We were as pumped as anyone about the New York Times putting Detroit at the number nine spot out of 52 places to go in 2017.
They highlight some of the things that are well-known to us locally. That the DIA is amazing, highlighting it with their photo; that the Q-LINE is coming; that the Detroit Pistons are moving downtown.
Detroit has continued to get more national attention as of late, especially from travel press. But our fair city has a lot of places to visit. Where should you go if you’re coming into town for a first visit? We asked our writers and friends of the site to weigh in on their suggestions, some old, and some new. We came up with the 52 places you should go in Detroit in 2017.
Pro traveler tip? Make sure you have your Uber app handy if you don’t have a car with you. As a friend who moved here from the east coast says, “Detroit has everything every other city has and more. You just can’t get to it off a train.” He’s right, even after the Q-LINE opens.
(1) Fisher Building
It’s an art deco masterpiece with more than 40 types of marble. It’s a reminder of what Detroit used to be – a hub of fashion and culture, that many people say once rivaled NYC. And it will be again. – Nuri from IT in the D‘s pick
There’s something about the game I can’t shake. It has a bit of an international flare with the Belgian roots at the (2) Cadieux Cafe. – Dan’s pick
(3) The Raven Lounge
The Raven Lounge great stop for awesome music in the evening. The Detroit sound is alive and well inside these four walls on Chene. Also check out (4) Baker’s Keyboard Lounge. -Doc
(5) The Masonic Temple
Drive slowly by the Masonic Temple on Temple Street. It’s the largest Masonic temple in the world, having more than 1,000 rooms! If you can work it out in your schedule, there are tours. -Nuri
(6) Eastern Market
This one is an obvious one, especially in warm weather. Three places that are part of it that are open all year to check out? The Detroit Mercantile Company (7) has an amazing amount of Detroit nostalgia and items tied to history. Cutter’s Bar and Grill (8) has an amazing burger. And Detroit City Distillery (9) is making big moves in the world. -Shianne’s top pick
Have a few coneys
If you’re new, get your checklist items of trying American and/or Lafayette done if you must (my family has reunions at Lafayette, so take that for what you will), then get to (10) Duly’s Place. It’s also clutch because you could get a coney with a proper breakfast. There is no shame in a breakfast coney. It’s right next to the absolutely beautiful (11) Most Holy Redeemer Church, where they have daily service if you feel you need to talk to someone about your culinary sins. There are more coney spots than that are totally great, but this is a post about one trip. -Shianne
Dinner at (12) Wright & Company is in a way the epitome of Detroit fine cuisine. Why? Because yes, it’s amazing and refined, but it’s also accessible. You can understand the ingredients, but the way they put them together will knock your socks off. The decor is top-notch.
(13) Queens is a newer entrant, and it doesn’t have a sign, but it does have great cocktails, Art Deco-esque atmosphere that opens to the street and they’re reasonably priced.
(14) Cafe D’Mongos is quintessential Detroit and a great way to cap a night off. It’s one of those bars where magic happens. -Doc
Downtown bonus if it’s warm out: (15) The Belt
Double bonus if it’s warm out: The RiverWalk (19). It was only called one of the best in the world.
Crazy nice meal pick: (20) Grey Ghost. -Devon
Dive bar trifecta
We don’t like to pick favorites among our dive bars, but if you have limited time, these are the three to see on your first trip. (21) Nancy Whiskey has a ton of charm and it has that whole “rise from the ashes” phoenix story going on with a fire a few years ago (Note: Detroit’s motto). (22) Tom’s Tavern has been highlighted before for it’s storied past and wins a slot for it’s slanted floor and colorful proprietor.
The Old Miami (23) is the summer champion of Detroit bars, with a magical outdoor space out back. -Devon’s pick
Pizza Pick: It’s a hot debate between (24) Buddy’s original location on the Davison and (25) Loui’s in Hazel Park. Go where your Detroit friends you are visiting want to go on this one. This debate is like the Hatfields and McCoys. Who knows which one is right. If you’re doing Loui’s, also get the antipasto salad. -Shianne
Mediterranean matchup: This is one you may have to step into the suburbs for. Al Ameer (26) has the James Beard award, and you should go, but I’m going with (27) La Pita. Dearborn is their main location to get the full experience, but they also have a smaller midtown spot in the city. -Devon
Mexican: Taqueria El Ray (28) and (29) Loncheria El Parian. We’ve written about El Parian before here. Yes, there’s a place called Mexican Town and all the restaurants are solid, but push yourself beyond the safe confines of a combination platter. You’re traveling, after all. Maybe El Asador (30), now that we think of it?
Just go. It’s fun. There are a lot of cool places there that have gotten plenty of coverage. You don’t have to leave a few block strip along Michigan to hit a bunch of places. (32) Slow’s, (33) Sugar House, (34) Gold Cash Gold, (35) Mercury, (36) Two James, (37) Motor City Wine, (38) Ima, (39) The Gaelic League, (40) Ottava Via, (41) Katoi (one of the best new restaurants in America), (42) Brooklyn Street Local… and we could keep going, along with retail. But please don’t be that guy and limit your Detroit experience to the one neighborhood all the out of town writers seem to go unless you’re truly short on time.
That said, the Anzac cookies and their egg sandwiches at (43) Astro Coffee are the best.
(44) Belle Isle
Best experienced in summer, there’s too much cool stuff to count. The (45) Scott Fountain is sweet in season. If it’s winter or raining, check out the (46) Whitcomb Conservatory, the (47) Aquarium or the (48) Dossin Great Lakes Museum and hop on the bridge of a freighter.
See the (49) Guardian Building – it’s really crazy beautiful. Take a walk through (50) Greektown. Monroe nowadays has been very commercialized and is Detroit’s version of Bourbon Street, so it is what it is but it’s worth it. Reward yourself with one of Detroit’s best sweet treats, (51) Bon Bon Bon chocolate at the Dime Building, and we’ll finish our adventure (52) in Campus Martius at the heart of it all.
So what did we miss? What would you swap out for a trip to Detroit? Yell at us in the comments.