Thursday, May 2, 2013

Things to Do in The "D" (Detroit)

Getting some perspectives from STLE staff and members, here are some suggested attractions and restaurants, if you're planning your trip to join us next week. And don't forget that Detroit has an easy way to get around the city - the PeopleMover. The weather should be in the mid-high 60s all week, so be sure to pack for that, and remember to wear layers while you're attending the conference - conference centers and big hotels have a tendency to run cold.

Don Smolenski: Don loves the water, and as such, recommends you check out the Detroit Riverfront, along Lake St. Clair. He also recommends the following restaurants: Sinbad's Restaurant, Fishbone's Rhythm Kitchen, Mike's on the Water, Rojo Mexican Bistro, Brownie's on the Lake and The Rattlesnake Club. The river walk is also quite nice for running or biking. There are a few shops, and this area has the largest concentration of boats in fresh water. It's a great place to take a break - get away, go for a walk and while you're there, take in the water, the boats, and the beautiful mansions along the lake shore. "Lake Clair is one of the reasons I love living in Detroit. It's not as intimidating as Lake Erie or Michigan, but you can still see water for miles."

Charlie Paxton: The Henry Ford Museum is a little far from the meeting location, but it's always good. And, if you make the trip, you can also visit the largest IMAX theater in the state of Michigan. Charlie, as part of the Detroit Section, helped set up a tour of the GM Plant that produced the Volt (the tour filled up within a short couple of days!). Thanks to the Detroit Section, those attending get free transportation.

Rachel Colbert: says that there are some great lakes and parks in Detroit (Ash Park is closest to the hotel), and she also recommends Greektown and the Ford Museum.

Tracy VanEe: This Detroit-native STLE staff member recommends The Fox Theater (historic and very ornate), which is next to Hockeytown - lots of Red Wings nostalgia to be found here.

Attractions: Motown Museum, Heidelberg Project, The Detroit Institute of Art, Detroit Zoo, Comerica Park for a Tigers game, and Cobo Hall or the Joe Louis Arena (if you check the concert schedule, you might catch one of Detroit's locals - Bob Seger, Kid Rock or Eminem).

Restaurant favorites: Elwood Bar & Grill and the Detroit Beer Co.are around Comerica Park. For upscale dining, try the Rattlesnake Club. For less-than-upscale, try The Coney Island Challenge - Lafayette and American Coney Islands -they're located next to each other and make a show over luring customers into one diner over the other. Old Shillelagh's is a fun Irish pub - they have live music and it's always fun and festive. In addition to Greektown, there is Mexican Town, with a string of Mexican restaurants. My favorite is Xochimilco's (pronounced Soshimoko's), which has great fare.

If you're bringing family, or are just interested in a charming town, try Birmingham (about 5 miles away from Detroit) - it has lots of nice shops and dining.

If you want to go outside of Detroit, visit Dearborn for the Henry Ford Museum, Automotive Hall of Fame, and the Ford Dearborn Truck Plant to see where they make the F150. In addition, try Greenfield Village (historical town, mini-Williamsburg).

Or, try the two Big 10 University towns - East Lansing and Ann Arbor. They're within an hour's drive of Detroit and are great places to visit.
Don't forget to take a look at the Visit Detroit website (look at the Downtown Detroit area), and local attractions on the Marriott's website.

What will you be visiting or doing while in Detroit? Respond in the comments below, send me an email to be included in this post (to, or your tweet activities (using hashtag #STLE2013)!

And Visit Detroit has some great videos, including this one, on Downtown Detroit.

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