Motown Remastered

Featured in Michigan Travel Ideas 2011, beginning on page 35.

It’s time to do “The D.” That’s the message that the savvy founders of Inside Detroit are working tirelessly to share, and we agree. With the help of these knowledgeable natives, our tour revisits old favorites—music, night life, history, good food—and discovers some promising new stops. The question isn’t whether to visit Detroit, it’s when.

More Things to See and Do

Campus Martius 
At Woodward and Michigan avenues, this 1.6-acre downtown park (pronounced campus MAR-shus) is a popular gathering spot offering free concerts, outdoor film showings in summer and ice skating in winter (313/962-0101).

Detroit RiverWalk
One of the city’s most appealing green spaces, this public pathway parallels the Detroit River for three and a half miles, with plazas, fountains, fishing access and other amenities (313/566-8200).

Rivard Plaza, at the intersection of Rivard and Atwater streets, offers easy access, free parking and bike rentals at Wheelhouse Detroit (313/656-2453).

Inside Detroit Segway Tour. Photo ourtesy of Kevin Miyazaki/Midwest Living MagazineDetroit Tours and Downtown Welcome Center 1253 Woodward Ave., for tours and information. Be sure to pick up the handy “Food + Fun” map listing area restaurants, bars and attractions (313/962-4590). Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau (800/338-7648).
Dequindre Cut Greenway
Pedestrians and cyclists can also explore this new path that intersects the RiverWalk near Tri-Centennial State Park and heads north for more than a mile, roughly paralleling St. Aubin Street. It eventually will extend to the Eastern Market, at the heart of which is the six-block public market that has been feeding Detroit since 1891. The Dequindre Cut is well-known for its high-quality urban artwork and graffiti, which was preserved during the pathway’s construction (313/566-8200).

Eastern Market
This Saturday morning market is a delightful sensory overload of fresh veggies, baked goods, bedding plants and much more, with 250-plus vendors filling acres of pavilions at Gratiot Avenue and Rivard Street (313/833-9300).

Buy in bulk from colorful retailers that fill several of the surrounding warehouses along Market and Russell streets, including candy and nuts at Rocky Peanut Co. and cheeses at R. Hirt, Jr. Co. A walkway leads over I-75 to the Gratiot Central Market, where old-fashioned butcher counters sell every cut of meat imaginable. (Lots of fish, too.) It’s as traditional as it gets. Rocky Peanut Co. (313/567-6871). R. Hirt, Jr. Co. (313/567-1173). Gratiot Central Market (313/259-4486).

Shop this trendy neighborhood just north of the Fisher Freeway, near the Cultural Center. Check out City Bird, for gifts made of Detroit maps; Bob’s Classic Kicks, a “sneaker boutique;” Bureau of Urban Living for housewares and more. Visit for a directory. City Bird (313/831-9146). Bob’s Classic Kicks (313/832-7513). Bureau of Urban Living (313/833-9336).

The city’s museums are always worth a visit, especially the Detroit Institute of the Arts, with its expanded galleries and more interactive interpretation, and the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, with dioramas and interactive exhibits that chronicle African-American culture. Detroit Institute of the Arts (313/833-7900). Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History (313/494-5800).

Detroit Skyline at Night. Photo courtesy of Kevin Miyazaki/Midwest Living MagazineMotown
Nightlife means music in Motown. For jazz and R&B, check out the Jazz Cafe in Music Hall, the 1928 performing arts venue founded by Matilda Dodge or Cliff Bell’s, one of Detroit’s oldest jazz clubs, now restored to its Art-Deco glory. Jazz Cafe (313/887-8500). Cliff Bell’s (313/961-2543).

Spectator Sports
Side-by-side baseball and football stadiums, both new in the last decade, create a lively neighborhood filled with fans and fun sports bars. If rumors of a new basketball/hockey arena near Park Avenue come to fruition, the ‘hood will be hopping year-round. Grab a ticket for a Tigers baseball game at Comerica Park or a Lions football game next door at Ford Field. Comerica Park (313/471-2000). Ford Field (313/262-2000).

More Places to Stay

Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center
The hotel occupies the central tower of the massive RenCen, so downtown sights are just a few steps—or People Mover stops—away. From $139 (313/568-8000).

The Inn on Ferry Street
This classy, comfortable inn comprises four Victorian homes and two carriage houses in Midtown. From $129 (313/871-6000).

Westin Book Cadillac
After a $200-million renovation, this 1924 luxury hotel once again welcomes guests downtown in high style. From $189 (313/442-1600).

More Places to Eat

Angelina Italian Bistro
Right on Grand Circus Park, this bistro offers an extensive wine list, inventive specials and great service without a hint of pretense (313/962-1355).

Grand Trunk Pub
The 25-foot-high domed ceiling is just one cool surprise about this neighborhood tavern; the other is the menu, filled with great sandwiches like the from-scratch corned beef Reuben (313/961-3043).

The Farmer’s Restaurant
Fuel up at this Detroit diner institution before power-shopping at the adjacent Eastern Market. Sausage links and corned beef hash are from scratch, eggs and everything else are as fresh as it gets (313/259-8230).

Traffic Jam & Snug
Portobello mushroom soup, the “Deeetroit” Delmonico steak and macadamia-nut encrusted salmon are just a few of the memorable dishes on this Midtown menu. Start with a sampler platter of cheeses made in house (313/831-9470).

Sweetwater Tavern
You can’t go wrong with the succulent ribs or spicy wings at this friendly Congress-Street eatery. (313/962-2210).

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