Detroit Travel Guide

Detroit, Michigan, USA / 4 hours and 40 minutes from Toronto

Detroit, Michigan, USA / 4 hours and 40 minutes from Toronto

Everything you need to know about this charming city in The Mitten

Author: Chelsey Burnside

Photographer: Chelsey Burnside


From the lovely locals to the burgeoning food scene, Motor City is the perfect weekend destination in the summer: just different enough from Toronto to feel like a getaway, and just similar enough to feel like home. Here's our guide to Detroit, a gritty city chock full of charm.  

Where To Stay

Trumbull and Porter Hotel -  A super-chill, Ace-esque hotel in Corktown with excellent taste in rugs. Trumbull & Porter is New Detroit embodied: unfussy concrete floors, midcentury-meets-2017 design that doesn't try too hard, and a mean cup of coffee. Ask about renting their matte-black bikes for the best way to see the city. 

Honor & Folly - This gorgeous Corktown guesthouse, with its exposed brick, stained-glass windows and proximity to gems like brunch spot Gold Cash Gold (see below) and the abandoned Michigan Central Station, is the perfect jumping-off point to explore the new motor city.

Airbnbs - Like this Americana-infused loft, or this comfy-cozy apartment flooded with natural light. 




Katoi - (Above) This Thai restaurant is barely a year old, but already had hotspot vibes when we visited right after opening. Sticky watermelon ribs, a beyond flavourful Khao Soi Kai, coconut ice cream... Everything was the best thing. Brace yourself for a wait time of the Bar Isabel variety, but you'll inevitably make friends at the bar. Psst: Canadians, it's pronounced Kat-oy, not Kat-wa. 

Gold Cash Gold - Muster up your best Cash Man and head to Gold Cash Gold in Corktown, arguably Detroit's tastiest hood. It's in a refurbished pawn shop, classed up a few notches with chevron wood ceilings, pendant lamps and boozy slushie machines. Get the chicken and waflles and the Negroni slush and save your caffeine fix for Astro Coffee next door. 

Mudgie's Deli - A local favourite. When they serve lobster rolls, get in line STAT. 

BONUSES: Slow's BBQ (meat!), Nemo's (pub fare!), The Peterboro (Chinese!), Plato Brewery (beers!) and Sugar House (cocktails!). 

What To See

Z Lot - Each storey of this 10-tiered parking lot was painted by a different graffiti artist, making it the perfect backdrop for a half-decade of Detroit Instagrams. There's a cool street-art-lined alleyway bar called The Skip right next door (we're looking down at it in this picture) where you can get boozy slushies and make new friends on one of the many picnic tables. It's a good time. 

Detroit Institute of Arts - Every Friday night at the DIA, there's live music in Rivera Court, this majestic chamber with a panoramic mural painted by Diego Rivera. Sip wine, watch duelling pianos, then wander the night away through Picassos and Van Goghs. Be sure to grab a beer or a cup of coffee in the indoor courtyard. 

John K. King Used & Rare Books - A book lover's wonderland. This multi-story building feels like it'll crumble under the weight of its estimated million (!!!) tomes any second, but it's all part of the experience. Spend hours combing the shelves for rare editions, perfect gifts, and politically incorrect how-to books from 1953. 

Eastern Market - Detroit's historic commercial district teeming with locals, flowers and food stands. Still hungry? Stop for a slice at Supino Pizza around the corner. 

Abandoned Buildings - They're everywhere. From train stations to motels, one of the most interesting things about Detroit is its crumbling façades. Here's a photo series to help you choose your stops. 

Cainan Querido