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Old 11-11-2014, 10:06 PM
Location: Bay View, Milwaukee
2,169 posts, read 4,195,479 times
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Hello All,

We're visiting Detroit for a few days this week, and figured I'd fish for info and recommendations beyond what I've found on the threads here and elsewhere. The primary purpose of the visit is a conference (most of the day Saturday and Sunday morning), but we hope to see some sights while we're at it.

We plan to visit the Institute of Art, the Eastern Market, and various other points Downtown or Midtown (historical buildings, neighborhoods like Greektown). The American and Lafayette Coney stops are on the itinerary, as is Slows BBQ. We also plan to see Belle Isle. Our hotel is near Southfield Freeway and Ford Rd., so we expect to try out a Lebanese restaurant or two.

Any other recommendations for an admittedly short visit? We like museums/galleries and parks/waterways (for birdwatching). We also like ethnic neighborhoods (and food) and artsy districts. Is there something we should try not to miss?

Thanks for any guidance you can provide.
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Old 11-12-2014, 09:29 AM
Location: On the brink of WWIII
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How many days? You can run through Eastern Market (weekends) and the Art Institute and Slows in one day. The key word is RUN. The Coney and you should see PEWABIC POTTERY, Belle ISLE and the PAckard Plant in another day.

While at the MArket stop at Berts.
Midtown you ought to stop at AVALON BREADS for the best bread on the planet.
Shinola in just a block over from AVALON.
Boston-Edison neighborhood.
The train station while you are at Slows, if you have to wait an hour or so to get in, the train station is just across the stret from Slows on Michigan Ave. The old Tiger Stadium site is just east of Slows.

How many day do you have?
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Old 11-12-2014, 11:24 AM
Location: Metro Detroit
256 posts, read 173,599 times
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If like you museums you may want to check out the Detroit Experience Pass which get you into all the major museums in the city for $32 and shuttle between all of them on Saturdays.

Detroit Experience FactoryPass
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Old 11-12-2014, 12:45 PM
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For an Arabic restaurant - go to Al Ameer - it's not far from your hotel - one of the better ones. Add Shilla Bakery for dessert to the list.

Check out midtown (La Feria, Great Lakes Coffee, Third Street Bar/Dangerously Delicious Pies) for the funky places.
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Old 11-12-2014, 07:43 PM
Location: west mich
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This gets good reviews. Didn't exist when I was there, but I would like to take the tour myself at some point.
Show Me Detroit Tours - Detroit - Reviews of Show Me Detroit Tours - TripAdvisor

Interesting architecture from a past era is the art deco Guardian Building.
Detroit Institute of Arts has major works.
Want incongruity? The Maccabees Building - now owned by Wayne State, is the "birthplace" of the Lone Ranger. Don't know if those old studios are accessible.
Hitsville - Motown. I would get chills standing in the same room where all those hits were made, and seeing the piano recently restored courtesy of Paul McCartney. The tours are quite "upbeat" I understand (no photos are allowed).

Henry Ford Museum - not all about autos. Has Kennedy's assassination limo, the Rosa Parks bus, Abe Lincoln's assassination chair from the Ford Theater, lots of Americana.

Last edited by detwahDJ; 11-12-2014 at 08:09 PM..
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Old 11-13-2014, 11:24 PM
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If you like ethical neighborhood take a drive thru
Dearborn for middle east in usa
Mexico town
Hamtramck for mini UN in America. Eat in Aladdin or Yeman Cafe or Polish resturant while you are there
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Old 11-14-2014, 04:49 AM
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My favorite Lebanese restaurant is Cedarland Restaurant in east Dearborn (13007 W Warren Ave
Dearborn, MI 48126). The prices are very good, too.

As for birds, this is a pretty slow time of the year. Of course, nearly all of the summertime migrants have been long gone (sorry, no Flycatchers around!) and it's a bit early for the thousands of Canvasbacks and such which spend much of the winter in the Detroit River corridor. Also, the wave of migrants from the north is only starting to trickle in. Belle Isle will still be one of your best bets for waterfowl.

