10 Things to Do at Eastern Market in Detroit
Detroiters have flocked to Detroit’s Eastern Market since 1841, making this urban farmers market one of the nation’s oldest. There is more than just shopping awaiting visitors to this more than 150-year-old Detroit landmark. Check out our list of what to do in Eastern Market in Detroit.
1. Stock Up on Produce
Browse the vendor booths at Eastern Market’s six sheds, which sprawl across 4½ acres and multiple city blocks near downtown Detroit. You’ll discover piles of locally-grown produce—some of it raised in one of Detroit’s famous urban gardens—as well as fresh meat and fish, cheese, honey and preserves, flowers and prepared food. Check out some of the evening markets, too, when shopping is combined with music, art and cocktails.
2. Enjoy a Meal OutProduce vendors aren’t the only places to find good food at Eastern Market. This neighborhood has become home to many of Detroit’s most interesting restaurants. Dig into a hot pie at Supino Pizzeria or a sandwich from Russell Street Deli. Try an iconic dog at Mike’s or Zeff’s Coney Island. Enjoy a fine dinner at Gather, a meal sourced from the market and cooked over a wood-fire grill, or at Roma Café, a third-generation Italian restaurant where the wait staff dresses in tuxes. Don’t forget dessert at Mootown Ice Cream Shoppe!
3. Shop the Market’s EdgesThere’s a wealth of good shopping on the streets bordering Eastern Market. Head to Detroit Hustles Harder and the Detroit Mercantile Company for locally-made products that celebrate The D: Detroit Denim, decorative Pewabic ceramic tiles and Smith Shop Detroit metalwork. You’ll find furniture at Floyd and hats of all sort from Henry the Hatter. And you can buy coffee and fresh-roasted nuts at Germack.
4. Enjoy the ArtSince 2015 Eastern Market has been home to the annual Murals in the Market festival. Dozens of mural artists brighten the facades of the neighborhood’s buildings with paintings that range from brightly-colored flowers to muted portraits and vivid geometric designs. Catch the muralists in action at the fall festival, or just wander the market’s streets for some Instagram-worthy shots.
5. Learn to CookNewly-redesigned Shed 5 is home to a commercial kitchen, where food-lovers of all ages can learn to cook. Sign up to learn how to pickle vegetables, whip up a tempting pasta sauce or make homemade ice cream. Classes are offered for adults, children and even grandparent/grandchild teams.
6. Attend a FestivalEastern Market’s Murals in the Market festival has generated a lot of buzz since 2015, but it’s not the only party in the neighborhood. Check out the market’s website for a list of events that includes beer festivals and harvest galas, burger battles and taco cook-offs, book festivals and Detroit Lions tailgating parties, flea markets and nighttime happy hours.
7. Take a Bicycle RideOne of Detroit’s most popular bicycle routes connects to Eastern Market: the Dequindre Cut. Originally a stretch of the Grand Trunk Railroad, the below-grade urban recreation trail was constructed in 2009, transforming the route into a paved pedestrian- and bike-friendly greenway that stretches from Eastern Market all the way to the pedestrian- and bike-friendly downtown Detroit RiverWalk.
8. Experience Flower DayA springtime tradition at Eastern Market, Flower Day celebrates the season with thousands of plants. Spread across 15 acres, Flower Day offers every conceivable variety of annual flower and tree, perennial blossom and bulb, flowering bush and succulent for sale annually, the Sunday after Mother’s Day, drawing hundreds of thousands of customers each year.
9. Take a Tour
Interested in learning the history of Michigan’s largest market? Want to learn more about what it takes to keep Eastern Market humming? Join one of a half dozen tours. The Detroit Experience Factory offers several market walking tours. Feet On The Street Tours guide strolling brunch tours of the market. Wheelhouse Detroit leads bicycle tours through the market and Detroit Segway Tours & Rentals offers guided trips via Segway.