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Detroit for 4th of July

Not really a prime time to go probably but I figured it was now or never. Will be there July 3-8, spending one night in Ann Arbor, the rest of the time downtown (mostly Westin Book Cadillac). I have quite a list of places for hot dogs, donuts, ham sandwiches, Middle Eastern, Polish food (I can paste it if it helps with recs at all). Thinking about hitting happy hour at Rattlesnake Club. Are there other good spots for HH or a nice cocktail? Will it be really dead that weekend or maybe there are some fun holiday activities? Will have a car, but love to walk and wonder how much more cautious I should be than I normally am in Boston. Thanks.

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  1. > Thinking about hitting happy hour at Rattlesnake Club

    Happy Hour @ Roast:

    Sugar House Craft Cocktails:

    3 Replies
    1. re: rainsux

      Another suggestion for happy hour is Craft Work, though it's about 4 miles from the Westin. They just launched their summer happy hour recently and it runs from 4-7 M-F. I ate there back in February and really enjoyed my meal, cocktail, and the atmosphere. If I was going to be downtown I would absolutely check out their happy hour.


      1. re: rainsux

        The cocktail menu at Sugar House is amazing, maybe I can finally get a good pisco sour again.

        Do people have a preference between Al Ameer and Cedarland for the requisite middle eastern meal?

        Thanks to trapani for the tip on the walking tour which only seems to happen on Sat. when I'll be in Ann Arbor. I did find this link which points out interesting sights:

        1. re: Joanie

          Well, I wish I'd have read further before posting. The Eastern Market tour is on Saturday when you're in Ann Arbor. They do have a tour on Sunday too, but no Eastern Market or Supino's. If a bike tour interests you, I'd call and see if they'd do a private one.

      2. Huntington Woods, about 20 minutes north on Woodward, has an annual July 4 parade - floats, cake contests, hot dogs, the whole works. Get there before 9:30, it starts at 10, Very fun if you wan a small town celebration. Or there are fireworks that night on the golf course right by the zoo...you could do the zoo, get some drinks in Ferndale and/or dinner and head on over.

        Roast is just wonderful - well worth getting dinner there. Meats are exceptional, service is friendly - one of the best meals I've had in years, we were there just 3 weeks ago. Check out Riverwalk, nice experience along the river.

        1 Reply
        1. re: berkleybabe

          Heartily recommend the HW fireworks. Not on the scale of a big city, and Detroit's are a week or so before July 4, but you are very close to them and parking is easy.

          Birmingham a little further north is a nice walkable upscale city with restaurants galore.

          I just checked my Tigers schedule and they're in town that weekend. That means there will be tons of people in town, especially in the stadium area, and it's quite lively. Very very safe by Comerica Park.

          If you walk, or rent a bike, on the Riverwalk, there's a tour boat operation that will take you on a two hour cruise. If it's hot, there's nowhere better to be than on a boat (with a cash bar!). Not fancy but a pleasant time.

        2. <<Will have a car, but love to walk and wonder how much more cautious I should be than I normally am in Boston>>

          Yes. You will have to be more vigilant than if you were doing a walking tour in Beantown. There are a score of locales in Detroit that are visitor-friendly; there are hundreds of locales that are not. The Detroit correspondents on this site will give you terrific advice on what you should experience. If you take that advice to heart, you will take away wonderful experiences of your travel here.

          1. The River Walk is very nice and seems to have plenty of people. You might enjoy a walking tour with preservationdetroit.org/ or a bike tour with Wheelhouse Detroit.

            1. Another really great craft cocktail place is in Ferndale and would be a short drive called The Oakland-


              1. Whichever night Detroit has its fireworks display ... is a night that you do NOT want to be driving to:from downtown Detroit.

                Dinner resv are HIGHLY recommended.

                3 Replies
                1. re: rainsux

                  Detroit Fireworks are June 23, which is outside the window of Joanie's visit.

                  1. re: ak994

                    That's weird, any reason why it's almost 2 weeks ahead?

                    And any thoughts on Al Ameer vs. Cedarland for middle eastern? Or some other place in Dearborn?

                    If you were going to drive to an area to see some of the, shall we say lesser sights, where would/could you go?

                    1. re: Joanie

                      1) It also involves and is coordinated with Canada Day on July 1. This year it's in advance of both, but the reason is that they try to pick a good day on both sides.

                      2) At the high level of this cuisine in Dearborn, it's a matter of taste between these two and any of a half dozen other places. I like Hamido (menu in English and Arabic) and Kabob Inn on Telegraph Rd.

                      3) If you like architecture, check out the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, designed largely by Albert Kahn and Eliel Saarinen. If there's a tour of the Fox Theater on when you're here, take it. Along with its duplicate in St. Louis, it is arguably America's greatest movie palace, and one of the great buildings in the country IMO. You might also try these tours:


                      The Motown Museum is worth a visit. It's not fancy—it's just sort of as it was left in 1972, and that's its charm. Lots of other musical landmarks around if that's what you're after.

