So The New York Times Says You Should Visit Detroit. Here Are The 52 Places To Go

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Looking at the Rencen from the Riverwalk.

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.

The Fisher Building from the third floor
The Fisher Building from the third floor

(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

Feather Bowling

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

This is how you end a night in #Detroit with R&B goodness

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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

Downtown trifecta

Inside of Wright & Company in Detroit, Michigan cocktails

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

People just seem to love this alley when they see it. There are some bars – The Skip (16), Bert’s on Broadway (17), and (18) Standby – right off the belt, and the art is awesome. – Dan

Detroit Riverfront Riverwalk

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.

Old Miami Backyard Detroit
Old Miami Backyard. Daily Detroit photo.

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?

Absinthe at Two James

(31) Corktown

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.

The view of Detroit's east side from Belle Isle. (c) Daily Detroit file photo
The view of Detroit’s east side from Belle Isle. (c) Daily Detroit file photo

(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.

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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.

  • Republic Tavern and Parks & Rec Diner in the amazing GAR building should definitely be on that list!

  • Mexican? Hands down ‘Las Brisas’ on Vernor in the Springwells area. Authentic brown – ‘not pretty’ Mexican food. Great homemade Sangria – never the same twice. Bonus? Armed guard in the parking lot! Ha!

  • Why does everything listed cost money or mainly a place to eat? There’s lots of beautiful parks. Also…Avalon Bakery, Motown Museum, Dequindre Cut, City Sculpture Park.

  • Cornerstone Barrel House! It’s in the block between Wright and Co and Queens. Awesome place for lunch!

  • Greenfield Village and Henry Ford Museum! Absolutely. And how about the Joe Louis Arena for their final season? Fox Theatre is amazing, too. Tigers Stadium. Ride the People Mover. Greektown. Lafayette Coney Island. Go out to Orchard Lake Road in West Bloomfield and taste any ethnic food you want, and it will be amazing.

    • I think they are focusing on Detroit rather than Dearborn, but Fox Theater should be on there. They mention Lafayette in passing, and Greektown is #50. Motown Museum was the biggest oversight.

  • River Rouge Park and the Dequinder Cut are good attractions. Also, Kuzzo’s Chicken and Waffels along with Theresa’s Place.

  • Kwicky Bar 8mile and Ryan 1/2 pound burger that’s the Best by far, cheapest drinks and great atmosphere. Try it out, you’ll be glad you did

  • You forgot Eastern Market Antiques, in the Eastern Market, we have been there for over 25 years, we have 23 different dealers and 10,000 square feet on our 2nd floor.

  • The Motown Museum! Perfect as is, yet I’m sure the planned expansion will enhance the experience even more.

  • Heidelberg Project, Dabls Mbad African Bead Museum (both locations for outdoor art displays). In addition to all the places mentioned in the comments above!

  • It’s actually a great list, especially when you’re limited to 52!  Kudos for sticking to Detroit.  So many of these lists claim “Detroit” and really mean “metro Detroit.”  Agree that it’s missing a lot of music, theatre, or other culture.  Birthplace of Motown (Motown Museum)!  Detroit Institute of Art, Detroit Opera House, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Fox Theatre, Fisher Theatre, Philmore, St. Andrews Hall, the Shelter, etc.  Also, Sister Pie, Craft Work, and Detroit Body Garage in West Village!  RUNdetroit, Third Man Records, Jolly Pumpkin, Shinola, and all the other business on Canfield (WSU campus).

    • Excellent additions, Megan! I was confused by the omission of practically all of the fabulous cultural institutions of the city!! You covered them all. Thank you!

  • Hitsville USA on E Grand Blvd….. the birth of Motown. Great tour and Motown music is universally known.

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