A view of the ice rink at Campus Martius Park from high above the festivities
Detroit has taken its share of hits over the years, but the metropolis only a bridge away from the Canadian border is finding creative ways to lure visitors, including a citywide fest this weekend that started as part of Super Bowl festivities seven years ago: The Motown Winter Blast (February 10-12) is expected to draw as many as 75,000 people to the event. Reasons to go include:
Three stages and roughly 36 hours of music
Concerts by 50 different acts on three stages are ongoing from 11:30 a.m. on Friday, February 10 through Sunday, February 12. Acoustic, rock, gospel, and R&B bands will play throughout the weekend. But there is also a space funk jam (Out There in Space, 3 p.m. on Saturday) and a Frank Zappa tribute (Just Another Band from Detroit, 7:30 p.m. on Saturday).
Cold weather comforts
The center of Winter Blast is Detroit’s Campus Martius Park, where you can skate for free on the park’s rink; skate rentals are $3. The rink will also host exhibitions by professional figure skaters. Fest goers can warm up with a s’more at one of the park’s marshmallow-roasting braziers. For a less sugary indulgence, the Greektown Casino Ice Garden will host a temporary exhibit of ice sculptures.
Food, glorious food
Yes, there is fine dining in Detroit. And you can sample it during the Winter Blast, as area restaurants—including the Detroit Seafood Market, the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, and the Hudson Café, among others—set up outposts offering selected menu items.
GO Motown Winter Blast in Detroit, Michigan, February 10 through 12; winterblast.com.
Where to stay: The Westin Book Cadillac (114 W. Washington Blvd.; 313-442-1600, westin.com), two blocks from Winter Blast, is offering a weekend rate of $135 a night, which includes valet parking. The Greektown Casino-Hotel (1200 St. Antoine St.; 877-424 5554, greektowncasino.com) has rooms a short elevator ride away from Winter Blast’s casino-based after parties, where entertainment and drink specials continue after the outdoor events shut down; rates range from $149 to $499 a night.
Where to eat: At Roast (1128 Washington Ave.; 313-961-2500, roastdetroit.com), chef Michael Symon’s dinner menu features meat-loving entrees, such as “Roast Beast of the Day” and a veal chop Milanese. At Saltwater (1777 3rd St.; 313-465-1646, mgmgranddetroit.com), chef Michael Mina specializes in seafood dishes, including lobster pot pie, cioppino, and crab cake sliders.
Photograph: Courtesy of the Motown Winter Blast