Biking on Rivard Plaza

3 Detroit Neighborhoods to Explore Without a Car

Story By: Matt Homrich-Knieling

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Streetcar on Woodward Avenue

Downtown Detroit, though filled with restaurants, bars, shops, and other attractions, is only a small portion of the city’s 139 square feet. Outside of downtown, Detroit is filled with a diverse range of neighborhoods, each with its own unique history, personalities, and attractions.

Here are just a few neighborhoods to check out, along with public transportation options to access each neighborhood without a car!

Located north of downtown, New Center is a vibrant commercial and residential district with a blend of historic and modern flares. Home to the College for Creative Studies, the Albert Kahn building, and more, New Center is a must-see!
New Center Park

Neighborhood #1: New Center

How to get there:

QLine: Hop on the Northbound QLINE streetcar at any of the downtown stations and get off at either the Baltimore Street or Grand Boulevard stations.

Though typically $1.50 for a three-hour fare or $3 for an all-day pass, the QLINE is free through 2022!

MoGo Bikeshare → Rent a MoGo bike at one of the many bike stations downtown. Head up Woodward through Midtown to the West Grand Blvd and 2nd Ave station.

Check out MoGo’s website for a range of pricing and payment options.

Bus → Head north on Woodward on Route #4. Bus stops are located on Woodward throughout downtown. Get off at either Baltimore or Grand Boulevard.

The bus fare is $2 for a 4-hour pass or $5 for a 24-hour pass. You can pay with cash when you board or use the Dart app to pay ahead of time.

What to do in New Center?

Attractions

Head over to the beautiful Fisher Building, designed by the renowned architect Albert Kahn, to witness stunning architecture inside and out. In addition to taking in the building’s breathtaking grandeur, you have a host of entertainment and shopping options inside. First, catch a Broadway in Detroit play at the Fisher Theatre. Afterward, grab a coffee or delicious baked goods at Stella Good Coffee, then check out Pure Detroit for some Detroit gear!

Whenever you’re ready to leave the beauty of the Fischer Building, go across the street to the New Center Park for some relaxation and city views. If you happen to be visiting on a Friday in the summer, you can enjoy a free, family-friendly outdoor film at the park!

Food

If you get hungry, walk over to Woodward for an impressively diverse range of restaurants. Whether you want to grab a pizza at Supino Pizzeria, chicken and waffles at Joe Louis Southern Kitchen, Afro – Caribbean eats at YumVillage, or East African cuisine at Baobab Fare, New Center’s growing restaurant scene will not disappoint!

Shopping

After dinner, it’s time to go shopping along the Woodward corridor! Stop by Roby’s Shoes for some stylish footwear. Open since 1922, Roby’s is a Detroit staple! If you’re shopping for a new outfit, head to Ferne Boutique, a women’s clothing store with a focus on inclusivity. And if you are in the market for some unique, quality home goods, Urbanum is the place for you.

Mexicantown is a densely populated neighborhood in southwest Detroit, known for its authentic restaurants, beautiful murals, and tight-knit community.

Neighborhood #2: Mexicantown

How to get there:

Bus → Head to the Rosa Parks Transit Center downtown and hop on Route #1: Vernor. Get off the bus at Bagley and 18th street to start your exploration of Mexicantown! The bus fare is $2 for a 4-hour pass or $5 for a 24-hour pass. You can pay with cash when you board or use the Dart app to pay ahead of time.

MoGo → Rent a MoGo bike at one of the many bike stations downtown. Ride your bike through Corktown to the Bagley and 20th street MoGo station.

Check out MoGo’s website for a range of pricing and payment options.

What to do in Mexicantown:

Food

I hope you’re hungry because there is no shortage of restaurants here! Near the 18th and Bagley bus stop, you can enjoy a delicious meal at the oldest Mexican restaurant in the city, Mexican Village. Or, if you’re feeling sushi, visit The Goblin and enjoy a wide array of sushi rolls. Afterward, look no further than across the street for a beer or cocktail at Bagley Central.

Be sure to also check out the Bagley Pedestrian bridge, which will take you to the historic Bagley Street, where your dining options only increase. From Mexican Town Restaurant to Los Galanes, Taqueria Lupitas to Evie’s Tamales, Bagley Street’s got you covered for authentic Mexican cuisine.

If Pizza is more your style, then the newly-renovated Sicily’s Pizzeria is for you! Open since 1989, Sicily’s is an award-winning pizza restaurant with a range of classic and unique toppings. They also offer Halal meats!

Desserts and Entertainment

Got a sweet tooth? Enjoy delicious Mexican pastries at either La Gloria Bakery or Mexicantown Bakery. If you want a cold treat on a hot summer day, go to Mangonadas Del Barrio on Vernor Hwy and try a signature mangonada. And if you’re looking for some entertainment, check out El Club for live music, drinks, and an outdoor patio!

Shopping

What’s a trip without a souvenir?! Stop into Xochi’s Gift Shop, a longstanding Mexicantown small business. At Xochi’s, you’ll find a beautiful display of Mexican Imports, including folk art jewelry, and ornaments.

For a unique art purchasing experience, go to Vector Lab where you will find Art Snacks, an outdoor art vending machine with prints, zines, and t-shirts

Photos: @metro.detroiter, Marvin Shaouni

Located along the Detroit River, just east of downtown, Rivertown is the place for beautiful views, family-friendly entertainment, and delicious restaurants. Once a hub of industries and warehouses, Rivertown is in the midst of a transformation into a bustling residential and commercial hub.

