Sticking close to home this spring break? Check out these spots to eat, sleep and explore in The D for a fun (and safe) staycation
By Lauren Hoffman
Featured photo via @shinolahotel
You may not be able to travel these days, but look at the bright side: You have one of the country’s most dynamic cities within driving distance! The best thing about the sprawling, creative metropolis of Detroit is that there’s always more to discover. Get to know a few new corners of your community!
To start, book yourself a room at one of downtown’s transporting boutique hotels (the more escapist the better). The Shinola Hotel, recently ranked Detroit’s #1 hotel by US News Travel, is immaculately decorated and spotlessly clean — and their attention to COVID-safety detail is evident in everything from the temperature checks on the way in to the wellness kits on the nightstands. Book a suite with a bathtub and ask the front desk to send up a record player and the catalogue for their record library to make the most of each moment inside.
Venture back out to your private dining suite at the Foundation Hotel. Reserve one of their converted hotel rooms in advance and enjoy elevated room service, brought to your table by masked waiters from the hotel restaurant The Apparatus Room. The full menu is fantastic, but the pumpkin risotto can’t be missed — it’s complex, sweet and savory, with buttery chunks of pumpkin.
In the morning, head to Yellow Light Coffee and Donuts (drive-through available) for fresh coffee, the best new donuts in the city and biscuit sandwiches. It’s the kind of place that makes just a couple things but makes them really, really well.
Mask up and lose track of time perusing the shelves at the best bookstores in the city. John King Books, the unforgettable old favorite, is a veritable maze of used and collectors books (you’ll be offered a map of the store on the way in). Vault of Midnight boasts an impressive collection of graphic novels and comic books that will impress everyone, not just children or Comic Con attendees.
There’s no time like the present for outdoor art. Make sure you’ve seen the city’s most immersive and beautiful examples. The Heidelberg Project is famous, but its sense of childlike wonder and imagination never disappoint: It’s like walking into a Dr. Seuss book every time. Dabls African Bead Museum is one man’s impressive collection of beads from across the African continent. His collection and accompanying paint, mosaics, and found objects swallow and transform the entire lot and the buildings on it.
To cap off your adventure, grab a cup of Mexican hot chocolate from Cold Truth Soft Serve. It’s vegan (made with coconut milk), but you’d never know — it’s the most decadent, creamy, slightly spicy treat. If the weather remains in our favor this spring, consider swapping that out for one of their ever-creative ice cream flavors, swirled artfully into fresh waffle cones.
Lauren Hoffman is a transplant from New York to Detroit, where she has spent the last several years working in and around the startup community. She presently works as the Head of Partnerships at On Deck, and prior to that served as Director of Entrepreneurship at the Quicken Loans Community Fund, and as the Director of Woodward Angels, an angel investment group she founded in 2019. In her free time, Lauren is a voracious traveler and hobbyist travel writer (instagram: @getreadyjetsetgo). She lives in New Center, and can often be found trying out new and long-standing restaurant favorites, hanging out on Belle Isle Beach, and riding around town on her bright red folding bike.