The Detroit Skinny

Get the skinny on restaurants, events, attractions and much more in and around Metro Detroit.


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Ideas for Detroit Wedding Photography Locations

Bridal parties of all shapes, sizes and David’s Bridal color palettes are an almost daily sighting across greater downtown during wedding season in Michigan.

If you’re hoping to use the Motor City as the backdrop for your wedding photos, you’ll first have to decide what matters most to you. The typical jam-packed wedding day itinerary will allow you to capture only a selection of what Detroit has to offer.

Here are just a few ideas of the hot spots Detroit has to offer for wedding day photo opps:

  • Music and entertainment: The Fox Theatre and Fillmore, located in the heart of downtown, make for amazing photos on Woodward Ave. Just please don’t be those people who hold up traffic. Other options include the historic Music Hall, Detroit Opera House, Max M. Fisher Music Center, and just a bit away from downtown is the legendary Motown Museum.
  • Arts and culture: On the steps of the Detroit Institute of Arts is a great place for photos, as is the Detroit Public Library Main Branch. The rotunda inside the Charles H. Wright Museum is also beautiful. Other museums with cool visuals include the Detroit Historical Museum and the Dossin Great Lakes Museum on Belle Isle.
  • Architecture: Did you know Detroit was known as the “Paris of the Midwest” for its architecture? If cool buildings are on your list, you’ll want to check out the Guardian Building, the Penobscot, the Belle Isle Aquarium, the Masonic Temple or the old Wayne County Building.
  • Beers and bars: If there’s one thing Detroit has a lot of, it’s cool bars and breweries. Some to consider for photo options include Cliff Bells, Two James Distillery, Atwater Brewery, Hopcat, Detroit Beer Company and Grand Trunk Pub.
  • Murals and street art: There are too many to name, but you can find a lot of my favorites in Eastern Market and along the Dequindre Cut. Here’s a great story from the Detroit Free Press showing some of the must-see murals.
  • Famous landmarks and views: You’ve got the Spirit of Detroit and the Fist of Joe Louis, the fountains at Campus Martius Park, the iconic GM Renaissance Center, Michigan Central Station, and of course the 5+ miles of the Detroit RiverFront with views of the Ambassador Bridge and Belle Isle. I highly recommend photos taken on Belle Isle, since you can get pictures of the Detroit skyline and also check out the aquarium, the conservatory and the beautiful MacArthur Bridge.
  • Sports:¬†Fans of course won’t want to miss Comerica Park, Ford Field, old Tiger Stadium or Joe Louis Arena.

Keep in mind some of these options may not be a good idea depending on your wedding date (ex. a home game or events on Belle Isle).

Plan, plan, plan ahead! And also, invest in good photographers. Shout out to our amazingly talented wedding photographers Matt and Ashley Photography. Check out some of the places in Detroit we visited on our wedding day below.

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What other places around greater downtown Detroit would you recommend for wedding photos?

Note: Photography policies are different for almost every location. You will need to call ahead to confirm any requirements or limitations with the location in advance. Some venues ask that you give notice for security purposes, while others might charge for professional photography use. It’s better to be safe than sorry and coordinate ahead of time. Some photographers will handle this for you.

 

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Granite City Food & Brewery Opens in Downtown Detroit

*Disclosure: I was invited to attend a pre-opening mock service event at Granite City earlier this month. My food was complimentary, my booze was not. This blog post contains my own thoughts and opinions!

Even though I work downtown, I don’t get over to the RenCen nearly as much as I should. I take for granted how cool of a building it really is, and just how much there is to explore within those towers. I mean, the place even has it’s own ZIP code.

I had the chance to check out the new Granite City location inside Tower 100. If you’re not familiar with the RenCen, GC faces Jefferson Ave. right near the Marriott hotel valet area and Detroit-Windsor Tunnel.

The place is huge and beautiful inside. There is a ton of table and booth seating, a large bar/lounge area (great happy hour space!) as well as room for private events. Seems like it’d be a good option for larger groups, which can sometimes be a hassle at some of the smaller places that get packed quickly.

Also, downtown patio dining options just got way better. Granite City has a massive patio that takes up the whole front area of the restaurant facing Jefferson Avenue. Talk about a cool view of the hustle and bustle of downtown. The bar manager said they’ll be planning some cool stuff around Opening Day and other downtown events, so I’m looking forward to checking it out when warmer temps arrive.

I went with the grilled chicken and asparagus linguini and shared some of the bison burger with a friend. Both were delicious. Our server was helpful with pairing different beer selections with menu items, but I opted for a classic beer flight to get a taste of everything. I liked the Broad Axe Stout the best.

The skinny: Granite City Food & Brewery is now open in downtown Detroit inside the GM Ren Cen. Check it out for a happy hour with coworkers or a casual dinner on the town. There’s plenty of parking at the garages around the RenCen, but they’re not always the most affordable option depending on when you go. You could always park a bit further (Greektown or Bricktown area) and take the PeopleMover to the Renaissance Center stop.

 


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Republic breathes new life into Detroit’s GAR castle

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“The Devil Wears Prado” (Credit: Detroit Skinny).

If you’ve driven down Grand River in Detroit, you might’ve looked up and wondered what in the heck a castle is doing in the middle of downtown. More on that later. For now, I’m so excited that one of Detroit’s coolest buildings, the GAR Detroit, welcomed its first visitors last week after sitting empty for more than 30 years.

Today, the GAR building is home to one of Detroit’s newest restaurants, Republic. The restaurant is touted as an “old world European tavern” with a focus on local and seasonal items. I stopped by Republic with coworkers for a quick happy hour last week and was definitely impressed. It was so cool to see the place packed on a Thursday evening, less than a week after officially opening its doors.

Everything about the experience at Republic seemed carefully crafted. Aside from the totally classy interior, the food and drinks had their own artistic flair. We shared several menu items between our group, including the Ploughman’s Platter (sampler), the bone marrow fritters and the lamb loin.

There wasn’t anything I tasted that I didn’t want more of! I really loved the bone marrow fritters which were fluffy, rich, buttery, goodness. My favorite cocktail was “The Devil Wears Prado,” featuring tequila with chili-infused grenadine. So delicious!

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Republic is located within the historic GAR Detroit building on Grand River downtown. (Credit: Detroit Skinny).

I definitely want to go back again for full meal, including the Brown Bread Ice Cream that seems to be popular on Yelp.

The skinny: Republic is a great place for a classier take on happy hour, dinner before the theater or a romantic date night (they currently open at 5pm). Although on the pricier side, it’s certainly not unreasonable for what you get. The GAR is a quick hop off of the Fisher Freeway and street parking is available.

Oh right, about the castle part. The building gets its name from the Grand Army of the Republic, which according to the Library of Congress, was the “preeminent veterans’ organization formed at the close of the Civil War.” The building was a center for GAR meetings and veterans’ activities. You can learn more about the history of the GAR building from Historic Detroit or take a peek inside the renovation process (and other coming attractions within the building!) by following the GAR Detroit blog.

Have you been to Republic? What’s your favorite dish or drink on the menu?