101 Things Every Detroiter Must Do
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81 Hang Out at the Heidelberg
Tyree Guyton's world-famous wild urban art has a history as controversial as his work is creative. But his transformation of urban decay on Detroit's east side, known for its signature polka dots, has survived everything from a mayoral demolition to money woes. It may not be as big as it once was, but the colorful project still impresses more than 275,000 visitors a year (many from Europe) and now includes a nonprofit arts program. Arrive at the right time and you can meet the artist himself. Heidelberg St.; 313-267-1622, www.heidelberg.org.
82 Dig In at the Red Coat
Okay, so there is some chicken and a few salads on the menu at the Red Coat Tavern in Royal Oak, but true Detroiters know they're really not an option. When your eyes adjust to the dark (some say dingy), red light, the only thing to read - and debate - is toppings for the tavern's half-pound hamburgers. One bite and you'll join the thousands who, in every "Best of Detroit" poll, vote this number one. Don't forget the fries. 31542 Woodward; 248-549-0300.
83 Order a Margarita at Agave
Taking its name from the plant that is the root of tequila, Agave serves up more than 60 brands of the liquor - and margaritas like you've never seen, or tasted. Order an apple-tinged "Teacher's Pet" at the super-sleek bar, and enjoy what happens when salt is replaced with cinnamon and sugar. Don't forget to eat. Agave's food has received rave reviews from The New York Times and Gourmet magazine. 4265 Woodward; 313-833-1120, www.agavedetroit.com.
84 Be a Star at Royal Kubo
Before karaoke became as popular as shooting pool, the Royal Kubo was helping delusional Detroiters belt out the tunes in a strip mall in Oak Park. It still is. Don't try to become the next Clay Aiken until you warble at The Kubo. 25234 Greenfield; 248-968-7550.
85 Have a Burger and Beer at Nemo's
Baseball may no longer be a tradition at Michigan and Trumbull, but this longtime Detroit bar certainly is. The Tigers may have moved to the opposite side of downtown, but Nemo's is still a required game-day stop for many fans. It's also a popular locale for hockey nuts, both fans and players. This was the Wings' first stop in 1997, after they won the Stanley Cup - with Lord Stanley in tow. But sports isn't Nemo's only draw. Plenty of business types sneak here for a burger lunch, and its bash during the St. Patrick's Day parade is outrageous. 1384 Michigan Ave.; 313-965-2633.
86 Crack Up at Mark Ridley's
When Detroiters want a laugh, there's one man in town who always delivers. Mark Ridley has had folks howling for years at his Comedy Castle in Royal Oak. The lobby's amazing wall of fame is proof that Ridley's microphone is a magnet for America's biggest comedians. You'll find famous funny faces here Thursday through Saturday nights. Be entertained on Tuesdays with "Totally Unrehearsed Theater," and see rising stars at Wednesday's open mike night. It's where Tim Allen got his start. Seriously. 269 E. Fourth St.; 248-542-9900, www.comedycastle.com.
87 Split a Sandwich at Zingerman's
Fact: Your eyes will be bigger than your appetite at Zingerman's Delicatessen in Ann Arbor, which has been dazzling customers for 23 years. Once you answer the question, "Nosher or Fresser?" (Yiddish for "small eater or big eater") pick from a list of more than 60 sandwiches loaded with gourmet options, including free-range chicken fresh from Amish farmers in Indiana. The lines are often long, so it's wise to call in your order (734-663-3354). If you forget to call and don't want to wait, there just might be a pay phone outside the front door. (You didn't hear it here.) 422 Detroit St., www.zingermans.com.
88 Hike Through Old Detroit
To see one of the biggest draws at the Detroit Historical Museum, head downstairs to "The Streets of Old Detroit." The full-sizere-creation of shops and scenes spans the life of the city and is so realistic, you'll swear horses are lurking around the corner. Watch your step as you move through the exhibit. Detroit once had streets made of cobblestone and logs, and they've been rebuilt here for you. 5401 Woodward; 313-833-1805, www.detroithistorical.org.
89 Check Out Historic Homes
In some cities, people invite only friends over to the house. In Detroit's historic districts, residents throw open their doors for everyone. To see some of the best residential architecture in the Midwest, take a tour. The Indian Village Home & Garden Tour (313-922-1736) and North Rosedale Park Home and Garden Tour (313-653-2885) are among the most popular. But you'll also be impressed by homes in Corktown (313-962-5660) and in Palmer Woods (313-892-7384), especially around the holidays.
90 Get Jazzy
For 25 years, many of the biggest names in jazz - from Tito Puente to Diane Schuur - have had a date in Detroit on Labor Day weekend. The Detroit International Jazz Festival is one of the nation's great free festivals - and also among the most endangered. Gretchen Valade, owner of Mack Avenue Records, shelled out $250,000 to keep the cash-strapped festival going in 2005. Swing by Hart Plaza this year to show your support, and the need to keep this tradition alive. 313-963-2366, www.detroitjazzfest.com.
