By Cynthia J. Drake PHOTOS BY Bill Bowen (except where noted)
Aside from all the altruistic reasons — like boosting the economy and supporting your neighbors — it’s hard to ignore that shopping local is … well, just plain fun.
With dozens of new boutiques and products arriving on the scene each year, it’s also easy to discover the latest and greatest D-inspired treasures, from T-shirts to home décor — there’s even Motor City-branded incense.
And you’ll find plenty of folks on this bandwagon. “People are absolutely wanting to wear their Detroit pride more and more,” said Erin Berline, manager of the Detroit Shoppe. “We are that ‘comeback kid’ like NYC and Vegas both were not so long ago. Those cities have emerged stronger than ever, having rebranded themselves, and we see Detroit following down that same path.”
Here’s a glimpse of some of the coolest new shops, trinkets and homegrown edibles that embody Detroit. Consider it a preview meant to inspire your inner treasure hunter. Now go shop and find that little piece of Detroit that speaks to you.
CITY BIRD AND NEST
(in the lobby)
500 Griswold St.
Detroit, 48226 DD
(in the lobby)
3011 W. Grand Blvd.
Detroit, 48202 DD
GM Renaissance Center
Located in the Somerset Collection, the Detroit Shoppe offers up nostalgic favorites for diehard Detroiters, as well as “expatriates” of the city. Some favorites include seven flavors of Faygo, Vernors, Better Made potato chips and Sanders chocolates.
“Detroit is gritty, urban and tough, yet cool, hip, artistic and industrious,” said Erin Berline, manager of the Detroit Shoppe. “This is being embraced more and more by not only Detroiters, but by people from other states and countries. Detroit is becoming the current ‘it’ city on apparel.”
The Somerset Collection
2800 W. Big Beaver Road
Troy, 48084 O
Add a pop — Vernors, Faygo Red Pop or Rock & Rye are all faves at the Detroit Shoppe.
For dessert, grab a jar of Sanders hot fudge, a sinfully thick treat.
Beats thump from an in-house DJ booth, the fragrance of freshly roasted coffee beans dances in the air. It’s just another Saturday morning at Rust Belt Market, Detroit’s newest collective of artisans and collectors.
Opened in 2011 in a defunct 15,000-square-foot Old Navy building, Rust Belt Market is filled with more than 50 Michigan-owned shops, each selling handmade, locally produced or high-quality vintage items (think a brick-and-mortar version of Etsy).
“The Rust Belt is a hub of creativity,” said owner Tiffany Best of her Saturday/Sunday marketplace. “Detroit is jampacked with skilled makers and creative types — many of whom are starting over after the loss of a job but are now successfully and happily self-employed. One of our goals is to help artists make a living at what they are good at and love to do.”
We’d be remiss not to list a few other interesting addresses that have serious Detroit flavor when it comes to atmosphere and products sold. Check ’em out. Some are nostalgic, others are newer entries to the scene.
Detroit Athletic Co.
Carries the largest collection of Detroit-based sportswear, collectibles and throwback products in the world. Going strong after three decades in business and a stone’s throw from the hallowed ground of historic Tiger Stadium.
1744 Michigan Ave.
Detroit, 48216 DD
Gibraltar Trade Center
A weekend marketplace like no other. Lots of Detroit-based small business owners selling every conceivable type of item.
237 N. River Road
Mount Clemens, 48043 M
Local artist garb and miscellaneous stuff is sold here, but what’s really cool is the “made while you wait” personalized service. Design your own D-centric T, hoodie, onesie or pet-friendly item.
The Park Shelton
15 E. Kirby
Detroit, 48202 DD
Detroit Mercantile Company
A newer kid on the shopping block, this space is friendly, quirky and familiar all at the same time. Lots of books, artwork and apparel for sale. Be sure to gander at the crazy, cool antique map of Detroit hanging on the wall. It’s mesmerizing.
3434 Russell St.
Detroit, 48207 DD
OUR HANDPICKED LIST OF THE LATEST AND COOLEST GIFTS FROM OUR FAVORITE CITY
Michigan Cork Coasters Sturdy and cut in the shape of the Mitten State, these cork cutouts are perfect for your favorite bartender’s bar.
($18 set of 4, ilovecitybird.com)
Detroit Skyline Tile For a gift you can’t find anywhere else, head over to Pewabic Pottery, where you’ll find items for any budget, like the beautiful keepsake Detroit Skyline Tile.
Made in Detroit T-shirts If you’ve seen the tongue-in-cheek “Motor City Kitties” logo, that’s these guys. The Made in Detroit T from Kid Rock’s company gives props to the city’s industrial roots and its resilience through hard times.
Valentine Vodka Clean and slightly sweet. If you like your drink on the harder side, Valentine Vodka should be on your shopping list. It’s distilled and bottled in metro Detroit and has won a slew of gold medals in worldwide spirits competitions.
Garden Fresh Chips and Salsa
The gift that keeps giving. Take one chip, dip it and eat it and you’ll quickly want to repeat the process. From humble beginnings in the Detroit suburb of Ferndale, Garden Fresh is now one of America’s top salsa brands.
McClure’s Pickles and Bloody Mary Mixer Eat and drink up. McClure’s pickled cukes are extra crunchy and their Bloody Mary Mixer is just the right amount of hot and spicy. So good, you’ll forgo buying by the jar and go right for a case of 12. (mcclurespickles.com available at Nest, ilovecitybird.com)
The cheapest (and best) souvenirs are great memories. Wander around Detroit’s greatest sights and fall in love with the city all over again. Key photo ops include the Joe Louis Fist and the Spirit of Detroit, the International RiverWalk, Motown Historical Museum (outside photos only), the Heidelberg Project and Comerica Park. Best places to take pics of the Detroit skyline: Hart Plaza, Belle Isle and across the Detroit River on the Windsor riverfront.
View With Love from The D in a larger map
Use our interactive map to find even more.
"I love Detroit. My husband and I go there for the famous Detroit Jazz Festival and for other shows and concerts. The people are friendly, the food is great and the hotels welcome you with open arms - even the weather stays good for us." ~Louise H.
Book a dinner cruise or go for a late-night moonlight party aboard the Detroit Princess. The five-story riverboat is back in action for the season.
Fall is in full swing and that means Detroit Red Wings hockey at The Joe. No ticket? Cobo Joe's is a surefire hot spot on game days.
Watch Discover the D TV to learn all about the hidden gems and history that our city has to offer.