You landed a sweet lease here at the Lofts of Merchants Row, but now that you’ve moved in, you’re not sure what to do next? Try these 40-minutes-or-less bike jaunts to some of Detroit’s most extraordinary places:
Belle Isle is about 35 minutes east of the Lofts by bike, and it’s worthy of several afternoons of your life. There’s an extraordinary amount to do on Belle Isle, and much of it — including an aquarium, a giant slide, and massive indoor gardens — is free. Even if all you do is sit and watch the ships on the river and take in a (free) concert, it’s worth the ride. Just pack your lunch; you don’t want to pay for food on-scene.
The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit is about 33 minutes north of the Lofts on Woodward Avenue. Like Belle Isle, MOCAD offers free admission (though it’s polite to donate $5 or more on your way in.) MOCAD features the cutting edge of Detroit’s art scene, and exhibitions change regularly, so if contemporary art holds even the slightest fascination for you, you can some here again and again.
Green Dot Stables
Despite the name, the Green Dot is simply the best slider joint in Detroit, and quite possibly the entire Midwest. If you think White Castle when you think sliders, you’ve got several dozen other things coming — the mini-burgers here come in crazy varieties like Tempeh-Wasabi-Wakame, Lamb-Rosemary-Hummus-Pickle, Coney-Venison Chili-Onion-Mustard, and Black Bean-Tomato-Avocado Sour Cream. Try the Truffle & Herb fries, too! Just don’t overeat — it’s only a 10 minute bike ride back to the Lofts, but that can be tough on a crammed tummy.
John K. King Used and Rare Books
Just 5 minutes by bike away, JKKUARB is a throwback of the best kind — over a million books from the quotidian to the exotic, in an uncomputerized, hand-maintained stacks that seem to stretch for miles. Serendipity is the name of the game here; finding something you weren’t looking for on your way to the thing you think you want is the better part of the fun. Any fan of paper, stories, or just quirky-sweet old school awesomeness will want to make a pilgrimage here on a regular basis.
The Heidelberg Project
15 minutes to the Northeast of the Lofts, out on Hamtramck, the Heidelberg Project in many ways represents the people of Detroit in a more honest and provocative way than anything else in the area. The Project is an area where a group of dedicated artists and a much larger group of passionate volunteers have turned an entire neighborhood into a huge, ever-evolving art display. Entire houses painted, incorporating trees and roads and everything into an energetic, quixotic, and altogether Detroit form of art that invites you to participate if you would. Definitely worth the trip!