Things To Do While In Detroit For The Grand Prix

The Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix is just a week away! If you’re coming to town and looking for things to do in the area outside of the race, check out the post below from Dan Fuoco of the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Think about it: The Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix is in town the weekend of May 31 – June 2 and your attendance is already secure. Even though the event is amazing, you find yourself between races thinking: I’m here. Now what?

That’s where you refer to the Pure Michigan Blog to direct your Detroit experience. I’ve created a list of things to do, events to attend and special experiences you can only take advantage of while in The D.

Foursquare Motor City Badge

If you’re active on Foursquare, you might want to take advantage of the Motor City Badge. All you have to do to obtain this badge is *like* foursquare Cities on Foursquare and then check-in to five (5) venues on a yet-to-be-posted recommended venue list (more than likely the most popular and obvious venues in the city). Some suggestions are:

  • Renassiance Center
  • The RiverWalk
  • Hart Plaza
  • Greektown Casino-Hotel
  • MotorCity Casino-Hotel
  • MGM Grand Casino-Hotel
  • Campus Martius
  • The People Mover
  • Detroit Institute of Art
  • Detroit Historical Museum
  • Detroit Library
  • Fischer Theatre
  • The Detroit Opera House
  • Detroit Zoo

Food

Good Times on Tap

Michigan’s beer scene is bursting at the seams as a recent poll named Grand Rapids BeerCity USA for the second consecutive year. Even better, of the top four cities in the running for the prestigious recognition, three were Michigan cities (Kalamazoo and Ann Arbor being the other two). Microbrews are popping up everywhere and Detroit is no exception. New or old, you won’t be disappointed with these two lists of top drink destinations, including this feature: Detroit 10: Beer and Bars. Need more variety? See our larger list: Detroit’s Top 20 Sports Bars… and More Scores.

“Old” is the New “New”

The newest and hottest restaurant in metro Detroit is actually a converted old mechanic’s shop. The Vinsetta Garage boasts a menu full of exciting tastes, all part of the 1970’s mechanic themed experience.

Mama Mia!

Mario Andretti would have made a pit stop at one of Detroit’s Best Italian Restaurants. Roma Café, Detroit’s oldest Italian restaurant, is a legend of its own. From ravioli to lasagna to pasta, there is a reason Roma Café and the other establishments made our Italian-lovers list.

Paris of the Midwest

Detroit has often been referred to as the Paris of the Midwest for its array of street side eating which reflects many dining options in Paris, France and outlying cities. With warm temperatures and bustling scenery, why waste a dining experience indoors?

Tours

Ride The D

Cover more ground on two wheels… Bike it Baby! See the city via bicycle for a chance to absorb more sights. Explore gems like Eastern Market, the Dequindre Cut, the Riverwalk and the city all in one tour! These landmarks, normally too far to indulge by foot, are a mere minutes from each other by bike.

The Life of Detroit’s Auto Barons

If it’s cars you like, then you’ve come to the right place. The Motor City offers a wealth of car knowledge from its car museums (GM Heritage Center and Walter P. Chrysler Museum) to an inside look of the auto baron homes like the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House tour or the Meadow Brook Mansion tour (home of the Dodge family).

Not enough? How about an itinerary made specifically for the car-lover? You’re welcome.

Nightlife

Enter Stage Right

If you’re in to drama, comedy, or musicals, look no further than a city that has 13,000 theater seats – enough for you and a friend and some others! Sit back in a plush theater seat fit for a king while you watch a favorite performance in our theater district. Each theater has a slightly different taste that appeals to the different audiences and shows.

It’s All Greek To Me

One of Detroit’s most happening neighborhoods has to be Greektown. With a casino, plenty of Greek and American restaurants, a sweet pastry shop, and spa-tacular retreats, it’s virtually impossible to skip this area. Traditional Greek music fills the air as you walk down the main corridor and embody a new culture. This is one adventure you won’t want to skip.

Batter Up!

If there is one thing people will travel for, it’s a chance to witness the 2012 AL Champion Detroit Tigers at home plate. The team brings their A-game every night and with a batting line-up that includes Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder, you’ll want to sit near the outfield for a chance to snatch a home run ball.

Of course, sitting behind home plate as a Justin Verlander fastball screams over the plate isn’t such a bad way to view the game, either.

