Hand-feeding a giraffe at the Detroit Zoo. He was super friendly - and hungry!

#DayintheD – A Very Detroit Staycation

Living at Broderick Tower in downtown Detroit we’re right in the center of all the action and excitement that attract visitors from around the world. Sometimes though we forget just how lucky we are to have so many world-class cultural institutions, local attractions and top notch restaurants right here in Detroit. With all there is to see and do during a “Day in the D”, your summer vacation might just turn into a summer staycation–mine sure did.

Last week I was invited to participate in an interactive Day in the D tour hosted by the Metro Detroit Convention and Visitors Bureau. Below is a summary of all of the Detroit-themed activities we participated in, including some of my favorite highlights from each.

Disclosure: Event transportation, tours and meals were provided by the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau. All opinions are my own.

The Detroit Zoo: We started the morning off early by hand-feeding a giraffe! I love going to the zoo, but I didn’t know you could get so close to the animals there. It was awesome and something kids (and adults) of all ages will enjoy. We also spent time in the “outback” and the arctic where we spoke with zoo staff members about the great efforts they go to to provide an environment close to what these animals would experience in the wild. Tip: the earlier you go, the more likely these animals are to be awake and interactive!

Detroit Historical Museum: I was so excited to re-visit this recently reopened Detroit gem after it was closed while undergoing a $12 million renovation. Bonus: admission is now completely free for all visitors! Some of my favorites from the museum included seeing the bright tiger stadium lights in their original splendor, mixing my own tunes and getting close up to Rock N’ Roll memorabilia at the new Kid Rock music lab and all of the interactive additions to the exhibits. My only complaint? I wish we had more time to explore and shop all of the cool Detroit-themed merchandise!! I’ll definitely be back.

Buddy’s Pizza: I’ve been a longtime fan of Buddy’s Pizza, home of the original Detroit-style pizza and in my opinion the best tasting pie you can get in Detroit. We visited the original Detroit location on Conant St. for a private pizza making lesson from Buddy’s super-friendly staff. It was an informative and fun experience, and we got to learn what’s made Buddy’s a Detroit staple for so many years. We noshed on delicious handmade pizzas, antipasto salad, appetizers and much more. We were so stuffed we couldn’t make it to the original historic bocce court outside, but I’ll definitely be back again this summer. Whether you’re grabbing dinner and drinks before a game or coming down for a family fun night, the original Buddy’s Pizza location in Detroit is sure to please.

Motown Museum: The Motown Museum remains one of my favorite attractions to visit, and each time I go it gets better. The tour guides are some of the most fun, passionate people around. They’re sure to have you tapping your feet and singing along to those timeless tunes in no time. It was amazing to see the recently refurbished grand piano back at its home (thanks Paul McCartney). Not to mention how awesome it was to watch tour buses of people making their way into the museum to see Hitsville U.S.A. firsthand – there were even a few guests from Austrailia on our tour!

Charles H. Wright Museum: The Wright Museum of African American History was a powerful and eye-opening experience in an entirely different way. Little did I know, this Detroit gem is the world’s largest institution dedicated to exploring African American history and culture. The exhibits were interactive and informative with a powerful look at global, regional and local history. I couldn’t believe how lifelike the displays were! These lessons are important for all of us to see and to remember.

Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix: This weekend Belle Isle will be completely transformed for the return of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix. I was surprised to learn how much time and effort it takes to prepare our Detroit jewel for such an event (they start preparing the island in March!). I’m not much of a racing fan, but hearing about all the excitement and seeing the track firsthand is enough to turn anyone into a fanatic. We had the chance to learn about the new track improvements and design changes, the awesome double-decker chalets and plenty of family fun activities all weekend long. Tickets start at $25, but Friday is Free Prix Day presented by Comerica Bank. My favorite part? The event organizers have made over $6 million in permanent improvements to Belle Isle including renovation of Scott Fountain and installation of new playscapes.

Brizola at Greektown: We ended our #DayintheD with a delicious and classy dinner at Brizola, the new restaurant at Greektown Casino. This place has beautiful and stunning views of Greektown paired with an impressive menu that’s interactively presented via individual iPads at each place setting. The waitstaff was friendly, attentive and made great recommendations. I had the Lump Crab & Pinion Nut Cakes and bacon-wrapped shrimp for an appetizer, followed by the Greektown Salad (I loved the little kick it had!) For dinner I enjoyed the juicy porterhouse with a side of lobster mac and cheese. And if you can believe it I saved room for a cafe latte and a taste of Grand Marnier Créme Brulée for dessert. Needless to say we were stuffed after leaving this mouthwatering meal. It’s obvious everything is presented with great detail, from the dry-ice craft cocktails to the individual toppings of shaved chocolate and cinnamon sticks for our lattes. Of course, you get what you pay for and this experience might be one to save for special splurge-friendly occasions, but it’s definitely worth checking out.

You can see more of our #DayintheD on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram or by visiting the Visit Detroit Blog.

 

What are some of your favorite Detroit attractions? What places are you planning on visiting this summer in and around the D?

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