goop Hometown Guide: Amy Liang, Detroit
There’s nothing like getting a tour of a new city from a local who grew up there, so when goop Marketing Director Amy Liang offered to show us around her hometown of Detroit, we signed right up. Her Detroit celebrates the classic attractions that have held strong throughout the city’s history, like the Eastern Market (“we used to get our Christmas tree here”), the grand dame Institute of Arts (“a piece of Detroit history”), and Belle Isle. And while we still can’t claim to understand it, it’s Amy that introduced us to the awesomely specific sport of feather bowling, which they’ve been doing at Cadieux Café for ages. Perhaps the most important takeaway, though: In the epic (if kind of random) battle of Coney Islands, she’s firmly in the Lafayette camp. For the full list of our favorite Detroit haunts, see the complete Detroit guide.
1445 Adelaide St., Downtown
The Eastern Market sits just east of Midtown and is home to Detroit’s well known, sprawling farmers market scene. There is always a reason to visit but the Saturday market is the largest, with more than 200 vendors, year round. June through September, there is also a crafts-focused Sunday market, and a smaller grocery market on Tuesdays. Outside of the market sheds, people also come to Eastern Market to see the surrounding murals; many are new although some original street art remains in the area. (More can be found in Southwest Detroit.) Other beloved Eastern Market spots include Trinosophes cafe and gallery, Red Bull House of Art, Detroit Distillery, and Italian eatery La Rondinella.
8066 Kercheval St., West Village | 313.447.5550
Sister Pie is everything you want it to be upon simply hearing its name. Housed in an adorable corner spot in West Village, the bakery makes an ever-changing lineup of pies based on what’s in season, from salted maple, to apple sage gouda, to cranberry crumble. Pies are available for order two days in advance for pick-up at Sister Pie’s L-shaped counter bar. And in-house spots are available around the cozy communal table.
1236 Michigan Ave., Corktown | 313.444.9342
The name of this bagel spot says it all. The bagels here emerge from a labor-intensive, 30-hour process that includes both boiling and baking—and lend them the perfect chewy texture. You can opt to try them as one of several egg sandwiches, or pair them with spreads ranging from Butternut Squash Tahini to Sriracha Lentil. The only thing more comforting than the shop’s earthy wood floors and weathered brick is the amazing smell coming from the ovens.
5200 Woodward Ave., Detroit | 313.833.7900
Founded in 1885 and with more than 600,000 square feet of space right across from the public library, the Detroit Institute of Arts is one of the city’s most valuable treasures. The city famously considered selling off some of the collection during the bankruptcy in 2014, to great uproar; it was saved thanks to an $800 million-dollar campaign called “the grand bargain,” which rescued many notable works by incorporating the museum under an independent charitable trust. The Beaux Arts building is a work of art in its own right, but you’ll also find permanent exhibitions of American and European art, plus a GM-sponsored center for African American art, and rotating temporary exhibitions of photography and installations. Have lunch at Kresge Court, a cute little coffee shop in the middle that makes for a great resting point if you’re hoping to cover a lot of ground.
4300 Cadieux Rd., Lower East Side | 313.882.8560
Right after prohibition and the end of the first world war, this part of Detroit was home to a big Belgian community, and the Cadieux Cafe (which opened in 1933) feels like a relic of that time. The main attraction here is feather bowling, a bocce-like game played with wooden rounds that look like wheels of cheese, which are rolled down a covex court towards a single pigeon feather sticking out of the dirt. Strange as it sounds, it makes a great outing for littles during the day and a surprisingly fun late-night activity for grown-ups, as there’s a huge list of beers—including plenty of Belgians—and live music until 2am.
114 & 118 W. Lafayette Blvd., Downtown
A true-blue Detroit classic, these two Coney Island diners are open all day and share a wall—and a long-standing rivalry pertaining to the city’s best hot dogs. Basically, everyone in Detroit likes either American or Lafayette—it’s down-and-dirty food, but a quintessential Motor City experience.
Belle Isle | 313.331.7760
Pick a sunny afternoon to spend on Belle Isle, a 928-acre park-island situated in the Detroit River between Detroit and Canada. After you cross over MacArthur Bridge, bear right at the fork onto Sunset Drive. As you approach the eastern tip of the island, there’ll be parking spots along the edge of the river. From here, you get the best view of the city across the way. It’s also a good place to stop and play and/or picnic if you have littles in tow. (The beach stretch will be mostly empty if you come in the fall or winter but don’t skip over it.) If you keep driving around the perimeter of the island, you’ll pass Lake Tacoma and come toward the aquarium and conservatory in the middle. The aquarium (open only on the weekends from 10am to 4pm) is a famed building, designed by Albert Kahn in 1904. Right next to the aquarium is the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory, which is divided into five houses by fauna type. There are also plenty more outdoor activities on the island—the marshy forest is threaded with a nature trail, you can rent bikes, take out a kayak, or stop at the playgrounds or athletic fields.
901 W. Lafayette Blvd., Corktown | 313.961.0622
Housed in a former glove factory since the early 1980’s—which explains the oversized hand painted sign across the building’s exterior—John K. King Used & Rare Books shop is truly next-level. Wandering the enormous, overflowing rows of shelves that wind from the first floor to the fourth is a dream-like experience for any book lover. And what’s really crazy is that the mind-boggling number of books here (Mr. King, who began trading in 1965, has about a million books in stock, and this is by far his largest home for them) are entirely uncomputerized collections—meaning they are organized wholly by hand, making it a wild treasure hunt. Trying to find a Sylvia Plath? The team knows just where to go in the poetry section, and what edition of which book was recently taken off the shelf by a reader who came before. The fiction section on the third floor alone merits days of exploration and many returned visits—the store’s collection is ever shifting. The rarest of the titles are kept separately—those are actually searchable online, so you can have any special requests for books pulled in advance of coming to the store.