Holiday Fun Guide

We’ve all heard about the pop-up retail scene downtown, so we thought you might like to hear about a few other Detroit neighborhoods where you can find unique holiday experiences. Here are alternative ideas for where to shop local and eat well during this holiday season.

Live it up on Livernois. Detroit’s historic Avenue of Fashion is overflowing with creative activity. Shop local at Detroit Fiber Works, where you can watch fiber artists hard at work and purchase fiber art made by Detroit textile artists. Or stop by Art in Motion, a ceramics studio that offers locally made pottery and various pottery classes and workshops. (We interviewed co-owner M. Kay Willingham for our CEO Profile this month.) Be sure to check out Love Travels Imports, a boutique full of fair trade, handmade goods made by various artisans from around the world. While you’re there, pick up a special holiday treat at Good Cakes and Bakes, offering gourmet baked goods made from exclusively wholesome, organic ingredients. Co-owner and Pastry Chef April Anderson said, “We’re offering custom holiday gift baskets this season, in addition to 10 percent off all cake orders placed before December 15. We will have cookie mixes in jars for people to make at home and we will offer coffee baskets made with Chazzano Coffee for coffee lovers.”

Lift your well-being in West Village. Detroit’s West Village is all about the health of the mind, body and soul this holiday season. Eat well at Detroit’s newest vegan spot, Detroit Vegan Soul. What was once a pop-up is a permanent fixture on Agnes St. near Van Dyke, serving locals with great-tasting, high-quality, nutritious vegan soul food. Cleanse your mind and soul at Tarot & Tea through spiritual tarot cards, palm and tea leaf readings. Enjoy a hot cup of exotic tea during your readings.

Explore Southwest Detroit. Southwest Detroit is known for its rich diversity of shopping and dining experiences. It’s a perfect place to explore new cultures. For an authentic and contemporary taste of Mexico, try El Asador, which opened recently, just a few blocks off I-75 at 1312 Springwells St. Here’s a hint about the menu: lobster tacos. And it’s not just about the food in Southwest Detroit. Check out Xochi’s Mexican Imports, in the heart of the Mexicantown District at 3437 Bagley St. for truly unique holiday gift ideas.

Pursue the Pop-Ups. While Livernois, the West Village and Southwest Detroit have excellent permanent attractions this holiday season, you can still chase those unique pop-up opportunities in places such as the Northwest Detroit Holiday Market on Sat., Nov. 30, hosted by Always Brewing Detroit.  If you miss that, or even if you don’t, mark your calendar Dec. 12 for the launch of the Vanguard holiday pop-up at Woodward and Grand Boulevard.

Give yourself, your friends and family, and the city you love a gift this season by exploring Detroit’s neighborhood retail treasures.

Michael Forsyth
REVOLVE Detroit program manager

On The World Stage

The Russian mayors have come and gone. The Chinese executives did the same. The contingent from Portland was very engaged. The columnists and bloggers from Chicago, London and elsewhere all found surprises. The New York Times seems to be “discovering” something interesting, tasty or cool in Detroit every few weeks. Time magazine explored the city for an entire year. In short, the world is making its way to Detroit, and it’s not because of some calamity or scandal, or even a big event such as a Super Bowl or International Auto Show. We are on a world stage right now because of hundreds of stories, successes and interesting people that all add up to a world-class transformation.

We’ve known that for quite awhile, because we are supporting it every way we can, but there is something satisfying about spending time hearing the interest from the Russian mayors, who were here because they represent one-industry cities that need to diversify their economies. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? While we talked with the Russians, Japanese public television was videotaping a story about W Industries, a company that successfully grew from auto supplier to advanced manufacturer in alternative energy, natural gas extraction, defense and aerospace.

The Chinese were here to consider business investments. They realize that Detroit is in the center of the greatest concentration of automotive research and development in the world. The constant re-invention of personal transportation is going on right around us every day.

Time magazine, of course wanted to witness bold moves from major players like Mayor Dave Bing and Quicken chairman, Dan Gilbert, but reporters from Time or its sister publications also covered entrepreneurial successes in our incubators, NextEnergy and Wayne State University’s TechTown. And they wrote about Detroit’s cheerleaders such as Slow’s Bar BQ’s Phil Cooley, City Living Detroit real estate broker Austin Black or I Am Young Detroit’s Mike Han.

As we are breaking new ground, we are also on the lookout for what we might learn from others. That’s why we have a delegate in Turin, Italy this month, reviewing the economic progress of the home city to Fiat.

The best news from all this buzz is that it is not too late to get into the game. We know of properties ripe for renovation or redevelopment, and we know the ways to support growth for startups or global companies. We have success stories, and if you are growing a business in Detroit we’d like to know yours. After all, the world is watching.


George W. Jackson

Jackson is president and CEO of Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, a non-profit organization that works with businesses, government and other organizations throughout Detroit to encourage and manage economic development projects.