Stipulated: the perfect travel time for a three-day weekend getaway is four hours. More, and you waste your vacation. Less, and you’re still near home. Hence our series: The 4hr. Rule, dedicated to revealing the best destinations that are far away, yet still close to home.
Depending on who you ask, it’s either a stumbledown eyesore rife with crime, or a burgeoning city bursting with possibility.
If you ask us, we're on Team Possibility.
And now, spring — a time of creative flowering and actual flowers — is the time to roadtrip it over there and back.
That’s why we made you this guide on exactly what to do.
Below, a three-step, no-Yelp plan for your weekending pleasure.
Now don’t be mistaken: Detroit will always have its grit. It’s also not the next Brooklyn. Because come on, man, that’s just condescending.
So take a drive down 94.
It’s beautiful this time of year.
Look, you can easily stay at the newly opened Aloft Detroit, but we favor a home base just west of Downtown: the exceptional B&B Honor and Folly. Shacking up at this Corktown inn is like staying at a friend’s place, if that friend had impeccable taste and completely lucked out with living on one of Detroit’s most happenin’ blocks.
Inside: two cozy bedrooms and a well-appointed loft space that takes well to natural light. Exposed brick. Vintage touches. Airy and spacious.
2134 Michigan Ave. (map)
Also check out: Aloft Detroit
When most people think of Detroit’s food scene, it’s Coney Dogs and square pizza. But like everything else in town, the dining scene is on a major upswing. See here, here and here. But one spot you definitely need to star: Wright & Company.
You’ll be walking into a classy dining room perched on the second floor of an old building in downtown Detroit. It’s gorgeous up here: tin ceilings and dark wood, leather banquettes and old-fashioned niceties.
From the kitchen, James Beard Award semifinalist (Best Chef: Great Lakes category) Marc Djozlija is giving D-Towners a taste of that small-plate life.
Elevated New American dishes: from the sauteed crab cakes to the chin-wagging roasted pork tenderloin with pickled apricot and goat cheese. They’ll surprise ya. And so will the cocktails.
1500 Woodward Ave. (map)
Also check out: The Selden Standard
Smash football, bowling and cornhole together, and you get fowling (rhymes with bowling), a charming original Detroit sport that would be right at home at any corner bar here in Chicago.
It goes simply: Throw football. Knock down the opposing team's pins before they knock down yours. No points, no frames. Just beer and your best Matthew Stafford impersonation. With 20 lanes, the just-opened Fowling Warehouse is where you need to be to get in on the action. Some of the best people-watching in town, too.
3901 Christopher St. (map)
Photo Credit: Debbie Carlos