One of the things I love to do is sightseeing.
Combine that with people watching and you’ve got an incredible experience. I love seeing people explore and do things I’m just now experiencing for the first time or in places I visit often.
For part two of my “top 4 things to do in Detroit” we begin at the Riverfront. Right in front of The Ren Can to be exact. This is better for a summer morning, of course, but hey, if you like cold weather, have at it in the winter, too. We’re going to go for a walk down toward Chene Park, now known as The Aretha. The best part about beginning this walk is looking over to Windsor, Canada. It’s always so crazy to me that a whole new world exists over there. Different people, different money, different city and a whole different way of life. Have you ever been? Even though it’s so close, you know you’re in a different country once you make it through border patrol. A story for another day.
Walking along the Riverfront you’ll see all kinds of people. Downtown Detroit tends to bring out people from both the East and West sides of Detroit, whether to walk just like us, to work or to sightsee as well. This is a perfect place to exercise, but we did that yesterday at Jabs Gym so we’ll take it easy today. Ha! If you have kids, toward the middle portion of this walk there’s a carousel that mine love to ride. There’s also a restaurant to refuel and rehydrate come midday.
We’re going to keep walking, though. Keep walking down toward the Jefferson Hotel and the apartments where you’ll see people with all different stories that call this neck of the woods home. This walk will take you some time but go ahead and head back when you’re ready. You can always stop and relax in one of the big red oversized chairs along the route. You’ll typically see sidewalk chalk artists, men on bicycles with loud speakers slow rolling through and other friendly people looking for a small escape just like you. This is a great place to clear your head.
Next, and this is especially great if you’re new to the city, we’re heading out on the open water. We’ll even cross the border into Canada. How? Once it opens we’re going to hop on board the Diamond Jacks boat tour. Listen, I said this is better in the summer right? The Diamond Jacks boat tour takes 2 hours so plan accordingly. It’ll take you a lot further up the river than you could walk on your own. Remember to refuel before you head onboard, but they do have light refreshments for purchase onboard. The tour travels alongside the Detroit side of the river, along the same area that you were just walking. You’ll pass some historic homes and mansions. Be sure to wave when you pass Kid Rock’s riverfront home! The coolest part is when they take the boat on the other side of the river. Technically you are then in Canadian waters, but no passport needed. They’ll educate you on the history of the buildings you’re passing there, too. After 2 hours you’re bound to be starving so if you took a morning ride it’s probably about time for lunch.
I’m trying to keep everything centrally located for you here so you can either take a nice and easy walk to some of these places but still get somewhat of a Detroit experience. There are a bunch of restaurants to stop by inside the Ren Cen, but if you can make it over to Campus Martius, I suggest you grab lunch at Calexico. It’s going to be a little bit of a walk but why not eh? (Apparently we spent a little too much time in Canada -- sorry!)
Calexico is quick and affordable. It’s a blend of Tex-Mex food. Start with the different salsas -- I prefer the green, but you cannot leave without trying the queso. I normally get that along with their gigantic burrito with chicken. I haven’t been here in a long time but my kids especially love this restaurant. Sit outside if you can and you’ll see people rushing around Downtown, walking to work or catching the Q Line to run up and down Woodward Avenue.
Speaking of which, we’re going to hop aboard the Q Line. We need dessert right? We’ll get there, don’t worry. The Q Line is a great way to see Woodward Avenue. There’s a bit of shopping you can do along the way. For an even better view of the Downtown area, you can hop on the People Mover which will take you in a loop around Downtown. Be let’s stay on Woodward Avenue for right now. You’re going to ride the Q Line for a ways just past Little Ceasars Arena. You’ll want to get off near Erskine. There’s actually a taco spot called Bakersfield that is my favorite place to get tacos (before midnight if you know what I mean lol). Their queso is simply amazing. But we were hungry after all that boating and needed a quick lunch.
Now after all that shopping the Q Line has brought you to a little bakery called For the Love of Sugar. Let me tell you, their name says it ALL. Everything you can ever want for that sweet tooth is inside this place and you will NOT be disappointed. They even have coffee, too.
You’re just outside of the Downtown area now. The Q Line will take you clear down to the New Center area and back to Downtown. Have at it and sight see in either direction. There’s SO much more to be seen even just along this three mile stretch.
What are some of your favorite things to do during the day in Detroit?