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First time to Detroit, one afternoon

I am going to be in Detroit around lunchtime on Friday. The problem is that I have somewhat of a restriction. I want to find a neighborhood with a good place for lunch and some bars/stores etc between the airport and Auburn Hills. I'll be getting in around 11 and will have until about 3. I am willing to take a 40-50$ cab ride to get to wherever is recommended.

Thanks for any help. I am open to any type of food, but mainly looking for a place in a neighborhood that would also be fun to explore for a few hours.

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  1. Royal Oak or Birmingham. Very diffferent "neighborhoods" depending on what you are looking for, Birmingham is much more "upscale."
    Rochester is another good option but the wrong direction. But if you are ending up in Auburn Hills, Rochester is only 10 minutes from Auburn Hills.

    All of the above are areas with bars, restaurants, and shopping that are walkable.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Markcron

      Yeah, I'm not really looking for upscale. More the urban renewal side of things, although I don't know if that is reasonable along the route I'm looking for.

      1. re: Markcron

        I'd stay away from Rochester right now with the Main st construction project. Things are accessible but it'll be a mess for another several weeks at least.

        Maybe Ferndale would be an option, and if you were going to take the I-75 & I-94 route to the airport it's probably about halfway. It's a bit funkier than Royal Oak. Probably a 30-40 min drive down I-75 from AH to 9 Mile and Woodward, depending on traffic.

        1. re: gooddog

          Cool, so my plans have changes a bit, and now I'm thinking about renting a car for the afternoon. What are the must visit neighborhoods in Detroit? I am generally looking for places that are less upscale and more interesting.

      2. When you say neighborhood, do you mean a Detroit neighborhood, or one in the suburbs? If you're only going to be in Detroit for one afternoon, I say spend some time in Detroit, not in the suburbs. Are you landing in Metro, then wending your way to Auburn Hills? Because that's a long haul. Detroit would be a little bit further to the east than you need to go, but there's no real direct north and south route from the airport to Auburn, other than Telegraph. And it's easy to take 94 in to Detroit, then catch 75 north.

        There's tons of recs on this board for various places in Detroit for lunch. You can always try the Lafayette and American coney taste test.

        9 Replies
        1. re: charlesbois

          Yeah, so we are flying in at 11, and someone is picking us up to go to a wedding in Auburn Hills at 3. They are coming from Dayton, so will be coming up from the south anyway. Looking at the map, it is like you said, there is no direct way, so I guess an extra 10-15min to grab us would be fine.

          I am looking for a "neighborhood" in the city itself where we could get lunch, maybe grab a drink, and walk around for an hour or two and get a taste/feel for what's up and comnig in Urban detroit. I know this is mainly about food, but I've found that usually up and coming food is in culturally interesting places as well.

          Thanks for all your replies.

          1. re: Cyprus

            Corktown is at the top of the list for up and coming food-wise, but to fill an hour or two after lunch, you'll have to hop in the car and explore other pockets of the city too.

            1. re: Cyprus

              I think your best bet is to grab some food in Corktown and then head downtown to walk around a bit and grab a drink. You could stroll through Greektown (in the downtown area), you could probably spend a couple hours there alone.

              1. re: GreatLakesBetterFood

                Really? What is there to do in Greektown now (besides casinos)? I mean that sincerely - last time I went, I walked two blocks, couldn't find New Hellas where I remembered it, saw Cold Stone Creamery and gave up.

                1. re: tokyo

                  Ok, so right now I am thinking of heading to either corktown (slow's) or eastern market (Russell Street Deli) for eating. Are there any good beer bars around there that would be open around lunch? Also, is this a pretty walkable area (say going down Michigan Ave to Greektown, etc) or do people usually cab between these places (I realize there aren't many cabs. Also, are there other good recs for that area?

                  1. re: Cyprus

                    > is this a pretty walkable area (say going down Michigan Ave to Greektown,

                    No. Not. Non. Nyet.

                    Avoid the Detroit busses.

                    Also wise to pay for parking in a secure attended lot. Everything of value should be locked in the trunk.

                    1. re: rainsux

                      Even though I have never had a problem, and even if you'll be there in the afternoon, I do have to say that locking valuables in the trunk is just a wise idea. There are walkable parts of the city, but having the car handy is a good bet, just for wherever you want to go. It's a BIG city square-mileage-wise. It's been pretty hot and humid lately, so walking isn't as pleasant. But there is a riverwalk that's new. If you're in Greektown, you can walk over to Detroit Brewing Co. I've also recommended Motor City Brew Works in other posts, which I prefer to DBC. Plenty of bars around like Centaur, Harry's Detroit, Cliff Bell's, Jacobys, Foran's, etc.

                    2. re: Cyprus

                      Sweetwater Tavern at Congress and Brush is a nice bar and a good place to have lunch. Try the wings—they only serve them one way, but they're excellent. Any of the many types that inhabit downtown Detroit may show up there. You could walk around the eastern half of downtown and get a good feel for the revival that's starting to happen, or on a nice day go down to the river. DuMouchelle auction house on Jefferson would be a fun stop if there were an auction that day (often there is one on a Friday). But yes, I agree with the others; pay for parking and leave nothing visible. Foran's (aka Grand Trunk) has a good selection of Michigan beers.

                      1. re: Jim M

                        What about the Midtown/Art Center area? Traffic Jam & Snug is a unique option, interesting menu and is a brewery as well. Warning, service can be s-l-o-w, but great atmosphere and good food. Motor City Brewing Works is right there, too. You can also check out the Whitney - just pop in and check out the building - if you are there during the lunch hours. And walk down Woodward to the DIA, one of the best art museums in the country and the world. There are some cool coffee shops, galleries to check out in between the two. I drive between the two. There may be a few sketch blocks along the way but during the daylight you will be fine. If you can access that second link I have below it shows you the neighborhood and the density of "stuff" there. I have always found this to be a useful tool when navigating downtown. Have fun!

                        http://trafficjamdetroit.com/brewery.php
                        http://www.bing.com/maps/?FORM=Z9LH2#...