Detroit Essentials

This guide to the city's hot spots is like taking a tour with a local!

Food and Drink Essentials

WHERE TO BUY GROCERIES

Meijer
Numerous locations
This Michigan-based chain of regional superstores has beautiful produce, decent baked goods and unbeatable prices. The stores are cavernous and include liquor, wine and beer as well as full-range discount department stores and large lawn-and-garden sections. No matter what you need, you’ll find it at Meijer.

WHERE TO GET YOUR GOURMET FIX

Nino Salvaggio's
Four locations east of Woodward Avenue
Salvaggio’s has its roots in Italy, but no matter what your culinary bent, you’ll find the seasonings and ingredients you want here. Cheese, chocolate, wine, gorgeous cuts of meats -- you name it, Salvaggio’s has it -- or they’ll get it.

Hiller’s Market
Eight locations, west of Woodward Avenue including Ann Arbor
The meat counter is the greatest; it's a visual feast staffed by experienced butchers who know their way around a cow. The bakery does a nice job with eye-appealing sweets. If you’ve got special dietary needs, including kosher, this is definitely the place to shop.

WHERE TO GET A LATE-NIGHT BITE

National Coney Island
21 locations in the metro area
Coneys are Michigan’s answer to diners. They take their name from their specialty -- Coney Island hot dogs with chili, onions and cheese. Coneys worthy of the name also serve breakfast 24/7, spinach pie and chili-and-cheese fries. Yum!

WHERE TO GET A LATTE

Bean and Leaf Cafe
106 S. Main, Royal Oak
248-586-9602
Savor organic fair-trade coffee and a huge piece of four-layer chocolate cake while looking at the ever-changing displays of photos and paintings by local artists.

HAVE A FINE DINING EXPERIENCE

Tribune
31425 W Twelve Mile Road, Farmington Hills
248-848-9393
It’s the best the area has to offer. French-inspired but eclectic, the food here is an adventure and the wine list magnificent. The interior has been recognized by the American Institute of Architects. Try the prix fixe menu for a little of all the good things.

Entertainment Essentials

WHERE TO MEET PEOPLE

Join a bowling league
Various
Detroit has the most registered bowlers in the United States. There are alleys everywhere and hundreds of leagues. It’s cheap fun and you can’t help getting to know the people you bowl with every week. There are singles, couples and kids leagues, day and night leagues, tournaments, charitable events and lots of bowling parties. With many leagues, you can just show up and ask to join. You don’t have to hit a strike every time. Just do your best, laugh and have a good time.

WHERE YOUNG COUPLES GO

Downtown Ann Arbor
On weekends the streets are packed with people just hanging out here in the home of the University of Michigan. Most stores stay open until at least midnight, and there are countless clubs offering live music. Food lovers will find everything from vegetarian Indian to pizza. Plenty of beer and cocktails here, too.

WHERE TO GET A BEER

Jack’s Waterfront Restaurant & Lounge
24214 Jefferson Ave., St. Clair Shores
586-445-8080
Nothing’s better on a summer day than sitting dockside sipping a cool one. Jack’s dock sticks way out into Lake St. Clair, so you not only can watch the water but also see neighboring marinas. You can come by water, too, because Jack’s offers plenty of slips in which you can park your boat.

THINGS TO DO WITH THE KIDS

Ford Rouge Factory Tour
The Henry Ford Museum
20900 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn
After you’ve had the noisy, smelly kick of watching a car or truck being built, you’ll never take the American auto industry for granted again. Tours depart Monday through Saturday from The Henry Ford Museum. Make sure you don’t pick a day when the plant isn’t making cars. Tours still run on these non-carmaking days and there are still things to see, but it isn’t nearly as interesting.

Detroit Zoo
Intersection of Woodward Avenue and 10 Mile Road (I-696) in Royal Oak
248-541-5717
Lions, tigers and bears, oh my! This place has it all. Believe it or not, the aardvarks are some of the cutest critters here.

