Downtown is in the midst of its annual holiday transformation. This year, in addition to the return of the Downtown Detroit Markets at Cadillac Square, the 20th annual tree lightening ceremony taking place on Friday, November 17, and America’s Thanksgiving Parade on Thursday, November 23, Bedrock is also offering a trolley that takes passengers from one edge of downtown to the other.
The free trolley rides include five stops: Book Tower at 1265 Washington Boulevard; Capitol Park at the corner of State and Shelby streets; Campus Martius; Greektown and surrounding Parker and the Belt alleys; and the area surrounding the Fox Theatre and Comerica Park. Each trolley accommodates up to 30 people per ride and passes about every 15 minutes from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays and noon to 8 p.m. on weekends. The shuttle service is ADA compliant and will continue through January 7.
Eater Detroit has prepared a guide based on this trolley service with all the details you need to eat your way through downtown during the holiday season. Alternatively, if folks want to take a similar tour of downtown — no matter the time of year — the People Mover and QLine also provide light rail transportation to help visitors get around. This handy map also provides information about the many places to enjoy downtown.
Visitors can take in the dramatically renovated Book Tower set in downtown’s Washington Boulevard Historic District, and while they’re at it, make reservations at the newly opened Le Suprême brasserie for French-inspired fare, sip cocktails from Kamper’s Rooftop Lounge, or meet up with your friends before venturing out at Bar Rotunda, an all-day bar and cafe. 1265 Washington Boulevard.
This little pocket of downtown is hardly recognizable from a decade ago when most of the buildings were still boarded up. Now, visitors have multiple options for clothing shopping, three spots for coffee, including Spkrbox, Dessert Oasis Cafe, and Cannelle. Enjoy an Italian bite at La Lanterna, upscale Lebanese at Leila, grab a few grocery items or beers from Eatóri, or go all out with the special occasion meal at Prime and Proper. Round out the night in this district with cocktails at Cafe D’Mongo’s or Bad Luck Bar. Fans of Go Sy Thai may be disappointed to learn that the Capitol Park location has closed, but in its place is Charminar Biryani House.
Campus Martius and Cadillac Square
The Downtown Detroit Markets and Cadillac Lodge returns through January 7, offering more than 20 local retailers selling apparel, home decor, wellness and beauty products, and food and beverage options. This year, food-based vendors include Corktown’s Folk which is selling a variety of cooking essentials like high end olive oil, chocolate, and items produced by Black and brown creators; Janna Kay Charcuterie Boards and Boxes featuring gifts for the home entertainer; Ethiopian pop-up and forthcoming restaurant Konjo Me has its line of roasted coffee, home decor, and gift baskets available; Waffle Cabin food truck offering sweet dessert waffles and beverages; and Crummy’s Cake Supply and Studio. The market takes place 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays. Visitors can also experience family-friendly fun at the Monroe Street Midway, where an arctic slide, bumper cars, and puck-putt are all available. Photos with Santa are also being offerings at 1001 Woodward Avenue across the street from Campus Martius.
Tucked behind the Shinola Hotel is Parker’s Alley, where visitors will find several food and drink options, including Queens Bar, Mister Dips for soft serve and griddled burgers, Evening Bar, Olin, Madcap Coffee Company, the Brakeman beer hall, and Huddle Soft Serve. Looking for more of a destination dining experience? Check out Wright & Company across the street. A nice walk away is Greektown, home to several other dining and drinking choices.
Checking out a sports game at Ford Field or Little Caesar’s Arena? Maybe there’s a concert at the Fox Theatre or the Fillmore? The District is a walkable area on Columbia Street that includes a number of food and drink places to choose from, including Cuban-inspired burger spot Frita Batido’s, a cute satellite location for Good Cakes and Bakes, Union Assembly and the adjoining Mom’s Spaghetti, and more.