Downtown at a Glance

There is no place in the region that has more to offer than Downtown Detroit. While solidly positioned as the place for entertainment, business and dining, greater downtown also plays host to a growing residential population.  Downtown Detroit packs the best of history and the power of your future into one!

Welcome Home

Buy. Rent. Condos. Rowhouses. Mid-rise. Low-rise. Newly refurbished or fixer-upper. It’s all here. Take in the panoramic view from the window of a twenty story high-rise or explore the big backyards and historically adorned houses on a cobblestone street. Wherever you land in the greater Downtown, you’ll be a moment’s away from it all.

Have you ever wondered from where Eight Mile Road is 8 miles?  The answer lies at the center of Campus Martius Park!  The Point of Origin for the City of Detroit is located in this award winning park.

There are dozens of bars and restaurants within the one square mile of Downtown Detroit. So whether you like jazz, sports, martinis, dancing or none of the above there’s a spot Downtown for you. Beside great sports venues, Detroit has three casinos and one of the largest theater districts in the US with more than 13,000 theater seats in just a 2 block radius.  With the Fox Theatre seating more than 5,000 just blocks from the Fillmore, Opera House, Music Hall, Gem, Century and even the little avant-garde 1515 Broadway.  It’s a theater lovers paradise.

Shopping, Dining & Services


The number of different restaurants at the Downtown resident’s disposal is enviable. Greek to Italian to German to Cuban:  Downtown has it all!  Check out Oslo for sake and sushi or if you’re into salsa dancing try Vincente’s.  The Park Bar and Foran’s Grand Trunk Pub for Michigan brewed beers, Bucharest Grill for shawarma or Michael Symons’ Roast.

Don’t worry about finding finer fare in The D.  Try Centaur behind the Fox Theatre or Small Plates for trendy tapas. Greektown is also a sure hit, with Pegasus and Niki’s for moderate dining.  The stunning Coach Insignia on the top floor of the Renaissance Center offers great views of both Detroit and Windsor, Ontario while serving up delectable meal and wine offerings.  Another great RenCen option is the local Italian favorite Andiamos.

There are also a lot of choices too for when you want to dine in rather than out. As one of the region’s grocery stores, Eastern Market, allows you to shop where the restaurants shop every Saturday year round and Tuesdays too in the summer. Some of the best small grocery stores, specialty food stores and bakeries in the region are also located in or near the greater downtown region.

A stroll along the river on the RiverWalk is always a wonderful event.  Part of the new 31-acre Tricentennial State Park, the RiverWalk will ultimately stretch from Gabriel Richard Park near the MacArthrur Bridge to Belle Isle on the east to the Ambassador Bridge in the west.

Fashion, like food is big in Detroit.  Mark England DeMode for European fashions, Pure Detroit for the trendiest Detroit-themed apparel and Pangborn Design for one-of-a-kind ties and more.  Other services that have bolstered Downtown residents’ quality of life have opened recently, too: a day spa, florists and several shops in places like the Guardian Building and Renaissance Center, which holds its own movie theater.

For more food, fun and event information check out Dig Downtown!

Growing, Sustainable Development

Downtown Detroit is on the move! In the last decade more than $3 billion has been invested in the city’s central business district. What’s different now from ten years ago? Downtown is home to the beautiful Campus Martius Park and skating rink, Cliff Bells for get-togethers and dining, the Compuware Building with its fabulous Atrium Waterfall, the redeveloped Historic Westin Book Cadillac Hotel and Residences with its great restaurants and magnificent restored Ballroom, a stellar RiverWalk with connected Greenways with bike paths and dog walking stations, a State Park on the Riverfront, Ford Field, home to the Lions, and the Creative Corridor, a hub to connect creative businesses with assistance in starting and growing their business.

Development highlights include the $1.6 billion in construction projects as part of the efforts to prepare and showcase the city for Super Bowl XL. Improvements included work on the downtown stadiums, extensive streetscape improvements, a new comprehensive pedestrian wayfinding system and rebuilt freeways.

Here’s a quick look at some of the good things coming to Downtown.

