These Hidden Gems in Wayne County are a Must-Visit

March 30, 2023 | Story by Max White

Wayne County is the largest in Michigan, and there are so many places to eat and explore throughout the area.

However, there are some off-the-beaten-path locations where you can explore, have fun, and have some delicious food. If you’re looking for a hidden gem in Wayne County, here are places to check out.

Places to Visit

Crosswinds Marsh in New Boston

About 45 minutes southwest of Detroit and 20 minutes south of Detroit Metro Airport, Crosswinds Marsh sits along a dirt road seemingly in the middle of nowhere.

It’s a great spot for hiking with miles of trails, plus a boardwalk, fishing area, horseback riding, picnics and more. It’s open year-round for both hiking and cross-country skiing in the winter, and they offer different educational programming for people of all ages.

Crosswinds Marsh, @dianadawn48

Arab American Museum in Dearborn

Right in Downtown Dearborn, the Arab American National Museum is the only museum in America dedicated to Arab American contributions.

Exhibitions at the museum cover the Arab world and the history of Arab Americans and show off their history and culture and work in the United States.

They also have a range of galleries that cover the history of Arabs coming to the U.S., and you can learn so much in your time there.

Arab American Museum, Michelle and Chris Gerard

Ford Rouge Factory Tour in Dearborn

Part of The Henry Ford, the Ford Rouge Factory Tour allows you to get an inside look at an assembly plant, specifically where Ford creates the iconic F-150 truck.

There are three floors inside the tour where you can learn more about the process in the theatre and then go to the observation deck where you can see the trucks being assembled.

Dymaxion House in Dearborn

Also part of The Henry Ford, the Dymaxion House is inside The Henry Ford of American Innovation and tucked away in the back left corner of the museum.

The Dymaxion House was a house designed in the 1930s and was designed to be the house of the future – strong, light and cost-effective. You can walk through the house and learn more about some of its unique features.

Living room interior

Dymaxion House at The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation

Hamtramck Disneyland in Hamtramck

You may not see everything during your first visit to Hamtramck Disneyland, an folk art installation from artist Dmytro Szylak. He retired in the 1980s and started building Hamtramck Disneyland, and he worked on it until his death in 2015.

The installation is on top of two garages in Hamtramck and combines art, photographs, posters and so much more.

Greenmead Historical Park in Livonia

If you want to go back in time, Greenmead Historical Park in Livonia spans 95 acres and is nearly 200 years old. The City of Livonia purchased it in the 70s and it has 13 buildings in the village.

You can also get inside some of the buildings on Sundays through self-guided tours or group tours.

The village also hosts special events throughout the year for people of all ages.

Penn Theatre in Plymouth

If you’re looking to see a movie in a unique spot, the Penn Theatre in Downtown Plymouth is perfect. The theatre is a single-screen movie theatre that opened on Dec. 4, 1941.

It’s still showing new movies to this day.

Penn Theater, @pbmundt

Mill Race Village in Northville

Another historical village in Wayne County, the Mill Race Village was created in 1972 as a living museum. It has a church, gazebo, school, wooden bridge, blacksmith shop, general store and more, and gives people the chance to go back in time.

They also hold different events throughout the year for everyone.

Michigan Historical Markers

Finally, if you’re into learning about the history of certain areas in Wayne County, there are dozens of state historical markers in Wayne County.

You can learn about the Battle of Brownstown in Gibraltar, the Fox Indian Massacre in Grosse Pointe Park, Henry Ford’s birthplace in Dearborn or Eloise Asylum in Westland.

Places to Eat

Roman Village in Dearborn

Just down the street from the Ford plant in Dearborn, Roman Village is a family-owned Italian restaurant that’s been serving up delicious meals for nearly six decades. Their menu features a variety of Italian meals, but one of their most famous is the “Spaghetti Carbonara ‘Alla Bocelli.’ It’s a recipe legendary Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli prepared himself in their kitchen.

Bate’s Hamburgers in Livonia

Bate’s originally opened in 1955 and moved to its current location in 1959, and they’re a legendary corner spot serving up old-school slicers throughout the day. They also have a breakfast menu where you can get eggs, biscuits and gravy, hashbrowns and more.

Bates Hamburgers, @like_a_dance

Karl’s Cabin in Plymouth

Karl’s Cabin is currently closed due to remodeling after a fire, but the restaurant is known for its rustic feel and has a major history in Wayne County that includes a performance from Johnny Cash back in the day.

Big Bear Lodge in Flat Rock

Walking into Big Bear Lodge in Flat Rock will make you feel like you’re in a cabin in the woods. You’re hit with the smell of firewood and delicious food right away and it’s a great spot for a winter dinner.

Their menu is massive with pizza, shareables, homemade soups, steaks, and unique meals like buffalo meatloaf, a buffalo burger and more.

Balkan House in Hamtramck

In a refurbished house in Hamtramck, Balkan House is serving up authentic döner kebabs every day, famous in Berlin, Germany. The kebab can be made with beef/lamb, chicken or vegetarian.

They also have döner bowls, döner baskets, breakfast wraps, cevapi (a special Bosnian sausage) and much more.

Kate’s Kitchen in Flat Rock

Kate’s Kitchen is in a small, nondescript white building in Flat Rock, but inside, you’ll find some fo the best pies and breakfasts around.

The family-owned restaurant serves up breakfast and lunch, and is known for their pies and incredibly large, homemade buttermilk pancakes.

Make sure to try the strawberry pie, or the lemon meringue.

Frank’s Cafe in Wyandotte

You might not know Frank’s Cafe is actually Frank’s Cafe when you drive by it. The bar and restaurant are one of Wyandotte’s famous house bars, and you’ll catch the red neon sign in the window.

You can get cheap drinks, good food and meet some great people when visiting Frank’s.

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