Hostel Detroit Helps Highlight City's Bright Spots

Ally Levise
The Varsity News

Now that graduation is just around the corner and I've been applying for out-of-state jobs, I'm starting to realize how much I'm actually going to miss Detroit. So, lately I've been trying to get my fill of the city.

This past weekend, I decided to stay at Hostel Detroit, which I've been curious about since it opened almost one year ago.

Hostel Detroit was started by UDM graduate Emily Doerr as a place for travelers seeking an affordable, alternative place to stay in the city. While hostels are a tourist staple in many cities across the world, this is the first of its kind in Detroit.

It's located near Rosa Parks and I-75, and the surrounding neighborhood doesn't look like much. My traveling companion commented that the building directly behind the hostel looked like something "straight out of New Jack City." Several burnt-out buildings contrast sharply with a meticulously cared-for area filled with freshly planted trees and the hostel's brick façade painted with cheerful colors.

The inside is even more inviting.

We were greeted by the hostel's manager, Michel. He gave us a tour, apologizing for the mess he had made in the community kitchen: There were stems strewn about from the fresh flowers he had been arranging for our room.

The interior is charming. Chalkboards line the entrance, advertising upcoming bike tours of Detroit and other events. There are eclectic knick-knacks in the rooms and Michel's freshly cut flowers brightened up the space.

The guest book had enthusiastic and positive entries made by travelers from far-off places like Nepal and the Netherlands, proof that tourism is alive and well in Detroit.

Michel gave us a map of Detroit and kindly told us to call his cell phone if we needed directions or any tips on where to go.

We left our bags in our rooms and went out to explore the lesser-known gems of the city. It seems that people who are not familiar with Detroit always go to the same handful of known, big name places – the casinos, Pizza Papalis and Hockeytown Café – and largely overlook the places with real character.

We started at Atwater Brewery. For lovers of microbrews, this place is a dream. It features a small bar tucked in the corner of the brewery itself. Huge vats tower over the bar, and boxes are stacked to the ceiling. You get to have a glimpse of the process while you sip the final product.

Just a jaunt down the road is Motor City Wine, a casual wine bar that frequently hosts jazz bands and wine tasting events. The space was packed with people of all ages sampling wines and picking from little plates of cheeses and olives. The best part is that most of their bottles fall in the $15-25 range.

Just downstairs and next door to Motor City Wine is Foran's Grand Trunk Pub. The bar, an old train station depot with high ceilings and beautiful exposed brick walls, was bursting with people on a Friday night. I delighted in the vegetarian options in the menu and the selection of Michigan-made beers on tap.

For our last stop.....Click HERE to read the rest of this article on The Varsity News!


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