Five local ladies and gents who are well versed in sharing words about The D’s city scene tell all about their favorites for food, fun, family, fashion and sports.
Visit Detroit recently asked a few local influencers, some with a penchant for the pen (or the keyboard and social media), to talk up Detroit. What they like about it. Where they go. Why they go here and there. Each person got a category — food, fun, family, fashion, sports — so we didn’t have a ton of overlap in the recommendations department. After that, it was a free-for-all. We told them to go with their gut and write it in their blog style, as they would on their go-to social media channel or in an email to a friend. Here’s what they had to offer to tourists coming to their town.
Who: Seoung Lee
What: Social media influencer
Seoung has been sharing his food adventures in The D via social media since 2005. We asked him to dish on restaurants he would recommend to foodies finding their way around Detroit’s explosive culinary scene. Follow Seoung @chowdowndetroit.
Of all the cities I’ve ever visited, Detroit is home to some of my all-time-favorite restaurants. The mix of Midwestern charm and urban grit is the perfect backdrop to a great food adventure. It’s still surreal to me that I get to eat for a living, but I owe that opportunity to my wonderful followers who have supported me along my food blogging journey. We’ve built a community of people who love to eat great food and share their experiences with one another.
Although it was tough to do, I’ve given my Top 10 picks for places to eat when in the city — and my favorite thing to order when I’m there.
Who: Samantha Robinson (aka Boho Barbie)
What: Lifestyle blogger and junior publicist
Where: j’adore Detroit
Samantha is a resident city hipster living in Detroit’s Midtown. We asked her to write a few words about the fun and funky things to do in and around Detroit. Follow Samantha and her cohorts at jadore-detroit.com.
Detroit has a thriving underground community. Picture a grittier version of Gossip Girl with less cattiness and way more glitter. Techno, punk, art, glamour and fashion coexist seamlessly within the city limits.
If I’m here to help you experience the city like an insider: Facebook events make up Detroit’s social calendar. Pro tip: “Interest” every event you’re even remotely into. When the weekend rolls around or boredom strikes, check your Facebook events for the day, and, voila, you’ve got options.
Several recurring parties are staples in the scene: Red Bull House of Art, Lincoln Street Art Park and Downtown Synagogue. Follow their Facebook pages for upcoming event announcements. Trust me, any of these three are a guaranteed good time.
Synagogue parties at the Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue are the holy mecca of obscure-in-a-good-way events. It’s an all-night dance party with free drinks, top-notch music and a plethora of socialites.
Out of all the venues and bars in the city, I can always count on having a good time at Marble Bar, MotorCity Wine, Temple Bar (on Fridays and Saturdays) and the Majestic Theatre complex. Check them out for yourself to see what the hype’s about.
My final piece of advice: Serving a head-turning look is an essential key to the Detroit social scene. If you don’t look extravagantly themed, you’ll stick out like a sore thumb. The more you look like you’re coming from a music video, the better. My go-to stores for last-minute looks are Boro, Detroit Clothing Circle and Not Sorry Apparel.
Who: Jennifer Hamra
What: Lifestyle blogger
Jennifer is originally from Tennessee and has been living in metro Detroit for a couple of years now. We thought having the fresh eye of a newer-to-the-city resident with five kids added a nice twist, especially in our search for family-friendly finds. Visit Jennifer’s blog at goodlifedetroit.com.
My picks when with the family are city festivals and a cider mill.
Every year, metro Detroit hosts family-friendly festivals, especially in the warmer months. From Sterlingfest in Sterling Heights to the Bay Rama FishFly Festival in New Baltimore, you will always find a celebration of some kind in each suburb.
There are so many perks about these festivals. Free or low-cost admission and complimentary shuttle service. The grub is always good because local restaurants and food trucks are on-site. Also, many musicians perform live. And nine times out of 10, there will be a carnival — something my children always get excited about.
We love taking our family to RoseFest in Roseville. Held over four days, this festival has a small, hometown feel to it, and features a carnival, live music, concessions, a family-fun day and fireworks.
Next is Yates Cider Mill, a Michigan landmark and registered historic site that is a place where families can enjoy the beautiful scenery and eat delicious food. Yates offers Dearborn-brand hot dogs and knockwurst hot off the grill. For dessert, enjoy yummy goodies such as doughnuts, custard, fudge and saltwater taffy. We love eating the custard while walking the river.
And don’t forget to sign up for a tour of the cider mill. Kids love watching cider being made, and the best part — tasting it fresh from the press after the tour is done.
The Fashion Designer
Who: Rami Mona
What: Founder/designer of luxury sports/athletic brand Renzo Cardoni
Rami, a Detroit-based fashion designer making his clothing in Eastern Market, is dressing up the nation’s top athletes and celebs. Knowing Rami has a real pulse on the city’s retail scene, we asked him to share where he shops in the city. View his clothing line at renzocardoni.com.
When I started my clothing line at 23, I had three interests: sports, music and fashion. My goal was to find a way to merge all three, and that was how Renzo Cardoni was born.
Growing up in Detroit, I was always around influential people — whether in fashion, sports or entertainment. And I always knew I would have to forge my own lane similar to what Detroit is doing now. I’ve even heard in the next few years Detroit will have its own fashion/garment district, which would be so dope for the city.
As a designer, I just want to continue to inspire my city and be a part of the Detroit renaissance. We are just now getting retailers to come back downtown. With the growth that is currently going on in Detroit, I hope in the next five to 10 years, we will be on the level of New York or Los Angeles.
Today when I’m in and around the city, I love shopping for vintage jerseys or old jeans for making new sample items. That’s when I visit Detroit Deadstock Vintage Sportswear in Royal Oak and Norah’s Vintage Loft in Highland Park.
I’m proud to represent Detroit and want everyone to know where I came from. And I am excited about where my brand is going. Every time I see someone in one of my pieces, I’m just so thankful that they appreciate the brand and what we do.
The Sports Guy
Who: Terry Foster
What: Retired newspaper/sports talk radio guy turned blogger
Terry Foster was a reigning voice of Detroit sports talk radio for more than a decade. Knowing Detroit is a sports town, we wanted a seasoned sports personality to share where to go to enjoy baseball/hockey/football/soccer/basketball in The D. Follow Terry and listen to his Boombayey podcasts at terryfoster.blog.
Have you experienced the Reverend of Roar on a Detroit Lions game day? He is a highlight of Sunday Funday, which is spending the day in downtown Detroit on a Lions home game day. Around noon, Michael “Rollo” Rollin puts on a weathered silver suit, blue shirt, hat and shoes and transforms himself into the Reverend of Roar, preaching the good word about the Lions. Grab a seat at the Park Bar Detroit* and have a shot as this super fan stands on the circular bar and bellows: “It’s goooooooooooooooo time!”
Harry’s Detroit and Tap at the MGM Grand Detroit Casino are also great spots to watch games. If you want to be outside, try the patio at Cheli’s Chili Bar, which serves great margaritas, brats and burgers.
My absolute favorite place inside Comerica Park, home to Detroit Tigers baseball, is the Amsterdam 416 bar in right field. It serves up drinks and places to lounge where you can do the triple treat – watch the game live, watch it on television and meet a slew of new friends.
At Little Caesars Arena during Pistons and Red Wings games, people are discovering their favorite places to eat and drink nearby, which include the Kid Rock’s Made in Detroit, Mike’s Pizza Bar and Sports & Social Detroit.
Soccer fans catching a random match downtown: Skip the fruit and vegetable stands on Saturday morning in Eastern Market, and head to Thomas Magee’s Sporting House and Whiskey Bar, near the Gratiot Street meat market.
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