How to Spend 48 (Incredible!) Hours in Detroit (Oct. 2022)
Detroit has stolen our hearts…again. With its history, character (and characters), food and architecture, it won’t be the last time, without a doubt. And, that’s ok. Steal away Detroit, steal away.
After visiting there for a weekend earlier this year, I wrote a post here covering what we’d done during that magical short trip. I revisited the post and it still holds true. All of it.
But, the Motor City offers way more than can possibly be visited in 48 hours, so we couldn’t wait to head back to the D and check out some new (to us) places and spaces. Plus, even though Detroit can be beautiful during the winter, the prospects of visiting the city in milder temperatures was highly appealing.
The catalyst for our most recent trip was the purchase of concert tickets to see The Killers at Little Caesars Arena. Their catalog of songs and depth of talent are wonderful to experience at home, but we love live music and we’d never visited Little Caesars Arena so it was an easy decision to go.
After deciding to visit Detroit, our next step was to find a place to stay. The thought process for finding where to kick your boots off shouldn’t be taken lightly. Where you slumber can turn a good trip into an incredible one, and our decision to call The Caterpillar “home” for a bit was perfect.
The Caterpillar is a modern piece of architecture situated about two miles outside of downtown Detroit. The pictures of it looked pretty good, but as soon as we parked our car in front of it, we knew we were in for a lodging experience like no other. Staying in a Quonset hut doesn’t seem like a great place to stay, however, this is not your average Quonset hut.
This particular Quonset hut was 192 feet long, surrounded by trees, and divided into eight living spaces, with the owners of our particular space doing a knock-out job of creating a welcoming and comfortable place. The overall design of the space was simple, clean and creative. The ceilings were 23 feet high and upon walking inside, the first characteristic I noticed was the beautiful amount of natural light.
It was a divine place to stay. Everything was comfortable, the shower was hot and there was a record player. What more does anyone need?
Music was a theme of this trip since we do enjoy it in many forms. Since we had some free time on Friday afternoon, we made our way to the historic Motown Museum at Hitsville U.S.A. for a tour and some sightseeing. The vision of Berry Gordy and the influence of Motown music is undeniable, so we couldn’t wait to see the historic spot where it all took place.
Tickets for the tours here can only be purchased on-site, so prepare to wait a bit, depending on when you go. The tour is about an hour long and our tour guide was extremely informative and personable. One of my favorite aspects of the tour and the museum was having a chance to visit the actual studio where musicians performed. The room, instruments, control board and even reception office were exactly as they were when iconic musicians made musical history there.
With our dwelling established and our music-fan souls filled, we looked forward to grabbing some food. The culinary options in Detroit are seemingly endless and ever-changing. On our last trip there, though, we’d walked past a fun place but we’d already had a reservation at a different restaurant. So, this time, we were looking forward to trying it out.
The restaurant was the Grey Ghost and it was delicious. Lively music was playing inside and it was a lively Friday-evening scene. The menu is brilliant and includes some clever drink combinations, so I’d definitely recommend those. For food, we had sea scallops, potato croquettes and cauliflower.
Each dish was fantastic. The ingredients were thoughtful and fresh with everything being prepared perfectly, without—and this is important—an excessive reliance on butter and salt for flavor. I’d wholeheartedly recommend eating here.
Saturday had arrived and after a comfortable sleep and coffee in our veins, we were anticipating the day ahead. We knew we had the concert to enjoy in the evening, but there were also some parts of Detroit that we were looking forward to in the day. Everyone’s travel style is different. We like to strike a balance between planning some things, but not too much.
The only thing we had planned for Saturday was to explore the Eastern Market. There’s a lot to see and do at the Eastern Market so the amount of time you spend here can be adjusted. The weather was nice though and we were in the exploring mood, so we did Eastern Market right.
Starting out with hot cider—this is a must-drink beverage if you’re in Michigan during the fall—we were ready to check it out. The Eastern Market is like a super farmer’s market. If you come hungry you won’t be hungry long. The space is a feast for the eyes and the taste buds.
Numerous shops and establishments have taken up spaces surrounding the Eastern Market. Signal Return is a letterpress operation nearby so we browsed some artfully and beautifully-designed prints in the historic space.
The Detroit City Distillery was nearby and since our hot cider had worn off, we thought it’d be a good idea to warm our insides with bourbon. And, it was.
Across the street from the Eastern Market is one of our favorite record stores—Peoples Records. The staff here are friendly, welcoming and super knowledgeable with all things Detroit (and beyond) music. We successfully walked out of Peoples Records with vinyl from Rare Earth, The Temptations and…
The concert was nearing so we decided to order Pie-Sci Pizza to nourish ourselves prior to rocking out. The pizza was excellent and the menu is out of this world. Each pizza offered sounded great and I’d love to try each one.
Our anticipation for watching the Killers was at it’s peak so thankfully the time had arrived. Our Lyft driver dropped us off in front of Little Caesars Arena and we walked inside. I wasn’t sure what to expect when exploring the venue, but I was pleasantly surprised. The arena was built in 2017 and it was gorgeous. The shops and restaurants inside were aesthetically pleasing and there were numerous nods to Detroit’s historic sports teams of the past.
After selecting some adult beverages, we could hear the opening band begin. We briskly walked to our seats and once we landed our bottoms in them we couldn’t believe the opener was the supremely talented Johnny Marr. Johnny finished his set and we, along with the crowd, could’ve gone home happy right then and there. Luckily, we still had The Killers.
The Killers kicked in and did a fantastic job. I’ve always enjoyed there music on the radio, but live, they’re a rock ‘n roll beast on a whole other level. Brandon Flowers’s voice carried through the arena and seemingly beyond, it was so good. Ronnie Vannucci held the whole thing together with masterful percussion as guitarist Dave Keuning supplemented it all with six-string superiority.
We took a Lyft back to The Caterpillar and turned in for the night.
It was a reminder, especially on this trip, how nice it is to have a place to stay that isn’t far away from everything. It’s especially important if you’re doing a weekend trip in a place like Detroit. After all, the goal is to have fun instead of spending a lot of time traveling.
Detroit is a special place and it’s one that we can’t wait to spend time in again. Thanks Detroit!