Things To Do

Family-Friendly Atmosphere

The Grand Prix has a wonderful family-friendly component to the weekend and we thought we should extend the gesture and give you an idea of 8 Family-Friendly Detroit Activities.

Or you can turn the experience into a game and attempt to complete all 28 Things To Do Before Your Kids Grow Up.

Musically Inclined

The Motown Sound refers to a beat untouchable by new artists. Although he wasn’t singing with Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder or The Temptations, another Detroit native has made learning music culture his mission as part of the Detroit Historical Museum’s Kid Rock Music Lab. This hands-on interaction offers individuals the ability to make music and learn basic beats.

The Heart of Art

Museum-lovers will marvel in the exquisitely curated Detroit Institute of Arts as soon as they enter the grand entrance. One of the top art museums in the nation, the Detroit Institute of Art offers has multiple eras of history and art all in one location.

Belle Isle Nature Zoo (open during Grand Prix) is the perfect fun destination for the entire family, community or school group. Enjoy the native plants and animals found in Michigan and feed the deer. Rent space for a variety of events at reasonable rates.

Racing Events

2013 Grand Prixmiere: The Can’t Miss Event of the Summer at the Belle Isle Convervancy. The 2013 Grand Prixmiere will be the toast-of-Detroit at DTE Energy’s Town Square celebrating the 2013 Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix. The evening, hosted by the Belle Isle Conservancy, will welcome an eclectic crowd of Grand Prix drivers, racing officials and team owners alongside the A-listers of Metro Detroit and across the country. All proceeds support Belle Isle Conservancy’s mission to protect, preserve, restore and enhance the natural environment, historic structures and unique character of Belle Isle as a public park for the enjoyment of all – now and forever.

Quicken Loans Grand Prix Fest Powered by Chevrolet is a free event. The beautiful Campus Martius Park and Cadillac Square area in vibrant downtown Detroit will come alive with the sights and sounds of the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix on Wednesday, May 29 to start the region’s race week engines.

The Street Fest will feature a sampling of the activities and excitement that will be present all weekend long at the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, May 31-June 2. Drivers and cars from all three racing series competing at the Grand Prix – the IZOD IndyCar Series, GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series and Pirelli World Challenge Series – will be represented at the festival, located near the headquarters of Quicken Loans and many other downtown Detroit businesses. Pit stop demonstrations, autograph sessions and Q&A sessions with some of the sport’s best drivers will be featured along with food trucks, Grand Prix and race team merchandise, as well as interactive and special vehicle displays.

Enjoy deals through the Detroit Grand Prix VIP Package at the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center. It’s time to rev up those engines with the Detroit Grand Prix VIP Package! Rest up in the luxurious guest rooms at the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center before spending the next day in the middle of all the excitement. Experience the thrills of the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix with the exclusive chance to see all of the cars and drivers close up in the Paddock. Book now and be a part of the action! Detroit Grand Prix VIP Package includes: *Overnight accommodations for two at the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center *2 one-day passes to the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, with exclusive Paddock Passes *Breakfast for two at the hotel 24 hour cancellation policy. Grand Prix tickets with Paddock passes are valid on the day of hotel check-out. For more information visit www.DetroitGP.com.

Dan Fuoco is the Interactive Marketing Manager for the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau (VisitDetroit) and is responsible for building and engaging with VisitDetroit’s social media and blog communities.  You can find him geeking out over: social media infographics, muscle cars and Detroit. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram and periodically on Pinterest.

Gear Up for the 2013 Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix

The Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix returns to the Motor City May 31-June 2, 2013 with three days of world-class auto racing, live music, interactive games and displays all on beautiful Belle Isle Park. Robert Stone, a public relations intern with the race, has gotten a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into the making of the Grand Prix. Today, he shares his experience with us.

Read from him below and learn more about the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix on michigan.org.

When I was growing up, sports were a huge part of my childhood – both playing them and getting to watch them.  The love continued through college and my plan was always to somehow work in sports.  Well, I’m getting my first chance this spring as the public relations intern with the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix. I love that the job has given me the opportunity to be part of a very positive event in Detroit and the State of Michigan.  With the race coming up May 31 – June 2 on Belle Isle, we’ve been doing a lot of media tours with race car drivers to promote the race and I’ve really had a chance to experience some cool things and kind of see Detroit and Michigan through the eyes of some world-class athletes.

