9 Detroit Day Date Ideas (For Whatever Mood You & Your Honey Happen To Be In)

8:11 PM

9 Detroit Day Date Ideas (For Whatever Mood You & Your Honey Happen To Be In) || Wading in Big Shoes
From hockey games to musicals, it’s no secret that Detroit is a hub for lively entertainment. While it's true that there are plenty of opportunities to sneak downtown for just a couple hours, some of the best ways to have fun in this city simply involve showing up and exploring your surroundings.

Below, I’ve gathered some of Brad's and my top picks when it comes to spending a day in Detroit, all divvied up by different moods and tastes. Because there's so much going on in the Motor City, this list only begins to explain everything there is to do, but if you have questions on anything or want to learn more about specific places, please let me know in the comments! :)

Detroit Day Date #1: The Book Lovers’ Date

9 Detroit Day Date Ideas (For Whatever Mood You & Your Honey Happen To Be In) || Wading in Big Shoes
If you love reading and haven’t yet made a visit to John K. King Books, add this to your to-do list RIGHT NOW. John K. King Used & Rare Books has two locations (one’s in Ferndale), but the building on West Lafayette in Detroit is the place to start if you’re up for a day of overwhelming your literary senses in the best possible way. Inside this four-story, former glove factory, you’ll find creaky wood floors, huge windows, that good ol’ musty paper smell, and access to over ONE MILLION BOOKS. Also, be sure to grab a map on your way in . . . because you’re gonna need it.

Sifting through a treasure trove of books can really work up an appetite, so when you're done, head over to Green Dot Stables in Corktown to fuel up on some of Detroit’s favorite sliders (there’s always a wait, so try going for lunch instead of dinner or request a seat at the bar for shorter wait times). Try the Mystery Meat (it changes every day) with some truffle & herb fries for an American-style meal that’s turned up a few notches.

Once you’ve filled your belly, drive over to midtown for a look at the Detroit Public Library’s main branch. Located across the street from the Detroit Institute of Arts on Woodward Avenue, the DPL houses a huge collection of books, music, and historic artifacts—and you don’t need a library card to get in on the fun. Head upstairs to take a gander at the building’s gorgeous murals, paintings, and architectural detailing, or discover even more with a free tour (frequently offered on weekends; contact the library to sign up ahead of time).

Detroit Day Date #2: The Coffee Lovers’ Date

9 Detroit Day Date Ideas (For Whatever Mood You & Your Honey Happen To Be In) || Wading in Big Shoes
Life’s too short to drink basic coffee! I love Starbucks as much as the next girl, but there are too many fun coffee shops in Detroit to ignore. Coffee aficionados: I know you have some kind of super-human caffeine tolerance that I will never be able to match, so I recommend using your superpowers to taste your way around the city’s cafes, ranking your favorites for future reference. There are wayyyy too many “must-tries” to list here (I’ll save that for a future post), but a few of my favorites are Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Co. (midtown and Cobo Center), Roasting Plant (this one’s actually a chain, but it's legit and has just a handful of locations worldwide), and New Order Coffee Roasters (these guys offer free coffee-tasting workshops and are located right down the street from GLCRC on Woodward!).

Before, during, and after your Chemex pour-overs, be sure to treat yourself to some pastries or other hearty snacks/small meals to make sure you’re balancing out that coffee buzz. Most of Detroit’s coffee shops serve up some delicious goodies (try the sea salt chocolate chunk cookie at New Order!), but we also really like Astoria Pastry Shop in Greektown, Avalon International Breads (W. Willis and Woodward locations), and Detroit Institute of Bagels in Corktown (get a bag to take home for later!).

Detroit Day Date #3: The Eastern Market Date

9 Detroit Day Date Ideas (For Whatever Mood You & Your Honey Happen To Be In) || Wading in Big Shoes
If you’re a full-on foodie and think all things gourmet are cause for celebration, head over to the Eastern Market for a day of expanding your culinary horizons. To get the full experience, try visiting during one of the regularly-scheduled outdoor markets (times and days vary by season) for an ample variety of produce, baked goods, meats, plants, home decor, and more. After you’ve picked up the ingredients for your evening meal, grab lunch over at Supino Pizzeria, coffee at Germack (also a renowned purveyor of nuts and snack foods), and/or dessert at Rocky Peanut Co. or Mootown Ice Cream Shoppe.

And don’t forget—the market isn’t just covered sheds and weekly vendors! Check out surrounding grocers (we love DeVries & Co., Gabriel Import Co., and the Gratiot Central Market), pick up some vintage treasures at Eastern Market Antiques, listen to live musicians on every corner, and snap some photos with your sweetie in front of one of the market’s colorful murals. If you want to see it all and don’t know where to begin, try booking a strolling brunch or mural tour with Feet On The Street Tours, where you’ll enjoy a morning being guided around the market while learning about both popular and lesser-known spots that are worth experiencing.