  • The $50M+ renovation of the David Broderick Tower is under construction with 75 workers on the job. It will be a multi-use space with apartments, retail and entertainment. Best of all it has a fantastic view of Comerica Park’s center field.
  • The Daniel Burnham-designed David Whitney Building is being renovated along with the Broderick Tower.  Together they will be the northern gateway to the central business district. This $80M+ redevelopment will feature moderately priced rental apartments, a national boutique hotel and a four-star restaurant.
  • The RiverFront Conservancy expects to connect the RiverWalk and its associated green spaces, plaza and parks in the fall of 2011.
  • The Woodward Light Rail is officially underway now that the Final Environmental Impact Statement has been completed.

Culture & Entertainment


There is always something to do in Downtown Detroit.  The theater district hosts show nightly, there are three pro sports teams, three casinos, music at Campus Martius Park, and the RiverWalk, which has bike paths, a carousel, fountains, a marina, and parks.  Hop on the People Mover and explore the city.  There are bike rentals, Broadway musicals and plays, local, national and international music, a professional opera theater and more.

If you’re a sports fan, take in a game at Comerica Park, Ford Field or Joe Louis Arena – all are just minutes away from each other.  There are also plenty of sports-themed dining options to accompany your sporting spirit.  Try Hockeytown Cafe, Cheli’s Chili Bar or the historic Elwood Grill.  Of course, veteran sports fans will make the pilgrimage to American or Lafayette Coney Island, establishments that both lay claim to inventing Detroit’s semi-official food:  the Coney.

If Coney’s aren’t your thing, maybe entertainment is! Downtown Detroit offers many varied entertainment options while playing host to major theatrical and musical performances.  Once Downtown, visitors will find they are surrounded by the esteemed Detroit Opera House, Music Hall, the Fox Theatre and the Gem Theatre and Century Club.  If youngsters accompany you, don’t miss the remarkable PuppetART Theater.  Trained in the former Soviet Union, all members of the PuppetART troupe are masters of puppetry art theater, producing shows like nowhere else in the region.

Soak in one of the country’s finest art collections at the Detroit Institute of Arts or dive into the contemporary art scene at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD). Wander through one of the many Midtown galleries. Step back in time at the Detroit Historical Museum or the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. Relax with a good book at the spectacular Skillman Downtown Detroit Public Library.

Business Central

Downtown is home to tens of thousands of employees serving the regional and worldwide operations of companies large and small.  This concentration lines the lunch counters, parks and sidewalks daily.  Filling cubicles and apartments with recent expansions and relocations of their workforce, these are proud corporations.  These new workers add to the already strong mix of bankers, lawyers, auto executives, accountants, government officials and much more.

Midtown

Where life is art.

Midtown hosts two million visitors annually, with the largest concentration of cultural, educational and medical institutions in southeast Michigan.  It has two radio stations, its own symphony, nine theatres, five museums, 35 restaurants and 10 galleries all within two square miles—making it one of the best knit communities in Detroit.

Within two blocks, you can explore the Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit Film Theatre, Detroit Science Center, Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, the Detroit Historical Museum and Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD).

Just for fun, head to the Majestic Theater complex, home of the Garden Bowl, America’s oldest active bowling alley. It also houses two legendary music hotspots–The Magic Stick and Majestic Theater. For more refined musical tastes, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra performs at the Max M. Fisher Music Center.

Dining and Shopping

Get out and explore Midtown! You’ll find one-of-a-kind shopping options with either hand-picked or hand-made goods by some of the most creative, discerning merchants anywhere.

If you’re a “foodie,” taking in Midtown is like taking a trip around the world with cuisine options including Italian, Indian, French, Middle Eastern, American, Asian, Greek, Mediterranean, and one of the best bakeries around, Avalon International Breads. With Eastern Market, a natural food market, neighborhood grocers, a hardware store and more, all in the area – those small but important daily livability needs are met.

Woodbridge

Classic architecture.

