June 2010 Issue
The Connoisseur’s Guide to The D
There’s no better time than summer to explore Detroit.
Detroit’s neighborhoods, bustling with shopping, dining and events, attract couples, families and groups of friends looking for warm-weather fun. Start in downtown, where you’ll find plenty of entertainment options, from gaming and sporting events to museums, attractions, and some of the state’s best hotels, including The Westin Book Cadillac, Omni River Place, and The Atheneum Suites. Detroit’s three casino-hotels — MGM Grand, MotorCity and Greektown — offer some of The D’s best nightlife options, and each casino is just minutes away from professional sporting events at Comerica Park (detroit.tigers.mlb.com
), Ford Field (detroitlions.com
) and the Joe Louis Arena (olympiaentertainment.com
), as well as museums like the Detroit Institute of Arts (dia.org
), the Detroit Science Center (sciencedetroit.org
) and Motown (motownmuseum.com
), and a thriving theater and music district, anchored by the fabulous Fox Theater (olympiaentertainment.com
Historic Escapes in Dearborn/Wayne
Dearborn is known as not only the world headquarters of Ford Motor Company but also as the home to one of America’s greatest historical attractions, The Henry Ford. Comprised of The Henry Ford Museum, Greenfield Village and the Ford Rouge Factory Tour, visitors can view everything from the rocker where President Lincoln was sitting when assassinated to the Wright Brothers’ bicycle shop and 19th-century steam locomotive rides.
After a day at The Henry Ford, you’ll need a good night’s sleep, and Dearborn/Wayne has some of the region’s best hotels, at all price points, including the Hyatt Regency, The Westin Detroit Metro Airport, The Hampton Inn and The Dearborn Inn, a Marriott Hotel.
Located on 23 acres across from The Henry Ford, The Dearborn Inn was originally designed for visitors landing at what was once Ford Airport, when the famous Ford Tri-Motor airplanes used to take off and land. Hard to believe that this peaceful, suburban, Georgian-style beauty was America’s first “airport hotel.”
If you’re still looking for a bit of an adrenaline rush, head to Pinnacle Race Course in New Boston (pinnacleracecourse.com
), Michigan’s newest track, with Thoroughbred racing from June to October. Watch the live race action along the one-mile track from comfortable indoor seating or, in fair weather, head out to the covered terrace.
Novi is best known for the Rock Financial Showplace, (rockfinancialshowplace.com
) a modern facility that is home to some of the most interesting and exciting consumer shows in the Midwest. This summer’s must-attend shows include the International Gem & Jewelry Show (June 25–27), with everything from pearls and estate jewelry to colorful beads and gems, and the Rubber Stamp Show (Aug. 7–8), with demonstrations, make-and-take crafts, food and entertainment.
Novi also offers a wide array of shopping and dining options and some terrific hotel choices including The Baronette, now a Renaissance Hotel, with all of the services and amenities that come with Marriott’s popular upscale brand.
Tolerance is the focus at the Holocaust Memorial Center Zekelman Family Campus in Farmington Hills (holocaustcenter.org
). The museum is divided into sections that detail life for Jews before, during and after World War II. Areas such as The Museum of European Jewish Heritage allow visitors to learn more about Jewish culture, history, religious beliefs and holidays, followed by the story of World War II, which documents in detail the rise of the Nazis.
Post-war exhibits show videos of survivors, the arrests and sentencing of war criminals and emigration out of Germany. Tours wrap up in a hallway recognizing the “righteous,” non-Jews who risked their lives saving, or trying to save, at least one Jewish person.
All Around Oakland
For some high-end retail therapy, swing by downtown Birmingham (enjoybirmingham.com
), known for trendy, unique dining and shopping experiences. Although national favorites are in the mix, local clothing and furniture boutiques are blended in, creating a downtown experience like no other.
In the summer, Birmingham-area restaurants open their patios so you can enjoy your Thai, Mediterranean or Italian food outdoors. Stop by The Cupcake Station after lunch or dinner for freshly made delicacies such as strawberry delight, German chocolate and vanilla latte miniature cupcakes. Or take in a movie at one of two theaters; the historic Birmingham 8 Theatre or the new Palladium 12 Theatre.
Throughout the summer and early fall, nothing beats the outdoor festivals and events of downtown Ferndale (downtownferndale.com
), located on Woodward Avenue where the famous Woodward Dream Cruise extravaganza is held every August.