Neighborhood #3: Rivertown

How to get there:

Bus → Head to the Rosa Parks Transit Center downtown and hop on Route #9: Jefferson. Get off anywhere between the Rivard stop and the Joseph Campau stop to start your Rivertown fun! The bus fare is $2 for a 4-hour pass or $5 for a 24-hour pass. You can pay with cash when you board or use the Dart app to pay ahead of time.

MoGo → Rent a MoGo bike at one of the many bike stations downtown. Ride your bike to either the Atwater and Orleans bike station or the Jos Campau and Guoin bike station.

Check out MoGo’s website for a range of pricing and payment options.

What to do in Rivertown:

Food

Looking for a unique eating experience? Check out the new Breadless restaurant in Rivertown where you can get a (you guessed it!) breadless sandwich. This is a great spot if you have dietary restrictions, or if you are just curious about the concept!

If you’re a shawarma fan, then Bucharest Grill is a must! With various locations across the metropolitan area, Bucharest Grill is a staple in the city.

On the hunt for food and drinks? Rivertown’s got you covered. Atwater Brewery and They Say are your go-to spots for American classic fare and a cold beverage. And if fine dining is more your style, be sure to check out The Rattlesnake Club for steaks, seafood, and riverside views.

Entertainment and attractions

Perfect for kids and families, The Outdoor Adventure Center is a unique and must-see experience for all adventure-seekers and nature-lovers. With a range of activities, simulations, and exhibits, The Outdoor Adventure Center can keep you entertained and active for hours!

Music fans have to check out the Aretha Franklin Amphitheatre, a nationally-renowned outdoor concert space located right along the Detroit River.

And of course, a trip to Rivertown isn’t complete without a stroll along the award-winning Riverfront. The Detroit Riverfront was awarded USA Today’s Best Riverfront in the country in 2021 and 2022!  From splash pads to carousels to fishing, the Riverfront is full of options for the whole family. While you’re there, check out Wheelhouse Detroit to rent a bicycle and head out on one of their dozens of themed tours across the city.

If you’re ready to venture outside of Rivertown, head over to Atwater Street and walk or bike along the Dequindre Cut Greenway. Once home to the Grand Trunk Railroad line, the Dequindre Cut Greenway is a below-grade recreational pathway that is lined with murals, benches, and bike lanes. You can take the pathway all the way up to Eastern Market!

Photos: @_lovelychanel, @breadless

Mentioned Attractions And Venues





  1. 1
    College for Creative Studies
    201 E. Kirby St., Detroit, MI 48202
    313-664-7400
  2. 2
    Stella Good Coffee
    3011 W. Grand Blvd., Ste. 110A, Located in the Fisher Building, Detroit, MI 48202
    313-664-0400
  3. 3
    Pure Detroit - Fisher Building
    3011 W. Grand Blvd., Ste. 101, Detroit, MI 48202
    313-873-7873
  4. 4
    New Center Park
    2998 W. Grand Blvd., Detroit, MI 48202
    313-420-6000
  5. 5
    Supino Pizzeria
    2457 Russell St., Detroit, MI 48207
    313-567-7879
  6. 6
    Roby's Shoes
    6518 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48202
    313-871-7958
  7. 7
    Mexican Village
    2600 Bagley Ave., Detroit, MI 48216
    313-237-0333
  8. 8
    Mexican Town Restaurant
    3457 Bagley Ave., Detroit, MI 48216
    313-841-5811
  9. 9
    Los Galanes
    3362 Bagley Ave., Detroit, MI 48216
    313-554-4444
  10. 10
    Taqueria Lupita
    3443 Bagley Ave., Detroit, MI 48216
    313-843-1633
  11. 11
    Evie’s Tamales
    3454 Bagely Ave., Detroit, MI 48216
    313-843-5056
  12. 12
    Sicily's Pizzeria
    3554 W. Vernor Hwy., Detroit, MI 48216
    313-554-0755
  13. 13
    La Gloria Bakery
    3345 Bagley Ave., Detroit, MI 48216
    313-842-5722
  14. 14
    MexicanTown Bakery
    4300 W. Vernor Hwy., Detroit, MI 48209
    313-554-0001
  15. 15
    Mangonadas Del Barrio #2
    4029 W. Vernor Hwy., Detroit, MI 48209
    313-789-7806
  16. 16
    El Club
    4114 W. Vernor Hwy., Detroit, MI 48209
  17. 17
    Xochi's Gift Shop
    3437 Bagley Ave., Detroit, MI 48216
    313-841-6410
  18. 18
    Bucharest Grill - Rivertown
    2684 E. Jefferson Ave., Detroit, MI 48207
    313-965-3111
  19. 19
    Atwater Brewery
    237 Jos. Campau Ave., Detroit, MI 48207
    313-877-9205
  20. 20
    They Say
    267 Joseph Campau St., Detroit, MI 48207
    313-446-4682
  21. 21
    The Rattlesnake Club
    300 River Place Drive, Detroit, MI 48207
    313-567-4400
  22. 22
    Outdoor Adventure Center
    1801 Atwater St., Detroit, MI 48207
    313-396-6890
  23. 23
    Aretha Franklin Amphitheatre
    2600 Atwater St., Detroit, MI 48207
    313-393-0292
  24. 24
    Detroit RiverFront Conservancy
    600 GM Renaissance Center, Ste. 1720, Detroit, MI 48243
    313-566-8200
  25. 25
    Dequindre Cut Greenway
    Dequindre Cut Greenway, Detroit, MI 48207
    313-566-8200
  26. 26
    Eastern Market
    Russell Street between Mack Avenue and Gratiot Avenue, 2934 Russell St., Detroit, MI 48207
    313-833-9300
  27. 27
    Wheelhouse Detroit - Rivertown
    1340 E. Atwater St., Detroit, MI 48207
    313-656-2453