Travel

Midtown

Establishment neighborhood
City Sculpture
955 W. Alexandrine, Midtown
Robert Sestok is one of the original Cass Corridor (the name historically for the area of Midtown around Cass Ave.) artists. He still lives and works here and had previously kept some of his sculptures in a fenced-in alley that he shares with neighbors, but a dozen are now displayed in a park right near the freeway. (Sestok also has work on display elsewhere in Detroit, NYC, and North America.) Many of the sculptures—made of welded steel, bronze, stainless steel, crushed aluminum, propel tanks, et al.—stand well above human height. Stop for a coffee at Avalon before checking it out.
Third Man Records Cass Corridor
441 W. Canfield St., Midtown
With neighbors like Shinola and Filson, Jack Black felt right at home when he set up shop in his hometown, just blocks from the Gold Dollar where the White Stripes played their first gig. Here, the sprawling 4,000 square foot warehouse is boldly colored in—what else—yellow and black, and there’s an edited assortment of vinyl, listening and recording booths as well as the requisite Third Man Records branded ephemera. Also of note: a performance space decorated with photos of local rock bands who have played in the Cass Corridor, and a soon-to-be-opened vinyl record pressing plant—one of less than two dozen left in the United States.
Filson
441 W. Canfield St., Midtown
The Seattle-based outfitter, which has been churning out durable camping gear and wares since 1897, maintains its cabin-in-the-woods aesthetic (think buffalo plaid blankets, leather club chairs, and timeworn wooden tables) with the opening of its first Michigan storefront. (In colder months, they’ll fire up with wood burning Ziegler stove for shoppers, too.) For now, the store predominately carries men’s clothing—wool vests, beanies, and leather goods—but they’re planning on carrying more women’s items down the line. There’s also the complete assortment of iconic bags, like the original twill briefcase, for which the brand is probably best known.
Nora
4240 Cass Ave., Midtown
Just looking around this carefully curated shop will put you at ease: beautiful Japanese and Scandinavian-inspired housewares and accessories line the walls of the small, bright space. Perfect for finding gifts, Nora stocks a selection of items—from local to international designers alike—meant for everyday use. Furniture, leather goods, and contemporary wall art accompany an impressive selection of modern tableware, including glasses and utensils from Iittala and Hasami porcelain.
City Bird
460 W. Canfield St., Midtown
Nestled in the Cass Corridor (neighbor to Shinola and sister store, Nest), this boutique occupies an adorably revamped industrial space and is full of independent and locally made artisanal housewares, jewelry (generally affordable, chic, and perfect for wearing everyday, like moon phase stud earrings), paper goods (screen-printed greeting cards), apparel, accessories, and home decor. Opened in 2009 by siblings and seventh-generation Detroiters, Andy and Emily Linn, this is a great place to pick up gifts or souvenirs anyone would love.
Nest
460 W. Canfield St., Midtown
Siblings and seventh-generation Detroiters, Andy and Emily Linn, opened this home goods boutique in 2011, in the Cass Corridor (next door to its sister store, City Bird). It’s since become a destination for unique home decor pieces and perfect, locally and artisanally made gifts, from candles and soap to terrariums, air plants, and cool kitchen accessories (mug, flasks, storage jars, wine glasses), all stocked general-store-style on wooden shelves. It’s the perfect place to pick up a gift for any occasion (especially a housewarming), though it's hard to leave without buying something for yourself.
The Old Miami
3930 Cass Ave., Midtown
There are entire guides dedicated to the dive bar culture in Detroit—and deservedly so, the city has an impressive collection of classics. One standout is hipster watering hole, The Old Miami, fittingly described by a Detroit native as "reminiscent of your grandparents' basement," albeit pretty rad grandparents. Think: flannel blankets, velvet-ribbed rocking chairs, Vietnam-era posters, Christmas tree lights, pinball. Today, part of the appeal of The Old Miami—which dates back to the 70's and was originally designed as a bar for Veterans—is its live music scene. In warmer months, there is also the unexpectedly large outdoor area with eccentric, mismatched patio furniture.
El Moore
624 W. Alexandrine St., Midtown
El Moore has a few different B&B options (in addition to permanent residencies). Their four rooftop cabins are supremely cool: While they afford a bird's eye view of the city (a couple look toward Downtown and a couple into Midtown), the rustic cabins are really designed to recreate the experience of a North Michigan getaway, and each one feels like your own personal lodge. The details, which vary by cabin, are incredibly thoughtful, like headboards built out of wood reclaimed from the original 1898 building, and unique doorknobs that date to the building's beginnings. The custom-, Detroit-made beds are either queen- or king-sized and a couple of the rooms also have additional pull-outs. These have generously sized interiors and more modest balcony space, while the other two have oversized outdoor patios. While the cabins don't have full-on kitchens, you can keep snacks in the room and have a simple meal in. Breakfast is also offered in El Moore's lobby. The restored building overall has an impressive sustainability mission given how old it is (in past lives, El Moore served as luxe flats and a Depression-era boarding house): The lodge…
Grey Ghost
47 Watson St., Midtown
Most of the great food in Detroit is pretty casual, so the opening of Grey Ghost, a more dressed-up spot in Brush Park, was a welcome addition to the restaurant scene here. The owners (who just relocated from Chicago) specialize in forward-thinking takes on unusual meats, like grilled shishito peppers with candied oxtail, fried quail with pepper jelly and corn flakes, and fried bologna on a waffle with cheddar and jalapeño. The cocktail program, executed behind a stunning bar made from salvaged bowling alley wood, is helmed by Will Lee, who's got a formidable Detroit resume that includes both Standby and Selden Standard. The name, Grey Ghost, refers to a pirate who ran rum on the Detroit River during prohibition.
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