101 Things Every Detroiter Should Do

Including Some Helpful 'How-To' Hints



Published:

(page 1 of 7)

Whether you live south of Eight Mile or commute in from an outer-ring suburb, you’re a Detroiter at heart, right? Next time you're strapped for something to do — or if you have out-of-town visitors looking for a quintessential "Motown" experience — keep this handy guide in mind. While every little thing on our list might not be up your alley, there's a little something for everyone. We included the tried-and-true-but-still-awesome (Tigers Opening Day and the Detroit Zoo). We also put in a few slightly obscure, "insider-only" attractions and events (Hamtramck Disneyland and Detroit Soup fundraisers). Along the way, we'll show you how to fist-bump Joe Louis, point out a few dos and don'ts of fishing, and much, much more. Just don't let us catch you sounding like a summertime teen complaining, "There's nothing to do."

001

Say Goodbye to 'The Joe'
Sure, the outside steps are a pain — and let's not even talk about the long bathroom lines. Now that there's a proposed new hockey arena in the works, it's better to remember the good times — the Red Wings' unprecedented playoff streak, the Stanley Cups, heck, even "Mo Cheese."
Detroit
redwings.nhl.com

002

Complain About the Lions
Well, at least they got the building right (see "The Joe" above). The Lions still pack 'em in at Ford Field, even though it's been decades since they were champions. But hope springs eternal. Plus there's a lot of traditions — tailgating in Eastern Market, Thanksgiving Day games, and yes, heckling the team when they don't perform up to expectations.
Detroit
detroitlions.com

003

Give the Pistons Another Chance
Sure, the past few seasons have been a bit dicey, and the dwindling crowds have reflected the team's performance. But owner Tom Gores and Co. are making strides to make sure that "Deeeetroit basketball" is relevant again.
Auburn Hills
pistons.com

004

Get Cultured at the Detroit Film Theatre
Cinema buffs can find a sophisticated lineup of contemporary and classic art films inside the Detroit Institute of Arts at the longstanding Detroit Film Theatre. Moviegoers can sign up to serve as volunteer ushers or join the hundreds of patrons who've purchased a tax-deductible seat dedication, starting at $500.
Detroit
5200 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-7900. dia.org

005

Do Woodward Justice
The namesake of Michigan's first chief justice, Woodward Avenue would soon become America's first paved road. And there's no better way to appreciate its grandeur than from the private rooftop of the historic Park Shelton in Midtown. Get to know someone who lives or works in the building. It's the best-kept view in town.
Detroit
theparkshelton.com


Photograph by Justin Maconochie

006

Make It a Date Night at the DIA
A Bloomberg journalist recently suggested that the DIA's art would be better appreciated in a city like Los Angeles. We just think she's jealous. The collections at the Detroit Institute of Arts are indeed priceless. But may we suggest taking it all in at least once with an unexpected happy hour/dinner date at the newly redesigned Kresge Court? Picasso, Matisse, Rivera, et al., may be more appreciated when accompanied by a good glass of wine and some exciting new food options.
Detroit

dia.org

007

Get Lost in a Good Book
John K. King Used and Rare Books on Lafayette is an emporium of literary works — and Michigan's largest bookstore. Spend a day exploring its vast array of titles and getting lost amid its towering stacks.
Detroit
rarebooklink.com

008

Park in History
The former location of the Michigan Theater, the beautifully ornate Michigan Building now caters to the needs of those looking for an interesting place to park. The building was the backdrop of some scenes in Eminem's Detroit classic 8 Mile.
Detroit
220 Bagley

009

Catch a Race at Belle Isle
From the ear-pleasing sounds of hydroplanes during the APBA Gold Cup to the roar of the revived Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, there are plenty of thrills for fans of fast.
Detroit
detroitgp.com; gold-cup.com

010

Take a Walk on the Wild Side
When you hear the word zoo, you don't automatically think of romance. But the Detroit Zoo is a great place to take your loved one. Go on a zoo date, explore how animals show their love, ride the train, make a wish in the bear fountain, eat fried food, and meet some of the crazy creatures featured in Hour Detroit's Animal Attraction series. Visit the zoo's website to see how you can make the day more special, with experiences like "Mingle With the Macaronis (penguins)" "Breakfast with the Giraffes," and more.
Royal Oak
detroitzoo.org


