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Sari Diskin

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With a nickname like The Motor City, it’s no surprise that Detroit is known as a huge driving city. But we’re going to let you in a not-so-secret: there are some amazing neighborhoods and streets you’re missing as you whoosh by.

You’d be best to slow things down, take a stroll, and discover the city by foot. And what better way to get your steps in than to get into discovery mode and enjoy some of Detroit’s sights, sounds, and hidden treasures?

Cass Corridor is one of the best Midtown areas to walk around. It has seen a major redevelopment in the past couple of years, and there are so many new things to see! The neighborhood itself is super-diverse — from historic cultural landmarks, museums, and gorgeous retail stores (like Shinola) to hopping breweries and amazing food, this area has it all. Take a breather at Avalon Bakery on Willis St. for some delish vegan baked goods — it’s definitely a must-go.

Dequindre Cut is a perfect little urban oasis for your next walk — any time of year! Starting down at the RiverWalk, the Dequindre Cut is an urban recreational path built on the old Grand Trunk Railway. It was a huge part of the Detroit renaissance, and now people love biking, walking, jogging, and, of course, strutting their mutts (it’s dog-friendly) here. This path checks all the boxes: No stoplights, crosswalks, greenery, and urban artwork. Spice up your Instagram feed with some epic graffiti murals.

Another amazing spot in town, the Detroit RiverWalk is underrated, gorgeous, newly redone, and has amazing river views of Canada (which is just across the water). Like the Dequindre Cut, you can walk, bike, run, frolick—whatever your heart desires—along the waterfront. Obviously, this spot has become a huge attraction for running groups, local races, and even concerts. Oh, and did mention it’s home to one of our fave local coffee shops, ASHE Supply Co.? It’s the perfect place to stop for post-power walk pour-over coffee.

Merchants Row is the main stretch along Woodward Ave. from the Detroit River up to Campus Martius Park, and if you don’t experience it on foot, you’re missing out. Between the people-watching and Art Deco-era architecture, plus tons of new development in the works, it’s bound to be different every time you go. And make sure you spend some time in Campus Martius Park. There are always activities going on there — from free yoga classes in the summer to community skating in the winter.

Belle Isle, a skip and a jump from the city, is a Michigan state park that is accessible all year-round for gorgeous hikes and truly special views of the city. The park is an island—which is super-cool in itself—and is actually the biggest island park in the nation. It’s your little taste of nature without the long road trip — from tree-lined paths to serene beaches, and even an aquarium, you’re good for a solid daycation at this outdoor hot spot.

Moving over the west side of town, Corktown has become one of Detroit’s most up-and-coming neighborhoods. Long, sprawling Michigan Ave. is the perfect place to walk, eat, and explore. Every time you’re there, you’ll see new restaurants and cocktail bars setting up shop. Stop in at Gold Cash Gold for an epic brunch, or try one of Detroit’s best vegan eateries and check out Brooklyn Street Local. Fitt Tip: make sure to stop by vintage shop El Dorado General Store. Even if you don’t buy anything, you’ll have fun perusing!

Eastern Market is an incredible farmers market and district just east of the downtown core (and is the oldest market district in the US). Here, you can explore and soak up some of Detroit’s rich culture, and on any given Saturday (all year-round), you can find of thousands of people purchasing farm-fresh food, local produce, gorgeous flowers, and supporting local merchants. And if you are feeling super-ambitious, you can hit up the Saturday morning boxing class at Jabs Gym before eating all the goods the market has to offer.