Explore Detroit’s creative side, from Motown to modern art

Detroit recently dominated headlines for its financial troubles, but five years after declaring bankruptcy, the city is in the midst of a renaissance. Artists, chefs and musicians are flocking to the Michigan city to help in its revival as well as make their mark on the city. Creativity is evident everywhere, from pop-up shops to street art. Best of all, prices are reasonable, and instead of attitude, visitors will encounter enthusiasm and plenty of hometown pride. Here’s how to spend a weekend in Motor City.


The collection at the Detroit Institute of Arts (closed Mondays, admission $14/adults, $9/seniors, $8/college students, $6/ ages 6-17, FREE 5 and under; 5200 Woodward Ave., 313-833-7900, dia.org) includes works from Van Gogh, Monet and murals by Diego Rivera.

To see emerging artists, pop by the Red Bull House of Art (open Saturdays and by appointment, admission FREE; 1551 Winder St., no phone, redbullhouseofart.com).


Catch a live performance or browse the LPs at the Jack White-owned Third Man Records (441 W. Canfield St., 313-209-5205, thirdmanrecords.com). Peek in the back at the yellow record pressing plant.

See Motown’s first recording studio — as well as a collection of Michael Jackson’s hats — at the Motown Museum (closed Sundays and Mondays, admission $15/adults, $10/seniors, $10/ages 5-17, FREE 4 and under; 2648 W. Grand Blvd., 313-875-2264, motownmuseum.com).


Selden Standard (3921 Second Ave., 313-438-5055, seldenstandard.com) serves hearty, locally sourced food such as squid fried rice topped with kimchi.

Rose’s Fine Food (closed Tuesdays; 10551 E. Jefferson Ave., 313-822-2729, rosesfinefood.com) is worth the trek to this nondescript neighborhood on Detroit’s east side; pull up a seat at the diner’s counter for a BLT with fried green tomatoes and a thick slab of cake.

Go past the tall chain-link fence for Northern Thai-influenced food and innovative cocktails at Takoi (closed Sundays; 2520 Michigan Ave., 313-855-2864, takoidetroit.com).

No visit would be complete without sampling local favorites such as a Coney dog (topped with chili).


Getting there: A direct flight from LaGuardia to Detroit Metro Airport, about 30 minutes from downtown Detroit, takes about 2 hours on most major airlines.

Getting around: If you don’t want to rent a car, Lyft and Uber are an option. A light rail runs downtown.

New place to stay: The on-site restaurant at the Detroit Foundation Hotel (from $159; 250 W. Larned St., 866-808-6100, detroitfoundationhotel.com) is helmed by Michelin-starred chef Thomas Lents.