91 See Out-There Art
To experience Detroit's innovative and vibrant art scene, get off the beaten path and hit some of the city's avant-garde galleries. Up-and-coming spots include 4731 Gallery (313-894-4731) and the 555 Gallery/Studio on Grand River (313-894-4202), 101up Gallery on Second (313-415-6364) and Primary Space Gallery (313-870-9470) in Hamtramck. For established favorites, drop by C-Pop (313-833-9901), Johanson Charles (313-586-9499) and Tangent (313-873-2955). Hit the right spot on the right night and enjoy a great party, along with edgy art.
92 Slip Away
For a quick getaway, head to Bloomfield Hills and vanish in the 315-acre (and National Historic Landmark) campus that is Cranbrook. The centerpiece is the House & Gardens (380 Lone Pine Rd.; 248-645-3147). Tour the manor-style home to see early 1900s craftsmanship, then explore the grounds for stunning flora and fauna. Keep walking and you'll find the Art Museum's (39221 Woodward; 248-645-3323) outdoor sculpture and architecture. It's a great place to teach kids Detroiters do more than make cars.
93 Be Stylish at the Charity Preview
Two things Detroiters are known for - automobiles and philanthropy - come together for one magical night each January at Cobo. The North American International Auto Show Charity Preview is one of the world's biggest fundraising events, drawing 17,500 people. Many are rich and famous, but others are just clever and able to score a $400 ticket. The event is always sold out, so start networking for a ticket now. You're guaranteed a memorable night mingling with a great-looking crowd and sipping champagne in the most fashionable of evening attire. 248-643-0250, www.naias.com.
94 Go See a Show
Next to New York, Detroit has the most theater seats of any city east of the Mississippi - and many are a great place to park yourself for a musical. The Masonic Temple (500 Temple; 313-832-2232), the Fisher Theatre (3011 W. Grand Blvd.; 313-872-1000) and the Gem Theater (333 Madison; 313-963-9800) are three of the finest venues to catch the latest touring show from Broadway or an up-and-coming production.
95 Enjoy a Sunset on the Lake
The evening view over Lake St. Clair is proof that sometimes the best things in life are free. If you're not on a boat, the best seat can be found at one of the many bars and restaurants that line the water (and face west). If you're hard-core, watch the sun rise over the lake, and then haul to Pinery Provincial Park in Ontario (519-243-2220) for sunset. Either way, watch out for mayfly season, when swarms of the airborne bugs make the east side look like The Day of the Locust.
96 Stuff Yourself at TasteFest
Detroit's biggest block party happens every year, for five days around the Fourth of July. With more than 40 restaurants dishing up the finest local eats, bars serving big drinks and dozens of bands playing on four stages, it's no wonder more than 500,000 people make the trek to Detroit's New Center for Comerica TasteFest. Last year, the crowd polished off 13,200 ribs and a ton of potato chips. Come hungry, and leave the "fat city" jokes at home. 313-872-0188, www.newcenter.com.
97 Get Lucky Downtown
You can't exactly say, "What happens in Detroit stays in Detroit," but locals who are feeling lucky have three big reasons not to catch a plane to Vegas. Greektown (555 E. Lafayette; 888-771-4386), MGM Grand Detroit (1300 John C. Lodge; 877-888-2121) and MotorCity (2901 Grand River; 877-777-0711) offer every game imaginable. Card games, including all varieties of poker, are plentiful, and each casino has more than 2,000 slot machines - not to mention great restaurants. To stretch your gambling dollar, venture across the river to Casino Windsor.
98 Drop a Quarter at a Bar
The discriminating musical tastes of Detroiters may be most evident in the jukeboxes of local bars. Best bets to drop a quarter include: Gusoline Alley in Royal Oak (309 S. Center St.; 248-545-2235), the Bronx Bar in Midtown (4476 Second; 313-832-8464) and Bert's Marketplace in Eastern Market (2727 Russell; 313-567-2030). You may have to wait an hour for your song, but that's another story.
99 Tap Your Toes with the DSO
For one of the classiest nights you'll ever have in Detroit, grab a loved one and luxuriate in the sounds of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. You need not be a fine-music buff to enjoy the DSO's selection of classical, pops and jazz. The acoustics in Orchestra Hall are among the world's finest - as are the sounds in the 450-seat Music Box, part of the stunning new Max M. Fisher Music Center. Its lobby alone merits applause. 3711 Woodward; 313-576-5111, www.detroitsymphony.com.
100 Watch Your Neighbors
As further proof that Detroiters dig the spotlight, at least 21 community theater groups perform across the area. Stagecrafters of Royal Oak (248-541-6430) is gearing up for The Music Man and Ragtime at the 83-year-old Baldwin Theatre; The Farmington Players (248-553-2955) will do The Taming of the Shrew; and the Players Guild of Dearborn (313-561-8587) is bringing back Man of La Mancha. If you dream the impossible dream, go audition. Or at least cheer for your neighbors.
101 Act Like a Kid
No experiment is needed to prove this: When adults visit the New Detroit Science Center, they're as giddy as the children in tow. Bring the family to enjoy hands-on exhibits and experiments, an awe-inspiring planetarium - and Michigan's only IMAX Dome Theatre. Buy a ticket to see Forces of Nature. 5020 John R; 313-577-8400, www.detroitsciencecenter.org.
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