name after the alias of the most notorious smuggler of rum on the Detroit River during the Prohibition era. The menu includes both the expected meat and seafood dishes as well as vegetarian options. The drinks menu is extensive and features numerous creative cocktails. Of course, you can also order a rum drink in honor of the infamous Grey Ghost.
You can find Mudgie’s Deli in the historic Corktown neighborhood. Ideal for brunch, lunch, and dinner, this deli and wine shop offers a menu filled with artisan-style food, premium ingredients, and fine wine, cocktails, and beers. Even if you’re in a hurry while exploring the city, it’s worth it to stop by for a delicious sandwich, a cup of great coffee, and some free Wi-Fi.
Selden Standard was named Restaurant of the Year (two times!) by Detroit Free Press and Hour Detroit, so you know you’ll discover good food here. Designed as a place where friends can enjoy a meal together in a cozy atmosphere, the restaurant offers a creative New American menu that relies on locally sourced, seasonal ingredients cooked in a wood-fired oven.
Passionate about American comfort food, the Townhouse restaurant transforms old favorites into fine cuisine. Premium ingredients and a flair for modernizing classics in inventive ways put the restaurant into a category of its own. The menu ranges from burgers and sandwiches to sushi and chowder, with the signature 28-day-aged burger being the star of the show.
There is always time for pizza, so if you want to take a break from exploring Motor City, stop by Supino Pizzeria in the Eastern Market area. This restaurant serves artisanal-style pizza with a thin crust and high-quality ingredients that are local and organic where possible. So it’s no wonder that this joint is quite busy, with customers sometimes creating a line outside.
Completed in 1891, 1500 Woodward was occupied from 1920 to 1978 by the Wright-Kay jewelry firm. The Wright & Company restaurant celebrates the building’s past by referencing its history and maintaining as many original features as possible in the interior. Apart from the gorgeous décor, the restaurant also stands out thanks to its shared plates concept and exquisite menu created by Marc Djozlija, the former executive Chef at Wolfgang Puck Group’s MGM Grand Detroit.
Bobcat Bonnie’s is a neighborhood gastropub which has earned its reputation locally by serving consistently great food in a friendly ambience. The menu is diverse and includes something for every taste, including a wide range of vegetarian and vegan options, with a list of craft beer and cocktails also included.
Stepping inside the Apparatus Room located in the Detroit Foundation Hotel, one can’t help but marvel at the perfect blend of historical details and modern design. Arched windows and an ultra-high ceiling make the restaurant feel airy and welcoming, while refined decor details enhance its chic character. And the food’s not too shabby, either. Chef Thomas Lents has previously won the impressive two-star Michelin rating while working as an Executive Chef at Sixteen in Chicago. Safe to say, this restaurant should definitely be at the top of your list.
For the perfect brunch, drop by Dime Store. Here, you can order traditional and creative takes on brunch specialties, along with locally-roasted coffee and organic teas. Opened by three friends in 2014, this restaurant has quickly gained a loyal following by serving finger-licking food. And if you’re in a hurry, you can also order your food to go from a special menu!
The Craft Work Restaurant and Bar is a cozy and stylish place located in the Historic West Village. Since the restaurant seats only 12 people at a time, it provides a more personal and friendly dining experience. The menu is New American and includes seafood entrees, burgers, salads, and delicious desserts. Perfect for lunch or dinner.
Located in the former headquarters of the Detroit Fire Department, the Detroit Foundation Hotel is an elegant boutique hotel filled with character. Apart from the building’s original features and soaring ceiling heights, guests also find cozy rooms with a tasteful decor that makes the most of exposed brick, warm wood, earthy colors, and plush furniture. Gorgeous views of the city included.
An iconic building, Detroit Athletic Club has a venerable age of 100 years and stands out in the city’s urban landscape with its Albert Kahn-designed, Italian renaissance-inspired architecture. This may be one of the finest private clubs in the country, but it’s also an elegant hotel with 28 overnight rooms and special rates for members and their guests.
Trumbull and Porter is a recently renovated boutique hotel located in the revived and bustling Corktown neighborhood. Iconic Herman Miller furniture as well as custom furniture crafted by Michigan artisans fill the 144 rooms. Guests can enjoy American dishes in the hotel’s restaurant, a cool drink in the beer garden, and gorgeous city views. A bicycle rental service is also available.
Looking at El Moore, one travels back in time. To 1898, more precisely, when this structure was built. The building has a rich history and was even abandoned in the late 20th century, but it has reclaimed its place in this thriving part of Detroit with a complete renovation focused on sustainability. Beautifully designed rooms welcome guests, who can admire stunning views over the city and immerse themselves in the vibrant Cass Corridor neighborhood.
The design-focused Honor & Folly is located in a charming building in Detroit’s oldest neighborhood, Corktown. When guests step inside, they discover a NYC-style loft – exposed brick walls, airy spaces, and eclectic furniture included. Popular restaurants and cozy coffee shops are conveniently nearby, but you can also buy some delicious ingredients and prepare meals in the inn’s well-equipped kitchen.