Detroit, or D-Town, doesn’t matter what you call it, there is no excuse to NOT drive to Detroit for the weekend before the winter closes in, so don’t even start with me. At at distance of about 372km from Toronto, it’s closer than Montreal and how many times are you going to go to Montreal this year anyway? Give yourself 4 to 4 1/2 hours hours to drive in case the border is a bit backed up but unless you are crossing at rush hour, you should be fine.

Detroit has been experiencing something of a cultural renaissance with a vibrant restaurant scene, great art galleries and lots of local shops. Sure, there are casinos and you can go to the Motown museum, I suppose, but save that for your Aunt Hilda.

If you are planning on a little getaway before Oct 7, you can catch the Punk Graphics/Shepard Fairey exhibit at the Cranbrook Art Museum in Bloomfield Hills, about 40 minutes north of downtown Detroit. If you are between the ages of 45 and 60, this show will be a trip back to your youth, featuring punk graphics from 1976 to 1986. It’s an extensive collection of album art, posters and shows how this powerful subculture transcended music to influence other fields of visual art and design.

“Shepard Fairey, Salad Days 1989-1999 – known by most as the artist behind the Obama Hope poster, this show explores his earliest work which drew its inspiration from the punk movement.”

The Shepard Fairey exhibit is small but covers his very early work and includes quite a few things I had never seen before. Make sure to pop downstairs to look at their small but lovely permanent collection. The museum, itself, is located on the stunning grounds of the Cranbrook Educational Community. This 316 acre campus, a designated National Historic Landmark, was founded in 1904 and features the work of lots of world renowned architects and sculptures and is deserving of an extra hour or so to wander the grounds.

Stop in for Brunch at Toast in Ferndale on the drive up to Bloomfield Hills. Portions are huge, the food is delicious and if the weather is still nice, they have a cute outdoor patio. Oh, and if you are really making good time, stop in at the Trader Joe for some Cookie Butter and chocolate coated everything.

To Stay:

Hostel Detroit is a pretty awesome budget option in Corktown if you can snag one of the private rooms for under $90US.

Airbnb is popular in Detroit and you can book places like these for much less than you will pay for a hotel:

-Great loft in historic Brush Park between downtown, midtown and eastern market
-Midtown Loft

If you want to stay in a hotel and want to splurge a bit without totally breaking the bank, try the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel.

To Eat:
Chartuese– modern food with a huge emphasis on small plates using local, fresh ingredients and it boasts a living wall.
Prime & Proper – This modern steakhouse is THE splurge but worth every penny.
Wright & Co – great food, great cocktails, beautiful interior, a bit of scene but not too much of a scene.
Dimestore -for brunch – the Duck Bop is a must – in house duck confit with potato hash, spinach, onion, bulgogi, pickled veg with sriracha topped with fried eggs.
El Asador – one of my favourite restaurants in Detroit, this Mexican Steakhouse allows you to run across the street and grab yourself a drink to bring back to the restaurant.
Astro Coffee– in Corktown – just everything you want in a great coffee shop. Pastry, delicious breakfast sandwiches and fabulous coffee.

To See:
Library St Collective– specializes in cutting edge, modern art.
The Heidelberg Project– an amazing outdoor, living art installation in the heart of an urban area of Detroit that doubles as a community organization, improving the lives of people and the neighbourhoods through art.
Detroit Institute of the Arts– Diego Rivera Murals and the General Motors Center For African American Art make this one worth a visit.

All photos by Carole Nelson Brown. Follow Carole and her wacky adventures on her blog- Yum Yum Factor.