Downtown Detroit has some great new businesses and restaurants along with some that have been there for many years. On my recent trip I stayed downtown and loved being able to walk to many great restaurants for dinner in the evening. There are many options for you to enjoy sporting events as well as for theater, music and performing arts. There are a number of excellent new hotel options as well as historic architecture.
My top finds include:
John K. King Used & Rare Books: Located in an old warehouse just west of downtown, this is a huge, four level store, with an amazing assortment of used and rare books. Make sure to get a map at the front desk when you arrive, in order to help you navigate the maze of books. 901 W. Lafayette Blvd.
The Guardian Building: This is a National Historic Landmark, at 500 Griswold St. Built in 1929, it was originally called the Union Trust Building and was known for its stunning art deco-architecture. The interior is well-worth the visit, as more than 40 artisans worked on the structure’s painted murals and ceilings, intricate tile work, mosaic and stained glass, marble fixtures, and vaulted lobby.
Parker’s Alley: The Shinola Hotel Parker’s Alley has a number of shops, cafes and restaurants to explore. I enjoyed going to Madcap Coffee twice. The Shinola store is excellent for leather goods and watches. There is also The Brakeman, an American beer hall featuring craft beers from the Midwest while serving up fried chicken from neighboring Penny Red’s
Good restaurants to try include:
Vicente’s Cuban Cuisine is a restaurant which brings the best in Cuban cuisine and signature cocktails to Detroit. They also feature salsa dancing, jazz concerts and cooking classes. I enjoyed the atmosphere and the food. I had the zarzuela de Mariscos which is dish of shrimp, scallops, calamari and mussels sautéed with onions, peppers and mushrooms. It is flambéed with Spanish brandy and simmered in a zesty tomato broth, then served with white rice and sweet plantains. I also enjoyed a yummy flan for dessert. 1250 Library St.
I also enjoyed my dinner at Leila, a contemporary downtown restaurant serving Lebanese staples such as falafel, meat dishes and hummus, plus creative cocktails. I reall liked he the baba ganoush along with Kafta or lamb kebabs. 1245 Griswold St.
Also, make sure to visit Cannelle for French breads, croissants, fruit tarts and pastries. You can also enjoy soups, salads and coffee drinks. I loved their macarons. I have also enjoyed their Ann Arbor location.
Detroit Beer Company: Located in the historic Hartz Building, this is a gastropub featuring a selection of seven to nine of their beers along with others. 1529 Broadway St.
Other spots getting good press and reviews include:
Wright & Company: At 1500 Woodward Ave., Wright & Company gets great reviews as one of the best restaurants in town. It features seasonal, small plates and craft cocktails. Co-owner and chef Marc Djozlija was nominated for a James Beard award in the Best Chef – Great Lakes Region category in 2015.
Roasting Plant Coffee, 660 Woodward Ave: This is considered one of the best coffee shops in town.
Cliff Bell’s Supper Club: This was a famous supper club opened in 1935 by Cliff Bell. He ran it until 1958. It operated until 1985 under different names and then closed. It was reopened in 2005 under new ownership. 2030 Park Ave.
There are number of cultural venues to visit downtown. These include:
The Carr Center: The Carr Center is a multi-disciplinary arts organization with a focus on African American performances, visual art, film and youth education. 15 E. Kirby St.
Detroit Opera House: Here you can see performances by the Detroit Opera along with musical theater an dance.1526 Broadway St.
Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts is a venue for Broadway musicals, dance, theater and jazz performances at their Aretha’s Jazz Cafe. 350 Madison St.
Fox Theatre: The Fox Theatre is a performing arts center located at 2211 Woodward Avenue in Downtown Detroit. Opened in 1928 as a flagship movie palace in the Fox Theatres chain, it was at over 5,000 seats the largest theater in the city.
Many Motown artists performed on stage in the 1960’s including The Temptations, The Supremes and Smokey Robinson. Today you can attend music events, theater and musicals.
Fisher Theater – Broadway in Detroit: The Fisher Theatre from 1928 was a movie and vaudeville house. Today it hosts performances of touring companies of Broadway plays and musicals. Performances are also held in the Detroit Opera House and the Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts mentioned above. 3011 W. Grand Blvd.