                      I would consider eating some Mexican food here—a great wealth in southwest Detroit, probably better than you can get in Boston. I like Taquería Nuestra Familia on W. Vernor, or for more upscale stuff El Barzón.

                      For a taste of the creative scene here, very different from Boston:

                      As to safety, the Midtown/Wayne State area is fine, and downtown Detroit is generally safe for walking if you stay aware of your surroundings. Prepare to be panhandled. Elsewhere in the city you are taking your chances. People drive here; they may bike; but they rarely walk.

                2. Last summer the Rattlesnake had a special menu for the deck which was great. They seemed to really ramp it up from their inside menu or maybe just being outside on the river made the difference. Great location, great view, especially if you combine it with a guided bike ride with Detroit Wheelhouse. Detroit Wheelhouse has an Eastern Market Tour on the 5th which includes a stop at Supino's Pizza - yum -- and a stroll through the market. Sounds like a perfect day in the D to me.

                  1. For happy hour, try The Sardine Room in Plymouth, which is roughly 1/2 between downtown Detroit and Ann Arbor.

                    They have a great raw bar with $1 fresh oysters (East & West Coast sources, vary by the day) and $2 Pabst Blue Ribbon, from 4-6pm, M-F.

                    They also have Anchor steam on tap for $5.50 a pint, and between this and the oysters, if I go in between 4-6pm, I can't get out for less than $28 (a dozen oysters, two Anchors and tip).

                    They have small plates & large plates, and the menu is pretty eclectic, with a local favorite being Wild Boar Ragu.



                    1. We just got back from staying downtown and would recommend the tour and cocktails at Two James Distillery in Corktown. Our downtown favorites included Grand Trunk bar, Al's Paradise, and Park Bar/Bucharest Grill. In Mexicantown, we got amazing tacos at La Mexicana Supermercado. In Midtown, good beers at Motor City and good burgers at the Bronx Bar.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: urbanfabric

                        I second Two James Distillery!
                        Joanie- I think you need to split your Dearborn food tour into two separate, painfully stuffing days. One for Al Ameer, New Yasmeen and Shatilla, and another for Cedarland and Hamido.

                        1. re: urbanfabric

                          I'll check these out, thanks for the recs.

                          VTB, I'll only be in Dearborn once during my time there so will have to limit it to one or two places. Seems like Al Ameer is universally liked so that will probably be a definite.

                          I also want to zip into Windsor if there are suggestions for something casual.

                        2. My TOP 10 Great Finds on the Cheap a Few Miles from Detroit Downtown I like to show those thousands of visitors to our downtown a great place to eat of Detroit classic's all with FREE parking and most have Facebook site's I also review on Urbanspoon which all are found with great photo's and reviews to help you enjoy your visit to our Great City. ENJOY

                          Great List Try Mine You'll LOVE them ALL

                          REUBEN @ Hygrade Deli Detroit

                          WINGS @ Sweetwater Tavern Detroit

                          Weezie Burger @ Weezie's Dearborn

                          Pozole @ Los Alto's Detroit

                          Double Cheeseburger @ Motz Detroit

                          Pizza Bread Beef Burger @ Vince's Detroit

                          Mexican Steakhouse Unique @ El Asador Detroit

                          Chicken Breasts @ Pollo Chapin Detroit

                          Sliders @ Green Dot Stables Detroit

                          Coney Dogs @ Duly's Detroit

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: ALPOE

                            Thanks for those, I actually had Vince's, Green Dot, Duly's, Los Altos and Hygrade on my list. Will eat middle eastern when I'm in Dearborn, don't care about chicken wings, and added Motz's (and then saw Telstar while searching so added that). I love burgers and dogs but don't want to spend *all* my time there eating them.

                            1. re: Joanie

                              If your going to Dearborn and eat at Al Ameer just across the street is the Famous Middle Eastern Market Super Greenland, Andrew Zimmerman did a special on them last year. Very unique spices and goods, truly a great place just to look around there open 9-9pm everyday. Check them out on Facebook and Urbanspoon or Yelp. Motz we go once per month the Double Cheeseburger is the way to go. If you have any other questions I'm a Foodie, Blooger and reviewer along with a life long Detroiter. Enjoy your visit.

                              1. re: ALPOE

                                When in, Dearborn, visit Shatila for dessert. I recommend their fruit ice cream.

                          2. Hey Tigers at Home when you're in town,,, on the 4th a Friday night game they have Fireworks after the game and downtown will be happening,,,, you can walk just a few blocks to the park even if you don't attend the game to watch the Fireworks which you can see great view outside right field fence. Here's link ENJOY http://detroit.tigers.mlb.com/schedul...