Travel Tips North America

A Weekend in Detroit: What To Do in Detroit, Michigan

This is a decorative detroit street sign.

Along the shores of the Detroit River, Detroit, Michigan, also known as the Motor City, is a city with a rich history, vibrant culture, and a blossoming arts scene. Planning a weekend getaway to Detroit promises a mix of exciting activities, delicious cuisine, and unique experiences. In this guide, we’ll explore the best places to eat, the top things to do, and where to stay for an unforgettable weekend in Detroit.

detroit sign

Where to Stay For a Weekend in Detroit, Michigan:

Detroit offers a wide range of accommodation options to suit every traveler’s preferences. For those seeking something luxurious, The Detroit Foundation Hotel, housed in the former Detroit Fire Department Headquarters, offers a unique blend of history and modern amenities. The hotel’s elegant rooms and proximity to downtown attractions make it an excellent choice for a weekend stay.

If you prefer a boutique experience, Aloft Detroit at The David Whitney is situated in the historic David Whitney Building and provides a stylish, contemporary atmosphere. Its central location to downtown ensures easy access to popular Detroit destinations.

For a more budget-friendly option with a retro twist, the Detroit Hostel in the vibrant Corktown neighborhood offers a welcoming atmosphere and a chance to connect with fellow travelers. With its quirky décor and communal spaces, it provides an affordable and memorable stay.

david whitney building in detroit
The David Whitney Building Interior! “20190812 84 Aloft Detroit at The David Whitney” by davidwilson1949 is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Places to Eat During Your Weekend in Detroit:

Detroit’s culinary scene has undergone a remarkable transformation in recent years! The city is now home to an array of dining options that cater to diverse tastes.

  1. Detroit Vegan Soul: Start your day with a healthy and delicious breakfast at Detroit Vegan Soul. This restaurant, with locations in both West Village and Grandmont-Rosedale, offers plant-based food that is both flavorful and satisfying. From tofu scrambles to sweet-potato pancakes, their menu offers a wide variety of vegan cuisine.
  2. Slows Bar BBQ: For a hearty lunch, head to Slows Bar BQ in Corktown. Known for its mouthwatering barbecue dishes, Slows is a Detroit institution. The smoked meats, including ribs, brisket, and pulled pork, are complemented by a variety of delectable sides. The laid-back atmosphere and extensive beer selection make it a perfect spot to relax and taste test their many meat and sauce options!
  3. Townhouse Detroit: For an elegant dinner experience, visit Townhouse Detroit in the heart of downtown. This chic eatery offers a diverse menu with options ranging from wood-fired pizzas to seafood and steaks. The stylish ambiance and rooftop seating provide a beautiful setting for a memorable evening.
  4. Astoria Pastry Shop: Don’t forget to satisfy your sweet tooth at Astoria Pastry Shop in Greektown. This family-owned bakery has been serving delectable pastries and desserts for decades. From baklava to cannoli, they have an after-dinner dessert for everyone!

Top Things to Do in Detroit:

Detroit is a city bursting with cultural attractions, historical landmarks, and entertainment options. If you’re looking for museums, aquariums, and more to do during your weekend in Detroit, take a look below at the large array the city has to offer! Here are some top museums to visit during your weekend getaway:

Learn Something New at Detroit’s Many Museum Options:

  1. Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA): Visit the Detroit Institute of Arts! Home to an impressive collection of over 65,000 artworks, it includes pieces by renowned artists such as Van Gogh and Diego Rivera. The DIA offers a fascinating journey through the world of art. Be sure to check their schedule for special exhibitions, events, and hours of operation!
  2. Motown Museum: Immerse yourself in the rich musical history of Detroit by visiting the Motown Museum. Located in the house where Berry Gordy Jr. founded Motown Records, this museum showcases the legendary recording studio and the iconic artists who recorded there, such as Stevie Wonder and The Supremes.
  3. Detroit Historical Museum: Gain insight into Detroit’s past at the Detroit Historical Museum. From the city’s role in the automotive industry to its influence on music and culture, this museum offers a complete look at Detroit’s history. Interactive exhibits and artifacts provide an engaging experience for visitors of all ages. Be sure to check out their website for up-to-date information on hours and exhibits!
  4. Detroit Science Center (Michigan Science Center): If you’re traveling with family, the Detroit Science Center, or Michigan Science Center, is a must-visit. With interactive exhibits, planetarium shows, and hands-on activities, it’s an educational and entertaining destination for both children and adults.
  5. Detroit Belle Isle Aquarium and Belle Isle Park: Explore the Belle Isle Park, a 982-acre island park in the Detroit River. Visit the Belle Isle Aquarium, the oldest public aquarium in the country, and discover a diverse array of aquatic life. The island also features a conservatory, a zoo, and ample green spaces for picnics and outdoor activities in the summer.

