Detroit has progressed from its Motown heyday and survived a rough downturn to evolve into a dynamic hub of art and design, food, and culture—and the music scene is still bumpin’. To discover everything the D has to offer, check out our “Detroit Destination Guide” below for your next Midwest trip.
Where to Stay
Housed inside the iconic 1926 Wurlitzer building, The Siren Hotel features the building’s carefully preserved Italian renaissance-style architecture, original travertine floors, and distinctive plaster detailing on the ceilings. Owner and designer ASH used these details to inform the new design, which has contemporary touches and a modern color palette of blush, oxblood, navy, and white. The downtown property has 106 rooms and six F&B spaces, including the cocktail haven Candy Bar, and intimate tasting room Albena, plus a lively piano karaoke bar and a record shop.
One of Detroit’s modern success stories, the revived Shinola company which mostly sells watches (but also bikes and leather goods) opened a hotel together with local developer Bedrock Detroit in 2019. The 129 rooms are inside five connected buildings downtown and feature Shinola products throughout, along with custom-designed Detroit wallpaper, ceramic wall tiles, and millwork crafted by local vendors, and art by local artists like Beverly Fishman, Tiff Massey, and Charles McGee. The F&B is by Chef Andrew Carmellini and includes a beer hall, a fried chicken spot, an upscale Italian restaurant, and a cocktail bar.
Where to Eat
Owned by Molly Mitchell, Rose’s Fine Food opened in 2014 in a classically adorable diner space that had been an eatery on and off for years. Instead of typical greasy spoon fare though, there are breakfast and lunch dishes like toast with whipped goat cheese and homemade peach jam, a smoked Lake Superior whitefish panini, and a rice bowl with spicy lamb and kimchi that utilize locally sourced ingredients. And make sure you save room for the excellent pastries and cakes, which you can also learn to make at home thanks to new cooking classes being offered.
Vegetables are treated with loving care at this contemporary American Hazel Park restaurant by Chef James Rigato, a Top Chef Season 12 contestant and James Beard Award Semifinalist. The handwritten menu changes daily here, with small plates like seafood dumplings with aged ham and parmigiana brodo and a Wagyu double cheeseburger.
Where to Drink
This swanky 13th-floor lounge and rooftop bar opened last year atop the neo-Gothic Metropolitan Building downtown, offering stunning 360-degree views of the city. Details like parapets, leather banquettes, and Art Deco-style curved windows are the perfect backdrop to new spins on classic cocktails, local beers on tap, and an extensive wine list. The snackable menu has the perfect small bites to keep you going.
Possibly the pinkest bar in the world (is that a thing?), this jewel box hideaway inside the Siren Hotel exudes sophisticated fun. Sneak behind the pink velvet curtain and slide into a plush pink booth under the classic 1970s Mazzega Murano pink and gold glass chandelier reminiscent of a shiny, plastic-wrapped hard candies. Sip on drinks like their signature cocktail, the Broadway, featuring rye whiskey, Brauilo amaro, St. Germain, honey, and house bitters and just try not to enjoy yourself.
Where to Visit
Detroit Institute of Arts Museum
One of the United States’ largest and most important art collections is housed inside the grand Beaux-Arts Italian Renaissance building in Midtown. One can easily spend all day among the 100-plus galleries here, but if nothing else, step into the marble central court to ogle Diego Rivera’s “Detroit Industry” five massive wall murals depicting the Ford auto factory in its heyday.
Located on the 982-acre island park of Belle Isle, this small aquarium is the oldest in the country. It was designed in 1904 by Detroit architect Albert Kahn in a Beaux-Arts style, with the interior featuring rare, green opaline glass tiles lining its vaulted ceiling, giving an impression of being underwater. Although its collection of fish is small, it is also unique, with one of the largest collections of air-breathing fish in the world. It’s worth a visit for any architecture, history, and wildlife buffs.
An open-air market that’s been operating since the 1800s, Eastern Market is still a hub of Detroit’s food and culture scene. It’s the place to go on Saturdays for fresh produce, freshly caught fish, baked goods, and prepared foods like the city’s famous Coney Island hot dogs, but on Sundays, you can find handmade arts and crafts, live music, and other community events. A smaller market operates on Tuesdays as well in the summer.
Corktown: Detroit’s Trendiest Neighborhood
Much of Detroit is not very walkable (it is the home of America’s auto industry, after all), but Corktown’s Michigan Avenue and surrounding streets are a great place for a stroll. The neighborhood is Detroit’s oldest and you’ll find places like brewery Batch Brewing Co., classic deli Mudgie’s, beloved Slows Bar BQ, lauded Thai restaurant Takoi, Folk all-day café, Sugar House cocktail bar, Hello Records music store, and vintage shops like Mama Coo’s Boutique and Eldorado General Store. Trumbull & Porter Hotel opened there in 2019 inside an old Holiday Inn, which hosted the Rolling Stones in 1964—now the hotel offers the bookable room as the Rolling Stones suite, filled with band paraphernalia.
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