Everything to See & Eat on Your Trip to Detroit

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I'm obviously obsessed with my hometown of Pittsburgh. But I also have a deep affection for our Rust Belt brethren - cities like Cleveland, Detroit, Buffalo, and Erie. 

I visited each of these cities this year, and they all remind me of Pittsburgh. While Pittsburgh reigns supreme (#bias), each is a great choice for a long weekend. Folks flocking to Nashville, Austin, and Ashville should put on their hipster glasses and consider heading to these low-key destinations.

I plan to publish a guide for each of these cities. First up: Detroit.  Keep an eye on thegal-ivanter.com for Celeveland, Buffalo, & Erie guides coming out... well, sometime before the end of the year. BETTER YET, subscribe to my email list so you know EXACTLY when the guides are posted 😉:


Detroit has been getting a lot of buzz in the past few years. Just like Pittsburgh, food has stimulated growth in various pockets of the city. This has its controversies and drawbacks, but I will say that the Detroit I saw in 2018 was pretty different than the Detroit I visited in the 90s or early 2000s. 

What is your favorite thing to do or eat in Detroit? Let me know in the comments below!

Without further ado.... 

What to eat, see, & do when visiting Detroit:

Rose's Fine Food

This cute little diner has received a ton of accolades (including a James Beard nomination and Food & Wine’s Best New Chefs 2016), so it was at the top "must visit" list heading into my weekend in Detroit. 

Rose's Fine Food calls itself "the ultimate diner," and that's pretty accurate. It's a trendy (see: hipster) diner that serves made-from-scratch food with quality, local ingredients. For diner food, it's definitely an elevated and innovative experience. This is a great spot to grab breakfast with friends, but get there early, as it does fill up fast. Don't sleep on the sweet items! I loooooved the blueberry cake!

Rose's Fine Food (10551 E Jefferson Ave) 

Sister Pie

Sister Pie is another acclaimed Detroit hotspot. So much so, that I actually ran into the former editor of Food & Wine while I was there (really). This tiny cafe serves (as the name would suggest) pies and various baked goods. They had an awesome $5 pie slice and coffee deal, so I hung out there for a while with my laptop (which I'm not sure they appreciated). It's small, but very cute. Everything was delicious. Come hungry! 

Sister Pie (8066 Kercheval Ave) 

Detroit City Distillery

A friend from Detroit took me to this distillery located just north of the city and I absolutely loved it! They served one of the best cocktails I've ever tasted (and I drink a LOT of cocktails) and the atmosphere was super fun and rustic. If you're looking for a fun, local spot to grab a drink, look no further than Detroit Distillery.  (And if they still have the beet juice cocktail, get it.) 

Detroit City Distillery (2462 Riopelle St)

Selden Standard

I honestly went here because it was raining and I needed to place to hide indoors... but I'm so happy I did! This was the best meal I had the entire time I was in the city. It's another upscale American eatery, but the menu is very innovative. They also have a sleek interior and a great patio. Be sure to get something from the dessert menu as well!

Bon Bon Bons

This chocolate shop is my new Instagram obsession. Great branding, great name... and of course, great chocolates! I mean... s’mores, banana pudding, sticky bun, grasshopper, and creamsicle truffles (among others)? How can you not love that? I've never been, so if you're in Detroit, please visit and tag me in your Instagrams so I can vicariously live through you. 

Bon Bon Bons (11360 Joseph Campau Ave)

Jolly Pumpkin Pizzeria & Brewery

This is your standard brewpub, but it does have an above average selection of sour beers... aka my favorite type of beer. I got a flight of 4 different types of sours and got happily tipsy at 2:00 P.M. If you're a sour beer fan, don't miss this spot. Also, the building is huge, so if you're trying to find a place to  for a large party, this is a great choice. 

Jolly Pumpkin Pizzeria & Brewery (441 W Canfield St #9)

Gold Cash Gold

This place get a lot of hype. It was alright! I drake a cocktail so strong that I can't remember most of my meal. It’s a very trendy space.

Gold Cash Gold (2100 Michigan Ave)  

Supino's Pizza

Hipster yet old-school pizza joint. BYOB. It can get very crowded. 

Supino's Pizza (2457 Russell St)

The Sugar House

A pretentious cocktail bar with a huge cocktail menu. You know the type. If you're into that sort of thing (which I totally am), you'll like it. Respect for being "Detroit's original craft cocktail bar.

The Sugar House (2130 Michigan Ave)

Even more Detroit food & drink spots:

Places I heard about, but didn’t have the time, money, or hunger to visit:

Batch Brewing Company
Brewery and restaurant that also serves beer slushies. Link.

Nemo's Bar
Popular dive bar serving pub food.

Astro Coffee
Hipster, third-wave coffee shop. Very aesthetically pleasing. Link.

Mudgie's Deli & Wine Shop
Popular deli serving house-smoked meat sandwiches. Link

Honey Bee Market
Family-owned market for fresh produce and authentic Mexican specialty items.

Flowers of Vietnam
Trendy restaurant for upscale Vietnamese dishes. Link.

Taqueria El Rey
Cash-only taco shop famous for their grilled chicken. Link.

Avalon Bakery
Acclaimed bakery, restaurant, cafe, and market. Link

La Feria
Fun Spanish tapas restaurant. Link.  

Grey Ghost Detroit
Upscale restaurant with focus on butchery and cocktails. Link

Rock City Eatery
Favorite spot for pies - both pizza and the traditional dessert variety. Link

Peepo's Subs & Shawarma
Popular counter-service restaurant serving subs, shawarma, and smoothies. Link.

The Apparatus Room
Fancy cocktail bar inside of the Detroit Foundation hotel.  Link

Speakeasy bar in Downtown Detroit. Link

Trendy, fine-dining restaurant with good drinks. Link

Cafe d'Mongo's Speakeasy
Hipster speakeasy bar located in Downtown Detroit. Link.

Parks & Rec Diner
Elevated and locally sourced diner.

Blue Nile
Popular Ethiopian restaurant. Link.

Buddy's Pizza
Known for popularizing “Detroit-style Pizza.” Link.

Yemen Cafe
Restaurant specializing in dishes from Yemen.

Scotty Simpson's Fish & Chips
No-frills fish ’n’ chips shop. Link.

A popular sustainable seafood restaurant located just outside of the city. Link.

Pho Lucky
Multiple locations
Small, locally-owned restaurant dedicated to the cuisine of Vietnam. Link.

Al Ameer
Acclaimed Middle Eastern restaurant that also serves fresh raw juices. Link.

To see/do:

  • Belle Isle Park: 982-acre island park in the Detroit River between Michigan and Ontario. There are many attractions, beautiful buildings, and serene landscapes.

  • The Detroit Institute of Arts has an incredible collection and is a must-visit if in the area.

Detroit… it was real. See you again soon!

What is your favorite thing to do or eat in Detroit? Let me know in the comments below!

Neighborhoods to drive through & appreciate the architecture: Arden Park, Boston Edison, and Jefferson Chalmers

Click to read: Travel Essentials For Your Next Trip


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