A Weekend Guide To Detroit

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I’ll admit, I did not know much about visiting Detroit. I have met a ton of people who have moved to the South from Detroit due to the economy. I recently had a chance to visit Detroit. The weather was perfect compared to Atlanta. There were a lot of things to do and festivals going on the weekend I visited. After the trip, I left amazed at how much I enjoyed the trip. I think a lot of people have preconceived notions that Detroit is dangerous or poor. Some don’t even have Detroit on the radar or have any thoughts about it. If you’re looking for a quick weekend, here are a few ways to maximize your time during a short weekend trip.

Getting Around

DTW airport is about 35 minutes to downtown. There is traffic during commuting hours so expect delays if catching a flight during rush hour. There is Uber (no pool option) and Lyft in Detroit (no line option). This was my preferred option as I did not want to deal with parking and rental car fee. Both were good except a lot of the drivers seemed to get lost easily. Also, the rides were 50% off with Uber the weekend I visited. If you’ve never used Uber you can sign up using my referral for $20 off your first ride and $5 off Lyft. If you prefer to rent a car, I would suggest an express deal from Priceline for savings which is only available on the mobile internet.

Click to view more WHTW travel discounts!

Once in the city, in addition to Uber and Lyft, you can ride the QLine which is Detroit’s newest streetcar system that connects Downtown and Midtown. You can ride for free until Labor Day 2017.  Feeling adventurous? Try renting a bike in the city using the new bike ride share called MoGo, where rates start at $8 a day for visitors.




Where To Stay

Aloft Detroit at The David Whitney  1 Park AveDetroit, MI  Ranked 2/33 Hotels in Detroit on TripAdvisor

MGM Grand Detroit  1777 3rd StDetroit, MI 48226-2498 Ranked 3/33 Hotels in Detroit on TripAdvisor

The Westin Book Cadillac Detroit  1114 Washington BlvdDetroit, MI 48226-1907 Ranked 7/33 Hotels in Detroit on TripAdvisor
Trumbull and Porter Hotel 1331 Trumbull StDetroit, MI Ranked 14/33 Hotels in Detroit on TripAdvisor
This hotel is Work Hard Travel Well approved. The hotel was booked through Priceline express hotel deals which saved about 35%-40%. It is a really unique and stylish and chic property. The staff was friendly. There is a late night bar and a popular restaurant on site, Red Dunn Kitchen which offers courtyard seating. The hotel offers free bike rentals. Although nothing is directly close by, it is a short walk to the Cork Town area. However, a lot of locals advised me that the area behind the hotel is not safe so I did not opt to walk.

 

What To Do

For History buffs and art/music lovers

Motown Museum aka Hitsville U.S.A. 2648 W Grand BlvdDetroit, MI 48208

Cost: $15 for Adults and $10 for Seniors and Youth.

No trip to Detroit is complete without a stop here. The hour tour of the museum takes you from the beginning of Berry Gordy’s (founder of Motown Records) life, throughout the history of several artists and how the business was run. Be sure to get your tickets in advance and online as this is a very popular attraction and will sell out on the weekend especially on Saturday. You can purchase tickets up to 21 days in advance. No pictures are allowed inside, not even in the gift shop.

 

 

 

 

There are other museums that you can visit all within walking distance of each other located in Midtown Detroit’s Cultural Center.

The Detroit Institute Of Arts 5200 Woodward Ave. Detroit, MI 48202

Cost Adults$14.00 Seniors$9.00College Students (w/ valid school ID)$8.00Youth (6-17)$6.00Children (5 and under) Free

This museum deserves about 2.5 hours to view all the exhibits. The art was really amazing and I loved how each period was defined by not only the art pieces but even the rooms had detail and decor to match the period.

Detroit Institute of Arts

Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History Wayne State University 315 East Warren Ave. Detroit, MI 48202

Cost $8 for Adults and $5 for Kids and Adults age 62+.

Detroit Historical Museum  5401 Woodward Ave. Detroit, MI 48202

Cost: Free
A museum dedicated to telling the history of the region. There is a special exhibit going on right now until 2020, “Detroit 67: Perspectives,” that will help people better understand the events of the 1967 riot in Detroit and what led to it and how to use this history to move forward. If you’ve seen the trailer’s for the movie, “Detroit,” this exhibit will give additional insight into what happened.

Check out the free D Discount Pass for 20% off Detroit’s Top Attractions!

 

I would pick 2-3 museums and dedicate a day to it if you can.

Family Fun

Visit Belle Isle which is an island park located between Michigan and Canada. There is an aquarium, zoo and Dossin Great Lakes Museum maritime museum. You will need to purchase a recreation passport to drive onto the island,  or you can take the number 12 Conant Bus line

In the city, you can visit the New Center Park which is a greenery that has different events but offers free movie screenings. This gives a chance to bring the family and a blanket to watch classic movies. Click to view the times, movie selection and food information.

For Instagram

If you’re looking for good photo ops check out the Detroit RiverWalk for views of Lake Michigan, the city and the bridge to Canada. Also, there is a ton of street art located at the Eastern Market and Dequindre Cut. Use #DepictTheD when sharing your Detroit shots on social media.

The Sports Fan 

Check out a Detroit Tigers  Baseball Game at Comerica Park Stadium.  The stadium is very impressive, there was a lot to see and eat there. It is very interactive and although the locals were not expecting the Tigers to win, I enjoyed my tour of the stadium and the experience. If you can catch a baseball game on a Friday eve you can also catch fireworks after the game. There are a ton of restaurants that will let you park at their restaurant if you eat there and catch a shuttle or walk to the game after.