As arguably the finest surviving streetcar suburb of turn of the century Detroit, Woodbridge sits solidly on the near-West Side.  It is named after William Woodbridge, territorial governor of Michigan in 1840-41, who owned a large farm on which much of the neighborhood is now built.  The neighborhood is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Only minutes from Downtown, New Center and Midtown, Woodbridge is primarily a residential neighborhood with many large historic homes and apartment buildings built between the 1880’s and 1920’s.  Woodbridge combines the perks of urban living with modern amenities and a historical sense of place.  A walk along the tree lined streets greets the eye with an array of architectural wonder. Broad porches and comfortable back yards serve as warm weather entertainment spots with your visiting neighbors and friends.  Neighborhood families, students, creatives and professionals are your neighbors.  The growing number of toddlers populating Woodbridge is renewing the long tradition of child care trading.

Shopping & Dining

Many Woodbridge residents head to the full service University Foods or to nearby Avalon International Breads and Kim’s Produce for groceries and baked goods and other household needs. Others head down to the stores in Southwest like Honey Bee Market or to Eastern Market. The Woodbridge Pub is down the block from all Woodbridgers and features locally grown food, a seasonally inspired menu and several locally brewed beers. Other nearby restaurants include: Cass Café, Motor City Brewing Works and Winery, Bronx Bar, TJ’s, Mario’s and Traffic Jam and Snug, a restaurant, bakery, dairy, and brewery. The city’s main recycling center, Recycle Here, is near to Woodbridge. Urban gardens are popping up en masse in Woodbridge. Both everyday denizens and the food businesses that are running out of the neighborhood are benefiting.

Corktown


Detroit’s oldest neighborhood keeps rocking.

Corktown was founded by Detroit’s Irish immigrant population in the 1830s.  Their homes were detached or row houses built in the Federal style.  By the 1890s an increasing number of the Irish population moved to other locations in Detroit and a second ethnic community grew up as immigrants from Malta made Corktown their home.  In the 1920s the Latino population began arriving from Mexico and the Southwest United States to work in Detroit’s auto plants.

Historic and quirky Corktown — Detroit’s oldest neighborhood — boasts vibrant nightlife and distinctive architecture. Once dominated by Tiger Stadium at Michigan Ave. and Trumbull, Corktown has evolved from a sports destination into a home for artists and activists, urban farmers and rock and roll. The homes in Corktown’s residential district, particularly the section just south of Michigan and west of Sixth St., are notable for their bright colors and elaborate gardens, making for a pleasant afternoon stroll.  Corktown boasts Victorian-era homes, beautifully restored with vibrant colors and careful gardens.  The neighborhood is a tight-knit community, and the surrounding entertainment district is great for music and bar hopping.

Dining and Shopping

Corktown is charming, clean and offers lots to do in little space.  Part of the attraction, of course, is the area’s walkability, as voted by the Metro Times community.  Walk to one of the city’s quaint restaurants:  a petit creperie, called Le Petit Zinc takes its name from Parisian Cafes.  The bars would have zinc countertops, and each person passing though for a meal would leave their mark on the soft metal.

You can also find Mudgies, a Deli in the heart of the neighborhood.  If you’re looking for barbeque, try Slow’s.  One of the region’s most popular restaurants, it’s been featured in a dizzying number of publications both local and national.  For burgers, brews, or bar food, try PJ’s Lager House or Nemo’s before you catch their shuttle to the game.  For breakfast check out the Steak Hut on West Lafayette, a Corktown institution.  You can get the best breakfast $3 can buy.

Corktown holds the biggest book store in the state. Located in what was once a glove factory, John K. King’s Books holds over 1 million rare and used books in the warehouse.  Shopping is good in Corktown.  Check out Rachel’s Place.  It specializes in vintage clothing from Detroit department stores like Hudson’s, Winkleman’s, Jacobson’s and Himelhoch’s.  The majority of the store’s stock was made in the U.S.A., with other clothing produced in Italy and Spain.  Shoes, purses, old advertisements, furniture and home goods round out the collection.  If you’re a vinylophile Hello Records on Bagley is for you.

Lafayette Park

Modded out.