One week before the legendary event, folks can go to Ferndale for a different kind of transportation celebration: the Green Cruise, held Aug. 14. Start the day with experienced and beginner bike rides and a parade celebrating eco-friendly forms of transportation, followed by a day of entertainment, including a skateboard show, a rock-climbing tower and arts and “scraps” projects for the kids, along with food, massages and musical entertainment.
Children of all ages will love a trip to the Cranbrook Institute of Science, located in Bloomfield Hills (science.cranbrook.edu
). The displays, many of them hands-on, will entertain kids for hours and keep adults busy, too, including the Bat Zone, a building that houses more than 90 bats from around the world. Live programs teach about the nocturnal animals, with appearances by rare species such as vampire bats, the endangered golden, and Malayan flying foxes — the largest bats in the world with six-foot wingspans.
While at Cranbrook, check out the center’s newest and largest installation, “The Story of Us,” which showcases the institution’s extensive anthropology collection with the help of a virtual guide named Meg. An array of hunting, gathering and cooking tools show where our modern-day utensils came from, and various clothing, jewelry and religious paraphernalia are on display, along with mummified animals and even a shrunken head, once a common souvenir for travelers.
And when your busy day is done, why not head to the luxurious Royal Park Hotel in quaint downtown Rochester?
Family Fun in Macomb
For those looking for more family attractions, Detroit has additional destinations that combine learning and pure fun. How about spending a day in Clinton Township, home to Morley Candy & Sanders (sanderscandy.com
), a Michigan institution known for fine chocolates and its famous “bumpy cake,” a chocolate tea cake with chocolate icing and butter cream “bumps” beneath the icing, along with other confections like peanut butter blocks and milk chocolate honeycomb chips, still made the way they were 100 years ago with pulled molasses taffy. Tour the factory and see the original conveyor belt used to make the honeycomb chips and watch other seasonal candy and Morley and Sanders favorites being made.
Walk off the sweets at what has unofficially become Macomb’s downtown area: The Mall at Partridge Creek (shoppartridgecreek.com
). Aside from a variety of local and national shops and restaurants, there’s an outdoor TV court that broadcasts games, two bocce ball courts, a pop jet fountain that children play in during the summer and a kids’ play area. The complex is also pet friendly, offering Three Dog Bakery with animal treats and “dog comfort stations.”
Hotel choices span all budgets, but two of the best are the Best Western Sterling Inn, with a fun waterpark, and the modern Hyatt Place Utica.
Macomb’s biggest attraction (literally!) is Lake St. Clair, which is a beach and boating mecca with easy public access. Directly connected to the Great Lakes, Ohio boaters can pilot their sloops or yachts to Macomb just as easily as their automobiles.
CRUSIN' THE D
Don’t miss this year’s Autopalooza events. From now until autumn, enthusiasts flock to Detroit for many unique automotive events, from the Concours d’Elegance of America at Meadow Brook (July 25) to the world famous Woodward Dream Cruise (August 21).
For more car-related events and information, visit autopalooza.org
Check out this quick guide to Metro Detroit’s visitor areas.
Downtown D is the center of it all, with nightlife, gaming and sporting events. Five major museums, three casinos, a renovated riverfront and a host of sports and events centers make up this lively downtown area. Hop on the People Mover to visit the theater district, Comerica Park or Joe Louis Arena.
History comes alive in this area, just west of downtown Detroit. Enjoy popular attractions like The Henry Ford Museum, Greenfield Village, the Ford Rouge Factory Tour, the Henry Ford Estate — Fair Lane, the Automotive Hall of Fame and the Arab American National Museum.
Experience a consumer show at Rock Financial Showplace or head to the outdoor shopping and dining districts of Northville and Plymouth. On a rainy day, check out the indoor Twelve Oaks Mall and enjoy a meal at one of Novi’s many restaurants.
Start the day at the Detroit Zoo or the Walter P. Chrysler Museum, then catch a concert at the Palace of Auburn Hills or the DTE Energy Music Theatre. Before the show, grab dinner in downtown Rochester and afterward, enjoy drinks in one of downtown Royal Oak’s many clubs, cocktail lounges and breweries.
This area’s claim to fame is Lake St. Clair, along with 12,000 acres of parks, perfect for summer fun. Tour the grounds of the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House, visit Metro Beach and Stony Creek Metroparks or take the family to Westview Orchards & Adventure farm, with petting barns, a playground and seasonal pick-your-own-fruit options.
TIME TO DO “THE D”
No matter where you head, there’s something great to do, see or experience in Metro Detroit. Be sure to check out visitdetroit.com
to learn more.