Editor’s Letter: Best of Detroit 2024

Hour Detroit’s editor-in-chief discusses this year’s Best of Detroit feature and our staff offers up some of their favorite memories of the last year, including an Ed Sheeran concert.
What was your best metro Detroit experience of the year? Hour's David Benvenuto's was meeting Ed Sheeran.

I think it’s only fitting that the Best of Detroit issue is published in June.

For us, it feels like the end of a school year, where you ask friends to write in your yearbook and there’s a big graduation party when it’s all done.

Kate Walsh // Photograph by Brad Ziegler
Kate Walsh // Photograph by Brad Ziegler

In this case, the Best of Detroit celebration on June 28 is the party, the Best of Detroit feature with the results of our readers’ ballot is the yearbook, and this column is the place for the friends (our staff) to “sign the page” with their top memories of the past 12 months.

Here is some of the fun stuff we were up to:

“My family and I attended the Purdue vs. Tennessee game during the NCAA men’s Elite Eight basketball tournament at Little Caesars Arena. The atmosphere was electric. Being inside the arena surrounded by students and bands from both schools, plus other passionate fans from Detroit and elsewhere, was an amazing and unforgettable experience.”

— Geri Wilson, audience development director

“A highlight for me was tailgating at Eastern Market for the Lions’ playoff game against the Rams and Matthew Stafford in minus 15-degree weather, followed by a “winner winner chicken dinner” at Penny Red’s. The cold couldn’t stop Detroit!”

— Aubrey Kapala, account executive

“On one of the first warm days this year, my girlfriend and I went to the Detroit Zoo and then afterwards to Ray’s Ice Cream. It was just perfect.”

— Jack Thomas, associate editor

“In November, my boyfriend and I saw comedian Hasan Minhaj at the Fox Theatre. I was so happy to finally watch him live!”

— Juliana Lumaj, editorial assistant

“I was at my very first indoor opening day tailgate party within the beautiful Detroit Music Hall and, to my amazement, found they had the rooftop permanently set up for outdoor parties. I was enthralled by the view from that vantage point. It was certainly a sight to behold and definitely a unique space to experience the Tigers’ opening day.”

— Cathleen Francois, marketing adviser

“Last summer, in select cities, Ed Sheeran played some small-venue acoustic set shows during his worldwide stadium tour. In Detroit, one was held at the Royal Oak Music Theatre the day before his Ford Field show. I live in Royal Oak, so I figured, ‘Let me go down there and see what all the fuss is about.’ Within just a few minutes of my arriving at the venue, multiple large SUVs pulled up, and out jumped Ed! He took my phone and snapped a selfie with me! He was extremely kind and humble. There was hardly anyone else around; it was a magical moment.”

—David Benvenuto, senior circulation marketing coordinator

OK, it’s really hard to top David’s highlight, but the NFL Draft was up there for me. I attended the first day’s events with Hour’s director of digital strategy, Travis Cleveland, and the second with my brother, Kevin. We were all grinning with pride to see Detroit successfully host such a huge event and to view people of all ages from everywhere in the country appreciating the city the way we do.

To see what our readers picked as their favorite places and people in metro Detroit, click here. I hope your personal faves made the cut.

This story originally appeared in the June 2024 issue of Hour Detroit magazine. To read more, pick up a copy of Hour Detroit at a local retail outlet. Our digital editionwill be available on June 6.