Woodward Avenue has been the roadway to Detroit’s major shopping and dining destinations since the days of cruising and drag racing down M-1. Due to its great size, Detroit is not as walkable as other cities. However, the downtown stretch of Woodward from Campus Martius to Wayne State University has a ton to see and will be even easier to explore when the M-1 rail begins operating. We spent the day and evening downtown — starting at the Detroit Institute of Arts, where we focused on two exhibits: Detroit After Dark and the Bitter|Sweet: Coffee, Tea, & Chocolate exhibit — both were fascinating. If you have never been to the DIA, be sure to plan ahead because it is expansive and it could take a full day to see everything on each floor. And don’t forget, if you live in Wayne, Oakland, or Macomb counties you get in for free year-round! Yay yay! Kresge Court is my favorite place in the museum to sit and relax — plus, you can grab a glass of wine, charcuterie board, or delicious bowl of soup in between exhibits.
Our next stop was Greektown Casino located just off of Woodward Avenue. I have always loved the Greektown neighborhood for eating and people watching, but its casino by the same name is also a really fun place to gamble (even if you’re like me and don’t want to bet more than $20). Greektown Casino is located where Detroit’s “Trappers Alley” once existed and you can still see parts of the architecture peeking through while playing slot machines or grabbing a burger at Five Guys. They have also just opened their Synergy Table Games, which is a blast!
Since you can’t go down Woodward without doing a little bit of shopping, we stopped into Holiday House, which has been open since November. It features businesses like Talulah Belle, Bird Bee, Woodward Throwbacks, Detroit Grooming Co., and many more. It will only be open until December 23rd so be sure to make your way downtown before then to finish your Christmas shopping. After buying a few goodies, we went to my new favorite store on Woodward — Warby Parker. Not only is it home to one of the trendiest and most affordable places to buy glasses, it is located inside the building where pharmacist James Vernor invented the famed Detroit soda. Make sure to not only pop (see what I did there?) into the shop, but ask one of the friendly staffers to give you a free taste of Vernors soda straight from the fountain! I think it tasted even more delicious coming straight from the place where Vernor invented it 150 years ago.
Even though the temps are getting colder by the day, believe me when I tell you that you’ll feel instantly warmer when you spend time shopping, sightseeing, and meeting new people on Detroit’s Woodward Avenue. Enjoy exploring!