The East Side of Detroit is home to some of the city's most prominent attractions, such as Belle Isle, a large island home to a day's worth of attractions of its own, and historic Eastern Market, the largest market in the United States. Much of the Detroit International Riverfront is located in the East Side.
Most of the attractions in the East Side tend to be near downtown or along riverfront. The rest of the area is mostly residential, but is also home to historic neighborhoods like Poletown and Black Bottom.
The East Side is home to some of Detroit's most unique attractions. The Eastern Market is the largest public market district in the United States. Belle Isle is an island filled with many of its own attractions, such as the Dossin Great Lakes Museum, the Anna Scripps Whitecomb Conservatory, a beach, the Detroit Yacht Club, and even more than that.
Detroit International Riverfront, located along the Detroit River from the Ambassador Bridge to the MacArthur Bridge, ☎ 313.566.8200, . Detroit's riverfront is a 5½-mile (8.8 km) promenade along the Detroit River running from the Ambassador Bridge to Belle Isle, encompassing a multitude of parks, restaurants, retail shops, skyscrapers, and high rise residential areas. The path is located directly on the river and is 62 feet (18¾ m) wide in most places, with separate lanes for pedestrian and bicycle traffic. Pavilions, fishing piers, and benches are located at intervals along the path. The east RiverWalk connects various riverfront developments, including Hart Plaza, the Renaissance Center, GM Plaza and Promenade, Tri-Centennial State Park, Stroh River Place, Chene Park, and Gabriel Richard Park.Free.
Heidelberg Project, 3600 Heidelberg Street, ☎ 313.267.1622, . Located in one of Detroit's poorest neighborhoods known as Black Bottom, Tyree Guyton founded the Heidelberg Project in 1986. It is an outdoor museum that consists of a two block area with houses that are decorated to look colorful and intriguing. Guyton started the project to take the neighborhood from a hard core inner-city neighborhood to a safe place where visitors are welcomed. Free.
Pewabic Pottery, 10125 East Jefferson Avenue, ☎ 313.822.0954, . M-Sa 10AM-6PM, Su Noon-4PM. The ceramics museum, gallery, studio, and workshop have changing contemporary exhibits. Free.
Belle Isle Aquarium, . Before the 105-year-old Belle Isle Aquarium closed in 2005, it was the oldest operating aquarium in the United States. Designed by Albert Kahn, the building itself is good-looking. The basment of the aquarium served as a speakeasy during Prohibition. Efforts to reopen the aquarium haven't brought much success over the past four years, but many continue to try to reopen this historic facility.
Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church, 13770 Gratiot Avenue, . The church is known as the Assumption Grotto Church, due to the popularity of the grotto, completed in 1881, which was built as a replica of the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes in France. The church complex includes the grotto, a 1929 church, a rectory, convent, and cemetery. The complex is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Lee Plaza, 2240 West Grand Boulevard. Listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, this vacant high-rise apartment building was built in 1928 and designed in the Art Deco architectural style. Located near downtown and midtown, the building rises 15 floors.
Manoogian Mansion, 9240 Dwight Street. Located outside Indian Village on the Detroit River, the Manoogian Mansion is the traditional home of the mayor of Detroit. The mansion has Spanish Colonial Revival Style architecture with a Spanish Mission Revival Style influence including a terra-cotta tile roof.
Eastern Market, bordered on the south by Gratiot Avenue, the north by Mack Avenue, the east by St. Aubin St. and the west by the Chrysler Expressway (I-75), . The largest public market in the United States, the Eastern Market receives about 45,000 visitors every week. The most obvious reason to visit this place is to buy unique foodstuff. One can basically find any type of food here. The Eastern Market is a "must-see" when visiting Detroit.
Indian Village, bound to the north and south by Mack Avenue and East Jefferson Avenue, . A number of architecturally significant buildings built in the early 20th century make up Indian Village. Architectural styles seen in these houses include Colonial Revival, Tudor Revival, and Mission/Spanish Revival. The neighborhood is not related to Indians or Native Americans.
Lafayette Park. Mies van der Rohe Historic District, better known as Lafayette Park, is a large park and complex of apartments designed by Mies van der Rohe just east of downtown. With their simplicity, clean proportions, and cladding of tinted glass and aluminum, the apartment buildings of Lafayette Park are classic examples of Mies van der Rohe's International Style.
Poletown. Bordering the city of Hamtramck, Poletown was settled by polish immigrants in 1871. The community is centered around St. Albertus Catholic Church. The neighborhood experienced an influx of immigrants in the 1920s, but fell on hard times as freeway construction and urban renewal projects destroyed the neighborhood. Today, much of the neighborhood is gone. However, neighboring Hamtramck is home to a large Polish population and is famous on Fat Tuesday for its pączkis (pronounced poonchkis). Despite the neighbourhood being quite ruined, for those of you who like grit, this would be a cool area to hit up. It has falling apart homes, rotting shops, old warehouses, and empty lots.
Belle Isle is the largest island park in the United States with 982 acres (3.9 km²; 2.42 sq mi). The island has several sites and attractions. It is the largest island in the Detroit River and offers good views of the city's skyline. It is open all year long and is home to the Detroit Yacht Club, the Detroit Boat Club, a Coast Guard post, and a municipal golf course. The city maintains a Nature Center where visitors are able to traverse wooded trails and view wildlife natural habitats. The island includes a half-mile (800 m) swimming beach.
Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory, ☎ 313.331.7760, . This greenhouse and botanical garden covers 13 acres (53,000 m2). Built in 1904, it is the nation's oldest conservatory, designed by Albert Kahn, and rebuilt 1952-1954 with aluminum replacing its original wooden beams. It was named in honor of Anna Scripps Whitcomb in 1953, who left her 600-plant orchid collection to the city. Rare orchids were saved from Great Britain during World War II and transported to the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory. Free.
Dossin Great Lakes Museum, 100 Strand Street, ☎ 313.852.4051, . This historical maritime museum features exhibits such as one of the largest collections of model ships in the world, and the bow anchor of the legendary Edmund Fitzgerald.
Chene Park, 2600 Atwater Street, . Located along the riverfront, the park contains a 6,000-seat amphitheater where concerts are regularly scheduled every summer. Jazz, Classic Soul and Rhythm and Blues acts are the staples of the season. The park also includes park trails, the Chene Park Fountain, and the Lake Lounge bar. It hosts the Detroit International Jazz Festival every Labor Day weekend.
Eastern Market 2934 Russell St., Detroit. Historic Farmers Market. Hours 7 AM - 5 PM. Monday-Saturday. Closed Sundays.
Sala Thai, 3400 Russell St, ☎ +1 313 831-1302, . M-F 10.30AM-10PM (Dinner starts at 3PM), Sa 11AM-10PM, Su 12PM-9PM (dinner all day on Sa-Su). Located in an old fire house in the Eastern Market district. Great food.Lunch: $6.50 - 9.50 Dinner: $9.00 - 13.00.
Cadieux Cafe 4300 Cadieux Road. Known for some great Mussels. Belgian cuisine and beers.
Sinbad's Restaurant and Marina 100 St. Clair Street. +1 313 822-7817. Enjoy seafood and waterfront entertainment.
Tom's Oyster Bar 519 E. Jefferson Ave., Detroit. Also locations in St. Clair Shores, Royal Oak, and Rochester Hills. Upscale, a local favorite.