Put your hands up for Detroit
May 20, 2017 6:31 PM   Subscribe

Going from Toronto to Detroit for a weekend... how to get there & what to see and do?

Hi! My partner and I are going to Detroit from Toronto for the first time. I feel like this should be easier to plan, but no matter how many reviews I read, I'm finding the train options really confusing. Have you done this trip before? What's the best route? Seems like Windsor - train transfer - bus?

ALSO!! And more importantly! What might we see while we're there? What area might be best to stay? We love pro wrestling (a lot!!), local beers, art, live music, making new pals... we're pretty open! We have some flexibility, so are willing to plan the weekend around special events if there are some super fun ones!

Thank you, big green! Your advice has never done me wrong!
posted by crawfo to Travel & Transportation around Detroit, MI (10 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
The Detroit Institute of Art should be #1 on the list of any Detroit-bound art lover. (and please tell all the pieces I miss them very much)

Haven't been to a show, but Xtreme Intense Championship Wrestling is a pretty good example of dirtbaggy local wrestling (Rhyno does shows every now and again!)

can't help with coming in via train, though, sorry!
posted by The demon that lives in the air at 7:14 PM on May 20, 2017 [3 favorites]

Re: travel. While there is a tunnel bus that goes between Windsor and Detroit, it doesn't stop anywhere near the VIA Rail station. So it's either a few kilometres' walk (what I did because I'm cheap -- not super fun with baggage) or a cab. I suppose that a cab would possibly be willing to take you over the border but I'm sure they would charge lots for it.
posted by tivalasvegas at 7:38 PM on May 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

Both kinda niche, but if they'd scratch an itch... John K. King Used & Rare Books in a 4 story former glove factory and Astro Coffee, a small place with good coffee and easily the best egg sandwich I've had in my longish life (not kidding, I still remember my literally-OMG first bite). Not a resident or frequent visitor, so can't help with much more.
posted by ClingClang at 8:03 PM on May 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

Heidelberg Project, Buddy's Pizza, Motown Museum, sooo many good burger places (seriously, let me know where you end up staying and I can point you to a close one).
posted by Etrigan at 8:43 PM on May 20, 2017 [4 favorites]

I don't live in Detroit but have traveled there a lot for work. I second the Motown Museum and the Detroit Institute of Art. Detroit also has a ton of great food - I love Rock City Eatery, there's a ton of Indian food up in Hamtramck, Greektown if you like Greek food or pizza, and some more upscale stuff in Royal Oak. If you're tea drinkers, go to Socra Tea and chill out there for a bit. Have fun!
posted by bile and syntax at 6:58 AM on May 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

Another vote for John King Books -- it's great!
posted by Beardman at 9:01 AM on May 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

Cabs in both cities will do cross border fares, so I think the easiest route is ViaRail to Windsor, then cab it across the border to your hotel. Best to talk to the cab company in advance to figure out costs if your budget is tight.

As for finding some music, the MetroTimes Event Calendar will help you find live shows you might be interested in. If any of the shows at Chene Park strike your fancy, it's a fantastic venue (smallish outdoor amphitheater with the river behind the stage). There are a few festivals with live music you might want to plan around, either Detroit River Days (Ann Wilson, the Isley Brothers!) or Concert of Colors (2017 lineup not yet announced, 2016 lineup here for reference.)

For beer, the Michigan Brewer's Guild will help you find local breweries. I'd recommended stopping at Hopcat. While they aren't brewing their own, they'll have a HUGE selection of Michigan beers to taste.

Hotels are hard without knowing your budget, but without a car I'd try to stay close to the river or remain reasonably close to Woodward Ave (Midtown/New Center areas, maybe Greektown?).
posted by thatquietgirl at 9:11 AM on May 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

Hopefully I'll have more time later today to put together a proper answer but, in the interim, have you seen the recent travel article 36 Hours in Detroit in the NYT?
posted by Barack Spinoza at 10:09 AM on May 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

Seconding Etrigan's recommendation for the Heidelberg Project, which is a great outsider art / found object installation. I also love the installations by Dabl's African Bead Gallery.

If you'll have a car, Green Dot Stables does some really interesting sliders.
posted by staraling at 7:40 PM on May 21, 2017

If you are at all into vintage cars, the Concours d'Elegance held in a suburb of Detroit at the end of July is pretty neato. Note the main action is Sunday.
posted by *s at 10:03 AM on May 22, 2017

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