If you really want to get to know Detroit, explore its nooks and crannies outside downtown. The city proper is dotted with a bunch of culturally rich areas that are full of art galleries, barbecue havens and the best dive bars you’ll ever dive into. Discover Midtown Detroit restaurants and eateries throughout our neighborhoods, and plan out things to do in Detroit for any day of the week.
Midtown Detroit Restaurants, Museums & Theaters
Midtown is just north of downtown.
We’re leading with it and giving it a little extra attention, because, like downtown, it’s been smoking hot when it comes to new stuff popping up in the see, do, buy and eat categories. Midtown boasts unique art galleries, quirky independent retail shops and some of the best don’t-want-to-miss cuisine you’ll find in The D.
Let’s start with Avalon Bakery, a Detroit institution that’s been serving up Michigan-made and organic goodies since 1997 (aka before it was cool). Try the Bite of Bliss for breakfast. This sandwich features eggs baked with love and a slab of white cheddar on a 313 whole-wheat bun. In between bites, chat up the employees and ask about Avalon’s “Eat Well. Do Good.” motto. You’ll love the story behind the statement. After you’ve had your fill (and likely walked out with a freshly baked baguette to snack on later), head over to the newly renovated …
Detroit Historical Museum. Stroll along the Streets of Old Detroit exhibit, and be transported to 19th century Detroit, complete with cobblestone paths and storefronts that offer high-button shoes or a safety bicycle to gaze at. After you’ve experienced the past, kick it up a notch and check out the new Kid Rock Music Lab, which explores the lasting influence of Detroit music — from gospel and Motown to rock ‘n’ roll and everything in between. You’ll leave feeling educated, inspired and craving more.
Walk across Woodward Avenue and you’ll find the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA). Yes, Midtown hosts two incredible museums just a few steps away from one another. The DIA boasts 100 galleries, 650,000 square feet of exhibition space and the Rivera Court — a 27-panel tribute to Detroit industry completed by Diego Rivera in the 1930s. Look for staffers — they love answering questions about the DIA’s collections — and be sure to shop the DIA Museum Shop for the perfect takeaway. Psst … there are lots of Detroit Industry mural items to choose from.
Looking for something a little more edgy? The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD) can be found about five blocks south on Woodward and always has something surprising in store. Experimental films, pop-up kitchens, fascinating lectures, crafts for kids — the list goes on and you’ll want to come back as often as possible to take in its ever-changing exhibits.
And when that snack time baguette from Avalon can no longer hold back the belly growls, end the day dining in a 115-year-old mansion. At The Whitney, you can sample the eggplant bruschetta, and don’t miss the chocolate mousse, while admiring the delicate, ornate woodcarvings and Tiffany stained-glass windows of this 52-room manor. We suggest you stay put for the after-dark hours, too. The Whitney has a newly remodeled lounge called the Top Floor, which features live entertainment nightly. But if you decide to venture out and look for a change of scenery, you won’t be disappointed. Magic Stick or Majestic Theatre are top Midtown choices, but if you want raw Detroit after hours, hit the area’s classics like The Old Miami or Bronx Bar.
Don’t Miss These Midtown Favorites!
EAT: Cass Cafe • Rodin • Seva • Traffic Jam & Snug • Good Girls Go to Paris Crepes • Chartreuse Kitchen & Cocktails
SHOP: City Bird • Nest
ART: The Butcher’s Daughter • Detroit Artists Market • Detroit Film Theatre
- 24: The number of restaurants, stores and services that opened in Midtown through fall 2013.
- Midtown is home to the city’s first Whole Foods Market.
- Web surf or just hang out in Kresge Court, known as Midtown’s cultural living room.
- Drought is a raw juice bar inside Shinola’s flagship retail store in Midtown.
- Nora isn’t the name of a chick. It’s a Midtown house of Scandinavian housewares, Japanese pottery and Detroit jewelry.
- Run Detroit — housed in a former Detroit Public Schools warehouse — is the city’s first running store.