Lafayette Park is an internationally renowned district of residential architecture, both historic and modern. It is located roughly half-way between downtown and Chene Park  and is close to Belle Isle and the MacArthur Bridge. There is also easy access to I-375, Gratiot Avenue, and Jefferson Avenue.  It celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2006 and remains a racially diverse, economically stable, garden-like enclave in the middle of Detroit.

The first urban-renewal project in the United States, it boasts 26 buildings by Mies Van der Rohe, which are his only works in Michigan and the largest collection of his buildings in one place the world over. The aesthetic is consistent, minimalist steel and glass, but the housing options are diverse.

When Lafayette Park was created design was everything. City streets were not allowed to pass through, which allowed the creation of a large central park and a network of walking paths. The eight separate residential developments in the district were done in a variety of styles, from modernist, high-rise towers to one-story, flat-roofed town houses.  It covers 78 acres in all.

One of the country’s great models of urban planning, Lafayette Park offers a sense of place that is both modern and historical, urban yet green and spacious.

Shopping and Dining

Lafayette Park includes a small shopping center in its district, which has begun a new renaissance and now contains a full-service grocery store. You can find this on Lafayette Blvd. Thanks to the completion of the Dequindre Cut on its border, Eastern Market’s Saturday groceries, restaurants, and bars are all just a short walk or bike ride away. Residents are also a very distance from Downtown, offering a wide variety of shopping and dining options.

Formerly a Grand Trunk Railroad line, the Dequindre Cut is a below-street level path that runs parallel to St. Aubin Street, between Mack Avenue and Woodbridge Street just north of the Riverfront.  Officially opened to the public in May of 2009 this 1.35-mile greenway is a pedestrian link between the Riverfront, Eastern Market and many of the residential neighborhoods in between. The greenway features a 20-foot-wide paved pathway, which includes separate lanes for pedestrian and bicycle traffic.

Eastern Market

A vibrant gathering place.

As many as 40,000 people flock to Eastern Market for its Saturday Market to enjoy one of the most authentic urban adventures in the
United States. The market (open Saturday 5am-5pm) and the adjacent district are rare finds in a global economy – a local food district with more than 250 independent vendors and merchants processing, wholesaling and retailing food.  At the heart of Eastern Market is a six-block public market that has been feeding Detroit since 1891. Every Saturday it is transformed into a vibrant marketplace with hundreds of open-air stalls where everyone from toddlers to tycoons to moguls enjoy the strong conviviality served up along with great selections of fruits, veggies, fresh-cut flowers, homemade jams, maple syrups, pasture raised proteins, and even an occasional goose or rabbit.

All week long Eastern Market remains a vibrant neighborhood that holds great restaurants, bars, shops and a burgeoning foodie community.  It’s a walkable urban center close to Downtown, Midtown, Wayne State University, the RiverWalk and all hubs of cultural centers within them.

From raw, edgy work live spaces at the Atlas to more refined loft spaces at the FD building; Eastern Market has loft spaces as diverse as the people and restaurants that call the neighborhood home.

Shopping and Dining

Eastern Market has the shops that meet your day-to-day staple needs.  Look for the bi-weekly markets, neighborhood grocers, a hardware store, and more.  The gourmet and exotic are also to be found here.  Stop by R. Hirt Jr.’s for specialty cheeses, or one of the wine shops a few doors down to pick up a bottle.

Emerging food entrepreneurs are beginning to settle down in this district.  For a taste of this, you can find some of the best pizza Detroit has to offer at Supino’s Pizzeria.  A few blocks over is Detroit’s oldest Italian restaurant, Roma Cafe.  Everything from Ethiopian to Thai to Soul to Creole food is within walking distance.  If you’re a soup person there’s nothing like the Russell Street Deli.  People come for miles just for the soup.  There are only 60 seats, yet it sells 180 gallons of soup a week in winter and 140 a week in summer, says co-owner and chief soup-maker Ben Hall.

Even outside of food, Eastern Market offers one of a kind shopping.  Antique stores line the street behind the sheds, but you can also find clothing boutiques, art and craft shops, a garden supply store, and the locally famous Rocky Peanut Company.

For a complete list of shopping and dining, check out Eastern Market’s list.