Giving Downtown Detroit Its Due

Originally published at Doorsteps.
Photo from Doorsteps.

Detroit, taken as a whole, is simply massive: 140 sprawling square miles of unique neighborhoods, expansive public parks, and undiscovered treasures. At the center of it all sits Downtown Detroit, occupying in total just one of those square miles between the Detroit River and Midtown.

But don’t be fooled by its footprint. Downtown is what so many people think of when they think of the city itself, brimming with cultural attractions, financial and corporate institutions, and historical places. Whether you’re looking for something to do during the day or a place to party at night, there are plenty of options downtown. Here are a few you shouldn’t miss.

What to Do


If you’ve only got a limited amount of time to spend in the city, Campus Martius should be your first stop. This park is literally the point of origin that the city is built off of. (8 Mile Road is so named because it’s 8 miles from Campus Martius.) Throughout the summer, there’s a beach bar set up in the park, and in the winter there’s a giant Christmas tree and an ice skating rink.


Whether you’re a baseball fan or not, there’s no doubt that there’s fun to be had at a Tiger’s game at Comerica Park. The crowds within and around the park are so enthusiastic, it’s hard not to have a good time. Stop by and get a hot dog and a picture with Paws, the Tigers’ mascot!

Like your pro sports a little faster and a lot colder? Take a short walk down to the waterfront and you’ll be in hockey heaven at Joe Louis Arena, home of Detroit’s own Red Wings. From October through April, hockey fans pack the house and transform this iconic venue into a raucous, hard-hitting, and heart-pitting fan experience that’s second to none.

Where to Eat


This restaurant serves exactly what you think it would – small plates. Get a group of friends together and try a little bit of everything. Nobody will leave hungry! If you’re torn about what to order, it’s all delicious, but you definitely need to try the bloody Mary and cheese shrimp and grits.


New York and Chicago-style pizzas are world renowned, but where’s the love for Detroit-style pizza? For an authentic Detroit pizza, there’s nowhere better to go than Niki’s in Greektown. If pizza isn’t your thing, the Greek fare is on point as well. Niki’s has been a Detroit favorite for decades, and it isn’t going anywhere any time soon!

Where to Drink


It’s been reported that this homey little bar, complete with live music and classic cocktails was one of Ryan Gosling’s favorite spots when he was in town filming “Lost River.” And if you ask us, any spot that’s good enough for Ryan Gosling is certainly good enough for the rest of us. Get there early on the weekends because it fills up quickly with locals and people from the ‘burbs!


Located in downtown’s Belt, an artist corridor between Broadway and Library, Standby is a fairly new spot with a great food menu, but what people come for are the inventive cocktails. This craft cocktail bar’s menu has its own signature drinks, broken up into whiskey, agave, gin, brandy and rum. No matter your poison, you’ll find something at Standby.

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