Detroit Day Date #4: The Riverwalk Date

9 Detroit Day Date Ideas (For Whatever Mood You & Your Honey Happen To Be In) || Wading in Big Shoes
Steady, choppy, or frozen: No matter what time of year, the Detroit River is always a wondrous sight to behold. Get an up-close view on the Detroit Riverwalk, a continually-developing area that’s great for walking, running, strolling, and spectating (and there are plenty of festivals that take place here throughout the year). Next, take a walk inside the adjacent GM Renaissance Center (filled with gift shops, restaurants, food courts, and a great indoor view of the river if the weather’s rough), then head across the street (be sure to use those crosswalks!) to take photos with the Spirit of Detroit and Joe Louis fist statue. Want to see a little more of the city while resting your feet? Hop on the People Mover (there’s a station at the RenCen) for a loop around some of downtown’s most popular spots.

Detroit Day Date #5: The Belle Isle Date

9 Detroit Day Date Ideas (For Whatever Mood You & Your Honey Happen To Be In) || Wading in Big Shoes
Belle Isle is a great place to enjoy Detroit without the bustle of the city. If you’re arriving by vehicle, you’ll need a Michigan Recreation Passport, but if you decide to walk, ride your bike, or take a bus to the park, there are no entry fees. Pack a picnic lunch, bring a frisbee, or go for a loop around the isle—it’s a great place to explore!

There are several points of interest on Belle Isle, including the James Scott Memorial Fountain (a must-see and frequently photographed), Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory (filled with gorgeous plants and flowers), Belle Isle Aquarium (the oldest aquarium in America!), Belle Isle Nature Center, and Dossin Great Lakes Museum. Plus, did I mention that all of these places are completely free to visit? After a full day, you’ll still have plenty of money left in your wallet for a nice dinner downtown. ;)

Detroit Day Date #6: The Museum Lovers’ Date

9 Detroit Day Date Ideas (For Whatever Mood You & Your Honey Happen To Be In) || Wading in Big Shoes
If you’re not a frequent Motor City visitor, you may not know how many museums there are in Detroit! We’ve been to several, and love revisiting our favorites (and there are plenty left on our must-do list). Some options for you and your love:

Detroit Institute of Arts (Free admission for Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb County residents)
Detroit Historical Museum (Free admission/donations encouraged)
Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
Motown Museum
Michigan Science Center (We found this one geared more toward kids, but it’s also fun for science-loving adults)
Ford Piquette Avenue Plant

Detroit Day Date #7: The Art Lovers’ Date

9 Detroit Day Date Ideas (For Whatever Mood You & Your Honey Happen To Be In) || Wading in Big Shoes
If you and your significant other are craving a day of artistic inspiration, there are plenty of options in Detroit that’ll keep you enchanted and intrigued. Not to be missed: The Detroit Institute of Arts (which I also included above in my “Museum Lovers” section), followed by a half-mile drive or walk down Woodward to the Museum Of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD). Next, support local artists at the Detroit Artists Market (a gallery/gift shop hybrid), then grab lunch at any of the delicious eateries in Midtown (lately, we’ve been loving 2941 Street Food).

After lunch, drive out to the Heidelberg Project, a block of abandoned houses that have been transformed into works of thought-provoking art. Here, you’re free to take photos and roam around freely, but take care to follow these guidelines as recommended on the Heidelberg project website.

Detroit Day Date #8: The Architecture Lovers’ Date

9 Detroit Day Date Ideas (For Whatever Mood You & Your Honey Happen To Be In) || Wading in Big Shoes
There are so many fantastic, old buildings in Detroit, and the best part is, there are plenty of opportunities to see these beauties up-close (and for free)! In my “Book Lovers” section, I mentioned that free tours are available for the Detroit Public Library (a great place to start), and you can also RSVP for free tours of the Guardian Building and Fisher Building with Pure Detroit (learn more on their Facebook page)! On these tours, you’ll not only learn about the people and methods that went into creating these iconic buildings, but also more about their historic significance throughout the years while being treated to exclusive views you might not get to see otherwise. Bring your camera, because there’s plenty to capture!

Detroit Day Date #9: The Shopping Date

9 Detroit Day Date Ideas (For Whatever Mood You & Your Honey Happen To Be In) || Wading in Big Shoes
Sometimes, you might just be in the mood to shop (or window shop), and that’s great, too! Tons of cool boutiques and well-known national brands have popped up in downtown Detroit over the last few years, and I say this over and over, but there is always something new to discover regardless of how often you’re in the area. Some popular spots: Shinola, Carhartt, Will Leather Goods, and the popup shops in Campus Martius and Capitol Square (days and hours vary seasonally). You can also hop on the QLine to easily shop up and down Woodward (check out Madewell, the Nike Store, Detroit Is The New Black, Moosejaw, and lots more).

While you're on Woodward, don’t worry about where you’ll eat—from quick-casual to upscale, there’s an abundance of delectable choices wherever you turn. Avalon International Breads and Shake Shack are a couple of my favorites, but if you're in the mood for a more upscale/contemporary setting, eateries like Parc, Townhouse, and Central Kitchen are always bustling and boast high ratings.

And there you go, friends! Have fun and let me know which of these dates you’d pick for you and your sweetie (and leave your questions and suggestions for additional dates in the comments below)!

You Might Also Like