Detroit Has Something for Every Type of Traveler... What Does it Have For You?
Story By: Sarah Bence | Photos By: Vito Palmisano, Christian Harder, Bill Bowen, Noah Fecks, Michelle Gerard, Chris Gerard, Justin Milhouse, Mark M. Gaskill
Detroit goes by many names… Motor City, Motown, the D, and Hockeytown, to name a few.
It’s also known for its foodie scene, classic and modern art, urban development, sustainability initiatives, and more. In other words, there is a lot going on here in Detroit.
All this is to say, there is something in Detroit for everyone! Sure, you could plan your trip to Detroit around a cookie-cutter itinerary, full of the top things to do in Detroit for first-timers. Or… you could tailor your visit to the D to your own unique interests, travel style, and personal priorities.
Let’s dive into Detroit’s best sights, tastes, and places to lay your head for every type of traveler.
Arts, history, and culture lovers
Hotels: If you have an eye for design, consider staying at one of Detroit’s downtown boutique hotels. The Shinola Hotel, a luxury hotel with a curated style and its own art collection is a great pick. The Siren Hotel in the historic Wurlitzer Building is another top option, particularly for those who appreciate art deco design.
Restaurants: Looking for a special touch of art and design in your restaurants – and their menus? Some must-visits for a decadent dinner are The Whitney, Grey Ghost, San Morello, Freya, and Barda. And be sure to stop by Candy Bar – the pink cocktail lounge in the Siren Hotel – for a well-designed nightcap.
Hotels: The best hotel in Detroit for nature and sustainability-loving travelers is El Moore Lodge in Midtown. The historic, sustainably renovated building includes touches like solar panels, reclaimed features, rainwater harvesting, and a community garden with native Michigan plants.
Hotels: Adventurous travelers might feel at home at the Detroit Foundation Hotel, the former headquarters of the Detroit Fire Department. Trumbull & Porter in Corktown is another great choice: a modern, edgy hotel with local Michigan furnishings, bonfire pits, a 24-hour fitness center, bikes, and an on-site restaurant.
Restaurants: If you’ve got adventurous taste buds, then there are quite a few restaurants in Detroit that may pleasantly surprise you. Pie Sci puts some pretty bizarre (but delicious) spins on classic pizza toppings. At Sid Gold’s Request Room you’ll have a live piano bar with your meal – and may be inspired to do some impromptu karaoke.
Hotels: You’ll want to stay right downtown, or close to the District Detroit. One ideal option is staying at the Detroit Marriott, located within the iconic GM Renaissance Center. By staying here, you will be right where the action is.
Activities: Depending on the season, catch a Detroit Tigers baseball game at Comerica Park, tailgate and attend a Detroit Lions football game at Ford Field, or cheer on the Detroit Pistons or Redwings at Little Caesars Arena. Auto lovers will definitely want to check out The Henry Ford and the Ford Piquette Plant, and even take a tour in a real-life vintage Model A car with Antique Touring. Try to time your visit to match with one of Detroit’s famous auto shows – such as the Woodward Dream Cruise, Chevy Detroit Grand Prix, or North American International Auto Show.
Hotels: There are many family-friendly hotels in Detroit to choose from. If you want to spread out in a suite, stay at Atheneum Suite Hotel in Greektown, or Embassy Suites in Troy (complete with a pool and not far from the Detroit Zoo).
Restaurants: Both adults and kids will love a meal at Buddy’s Pizza, home of the original Detroit-style pizza and with multiple locations across the downtown and metro areas. For brunch, make a reservation at the Hudson Café on Woodward Avenue. Kids will love the red velvet or chunky monkey pancakes (adults will, too). For something sweet, stop by the famous Sister Pie and browse the range of pies and other desserts.
Hotels: For the classic budget travel experience, stay at Hostel Detroit in Corktown where beds start from as low as $35/night in a dorm room. The Hamtramck Hostel is another good option for budget travelers. You can also often find good deals on Airbnb, VRBO, or last-minute on Booking.com or Hotels.com.
Restaurants: Most budget travelers will prefer to buy low-priced groceries and prepare their own food at their accommodation. However, if you want to dine out in Detroit on a budget, a good place to start is to check out some of the city’s food trucks. One meal you should splurge on is a Detroit coney dog – often relatively low priced so a good bang for your buck for travelers on a budget.
Activities: The great news for budget travelers is that some of Detroit’s most iconic activities are free! Take a stroll along the Detroit International Riverwalk, twice voted as the #1 riverwalk in the country. Peruse the stalls of Eastern Market or window shop along Woodward Avenue. For $11 (with an annual Michigan recreation pass) you can also get onto Belle Isle for an entire day and explore all the state park has to offer.