It’s a Vibe
Spread the news, Detroit is Cool
I’ve Just Gotta Be Honest
Instead of looking for something truly profound to say, I’m just going to come out and say it . . .
DETROIT, I ❤ U!
Yes it’s true. I have a new love and her name is “Detroit”. Now, I can only imagine the sea of surprised looks this statement is evoking. Listen, I was right there with you. Honestly, I’m just as surprised as you are. No really.
Hint, Hint, Hint . . .
A little background: My friend Des has a pretty kick ass job. She works in the wine industry. (Yes, please) Annnnnd, she pretty much oversees the middle of the United States from the gulf to the Great Lakes. (Go, Des!). Annnnnnd within her region, there are some gems of cities that I wouldn’t mind spending some time in (hint, hint: Chicago).
Apparently, Des wasn’t picking up what I was putting down about Chi-town. But that’s ok because next time, I’ll just hint a little harder.
*Des and I always have the best time (hell, we met at a party).
Let’s go to Detroit!
I’ve Been Here Before
My previous experience with Detroit was eons ago. No exaggeration, it was legit like 20+ years ago. And if you can do shady math, I was pretty much a fetus when I visited before (just kidding). Although I was so young, I do remember that Detroit had a very distinct industrial feel.
Fast forward to today and it’s a stark contrast to the majorly artsy renaissance vibes of Detroit gives today.
Is Detroit Worth Visiting?
Easy answer . . . YUP!
Steal the Look
Where to Stay
The Foundation Hotel: Des and I kicked off our trip with a stay at the Foundation Hotel. If you are in Detroit, which I’m hoping you will be on the first thing smoking after reading this, a stay at the Foundation is a must. Repurposed from an old historical fire station, the Foundation Hotel was giving me all of the cool kid vibes. Subtle nods to the original structure can be seen throughout the building. From the big red doors that welcome you (they are huge you can’t miss them) to the original stone carvings (look up) that adorn the facade to the fireman poles in the main dining area of the Apparatus Room.
Insider Tip: Explore downtown Detroit by bike (compliments of the hotel.) If peddling isn’t really your thing, catch a chauffeured ride in the hotel’s Lincoln Navigator. Just ask the front desk for details on both.
Where to Eat
The Apparatus Room: Just a short elevator ride downstairs and we found ourselves kicking off our first night in Detriot at The Apparatus Room (it’s inside The Foundation Hotel). Insider Tip: Order the “Drink with No Name”. Not exactly sure what’s in it *in retrospect, probably not a good way to start off a recommendation, but stick with me. . . * Put it this way, if you could put Fall (yes, the season) in a cup with alcohol and drink it, this would basically be it. Also, let’s not overlook the fact that this bad ass drink has a pretty kick ass name too. My Game of Thrones fans, where y’all at?! Also not to miss, the “Crispy Fried Cauliflower” and the “Mascarpone Cheesecake“. Luckily I wore a stretchy food-baby-friendly jumpsuit to dinner, ’cause I showed out.
Prime + Proper: Steak. Beautiful decor. Steak and more steak. If you are a vegetarian, you might want to skip this one. But if you are as carnivorous as me . . . let’s eat. *Interesting caveat . . . take notice of the Prime + Proper name or logo on everything from the chairs at the bar to the plates, to the custom inlaid wood handled cutlery. Insider Tip: Head downstairs to see the all the meats through the floor to ceiling windows of Prime + Proper’s dry aging room. Did I mention the walls are lined with himalayan salt? *Fancy*.
Wright and Co.: Sitting above the John Varvatos store on Woodward Ave, is Wright and Co. And in Wright and Co. you’ll find the best butterscotch pudding ever. This ain’t your grandmother’s butterscotch. Eat it before dinner and thank me later. Insider Tip: For the best view and photo opp, request to sit at the corner booth with the chandelier (if available). In my opinion, it’s the best seat in the house.
