Detroit’s a city of reinvention. After losing a fourth of its population between 2000-2010, it filed for bankruptcy in 2013.
But the Motor City is making a recovery with restoration and revitalization projects underway. For a weekend getaway, here are seven places worth seeing in America’s Great Comeback City.
1. EASTERN MARKET
A historic district, Eastern Market with more than 150 shops is a must-stop for foodies. Eat at Mike’s Pita and Coney, then visit Devries & Company 1887, generous with the samples. Pick up hard-to-find wines at Cost Plus. Eastern Market Welcome Center: 1445 Adelaide; easternmarket.com.
2. DETROIT INSTITUTE OF ARTS
Detroit Institute of Arts houses one of the largest arts collections in the country. A highlight is Rembrandt Peale’s “Court of Death,” spanning 300 square feet, but the museum’s crowning jewel is the Rivera Court — 27 fresco panels depicting the American worker, painted by Mexican artist Diego Rivera. More info: 5200 Woodward St.; dia.org; 313-833-7900.
3. MOTOWN MUSEUM
The Motown Museum is where Berry Gordy Jr. created Motown Records in 1959 and turned out hit after hit by Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross and the Supremes, Marvin Gaye, Smoky Robinson, The Jackson 5, The Four Tops and The Temptations. Tours fill up, so arrive early in the day. More info: 2648 W. Grand Blvd.; motownmuseum.org; 313-875-2264.
Greektown is teeming with nightlife, including Greektown Casino. One of the best known restaurants is Pizza Papalis, with Detroit-style deep dish pizza. Traffic can be congested, parking on event nights can cost $40, but you may luck out and find a spot on the street. Pizza Papalis: 553 Monroe St.; pizzapapalis.com; 313-961-8020.
5. HUDSON CAFE
Known for pancakes, eggs and a cool, industrial vibe, the Hudson Cafe downtown serves breakfast and lunch. The Voodoo Benedict with chorizo and ranchero sauce is hearty. For a sweet tooth, try the cake-size Red Velvet Pancakes. It’s a popular destination so arrive early. 1241 Woodward Ave., between Grand River and Gratiot/State; More info: hudson-cafe.com; 313-237-1000.
6. BELLE ISLE PARK
Detroit’s municipal island park is north of Windsor, Canada (yes, north). Sites include Belle Isle Aquarium (the oldest, continually operated municipal aquarium in North America), Belle Isle Conservatory (its stinky corpse flower is currently in bloom) and a swimming beach. More info: michigan.org; 313-821-9844.
7. 441 W. CANFIELD STREET IN MIDTOWN
Browse Shinola’s watch and bicycle shop, and Jack White’s Third Man Records retail store. There’s also Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales, where President Barack Obama in January requested “a regular old cheddar cheese burger.” Fancier palates might want Truffle Fries and Brussels Sprout Pizza. Brewed in Dexter, Michigan, beer options are abundant. Try the wet-hopped Hoodoo IPA or yeasty Oro de Calabaza. More info: Shinola, shinola.com; 313-285-2390. Third Man Records, thirdmanrecords.com; 313-209-5205. Jolly Pumpkin, 441 W. Canfield St.; jollypumpkin.com; 313-262-6115.
BONUS: FISHER BUILDING
Visit “Detroit’s Largest Art Object” at 3011 W. Grand Blvd. Erected in 1928, the Art Deco-style Fisher Building is made of limestone, granite and marble. Shops on the main floor include Pure Detroit. puredetroit.com; 313-873-7873.