I didn’t know a lot about cars and racing when I joined the Grand Prix team, but luckily having prior motorsports knowledge was not a requirement for this position.  With a little research I was able to become slightly more knowledgeable than I was before coming on board.  As the drivers started to come to Detroit to help us promote the race, I was initially more excited about the chance to visit our local radio and TV stations to see how everything worked.  But the ability to sit and spend time with some of these amazing drivers was an unreal experience as they shared their thoughts on all sorts of topics. 

Christian Fittipaldi was one of the first drivers to come to Detroit this year to help us promote the event.  He is a former CART and NASCAR driver who now drives for the Action Express Racing team in the GRAND-AM Rolex Series, and his uncle is racing legend Emerson Fittipaldi.  The Fittipaldi last name was familiar to me, but I was still learning about the GRAND-AM series and the high-tech sports cars they drive.  As the day went on we started talking racing and Christian mentioned that he could close his eyes and basically drive the Belle Isle track in his mind, even more than 10 years after he last did it in person, and that was incredible to me.  Every time I try and close my eyes to picture a drive the thoughts go so slowly, but he was able to drive the course at race speed in his mind.  Just being able to spend time with a guy who has been in some of the biggest races in the world and share his thoughts on what it was like was incredible.

The next week we had the pleasure of welcoming IndyCar fan-favorite James Hinchcliffe to town.  The “Mayor of Hinchtown,” as he likes to call himself, replaced Danica Patrick in the GoDaddy.com Chevrolet IndyCar for Andretti Autosport. Hinchcliffe didn’t have the best experience at Belle Isle last year as he was the driver claimed by the track before they stopped the race to fix the surface.  To show that he didn’t have any hard feelings towards the event and to help showcase all of the work that has been done on Belle Isle to make it a premiere race course, Hinchcliffe spent the morning moving tires in a forklift to help us prepare for the event.  It was a great way to demonstrate how he had moved on from the incident and that the Grand Prix is ready to host an incredible race weekend in just a few weeks.  Getting to spend the day with “Hinch” proved that his fun loving, joking nature isn’t an act or for show but it’s the type of guy he is.  It was also cool to watch him on TV win on the streets of Brazil just a few days after leaving Detroit.

JR Hildebrand, who drives the National Guard Chevy IndyCar for Panther Racing, came to town the next week and he threw out the first pitch at a Detroit Tigers game, which allowed the staff access to the field as well. I’ve been to a Tigers game early before to watch batting practice, but being able to stand on the field and watch these guys hitting the ball was an unbelievable experience.  Then getting to jump with JR from the radio broadcast booth to an interview with Fox Sports Detroit gave me the chance to experience the behind-the-scenes areas of Comerica Park that very few people have seen.  The next day we went to the GM Heritage Center, which is packed with classic cars showing the lineage of the GM brand from the 1920s to today.  As I said, I am not really a car guy, but it was hard not to be in awe at the Heritage Center with so many amazing vehicles.  It had all of the history of the GM brand in one room, from a replica of one of the first racecars to GM’s first electric car and an SUV that could drive itself.  One of the cars had less than 50 miles on it, which is amazing because I drive farther than that to get to work every day!  I could have spent hours in that place just trying to soak up everything that the Heritage Center had to offer.

Being able to be a part of these once-in-a-lifetime experiences was way more than I ever thought I’d experience working in my position.  Just the opportunity to be around these drivers and watch them do normal things like talk to people on Twitter or relate to current events and issues made me realize that they are just normal, good guys.  Guys that happen to drive really fast for a living with a lot of guts and a lot of skill.  Working for the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix has been an unbelievable experience so far, and it is just getting revved up.

There is going to be so much going on race weekend at Belle Isle, it is going to be an incredible experience for fans and I’m just really excited that I will get to be a part of bringing this great event to life. If you want to learn more about the Grand Prix please check out www.DetroitGP.com and follow us on Twitter @DetroitGP.

Robert Stone is the public relations intern with the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix.  He is currently working towards his Master’s Degree in Sports Administration at Central Michigan University.  In his spare time he likes to spend time with his girlfriend Jenn, dog Jake and cats Cleo, Oreo and Professor Fuzzy Boots.