Last year for my 40th birthday I gave you 40 Things to Do in Detroit Before You’re Dead. There are so many cool things to do in Detroit and more and more pop up every day. I can barely keep up!
So, I put together another list of cool and interesting Detroit places and added an extra one for my new age. As I said last year, this list isn’t exhaustive or definitive. Some of these places are Detroit institutions and others sprang up recently.
1. The Old Miami - This isn't South Beach, The Old Miami is a dive bar that is uniquely Detroit. "Miami" is actually an acronym for Missing in Action Michigan and the bar was originally a veterans hangout. Inside you'll find comfy sofas & armchairs, outside is an amazing back garden complete with a porch swing and koi pond, friendly bartenders greet you from behind the bar, and live music takes over the stage.
2. Detroit Artists Market - Founded during the Great Depression, the DAM not only fosters local talent by showcasing their work it also aims to educate the public about art.
3. Wheelhouse Detroit - Located on the RiverWalk, the full service bike shop offers retail, service and bike rentals as well as tours of Detroit neighborhoods and attractions. You can even rent a tandem!
4. Detroit Derby Girls - Check out our hometown flat track roller derby team which is all-female owned and operated. Catch a bout and brew while watching these tough girls skate the track.
5. Urban Fairy Doors of Ann Arbor - Next time you're in A2 bring your imagination, look down and see how many fairy doors you can find. These enchanting little entry ways are quite magical for both children and adults.
6. Avalon International Breads - Yes, the bread is very good and their pastries rock. But you must try the sea salt chocolate chip cookie. Seriously good.
7. Detroit Science Center - Roll up your sleeves and have fun at this hands-on museum that explores engineering, technology, and science.
8. The Scarab Club - Founded in 1907 by artists and art lovers, The Scarab Clubs' goal is to educate the public about the arts while providing artists with a space to further their work.
9. Doc Sweets' Candy Company - This is the largest candy store in Michigan and the go-to place for candy of all kind. Nostalgic candy? Check. Chocolate covered insects? Check. Bulk? Absolutely.
10. Kensington Metro Park - Enjoy the great outdoors at one of the best parks in the area! There's so much to do here for active sporty types and families that you'll never get bored.
11. The Burton Theatre - An independent film theatre that shows art house, independent, foreign and cult films in an old school in Detroit? Yep! Check out the men's bathroom while your there, word on the street is that there is a pool table mixed in with the urinals. Being a woman, I wouldn't know for sure.
12. The Plymouth Whalers - The Detroit Red Wings aren't the only game in town! Watch the Whalers face-off at Compuware Arena for as little as $11 a ticket.
13. Historic Fort Wayne - The first of Detroit's forts built by Americans, it saw Michigan troops from every U.S. battle from the Civil War to Viet Nam. The National Museum of Tuskegee Airmen is also located here.
14. The Dakota Inn Rathskeller - The authentic German bar opened in 1933 and is still going strong. It's always a good time to visit The Dakota but do try and get there during Oktoberfest.
15. Honey Bee La Colmena - A grocery store in Detroit? Yes, it exists and it is fabulous. Specializing in Latin American fare and known for its chorizo, it also has a carry out menu.
16. The Detroit Public Library (main branch) - Besides being a fountain of knowledge and learning, the DPL is also a work of art itself. Walk up the staircase off the front entrance, look up, and be amazed by the beauty on the ceiling. Be sure to check out the Ernie Harwell Room too.
17. Roma Café - Located in Eastern Market, this is Detroit's oldest restaurant. Walk through the doors and travel back in time a few decades and enjoy fine Italian cuisine.
18. Detroit Party Marching Band - To see this guerrilla marching band you're just going to have to get lucky! They crash events and play for the love of playing. I haven't seen them but I love their spirit. (Read the story about the Detroit Party Marching Band in the Detroit News.)
19. Lafayette Coney Island - I have no idea how this Detroit institution didn't make the list last year in 40 Things to do in Detroit Before You're Dead. My love for Lafayette is deep and wonderful. Go grab a coney!
20. John K. King Used & Rare Books - You don’t see many used bookstores anymore but we have one of the largest ones in the country here in Detroit. Whether you’re looking for some chick lit or a rare book you must step into this cavernous haven for books and the people who love them.