FUNKY LOCAL BUSINESS

Oasis Hot Tub Retreat
2301 S. State St., Ann Arbor
734-663-9001
Rent a private indoor or outdoor hot tub by the hour. An indoor tub with fireplace is especially cozy during the cold and snowy Detroit winter. It’s good clean fun -- families are encouraged.

BEST VIEW OF THE CITY

Caesars Windsor
377 Riverside Drive East, Windsor, Ontario
519-258-7878; toll-free: 800-991-7777
Take a trip across the Detroit River by bridge or tunnel to Canada. Gamble a few loonies, and look out the casino window at the gorgeous view of the Detroit skyline.

GO INTERNATIONAL WITHOUT LEAVING HOME

Mexicantown

Greektown
These two Detroit neighborhoods feature restaurants that serve genuine ethnic fare. Walk up and down the streets and choose a different restaurant for every course. Don’t miss saganaki (flaming cheese) served tableside with a flourish by waiters shouting "Opa." In Mexicantown, indulge in the pastries. Stop at La Gloria (3345 Bagley St., Detroit, 313-842-5722 for churros and caramel turnovers.

GAMBLE ON HAVING A GOOD TIME

Greektown Casino

MGM Grand Detroit

Motor City Casino
Play the slots and table games at one of the city’s three casinos or just listen to the free entertainment and grab a bite at some of the buffets and top-notch restaurants.

Outdoor Essentials

OUTDOORSY THING TO DO

Lake Erie Metro Park
32481 W. Jefferson, Brownstown
800-477-3189
Lake Erie Metropark contains 1,607 acres, including three miles of Lake Erie shoreline. It’s one of the premier hawk- and water-fowl-watching sites in North America, and it’s also a good place to see bald eagles. Bring binoculars. The park has a wave-action swimming pool, a challenging 18-hole golf course, a museum and nature center, a dozen boat launches and a marina. There’s a children's play area and leashed dogs are welcome.

WHERE TO TAKE FIDO

Orion Oaks Dog Park
2301 Clarkston Road
Lake Orion
Exercise your pooch at this 14-acre fenced enclosure. There’s a special area for tiny dogs, as well as two wooded trails and access to Lake Sixteen for dog-only swimming.

GO FISH

Waterways all over the metro area
Detroit is second in the nation in sales of fishing rods and the western basin of Lake Erie is known as the walleye capital of the world. When the walleye spawn every spring, the Detroit River is thick with anglers hoping for the big one. Otherwise, fish swim not only in Lake Erie and the Detroit River but also in the hundreds of large and small lakes that dot the area. Muskie, bass, steelhead and perch are the prized catches.

Nightlife Essentials

WHERE TO DANCE

Boogie Fever Cafe & Disco
22901 Woodward Ave
Ferndale, MI 48220
248-541-1600
Get down; get funky. Shake your booty to the music of the '70s and '80s. The place has mirrored balls and a dress code that bars mullets, gold and silver chains, and tank tops. It’s fun, even if you were a babe in arms when disco was young.

GET JAZZED UP

Baker's Keyboard Lounge
20510 Livernois, Detroit
313-345-6300
Listen to tasty licks played by the famous and the not-so-famous at this close-to-100-year-old piano bar. It’s open nightly and crowded most of the time.

Bert's Jazz Marketplace
2731 Russell, Detroit, 313-567-2030
Lots of conventional jazz and improvisation. The food’s pretty good, too.

POST-MOTOWN MUSIC SCENE

Magic Bag
22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale
248-544-3030
The best of local talent and national acts on the way up play here.

Majestic Theater
4120 Woodward Ave. #4140, Detroit
313-833-9700
Live music by mostly locals. Detroit native Eminem got his start here. The Garden Bowl bowling alley is upstairs. The bar brings in the after-work crowd as well as being packed on the weekends.

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