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Things to Do

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

Learn about Detroit's music history at The Motown

Learn about Detroit's music history at The Motown Museum. Photo Credit: Alamy / Ian Dagnall

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, 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,


Catch a live performance or browse the LPs at the Jack White-owned Third Man Records (441 W. Canfield St., 313-209-5205, 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,


Selden Standard (3921 Second Ave., 313-438-5055, 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, 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,

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, is helmed by Michelin-starred chef Thomas Lents.


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