Getaway Guide: Weekend Road Trip To Detroit, MI

July 14, 2012 6:00 AM

Photo Credit: Detroit Opera House/Facebook

By Meredith Lyons

Detroit is so much more than cars and sad economic stories. This inexpensive birthplace of Motown is chock full of culture, promising plenty of playtime options to fill the weekend. Stroll the scenic river walk, enjoy the opera or just explore the area’s museums and historical offerings.

Getting There  

Getting to Detroit from Chicago is an easy drive roughly five hours up I-94 east for approximately five hours give or take depending on traffic. Once you’ve entered the city, park the car at the hotel and enjoy the shuttle service. Another option is to take a scenic Amtrak ride into the downtown area or even use the People Mover train to get around the downtown area.

detroit opera house Getaway Guide: Weekend Road Trip To Detroit, MI

Photo Credit: Detroit Opera House/Facebook

Michigan Opera Theatre
1526 Broadway St.
Detroit, MI 48226
(313) 961-3500

Click here for prices

The Michigan Opera Theatre hosts not only opera, but ballet, comedy, musical theater, and even rock concerts. Locally known as the MOT, this comfortable, multi-faceted venue offers plenty of legroom for any audience. The MOT also features an access program geared toward students and young professionals to make the culture more accessible to the younger generation. Patrons 18 to 50 may purchase a ticket to a Wednesday night show and get a drink voucher to use after the performance for a chance to mingle with members of the cast.

Related: Best Campgrounds In The Chicago Area

motown museum Getaway Guide: Weekend Road Trip To Detroit, MI

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Motown Historical Museum
2648 West Grand Blvd.
Detroit, MI 48208
(313) 875-2264

Price: $10 per adult/$8 per children 12 and younger

A trip to the birthplace of motown wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Motown Historical Museum. Founded in 1985 by Esther Gordy Edwards to perserve the legacy of Motown Record Corporation, its exhibitions are made up of historical photographs, artwork, costumes, memorabilia and of course, music. From Smokey Robinson to Stevie Wonder to Marvin Gaye, this is the place that commemorates a golden era for musicians and record labels alike.

roberts riverwalk hotel Getaway Guide: Weekend Road Trip To Detroit, MI

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Roberts Riverwalk Hotel and Residence
1000 River Place
Detroit, MI 48207
(313) 259-9500

Click here for prices and availability

The Roberts Riverwalk Hotel and Residence is tucked away slightly off the beaten path, yet still close enough to be near the city’s attractions. The scenic riverwalk is directly behind the hotel, and a complimentary shuttle service is offered to and from the downtown area. The hotel boasts a fitness center and a bistro with indoor and outdoor seating. The rooms boast a uniquely old-fashioned, European feel.

screen shot 2012 06 12 at 9 20 31 pm Getaway Guide: Weekend Road Trip To Detroit, MI

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Atlas Global Bistro
3111 Woodward Ave.
Detroit, MI 48201
(313) 831-2241

For an upscale dining experience, the Atlas Bistro is a food-first establishment. Enjoy seasonal menus with prix fix options, white table cloths and a variety of cocktails and beers to choose from. The restaurant features large windows with a view of the Detroit skyline and prides itself on staff knowledge of cuisine and wines. Reservations are available for small or large parties, but walk ins are welcome and a shuttle service is available.

cliff bells Getaway Guide: Weekend Road Trip To Detroit, MI

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Cliff Bell’s
2030 Park Ave
Detroit, MI 48226
(313) 961-2543

One of the top jazz venues in downtown Detroit is also one of the oldest. Cliff Bell’s offers an art deco, upscale atmosphere where guests experience the 1930s charm of an old jazz club. Enjoy Sunday brunch and daily lunches as well as live jazz sets. In addition to normal bar fare, Cliff Bell’s offers it’s own signature cocktails. Although the atmosphere is decidedly classy and upscale, expect to relax, with no strict dress code and an always-amiable crowd.

Related: Road Trip Rules

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Meredith Lyons is an actor, competitive fighter and fitness instructor in Chicago who also owns an amazing cat named Jake. Meredith has been writing on Examiner as the Chicago Martial Arts Examiner since 2008. Her work can be found at

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