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Detroit City Trip - Detroit RiverFront and Casinos

Historic buildings in Detroit
Historic buildings


DETROIT DAY 2: Detroit RiverFront, Gabriel Richard Park and Casinos

Take a nice stroll along the five-mile Detroit RiverFront. Here, you'll find the fabled Ambassador Bridge, just east of the downtown, which connects to beautiful Belle Island. The walk, with its public art installations, showcases the city's creative side. Rivard Plaza, near the stately and towering Renaissance Center is one such stop on the RiverFront. This high energy locale, with music venues, marine-themed carousel, concessions and bike and inline skate rentals has something for everyone. Just further north, the buzz is less encompassing and the crowds thin out at Stroh's River Place. This trendy urban neighborhood is anchored by the Rattlesnake Club, where a prix fixe dinner allows you to sample as many as four courses. Also in this area, you'll find upgraded lofts, restaurants, shops and artisan beer makers.

Cranbrook and some of its gardens
Cranbrook and some of its gardens

Take a detour on the 1.35-mile Dequindre Cut Greenway, an urban recreational path, linking the RiverFront to the century-old Eastern Market, a bustling place where farmers hawk their produce and specialty shops sell homemade noodles, coffees and spices plus there are several restaurants. It's a must-stop for foodies on a Saturday morning.

The walk ends (or begins, depending on where you start) at Gabriel Richard Park, on the Detroit River just east of the Belle Isle Bridge. It's a contemplative piece of land filled with blooming flowers, flowing fountains and fishing platforms perfect for casting lines on a peaceful day.

In Detroit, it's almost always game day whether it's the NBA's Detroit Pistons, NFL's Detroit Lions, MLB's Detroit Tigers and, of course, the Detroit Red Wings, one of the NHL's premiere hockey clubs that plays at Joe Lewis Arena right in the heart of downtown.

Immerse Spa
Immerse Spa

You can catch the game, whichever one it is, at one of the many Detroit bars and restaurants featuring big-screen TVs. Options are many and include the Detroit Beer Company, housed in a nineteenth century building with hard wood floors and the original bar intact. If Detroit had an official salad it would be the Maurice — sliced Black Forest ham, smoked turkey and Swiss cheese tossed in homemade Maurice dressing and served on top of shredded lettuce with sliced eggs, cherry peppers, green onions and sweet gherkins, and you'll find one of the best renditions on the menu here. Sip their artisan beers, sit outside and be sure to root, root, root for the home team.

Meanwhile, you'll find oversized hamburgers and Cuban sandwiches at the wonderfully restored Elwood Grill, a 1936 Art Deco diner. It's just a short walk to Comerica Park and Ford Field; in other words, there's no fussing with parking. But before you head to the game, order the house specialty — a warm apple cinnamon spring roll topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce.

For those looking to come home a little richer, Detroit tempts with its three casinos, each with its own distinct vibe. Want the over-the-top feel of Las Vegas? Try the MGM Grand Detroit, with its elements of water and stone including a waterfall. Luxuriate at Immerse, the hotel's lavish spa, before heading out for a night on the town.

Lobby Living Room at the MGM in Detroit
Lobby Living Room at the MGM

Located in the Greektown Historic District, the Greektown Casino Hotel features 100,000-square-feet of gaming options, among them the newest slots and a poker room. Table games include blackjack, Pai Gow poker, three-card poker, let it ride, Caribbean stud, roulette and craps.

Of course, gambling is only part of the action in this always-on-the-go area of restored nineteenth century buildings. You'll also encounter several traditional Greek eateries, where flaming cheese is served to the cries of "opa." Here, too, Detroit's People Mover takes visitors to and from their downtown hotels to where the action is.

Another destination of note is housed in Detroit's MotorCity Casino. Sound Board is considered one of the city's most innovative live-performance theaters, and it hosts big names like Steve Martin and Jeffrey Osborne. Also within is Iridescence, a multi-storied gourmet delight with grand views of the city and a winning wine list.

Continue to Day 3


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(Updated: 05/06/13 CT)

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