The Gambler

There are a few options for placing your bets and to feed the slot machine 🙂 Unlike Vegas casinos the alcoholic costs but there are free soda machines to keep you going. There are also areas for non-smokers.

Greektown Casino 555 E Lafayette St, Detroit, MI 48226

This casino was fun and where I won the most. I enjoyed the DJ and group gaming. I’m not sure if this is a Detroit concept but I have not seen it before. The concept was 4 or 5 screens in one group machine setting. The DJ was spinning hits while a hype woman got the crowd going. The seats were colored to match the game you played from Blackjack, Roulette to Poler.

MGM Grand Detroit  1777 3rd Ave, Detroit, MI 48226

MotorCity Casino Hotel 2901 Grand River Ave, Detroit, MI 48201

Caesars Windsor  377 Riverside Dr, Windsor, ON N9A 7H7, Canada

This casino is located in Canada so a passport is required. You will not, however, receive a passport stamp. I wasn’t a fan of the casino. They have atm/conversion machines to convert your money over to CAD. Don’t be quick to convert a lot as you will lose some when you convert back to USD. The process to get through border check was lengthy. I would not recommend if you are short on time. With this being across the river from Detroit, you forget you are out of the country and your phone will not work unless you have a plan and you can’t bring food into Canada. The vibe was definitely older. Tip if you sign up for a Total Rewards player rewards card (free) let them know it’s your first time/new to Total rewards for a free food and/or drink voucher.

Nightlife

For the young at heart and young adults, check out Greektown in the summer. In addition to the casino I mentioned earlier, Greektown is filled with restaurants and bars. It was blocked off for the most part with police around. At night, the area reminded me of Bourbon Street in Nola. It was too young and crowded for me. In the daytime, there are happy hours at all the Greektown restaurants. If you’re not into crowds and loud music, check out Greektown in the day and eat at one of the restaurants.

The Eastern Market

Check this year round market out for a one stop “shop” for fresh food, art, culture and purchase from local businesses, and restaurants. The best day to go is Saturday. Click to view hours and events. It can get very crowded so if you’re driving expect to pay for parking and add a few minutes of finding parking to your schedule. I found a few goodies here but my favorite was air popped, vegan popcorn from a black owned and family run business, The Cynt-Sational Popcorn Co.

Where To Eat 

To my surprise, there were a lot of good restaurants and I enjoyed the food. Here are a few places that I tried

Green Dot Stables $ 2200 W Lafayette Blvd, Detroit, MI 48216

Recommended by friends and creators of a Detroit based podcast, #WudUpDoe Podcast, The menu is filled with creative sliders and inexpensive drinks. You can easily eat 2-3 sliders per person, with an average cost of $3.00 per slider. The service was great and food came out fast and was delicious. It was close to my hotel and I liked it so much I returned twice!  I had the Fried Curry Cake (Chick Pea, Lentil, Jalapeno Mustard), Buffalo Chicken (Bleu Cheese Spread, Buffalo Sauce, Celery), and Fried Chicken (Panko, Sage Maple Syrup) sliders with Cajun fries and macaroni and cheese.  I also tried the mystery dessert of the day which was a white chocolate lemon cheesecake. I would recommend every item except the macaroni and cheese as it was not the baked kind that I prefer.

 

Johnny Noodle King  $$ 2601 W Fort Detroit, MI 48216

I discovered this place during an Uber ride. I saw a line outside as I passed by and googled it the next day. The menu and the reviews sold me. It is a small but hip Ramen place. Since it is small there may be a wait or you might have to join in with another party at a large table. Most of the dishes have broth that is pork based but there are a couple that are fish based. I had the Red Curry and subbed the shredded Pork for Chicken. The dish also included scallions, menma, watercress, cauliflower, fried onion and fish Sauce. It was very spicy but flavorful. IT was so good! I couldn’t finish it but since I liked it I carried it with me back to the room for a snack later.

Johnny Noodle King

Fishbones $$-$$$ 400 Monroe Ave, Detroit, MI 48226

A Detroit chain with a New Orleans Cajun Cuisine. I went to the Greektown location and the food was good. I had fried lake perch. It tasted fresh and the sides were good. They have a decent sized sushi menu but something about sushi at a New Orleans restaurant felt weird to me 🙂

There is a lot to do in one weekend. Museums are closed on Monday so don’t save museum visits for that day. Also if you can catch a baseball game on a Friday eve you can also catch fireworks. I enjoyed Detroit and I hope to return. There are a lot of options to help you make the most of your weekend in Detroit.

Detroit Ice Water Factory $ 2100 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48201

This is another place I discovered due to a crowd. If you have a sweet tooth stop here! It’s like Italian ice but better. I ordered mine with a Motown Twist which adds vanilla soft serve ice cream to the bottom and top of any Ice Water flavor. The best part is that the proceeds go to Detroit Charities.

 

Detroit Water Ice

 

There is a lot to do in one weekend. Museums are closed on Monday so don’t save museum visits for that day. I enjoyed Detroit and I hope to return soon. Depending on the time of year and weather a few outdoor activities may not work for your visit. Be sure to always check the links above to view schedule and events.  This guide will allow you to pick and choose a few things for a relaxed schedule or an ambitious non-stop schedule.

Have you visited Detroit? Would you add anything to this list? Comment below!

 

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Kim H.

Kim H. is the creator and chief editor for Work Hard Travel Well. Born and raised in College Park, Ga. She is a true "FILA" :) and UGA Alumna. Go Dawgs!