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Road Trippin’ to the Madness: What Does a Frog Fan Do in the Motor City?

We put together a fan’s guide to what to do in Detroit. We think. Because we haven’t been there.

City Bankruptcy Ruling Expected In Detroit Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images

TCU is going Dancing!

This is great news, 20 years in the making.

TCU is going Dancing in... Detroit.

This feels like less great news, because Michigan is very cold.

This is the week’s forecast for Detroit. It’s March. This is dumb.

That doesn’t look like Spring Break weather to me. But, some of you, some of us, are going to brave the elements, the expensive last-minute flights, the jacked up hotel costs, and the premium-priced tickets to watch TCU enter the Madness for the first time in two decades. So, what do you do in between games? Let’s take a look:

Sports:

Because the NCAA Tournament is in town, none of the other in-season Detroit teams are. That means not Red Wings Hockey or Detroit Pistons Basketball. If you’re at the game, you’ll get to see the Pistons’ and Red Wings’ swanky new digs, as the tourney is being held in brand new Little Caesar’s Arena (wonder if they got a buy one get one free arena deal?).

Conveniently, all of the arenas/field are located within blocks of each other, so you can check out Little Caesars Arena, Ford Field, and Comerica Park (home of the Tigers, who are away for Spring Training).

Eats:

Detroit is known for square pizza, which is, apparently, a thing. Cloverleaf in EastPointe is the standard, and considered by some to be the inventor of square pies, which they have been slinging since the 50’s. The true Detroit experience may well be found at Buddy’s though, which serves a thin, crispy square pie on the infamous 6 Mile, and also lays claim to being the original square. It depends which version of the internet you believe, but both have excellent pies and are worth checking out.

Loui’s in Hazel Park is also beloved by the locals, a hole-in-the-wall joint that is truly no-frills, but serves an excellent pie. If you believe your pizza should be round, there are plenty of options for that as well, including kitschy with a side of 80’s pizzaz at Pop + Offworld, NY and Detroit options at Belle Island in the West Village, hipster at Brass Rail and Pie Sci, and true Italian at La Lanterna and Ottava Via.

Pizza not your thing? A: what’s wrong with you? B: we’ve got you covered.

Phoenicia is swanky and delicious, Noble Fish has excellent sushi, Mabel Gray is headed up by Top Chef alum James Rigato, and Kuzzo’s Chicken and Waffles will hit your soul food spot while you’re far from the South.

Detroit actually has a fantastic food scene, so make sure you get out and explore.

Drinks:

If you’re into that sort of thing, there are plenty of places to imbibe in the Motor City. Like feeling like you’re in on a secret? Head over to modern-day speakeasy The Keep for a great cocktail and a Prohibition Era vibe. For an excellent local dive bar, find your way to Abick’s - if you can - the haunt can be tough to spot if you aren’t looking for it. If you like your adult beverage with a side of entertainment, Baker’s Keyboard Lounge is the spot for you, or you might check out Craft Work if you want the neighborhood vibe.

There are also a host of delicious local craft beers brewed and consumed in Michigan, including Detroit Beer Co, the creative Falling Down Beer, Belgian-focused Jolly Pumpkin Brewery, and newcomer Batch Brewery, that has quickly become a local favorite.

Culture:

The birthplace of the Model T and Motown, Detroit is one of the most important cities in America when it comes to changing the culture nationwide. And they have found many ways to celebrate it throughout the city.

Don’t miss the Ford Piquette Plant, birthplace of the Model T, and a true time travel experience, as it has hardly been touched since Henry Ford was hard at work within its walls. The Motown Museum is another must-visit, right in the middle of Hitsville, USA. Lived in by Barry Gordy, the museum stays true to its Motown roots, allowing you to connect with Marvin Gaye, The Four Tops, The Temptations, Stevie Wonder, Supremes, the Jackson 5, and more.

The Detroit Institute of the Arts is a world-class museum, the Guardian Building an architectural marvel, and Belle Isle Park a quaint place to catch your breath. How to get around to all these sites? Check out the Detroit People Mover, the cities’ public transportation answer.

Gambling:

If you need some night life, you can always check out the Greektown Casino, for slots, table games, hotels, entertainment, and more.

Canada:

You can get there from here!

Universities:

Michigan and the Big House, as well as Michigan State, are less than 90 minutes away. Both are worth checking out if you have some time.


This list is clearly just the tip of the iceberg for a city that is highly invested in changing its reputation nation, and world, wide. If you are making your way north, you’ll have plenty to do between games!