Detroit has long been one of our nation’s premiere music hubs, thanks to its rich history in creating the iconic sounds of Motown, Detroit Rock, hip hop, and of course, techno. Flip on any playlist and you’re bound to hear the Motor City’s influence. This time of year is special for many Detroiters who’ve dedicated their lives to the gospel of techno. To that end, the Movement Music Festival taking place May 27 through May 29 draws visitors from all over the globe to Hart Plaza to celebrate the sounds the city that made the electronic genre what it is today.
Some things to keep in mind, downtown has undergone many transformations over the years. This year expect to see outdoor roller skating, a lineup of food trucks, and a playground-like setup in the area on Monroe Street near Campus Martius. Traffic will most likely be an issue throughout the weekend as much of Jefferson and the side streets connecting to the riverfront have been taken over and transformed into a race track and grand stands for the Detroit Grand Prix taking place Sunday, June 4. In addition, several of the city’s stalwart music-centric destinations are hosting their own festivities, from chill brunch pop-ups to all-night after-hours. Folks who’d rather snack within Hart Plaza, nearly two dozen local vendors will be on hand in food court.
Whether you’re staying downtown for the weekend, checking out all the auxiliary parties in various parts of the city, or looking for ideas for brunch, your favorite dive bar, or the perfect slice of Detroit-style pizza before or after the big festival, here’s what Detroit has to offer for food and drink.
WHERE TO EAT IN DETROIT
Essential Detroit Restaurants — The Eater 38 covers a variety of classic restaurants and cuisines to the spots that emerging to become dining destinations. From the iconic Coney to the most exciting tasting menus, this is the primer.
Detroit’s Hottest Restaurants — The number of new restaurants that have opened in the Detroit area can be hard to keep up with, which is why we’re always scouting for the latest and greatest.
Brunch Essentials and Hot and New — Detroit is increasingly improving upon its brunch game, and there are many of options to choose from — whether you’re in the middle of the action downtown, staying with friends in any of the neighborhoods, or live in the suburbs. From stalwart destinations to the latest spots vying for brunch greatness, these restaurants are a sure bet.
Waterfront Dining — Because eventually one needs a reminder that Detroit between May and October can be glorious, especially when dining alfresco near the Detroit River or Lake St. Clair.
Iconic Dishes — Metro Detroit is famous for many styles of cuisine, from Lebanese shawarma in Dearborn, taquerias in southwest, and coneys as far as the eye can see.
Detroit-Style Pizza — The square pizza has officially taken over the country. While visiting the Motor City, it’s worth a visit to one of the many early innovators in the Detroit pizza genre, from the originators and Bangladeshi-style slices to the McLovin topped in the style of the Big Mac.
WHERE TO DRINK IN DETROIT
Essential Cocktail Bars — For an elegant night cap away from bustle of the festival, Detroit has it all — from stylish cocktail bars to low-key breweries, and delightful wine bars.
Best New Bars — Folks looking for the newest spots to grab a drink look no further than this helpful map.
Dive Bars — Detroit’s nightlife was built in part by its plethora of working-person’s dive bars, spread out in neighborhoods all over the region.
Coffee Shops — For a refresh amid all of the festival chaos Detroit’s growing number of independent coffee shops are worth checking out for third-wave coffee beverages, tea, and other salves that will send you along your way reenergized.
NEIGHBORHOODS TO VISIT
Downtown — For years on end, the dining options downtown were mostly limited to coneys, overpriced white table cloth establishments, or chains but that is changing. Swanky speakeasies, seasonal menus set in lavishly restored historic buildings, and casual little nooks to grab a quick bite abound these days.
Corktown — Detroit’s oldest neighborhood is also one of the city’s most interesting destination for food and drink. Check out newcomers like Summertown Fresh Bar, an all-day cafe and snack bar featuring smoothies, sweet or savory soba crepe wraps, power bowls, fresh juices, and more.
Ann Arbor — A stop in southeast Michigan wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Tree City for longtime favorites, newer spots making their marks. Complete the evening with a night cap.
Southwest Detroit — The epicenter of Detroit’s Mexican and Latinx communities, southwest Detroit is the spot for tacos, Detroit-style botanas and filling combination platters, and other Latin American specialties.
Dearborn — Many would consider Dearborn one of the premiere places in the country for Middle Eastern cuisine, fresh produce and meat markets, and unexpected halal options that represent how cultures collide. Oh, and for a pick me up, the city’s many Arab coffee shops are on point.
Eastern Market — After an all-nighter of pre-parties, enjoy a leisurely morning at Eastern Market. In addition to the people watching, the outdoor farmer’s market is the place to pick up a few snacks for the road, enjoy a power brunch at one of the district’s many eateries, cafes, and bars.