I get that Detroit may not top many people’s list of summer travel destinations and that’s too bad. Detroit has a very rich history and I have so many fond memories of my time living there.
This is home. I grew up in St. Clair Shores so I am from the east side (as we say). Growing up in Michigan meant dealing with harsh winters (never fun, and yes – all the snow from last winter has melted). Given that I was home for graduation, I found myself reflecting on the friends and experiences I had while I was growing up and while I was going to school. Thanks to my dear mom, there were plenty of pictures on hand to help us reminisce.
While I was home, I was eager to retrace my steps and visit some of the places that I used to frequent.
Downtown Detroit is about a 20-minute drive for me when traffic or construction doesn’t slow me down. I couldn’t help but feel how the downtown area has come alive. The Little Caesars Arena is nearing completion and will be home to the Red Wings and Pistons. As of this fall, all of Detroit’s major sports team will play their home games downtown so restaurants, bars and other shops are thriving.
I was lucky to be able to take in a Tigers game at Comerica Park. Even if you’re not a baseball fan, the atmosphere at the stadium is great and worth checking out. I mean, it doesn’t get much better than spending a summer afternoon having peanuts and a cold beer (ok, and a pretzel too) while being surrounded by a bunch of cheering fans.
After the game, I ventured over to the area of MacDougal Street that’s known as the Heidelberg Project. The Heidelberg Project is an outdoor modern art gallery that was created on the streets of a once impoverished inner-city neighborhood. My description of it pales when compared to the actual experience of seeing it – it’s literally a street full of junk (but artistically composed). There’s a lot to take in to say the least. I was instantly drawn to an exhibit comprised of old toys and found a hula-hoop too tempting. I don’t recommend doing this as I don’t think the artist intended for it to be interactive – whoops!!!
If I could take someone to only one place downtown, it would be to The Whitney. The Whitney is a mansion built in the 1890’s that was home to Detroit’s wealthiest family and has since been preserved and converted to a fine restaurant. To celebrate my graduation, I was treated to a lovely dinner (I had a wonderful filet with a bottle of red). The food and the atmosphere combined made it a very special evening. After dinner I took a tour and ended up having a drink at the Ghost Bar on the third floor. The Whitney is a can’t miss for any special occasion or just a night out away from the ordinary. When you make your reservation be sure to ask if a tour is available – getting reacquainted with the history of the home enriched the entire experience for me.
Now if you’ve gotten to this point in the post, you’ve undoubtedly picked up on the fact that I am a foodie (in other words, much of what I do revolves around food). Keeping true to this, here’s a list of some of my other favorite places to eat:
- Jets Pizza – The best ranch dressing anywhere
- Nautical Deli – Try the turkey reuben
- Shores Inn – A great hang out in St. Clair Shores (open till 2:00AM!)
- The Atwater Brewery – A Grosse Pointe micro brewery that’s built in an old church
- Mr. Paul’s Chophouse – Try the table-side Caesar
I’m very proud to say Detroit will always be home and it will always be a very big part of who I am.