Explore Detroit’s City Culture:

Looking for more of what to do in Detroit during your weekend stay? Be sure to stop by the local parks and markets to truly get the feel for the culture of the city. Explore below:

  1. Eastern Market: Dive into Detroit’s vibrant local scene by spending a Saturday morning at Eastern Market. This historic market, one of the oldest and largest in the country, is a hub of fresh produce, artisanal goods, and local artwork. Wander through the market, sample delicious treats, and soak in the lively atmosphere and culture of the city!
  2. Detroit Riverwalk: Enjoy the scenic beauty of the Detroit River by strolling along the Detroit Riverwalk. This waterfront promenade offers stunning views of the river and the skyline. Take a leisurely walk, rent a bike, or simply relax on the benches while enjoying the serene atmosphere.
detroit skyline

Have Some Fun With Detroit, Michigan’s Extensive Nightlife

  • Detroit Casinos: If you’re feeling lucky, try your hand at one of Detroit’s casinos. MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity Casino Hotel, and Greektown Casino-Hotel all offer a thrilling gaming experience. Each offer their own options for entertainment, dining, and nightlife options as well! So, be sure to check out their websites for accurate scheduling.
  • Motor City Night Ghost Tour: Explore the historic mansion, The Whitney, which was designed and constructed by Detroit Millionaire David Whitney. 1 Hour Duration with a Local Tour Guide
Detroit nightlife

Nightlife Hot Spots By Detroit Area:

  • If You’re In Downtown Detroit:
    • Check out Greektown: Known for its restaurants, bars, and the Greektown Casino. It’s a lively area with a mix of nightlife options.
    • Downtown Bars: Explore various bars and clubs in the heart of downtown, such as The Skip, Standby, and Deluxx Fluxx.
  • If You’re In Midtown:
    • Cass Corridor: Home to a range of bars and music venues, including the renowned Magic Stick and The Old Miami.
    • Selden Standard: A popular restaurant with a great cocktail menu.
  • If You’re In Royal Oak:
    • Royal Oak Music Theatre: A historic venue hosting concerts and events. Check out their website for a full schedule!
    • Main Street Bars: Numerous bars and pubs along Main Street provide a lively nightlife experience.
  • Looking to journey a bit further? If you’re wanting to venture out of the city for different experience, be sure to cross the Ambassador Bridge and visit Windsor, Ontario! A quaint town with tons of culture and things to do, read more on our complete guide, “Things to Do in Windsor Ontario”!
downtown detroit

In conclusion, a weekend in Detroit offers a perfect blend of culture, history, and culinary delights. From exploring world-class museums to top restaurants, the city provides a diverse range of experiences for every type of traveler. Whether you choose to immerse yourself in the arts, indulge in delicious cuisine, or simply enjoy the scenic beauty along the river, a weekend in Detroit is sure to leave you with lasting memories. So, pack your bags and get ready to discover the charm of the Motor City.

FAQ’s For A Weekend in Detroit, MI

  • Is Detroit safe for travelers? The major areas of Detroit mentioned above are relatively safe. As with any large city, always stay vigilant and be aware of your surroundings; especially after dark.
  • Is it easy to find parking? Many hotels offer parking or validate parking, but the city also has a variety of parking garages and other pay-to-park options.
  • Do I need to book accommodation ahead of time? As with any travel, it’s always advisable to book ahead of time with hotels, restaurants, and other activities to ensure your spot!

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