21. The Ford-Wyoming Drive-In - Put on your pajamas, pack some snacks, and head out to metro Detroit's last surviving "real" drive-in theater. It's open all year so don't forget the blankets if you go in the winter.
22. Dorothy Turkel House - Frank Lloyd Wright designed this house that shines when it's lit up. Located on Seven Mile Road between Livernois and Woodward, the new owners are lovingly restoring this beautiful wonder. (See more pictures of the Turkel House.)
23. Detroit Soup - A micro-funding community event that happens the first Sunday of every month. $5 gets you a bowl of soup and the power to grant $300-$500 to a creative endeavor in Detroit. Awesome! Also check out Soup at Spaulding which is similar but meets weekly in Corktown.
25. The Redford Theatre - This movie house, which opened in 1928, shows old movies such as The Philadelphia Story, Christmas Vacation, and the recent Three Stooges Film Festival. Each movie begins with a concert featuring their historic pipe organ.
26. Detroit Fowling League - Bowling + Football = Fowling. What could be better than that? Beer must be involved, right? During the warm months they play at The Stone House Bar in Detroit and have plans to move inside when the cold weather hits.
27. The Moth StorySLAM - Everyone has a story to tell and this is a great place to get onstage and share it with the world. The StorySLAMS take place the first Thursday of every month at Cliff Bell's and each evening has a theme that the story must fit.
28. Jacques' Tacos - Catch the areas newest taco truck while he tools around metro Detroit bringing tacos to your neighborhood. I haven't been able to catch up with him yet, we tried on Saturday and it turns out he was kicked out of his spot for the day. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter to find out his location.
29. City Bird - Part retail shop and part gallery, the shop carries Detroit-themed goods as well as other work by 75 artists and designers. Owned by the brother and sister team of Andy and Emily Linn.
30. Museum of New Art - Pontiac is the home of this innovative gallery that showcases the present state of art and isn't afraid to break the rules.
31. Detroit Flyhouse Circus School - Run away and join the circus right here in Detroit! Classes and workshops are available for adults and children in circus arts such as the trapeze and arial skills plus arial yoga.
32. Henry the Hatter - When you need a jaunty chapeau, you head to Henry. Detroit's exclusive hatter since 1893. Everyone needs a stylish hat, right?
33. Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum - Don't let the strip mall location fool you, this place is unique and full of joy. Oddities sit beside pinball machines, gypsy fortune telling machines, and even a mini carousel. Bring plenty of quarters!
34. Neighborhood Noodle - This upstart noodle shop offers a basic menu that you order in advance via their website and then pick up on a Monday in Midtown. Note: The website states clearly that it's "some" Mondays, not all.
35. 5E Gallery - The visual and hip hop culture gallery, located in Corktown, offers gallery and performance space and holds weekly open mic nights. I was super impressed with the space and community on my visit this past weekend.
36. People's Pierogi Collective - They're bringing pierogi to the people with their cart at Eastern Market. And we're not talking just your normal pierogi; they have breakfast pierogi and blueberry pierogi! I'm 100% Polish and I approve.
37. i3 Detroit Hackerspace - The membership driven community of crafters, coders, makers, and tinkerers offer classes ranging from welding techniques and papercraft to lock picking for fun.
38. William G. Milliken State Park & Harbor - The first urban state park in Michigan is nestled right on the Detroit River. Sit by the docks and enjoy the view of the lighthouse and river or have a picnic.
39. Salle d'Etroit - Looking for a different way to get in shape or want to learn an ancient sport? This full service fencing academy can get you on your way in no time. En guard!
40. The Bucharest Grill and The Park Bar - This is a marriage made in heaven! Grab your chicken shawarma from the grill and then saddle over to the bar and order a fine Michigan craft beer to go with it. Heaven, I tell ya!
41. Supino Pizzeria - I've raved about this place and their pizza before and I certainly couldn't leave them off my list. If you have yet to try this Italian style thin crust pizza, go now! Seriously, what are you waiting for.
Get out there and enjoy Detroit!
Be sure to check out 40 Things to do in Detroit Before You're Dead and 43 More Things to do in Detroit Before You're Dead.