Where to Drink
The Candy Bar: Behind the pink curtain in the beautifully unique Siren Hotel lies the Candy Bar. No sign will acknowledge its existence. Just pull back the curtain to be whisked back into a time reminiscent of an old Hollywood boom boom room. Complete with pink walls, velvet fabrics, a mega chandelier and a hypnotizing disco ball. Insider Tip: Order 2 of their signature drinks, the Mona Lisa Overdrive and their Gimlet (complete with a lily pad).
The Skip & The Standby: So I usually don’t venture down back alleys#commonsense but at the urging of a local friend, I made an exception for The Belt. Surprising and cool as hell at the same time, murals and neon signs of inspiration adorn walls in between buildings. Make sure you stop to enjoy a gin and tonic at The Skip. Insider Tip: They make their own tonic (didn’t even know that was possible) and it’s DELICIOUS! And make sure you pop in to The Standard. Don’t blink because you’ll miss the door.
Lady of The House: Ladies, run and don’t walk to the bathroom. Super weird directive, right?? Don’t be scared because I’m pretty sure you are going to like it. Guys, while she’s um, indisposed, pull up a chair at the bar and order a drink and the Carrot Steak. Have a snack and a drink. She might be awhile. Insider Tip: Bring a camera to the ladies bathroom. I’m sure you’ll want to take pictures.
What to Do
Motown Museum: Ok, we are all friends here, right??!!!. Soooooo as a friend, I have to be honest because that’s what friends do. Get ready to clinch the pearls in 3, 2, 1 . . . Here it is: The Motown Museum was “meh”. There I said it. And before you promptly exit this post, just hear me out. You can’t take pictures. Not even without a flash. Zero. Zilch. Nada. And you know if it’s not on social media, it didn’t happen. While in the museum we laid our eyes on Michael Jackson’s iconic rhinestone glove and black fedora he wore. (But still) No pics. So, it didn’t happen. Insider Tip: It’s perfectly ok to skip this one. I won’t tell anyone.
Detriot Institute of Arts Museum (A.K.A. The DIA) & The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (A.K.A. The MOCAD): According to all the locals I spoke with , everyone (without hesitation) said “go to the art museum”. Now I’ve been to art museums before but nothing could’ve prepared me for the DIA. This baby is HUGE. Like 3 stories HUGE. From the moment you walk in, the grand fourier captivates your eye. Marble walls and fresco paintings line the ceilings. To say that this museum is impressive is a vast understatement. Insider Tip: Wear comfortable shoes and plant to spend a day at the DIA. When you get hungry (and you will get hungry), make sure to stop for a snack at Kresge Court (inside the museum). The court’s castle-like structure totally make me feel like I was at Hogwarts.
The Riverfront: The Riverwalk is a great “to do” for everyone. 5 miles of green space, art and activity run along the Detroit River overlooking Canada (Windsor, Ontario). Grad a drink, ride the carousel, meander through beautiful gardens, discover the art, ride a bike and the list goes on. Insider Tip: Basically, just go.
Where to Shop
Detroit Is The New Black: While I was outside the Foundation Hotel finishing a photoshoot with a very very kind valet, who by the way, takes EXCELLENT pictures (check the one above). I ran into Roslyn Karamoko, owner of DITNB. Unfortunately, the store was temporary closed due to construction during our trip. But Roslyn did let us swing by the work zone to pick up a tee. Next time I’ll definitely swing back by the new store in all of its glory. Insider Tip In addition to clothing, there’s a live art gallery inside. Plus, a portion of each sale goes towards the DPS Foundation school uniform program: BONUS Insider Tip: DITNB designed a lot of the uniforms for the staff at the Foundation Hotel.
Steal the Look
1441 Woodard Collective: If Etsy had a store, it would be 1441 Woodward Collective. A very cool concept store that gathers its inventory by showcasing the work of several designers. Each one of them has their own section. Awesome unique and handmade items ranging from hammered jewelry (btw, I LOVE my Goldeluxe rings), to clothing to stationary. Insider Tip: 1441 Woodward Collective is just a quick walk across the street from DITNB.