Since it's so close to your hotel, U of M-Dearborn also offers a good opportunity for birding. There is an entrance into the natural area (about 300 acres owned by UM and Wayne County along the Rouge River) near the Environmental Interpretive Center (look for the parking structure). Plus, you can wander down to the Henry Ford Estate which is right on the river. I don't believe that the house is open while it is undergoing renovation, but you can walk around the grounds during the daytime. (Parking may be available closer to the Estate, too. Drive around campus first to get your bearings.)

Greenfield Village--the counterpart to the Henry Ford Museum--is also a possibility...but most likely for another trip since your time is short. Have fun.

EDIT: Here's a map to the UM-Dearborn campus. Note the Env. Interpretive Center (EIC) and the Henry Ford Estate. The campus is only a mile east of your hotel, 1/2 mile south.
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Old 11-17-2014, 10:09 PM
Location: Bay View, Milwaukee
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Thanks for the replies, all.

Wednesday evening and Thursday morning were spent in Ann Arbor, with highlights being dinner at Shalimar Indian Restaurant, a brief walk around the UM campus, and a visit to Zingerman's for an early lunch.

Thursday we drove around Detroit (and vicinity) a bit and made stops in key areas. In Midtown we walked around Wayne State U a bit and ended up getting some delicious bread at Avalon. Great place! Too bad I have to watch my sugar intake, or I would have bought up quite a bit more. We walked around the area a bit more, then drove around the area. We didn't stop in Downtown on Thursday (a visit was planned for Friday), but we drove around a bit to get a feel for its labyrinthine layout. We drove up Jefferson, stopped at Pewabic Pottery, then headed into the Grosse Pointes. Wow, that's an amazing, well manicured place, and what a contrast to Detroit proper.... After a few stops up Lake Shore and into St. Clair Shores, we came back down via Mack, explored some adjacent neighborhoods, then made our way up Woodward to Boston-Edison and Palmer Woods. Both are fantastic, especially the latter, and I hope they continue to thrive. We settled into our hotel on Ford Rd and went to Ferndale, walked around the business district, and had a nice dinner at Maria's Front Room.

On Friday morning we headed to the DIA in Midtown and enjoyed everything we could squeeze into 3 hours. After that we grabbed a coney at Lafayette downtown, then walked around to admire some of the historic buildings such as the Penobscot, Guardian, and GM Center. We also drove over to Corktown to check out the Central Station, and get ideas for dinner. After that we drove around Hamtramck, walked along Joseph Campau a bit, and loaded up on sausage at a Polish market there. We drove around a little more, took a look at Highland Park, then hit the hotel to freshen up. After a while we headed to Greektown to walk around, and had a drink at the Firebird Tavern. For dinner we headed back to Corktown, decided we didn't want to wait 2 hours for Slows BBQ, so had a very good dinner at St. Cece's.

Saturday morning began with the Eastern Market, and followed with a visit to Belle Isle. As jackmichigan noted above, the birding was slow overall, but there were lots of waterbirds, including dozens of Hooded Mergansers, American Black Ducks, Redheads, a few Great Blue Herons, and others. A lovely park! We returned to Corktown, had a quick coffee at Astro (nice vibe), then got to Slows right when they opened for lunch. The BBQ Chicken was exquisite. After all of this, I headed back to the hotel for my meetings (the main reason I came to Detroit!) while my partner went to the Henry Ford (guess who had more fun). Dinner was a group of us from the meeting, plus spouses, at Ollie's, a Lebanese place on Ford Rd. Near the hotel. Very good food, but the place is kind of upscale, and we would have enjoyed more of a hole in the wall.

Sunday morning I had more meetings. Before we left the city we drove along Warren in Dearborn to see what the ethnic scene looked like, but we weren't hungry enough to stop and eat. We took Michigan Ave/Hwy 12 out of town, with detours around Dearborn and, later, Ypsilanti, along the way.

Thanks again for the tips! I hope to visit the other places mentioned on my next visit.

Last edited by Empidonax; 11-17-2014 at 10:41 PM..
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Old 11-19-2014, 11:36 AM
1,648 posts, read 2,645,721 times
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That's actually a really impressive tour.

Most travelers go from hotel to closest Panera to closest LA Fitness to closest Texas Roadhouse.

You did well.
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