Where to stay and what to do in Detroit?
August 8, 2013 5:53 AM   Subscribe

Hey everyone, Was planning on spending a weekend in Detroit and was wondering where I should stay that's economical and safe, and what sites should I see?

I did a search and read some of the answers provided to similar questions. That gave me a pretty good start, and I have this list so far:

1. Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield village (Dearborn)
2. Detroit Institute of Art
3. Michigan Central Station
4. Riverwalk
5. Ford River Rouge plant
6. Eastern Market
7. Renaissance Centre
8. Guardian Building
9. Belle Isle park
10. Motor City Brewing
11. Motown Museum
12. Architectural walking tour
13. Slows

I guess I'm looking for more suggestions so to where would be best to stay overnight, and any other restaurants that I should try. Thanks in advance!
posted by alvin545 to Travel & Transportation around Detroit, MI (14 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I know you said "economical", but what's the budget? I'd actually start by checking rates at the Casinos.

Possibly more expensive, but I've gotten good rates and had a great time at both The Inn on Ferry Street and the 234 Winder St Inn, both of which are "Boutique" inns. These aren't downtown, but aren't too far from the DIA.

Your list is good. I particularly recommend the Preservation Wayne tours (you can see pics here of the one I did in 2011). Since Architecture is amongst your interests, consider checking out the Fisher Building in the New Center part of town.

Michigan Central is a sight to behold, but it's a sight to observe through fencing, usually with security patrols. Do check out that area of town, however, there are some great sites around there.

Also: Pewabic Pottery is a nice place to check out. You'll see their tilework everywhere on the architectural tour.

Restaurants: High end, ethnic, street food, or what? If you want to splurge, The Whitney. For a unique experience, Cadieux Cafe (Belgian, with feather bowling!). For one of the best burgers I've ever had, go to Miller's Bar in Dearborn after you do the Henry Ford.

Drinks: I love going to the Grand Trunk Pub downtown. It's an Irish bar in the old Grand Trunk Railroad ticket office.
posted by kaszeta at 6:12 AM on August 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

Definitely check out the DIA while you are there. The future of the artwork there is uncertain given the current financial state of Detroit.

Catch a Tiger's game.
posted by boba at 6:16 AM on August 8, 2013

Where to stay? There are plenty of hotels downtown and these will provide you easy access to the downtown area. I'm guessing the Holiday Inn Express on Washington Blvd is the cheapest. There's a new Crowne Plaza that opened up in the old Hotel Pontchartrain, however they are non-union if that's important to you. If that's too expensive there are a couple decent hotels on E. Jefferson between downtown and Belle Isle. There's also the Hotel St. Regis on Grand Boulevard, although the New Center is much more quiet than downtown late at night.

IMO the Renaissance Center is a little boring and difficult to navigate, but it's easy to duck in from the Riverwalk.

If you have the time to catch a Tigers game, yeah, you should go. The stadium will definitely be packed. (looking at you, Cleveland!)

You can spend a good hour in the small shopping district around Motor City Brewing Co.. There's also Atwater Brewing Co which is located on Joseph Campau and Atwater.

Other good restaurants are Roast (upscale steakhouse),
If you're interested in non-American fare, we've got East Dearborn (good Middle Eastern food), Southwest Detroit (good Mexican food), and Hamtramck (good Polish food, among other ethnicities).

Other bars to check out: the Bronx, Sugar House (next to slows, fancy cocktails), Cafe D'Mongos.
posted by wikipedia brown boy detective at 6:31 AM on August 8, 2013

-Heidelberg Project
-Eat some kibbeh at Al-Ameer in Dearborn
posted by decathexis at 6:49 AM on August 8, 2013

The Heidelberg Project is a fascinating thing/community that I go back to at least twice a year, and it never fails to impress visitors that I drag along ("Wait, it's, like... houses? With... stuff on them?").
posted by Etrigan at 6:50 AM on August 8, 2013

Definitely the Heidelberg Project, I was just coming here to recommend that. Also the DIA is great, and so is Henry Ford.

If you want to walk down by the river, it's much nicer on the Canadian side. There is a sculpture garden that goes for maybe a mile from downtown in the direction of the bridge. So if you have a passport then that's an option. Also, it's interesting just to go to Windsor to see how much of a difference there is between the two sides.
posted by number9dream at 6:54 AM on August 8, 2013

I love me some Buddy's pizza, and my favorite location is in Detroit:



17125 Conant St
Detroit, MI 48212

The neighborhood is a bit rough, but mostly because it's empty, not dangerous. I've been going down there with friends for years; some of my friends drive really nice cars, and we've never had an issue.
posted by RogueTech at 7:07 AM on August 8, 2013 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks for all the feedback everyone. Will look into the hotel, eating and Heidelberg project suggestions!
posted by alvin545 at 8:00 AM on August 8, 2013

If you have any interest in music or popular culture, I just want to encourage you to be sure to make time for the Motown Museum. It was the highlight of my trip to Detroit many years ago.
posted by scody at 9:10 AM on August 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

Nthing Buddy's. I visit Michigan twice a year and never miss Buddy's!
posted by getawaysticks at 9:17 AM on August 8, 2013

Definitely Buddy's! That's where I learned Detroit-style pizza is my most favorite-style pizza of all. Now I'm hungry.
posted by augustimagination at 9:59 AM on August 8, 2013

I stayed at the Homewood Suites in Troy.

Buxton and Dresden in western ON are the sites of escaped slave communites.
posted by brujita at 2:51 PM on August 8, 2013

The River Raisin was the site of an 1812 battle.
posted by brujita at 2:51 PM on August 8, 2013

Seconding the Holiday Inn Express, the staff was great during a particularly crazy weekend that I was recently in town for, and the price was great. And nthing DIA (the Rivera murals! the Oldenbergs!), Preservation Wayne walking tours, and the Henry Ford Museum. Have fun!
posted by PaulaSchultz at 7:00 PM on August 8, 2013

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