Fact – I’m a fan of not only finding ANYTHING to do just about ANYWHERE, but whenever possible, I always try to include my son, Connor.
Detroit isn’t normally a place that most would choose to use as a location to “get-away.” However, everyone knows two things about me: 1- I will find tons of things to get into NO MATTER where I go and 2- half of the time, Connor will be included; a short trip to Ann Arbor and Detroit was no different. Here’s a quick run down of what we did in a few days:
Ann Arbor (and Ann Arbor’ish area)
109 Generation Dr
Three Oaks, MI 49128
Though this place was about an hour and some change away from Ann Arbor, I had to make a stop because I have to be one of the happiest people alive that breweries and distilleries welcome families; Journeyman is one of them. Here, in their distillery, they have a wide variety of spirits for you to taste from vodkas, to rums, whiskeys, and more. Feel free to take a tour of the facility or grab a bite to eat!
117 W Washington St
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Located in the heart of Downtown Ann Arbor, this restaurant brings you Cuban street food with a twist! The simple menu contains just enough items to appeal to a wide variety of taste buds – Each sandwich is inspired by traditional Cuban burgers and every sandwich is topped with shoestring fries. Wash down your food with a freshly made “Batido,” which is a fresh fruit tropical shake made in-house OR a fishbowl Margarita.
The Petting Farm at Domino’s Farms
3001 Earhart Rd
Ann Arbor, MI 48106
This place is a GEM for families! At only 6 bucks a piece, you have access to the farm which allows roaming and has tractor rides. Bags of carrots for feeding the animals are $2 a piece and each animal has a sign by them that tells you if they can be fed or not. Llamas, pigs, cows, horses, alpacas (yes, alpacas!), ducks, chickens, rabbits, and more are all here, waiting on you to interact with them!
University of Michigan
530 S State St
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
There are just no words to explain how amazing this place is. Campus tours are offered (at more than one of the campus locations) and they give a very good overview of everything in a short amount of time. Tour information is available on the website and totally free to sign up for. If you opt not to go the tour route, you are able to roam the campus on your own. Stop by an information desk and one of the student advisors will give you a map and suggest places for you check out. The campus is massive; it’s own little town! Be sure to check out the art museum, which is one of the finest university museums in the country and, of course, ride down the street and check out the world famous Big House, which is the largest stadium in the United States and the second largest stadium in the world.
Vintner’s Canton Winery
8515 N Lilley Rd
Canton, MI 48187
This winery isn’t too far from The Petting Farm and can be an easy stop to or from there. It is a small winery that has some original flavors such as Toasted Marshmallow and White Cranberry. You can customize your own tastings and each tasting is only $1 each. If you feel like indulging more, a full glass of your choice will only run you $5 and $9 if it is a dessert wine.
Dutch Girl Donuts
19000 Woodward Ave
Detroit, MI 48203
While researching places to visit, this consistently showed up in my search, with a constant repeated advisory to get there early. I arrived bright and early and the line was literally out the door. The space isn’t that big and about 5 people can stand inside, comfortably. While squished and waiting to pump your body full of sugar, you are able to witness these amazing morsels being made by hand! The dough kneaded, cut, and shaped, then moved to the fryer, where agin, by hand it is put in and taken out, and put into the icing. Don’t get lost staring in awe at the process, rather, use that time to identify which fresh donuts you want, because the waiting crowd will get agitated. These pillows of goodness, literally melt in your mouth and taste every bit of perfect.
2648 W Grand Blvd
Detroit, MI 48208
If you are a fan of Barry Gordy, Motown, and the legends that this historic place produced, taking a tour here is a must. You are able to walk through the actual home and offices of Mr. Gordy and where legends such as Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, and countless others practiced and recorded. Learning the history of the place, while hearing the music from the artists playing in the background, is an experience that you must have.
Arab American National Museum
13624 Michigan Ave
Dearborn, MI 48126
The FIRST in the world – a museum dedicated to Arab American history and culture. The museum takes visitors through Arab culture, religion, and history, while taking the time to carefully bring them closer to present day – stopping through their immigration to America, taking a look at 9/11, and Arabs in America currently, including the contributions they have made to American society. To be noted is also the stunning design, which of course has Arab influence.
310 S Main St
Royal Oak, MI 48067
Once I discovered this restaurant melts two different types of taco shells together using various ingredients, I knew I had to see it with my own eyes and indeed they did. In the Downtown area of the Royal Oak neighborhood, they are serving mouth-watering tacos all day long. Grab a fresh margarita as you sit and peruse the menus to figure out what to indulge in, including tacos made with shrimp ceviche, bbq pulled jackfruit, or braised beef brisket, to name a few. It is the shell though, that will take your taco to the next level. For example, one of the choices is called the “Peezler,” which is a flour soft shell held together to a corn hard shell by bacon refried beans, guac, and sour cream.
Detroit Princess Riverboat cruise
20 Civic Center Dr
Detroit, MI 48226
Taking this dinner cruise was definitely the highlight of our trip! While enjoying a filling buffet, there are drinks, live entertainment, dancing, and great views as you sail down the Detroit River with Detroit and the US on one side and Windsor, Canada on the other. Three levels of viewing on the boat give plenty of viewing space for all on board and opportunities for great photo ops. Various cruise times and pricing are offered during operating season.
The Hudson Cafe
1241 Woodward Ave
Detroit, MI 48226
Grabbing breakfast or brunch here is the perfect choice on a weekend, or any day for that matter. With the downtown Detroit area rebuilding itself, the wait that you will probably have for a table at The Hudson Cafe, can be offset by checking out the area. I indulged in the strawberry shortcake french toast, stuffed with cream cheese and coated with graham cracker crumbs and Connor had pancakes with a couple of sides. Everything was tasty and well worth the wait.
These few places and activities are just a portion of all that we could’ve explored and done, despite the normal notion that Detroit has nothing to do. Never let anyone discourage you from checking out and exploring a yourself; there is adventure and beauty to be found EVERYWHERE!