Photograph by Justin Maconochie
 

011

Love a Parade!
You never know what the weather will be like … but you should consider getting off the couch at least once and witness America's Thanksgiving Parade
in person. After all, it's one of the country's oldest and most celebrated events. But if you insist on babysitting your turkey dinner or have Lions tickets, the parade is broadcast on WDIV Local 4.
Detroit
theparade.org


Photograph by Justin Maconochie

012

Get Haunted at the Whitney
You can either dine with your friends at the Whitney, or you can dine with its ghosts, too. The famously haunted Detroit residence-turned-restaurant is hosting haunted dinners and haunted high teas with Detroit psychic and medium Kristy Robinett. It's a ghostly way to learn all the dark stories behind this historic mansion on Woodward Avenue.
Detroit
Visit kristyrobinett.com for the schedule; call the Whitney for reservations: 313-832-5700


Illustration by Headcase Design

013

Get a Bead on Africa
Don't start packing your suitcase yet — when you pay a visit to Detroit's African Bead Museum, you just might feel like you've landed in Africa. Olayami Dabis, the museum's curator, fine artist, and historian, shares her unique African experience with Detroiters, without the high price of a plane ticket.
Detroit
mbad.org

014

Pick a Pack of Perfect Paczkis
French for "Fat Tuesday," Mardi Gras takes place every year on the day before Lent. In New Orleans, streets are filled with costumed revelers. In Hamtramck, it's a longstanding tradition on Fat Tuesday to wait in long lines as neighborhood bakeries churn out thousands of the mouthwatering jelly-filled treats known as paczkis ("punch-keys"). Be an office hero and bring in a few dozen, then sit back and enjoy as your Catholic and non-Catholic co-workers praise (or curse) you for providing the tasty temptations.
Hamtramck
multiple locations

015

Cheer on a Derby Girl
The Motor City Disassembly Line, the Motown Wreckers, the D-Funk All Stars, and the Detroit Pistoffs. These cleverly constructed Detroit spinoffs are just a few of our local roller derby teams in the city, a sporting event that's a bit more underground than your typical professional ballgame.
Detroit
detroitrollerderby.com


Photograph by Cybelle Codish

Edit Module
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

A New Page

Approaching 70, Bob Seger is on the road again with the Silver Bullet Band to support his popular recent release

Solid Gold

Pawn shop turned farmstead-cuisine restaurant feels like home sweet home

Macomb's Irish Legacy

Exploring the story behind a familiar statue, and why the man had a Michigan county named after him

2015 Hour Detroit Restaurant Of The Year

Torino chef Garrett Lipar’s tasting menus take guests on expertly paced and emotional culinary adventures

Power Couple— 1930s Style

Multimillion-dollar DIA exhibit explores Detroit’s influence on iconic Mexican artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. Atwater Brewery Success Pushes Expansion Plans for 2015
    Record sales for 2014 enable Southeast Michigan’s largest brewery to boost production
  2. Corktown Welcomes Two New Breweries
    Brew Detroit and Batch Brewing Company open their doors
  3. Winter Beer Festival and Beer Fest Boot Camp
    2 great ways to enjoy Michigan beer outdoors in the winter
  4. Size Matters?
    Large-format bottles provoke awe, provide ageability
  5. A League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
    We asked some far-from-regular guys from metro Detroit to guest star as models for our fashion...
  6. More Than Half Full
    Michigan craft brewing industry growth is good for beer lovers and the economy
  7. Dining Like Diego
    Local Mexican chefs to take on Frida Kahlo’s recipes as side dish to DIA and MOT events
  8. 2015 Restaurant of the Year
    Torino chef Garrett Lipar’s tasting menus take guests on expertly paced and emotional culinary...
  9. 2015 Winter Beer Festival Recap
    The cold presented some challenges, but the breweries rose to the occasion
  10. Coming Home
    John Varvatos has opened high-profile boutiques from LA to London, but perhaps no location means...