Amanda Williams wrote a great article here on the RoamRight blog last month about three places all travelers should visit in Middle America. Her choices of Chicago, St. Louis and Pittsburgh were good. I have been to all three and each have wonderful things to offer visitors. However, her article got me thinking about other places in the Midwest that are often underrated or undervalued as tourist destinations and as soon as I did I realized Detroit is the number one place I would recommend. It has been the recipient of a lot of bad press lately and it doesn't have the best reputation but a recent visit to the city showed me there is a lot more going on in Metro Detroit, meaning Detroit and the suburbs that surround it, than anyone is giving it credit for. So, here are five reasons that I believe you should visit Detroit, right now.
1. Craft Beer
Breweries abound within the city of Detroit and in the suburbs surrounding it. Some have been around for a long time but others are new. Traffic Jam & Snug in Midtown Detroit grows their own hops on the side of the building and has been happily serving patrons since 1965. Their Mitt Wit is a terrific Belgian Style Wheat Ale and I highly recommend it. Just across the street, Motor City Brewing is just one of the other breweries you'll visit if you book with Steve of Motor City Brew Tours; whether you choose to walk, bike or take the bus, he'll give you the best insight into Michigan's craft brew culture. For a little something different, visit Ferndale's B. Nektar Meadery to learn about honey wine. Craft spirits also are gaining in importance and bars like Sugar House, in Detroit's Corktown neighborhood, are helping to lead the movement.
2. Urban Farming
One thing that is accurate in the recent reports about Detroit is that the city has a lot of empty lots and unused land after years of damaging house fires and unabated decay. What's left out of such stories is that all over the city those same vacant lots are now being turned into urban farms so that local residents, restaurants and chefs have easy access to fresh produce grown sometimes steps from their front doors. Some even have gardens on top of their buildings or homes in a 21st version of the Liberty Garden. This movement is helped by the group who manages Eastern Market (the oldest farmer's market in the United States) as well as several other organizations, and it has begun to revolutionize the restaurant culture within the city inspiring a whole new farm-to-table movement that has even prompted some chefs to migrate to the city from places like New York.
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