Keeping It Local
Whole Foods is going local with its Detroit store, featuring metro Detroit touches like Motown-themed checkout displays and shelves stocked with goods from 50 Michigan vendors.
Beau Bien Fine Foods • McClure’s • Simply Suzanne • Maria’s Salsa • Sweet Potato Sensations • Avalon Breads • Good People Popcorn
You can print out a great list of all the shopping and dining that Midtown has to offer.
More Great Detroit Neighborhoods
Mexicantown is about five miles west of downtown, so you’ll need a ride.
Word of advice if you head this way: Go hungry. In Mexicantown, the service is always fast, and the food is always beyond affordable, big on portions and equally as phenomenal. So you can overeat on the cheap. The no-frills restaurant Taqueria Lupitas, for instance, offers an incredibly authentic experience for about the same price you’d pay at Taco Bell. Try el pastor tacos wrapped in corn tortillas and topped with onion and cilantro. Get the pozole, a pork shoulder stew loaded with spices and hominy. Pro tip: Ask for extra onions, cabbage and spices, and season it to your liking. And, yes, there’s more to Mexicantown than just awesome eats. Appreciate the divine architecture at Sainte Anne’s. Built in 1886, it’s one of the most stunning churches in the Midwest.
Greektown is within walking distance of downtown, or take a People Mover ride to the Greektown Station.
This is the perfect spot if you like a little culture and shouting with your cuisine. Stop by Pegasus Taverna Restaurant. Try the grape leaves, flaming cheese (feel free to yell out “OPA!” in unison with your server) and eggplant-layered moussaka. If you’ve got room left or want a sweet treat for later, walk into Astoria Pastry Shop, which is overflowing with baklava, sweet egg bread and tortes of all sorts. Then walk it off on the crowded streets and take in the people, the atmosphere and the authentic feel of Old World Greece.
Hamtramck requires a drive from downtown; north about six miles.
This Polish enclave is full of good ethnic eats — think pierogi, paczki, kielbasa, kraut and dill pickle soup. It’s always hard to choose between Polonia and Polish Village Cafe, but trust us, you won’t be disappointed with either. Heck, try both. After a hearty meal(s), visit the Planet Ant Theatre. This intimate 60-seater located in a former residence will give you a taste of the burgeoning theater and improv scene happening in Detroit. Rather take in some tunes? Hamtramck is the quintessential underground hangout for live music. Try Small’s, the Painted Lady or New Dodge, just to name a few. Prefer the playback? Head over to the main drag on Jos. Campau, and check out Lo and Behold! Records and Books. It’s easy to lose yourself flipping through the vinyl, antique books and other vintage items.
If you’re in town on Fat Tuesday, make a pilgrimage to Hamtramck and indulge in a paczki — a super-dense doughnut filled with jellies of many flavors and fried to perfection. People stand in really long lines at every bakery in town to get their hands on these authentic Polish confections. That’s how evil they are in the delicious department. The day — as well as the doughnut — is so celebratory in these parts, we actually call it Paczki Day.
Corktown is just west — about a mile and a half — of downtown.
This Irish-turned-hipster haven features lots to do, with tons of friendly pubs and dive bar hangouts. We’d be remiss to mention Corktown without talking about Slows Bar BQ, the notorious restaurant serving up barbecue paradise with offerings such as the Yardbird sandwich (mustard sauce-soaked pulled chicken breast tossed with mushrooms and cheddar and topped with bacon), a mouthwatering treat that was a finalist in the Travel Channel’s hunt for the best sandwiches in America. Tip: There’s extremely affordable parking behind Mercury Burger & Bar, located right across the street from Slows. Speaking of, Mercury is surely a contender in the tasty cuisine department. Try the fried bologna sandwich with grilled onions. Don’t be afraid — it’s a far cry from anything your grandpa would slap together when you were young. For post-meal fun, check out PJ’s Lager House, a Corktown fixture since 1914, where you can catch some of the best local music Detroit has to offer.
