Why You Should Spend a Day in Oakland

Modified: March 06, 2018 | Story by Heidi Tiano | Photos by Bill Bowen

Metro Detroit has its own O.C.: Oakland County. With premier shopping, amazing restaurants and plenty of culture, it’s a great place to spend a day.

Here’s an itinerary of possible activities for your next trip to Michigan’s second most populated county — though be warned, a day will only give you a glimpse into all its cities have to offer.



Start your day by fueling up with a hearty breakfast at the popular Rochester Brunch House – if you’re early, you can avoid the wait. Afterward, stroll around the many shops in the downtown Rochester district or head to the Rochester Municipal Park (affectionately called Duck Park by locals because of the plentiful waterfowl) to burn off your eggs benedict.

Afterward, book a tour at the nearby historic Meadow Brook Hall on the grounds of Oakland University. Built by automotive aristocrat Matilda Dodge Watson, its Tudor-revival architecture can enjoyed from the inside and or impressive grounds.


If shopping is your cup of tea, you could spend hours at the upscale Somerset Collection in Troy with its 180 stores. There are tons of food options for lunch inside the mall, or check out one of the restaurants dotting Big Beaver Road. Recently opened not far from the mall is Crispelli’s Bakery & Pizzeria, known for its wood-fired thin-crust pies in a casual sit-down setting or, if you’re in a hurry, an on-the-go quick order bar.

If it’s boutique shopping you prefer over big brands, skip the mall and visit some of the many shops in downtown Birmingham, such as Dolce Moda or Paper Source. For lunch, try Social Kitchen and Bar or Griffin Claw Brewing Company.

Just down the road in Royal Oak, the 125-acre Detroit Zoo is a must see when you’re visiting the area. Its naturalistic habitats are home to 2,400 animals ”“ including the spectacular new Polk Penguin Conservation Center, the world’s largest penguin facility.


When the sun dips low, Ferndale offers plenty of options for dining and entertainment. On weekend evenings, check out the Rust Belt Market for unique gifts and original artwork in a market setting. You can also take in a show at Go Comedy! Improv or sample a new cocktail at Valentine Distilling Co. For dinner or late-night snacks, grab tacos at Imperial Bar or a Pork Belly Cuban and craft beer at One-Eyed Betty’s, and then finish off the day with a dessert beverage from The Detroit Bubble Tea Company.


Read more about Detroit places to visit.

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Mentioned Attractions And Venues

  1. 1
    Downtown Rochester
    308 Main St., Rochester, MI 48307
  2. 2
    Somerset Collection
    2800 W. Big Beaver Road, Troy, MI 48084
  3. 3
    Birmingham Principal Shopping District
    151 Martin St., Birmingham, MI 48009
  4. 4
    Detroit Zoo
    8450 W. 10 Mile Road, Royal Oak, MI 48067
  5. 5
    Downtown Ferndale
    300 E. 9 Mile Road, Ferndale, MI 48220