While it’s apparent to any visitor that Detroit has suffered years of neglect, the town’s soulful nature and spirit of invention continue to shine through. It’s a city of two faces: one shuttered and abandoned, the other young and lively, ready to offer new excitement. Both make it a city worthy of a closer look, so book your flight for a weekend getaway to Detroit now.
Touchdown at DTW, 2 p.m.
Upon landing at Detroit Metro Airport, take the shuttle to pick up a rental car for the weekend. Having your own wheels is preferable to dealing with the city’s public transportation. It should be noted, though, that Lyft and Uber are widely available.
Check In to Your New Home, 3 p.m.
Located downtown in the historic David Whitney Building, Aloft Detroit is the perfect place to call home while you’re visiting the city. Its chic accommodations with a loft vibe are perfect for the young professional, and you’ll move around the area easily thanks for the connected above-ground “people mover.” Valet is a bonus, too.
Support the Detroit Economy, 4 p.m.
Squeeze in some shopping at John Varvatos (himself a Detroit designer), only a block away from the hotel. A few years back the designer returned to his hometown (joining brands like Shinola and Carhartt) with a classy menswear shop that is just as much a clubhouse for the city’s fashionable as it is a retail outlet. Spend time in the upstairs reading/vinyl lounge.
Dinner and Drinks, 7 p.m.
Grab a bite, throw back some drinks (and some darts), bowl a few frames, workout your wrist on old-school arcade games and try to get good at the shuffleboard — all at Punch Bowl Social, a downtown hipster spot with décor that’s part-industrial, part mountain lodge. Stop in whether you’re solo or accompanied by a rowdy group of buddies for a fun night.
An Afternoon of Art, 1 p.m.
Start your day with some culture at the Detroit Institute of Arts, one of the country’s most significant collections and remarkable buildings. Peruse everything from 15th century suits of armor to contemporary pieces by Warhol. You’ll be here for a while, so plan to grab lunch at the museum’s on-site café.
Dine Like a Local, 7 p.m.
You won’t find better eats in this part of the country than at Slows BBQ, located in the city’s Corktown district. Famous for its “Yardbird” sandwich — pulled chicken breast with mushrooms, cheddar and bacon — you won’t go wrong with anything from the menu, including a slew of local craft beers.
Play a Little Blackjack, 9 p.m.
Detroit’s one of the largest U.S. cities with casino resorts, so if you’re feeling lucky, stop by the Motor City Casino Hotel for slot machines and a few rounds of roulette. Other gambling options include the MGM Grand and, across the Canadian border, Caesar’s Windsor.
Hop Around the Bars, 11 p.m.
There isn’t a “gayborhood” per se in Detroit, which means you may pick up a hefty Uber bill bouncing around from bar to bar, but all the staples are here: Gold Coast for its stiff drinks and sleazy strippers, Hayloft Saloon for dive bar drinks, Soho for a martini night.
Support Public Art, 11 a.m.
Before heading back home, take a drive through the Heidelberg Project, an outdoor art project on the city’s East Side begun in 1986, where trash and discarded objects have been used to transform a rundown part of town into a colorful two blocks of outlandish art.