- Avalon International Breads
422 W. Willis St., Detroit, MI 48201313-832-0008 Highlight on map | More Details
- Detroit Historical Museum
5401 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48202313-833-1805 Highlight on map | More Details
- The Detroit Institute of Arts
5200 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48202313-833-7900 Highlight on map | More Details
- Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD)
4454 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48201313-832-6622 Highlight on map | More Details
- The Whitney
4421 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48201313-832-5700 Highlight on map | More Details
- Magic Stick
4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48201313-833-9700 Highlight on map | More Details
- The Majestic Theatre
4140 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48201313-833-9700 Highlight on map | More Details
- The Old Miami
3930 Cass Ave., Detroit, MI 48201313-831-3830 Highlight on map | More Details
- Bronx Bar
4476 2nd Ave., Detroit, MI 48201313-832-8464 Highlight on map | More Details
- Cass Café
4620 Cass Ave., Detroit, MI 48201313-831-1400 Highlight on map | More Details
66 E. Forest Ave., Detroit, MI 48201313-974-6661 Highlight on map | More Details
- Chartreuse Kitchen and Cocktails
15 E. Kirby St., Suite D, Detroit, MI 48202313-818-3915 Highlight on map | More Details
- City Bird
460 W. Canfield St., Detroit, MI 48201313-831-9146 Highlight on map | More Details
- Nest Housewares
460 W. Canfield St., Detroit, MI 48201313-831-9776 Highlight on map | More Details
- Detroit Artist Market
4719 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48201313-832-8540 Highlight on map | More Details
- Detroit Film Theatre
5200 Woodward Ave., at the Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, MI 48202313-833-3237 Highlight on map | More Details
- Whole Foods Market
115 Mack Ave., Detroit, MI 48202313-576-5300 Highlight on map | More Details
4240 Cass Ave., Ste. 109, Detroit, MI 48201313-831-4845 Highlight on map | More Details
- Run Detroit
441 W. Canfield St., #5, Detroit, MI 48201313-638-2831 Highlight on map | More Details
- Germack Pistachio & Coffee Roasting Co.
2509 Russell St., Detroit, MI 48207313-784-9484 Highlight on map | More Details
- Pegasus Taverna Restaurant
558 Monroe St., Detroit, MI 48226313-964-6800 Highlight on map | More Details
- Astoria Pastry Shop
541 Monroe St., Detroit, MI 48226313-963-9603 Highlight on map | More Details
- Polonia Polish Restaurant
2934 Yemans St., Hamtramck, MI 48212313-873-8432 Highlight on map | More Details
- Slows Bar BQ
2138 Michigan Ave., Detroit, MI 48216313-962-9828 Highlight on map | More Details
- Mercury Burger & Bar
2163 Michigan Ave., Detroit, MI 48216313-964-5000 Highlight on map | More Details
- PJ's Lager House
1254 Michigan Ave., Detroit, MI 48226313-961-4668 Highlight on map | More Details
- Beau Bien Fine Foods
2478 Riopelle St, Detroit, MI 48207 Highlight on map
8201 St Aubin St, Detroit, MI 48211, United States248-837-9323 Highlight on map | More Details
- Simply Suzanne
- Sweet Potato Sensations
17337 Lahser Rd, Detroit, MI 48219313-532-7996 Highlight on map
- Saint Anne's
- Planet Ant Theatre
10339 Conant St, Hamtramck, MI 48212, United States313-873-1117 Highlight on map | More Details
- The Painted Lady
2930 Jacob St, Hamtramck, MI 48212, United States313-874-2991 Highlight on map
- Lo and Behold! Records and Books
10020 Joseph Campau Ave, Hamtramck, MI 48212, United States313-759-0075 Highlight on map | More Details
- Traffic Jam & Snug
Traffic Jam & Snug, West Canfield Street, Detroit, MI, United States Highlight on map