Monday, October 2, 2023

The Eco Travel Guide to Detroit: Motor City’s Sustainable and Cultural Gems


If you’re planning a city break or even an extended getaway, here are some tips to help you enjoy everything Detroit offers and how to do it in an eco-friendly way. 

The Motor City may not seem like an eco-friendly paradise in name, it has experienced rapid growth in environmental improvements over recent years. Combine this with all the wonders Detroit has to offer, and you have a destination that becomes increasingly must-visit the more you learn about it.

Every traveler has the responsibility to take care of the planet they enjoy so much., it doesn’t matter if you travel several times a year or save up to see all the sights you can squeeze into a two-week vacation. Understanding how to travel sustainably means that everything will be there for you when you get the chance and the world can move towards a more eco-friendly way of traveling. 

Getting around 

You already know the most eco-friendly way to get around is by walking, but Detroit is a vast city, so exploring by foot is not always possible. The good news is that there are plenty of sustainable options that don’t require you to climb into a taxi. The easiest and most popular transport option is the Qline, which runs through the city and downtown, making it easier to stop off at any of the great attractions you want to see or grab a bite to eat to keep you fuelled throughout your fun-filled day. 

Where to stay

There are many luxe hotels in Detroit with sustainability efforts in place so you don’t have to sacrifice your comfort, which is why picking a downtown hotel that offers everything you need is a fantastic solution.

El Moore Lodge Detroit

The El Moore Lodge

In the heart of Midtown Detroit, The El Moore offers overnight stays and long-term residences in a sustainably-renovated 1898 building. The historic location, once a Depression-era boarding house, is now one of the city’s best examples of sustainable urban design. The El Moore is working to reduce its energy and waste by 80 percent with efficient energy systems, upcycled materials, and responsible resource management. The 11 lodge rooms offer guests eco amenities and luxe comfort while you enjoy access to the city’s many historic sites.

shinola hotel

Shinola Hotel

Luxury, artistry, and sustainability converge at the world’s first Shinola hotel, located in the heart of Detroit’s Woodward shopping district. The hotel partnered with real estate firm Bedrock to restore the historic building with energy-efficient upgrades. The hotel eschews single-use plastic and offers a range of eco-luxe amenities in every room.

the siren hotel

The Siren Hotel

A beloved boutique 4-start Detroit hotel, The Siren is taking steps to provide its guest with a more sustainable stay. It incorporates water-efficient showers, energy-efficient lighting, a green roof and garden, and locally sourced vegan and vegetarian food options. Enjoy easy access to the Fillmore Detroit, the Music Hall Center, and Gem Theater — all just steps from the hotel.

Where to eat

Detroit also has an array of exciting and sustainable restaurants, cafes, and other food options.

Detroit Vegan Soul

Detroit Vegan Soul should be at the top of your list. It was the first vegan restaurant in Detroit and has since developed a reputation for serving some of the finest food in the city.


Make sure you save a calendar spot during your Detroit visit for brunch at Folk. This Asian and woman-owned Corktown favorite brings a focus on local ingredients, biodynamic wines, specialty coffees, and ambiance for a plant-forward meal that may be the highlight of your trip.

Sozai Restaurant

The highly-acclaimed sushi bar Sozai has made a name for itself by saying it’s only sourcing sustainable fish — a method that considers traceability, fish populations, fishing methods, and farming practices. While the fishing industry’s sustainability is highly debatable, luckily the hottest sushi spot in town also puts vegetables through an equally scrutinized lens. So enjoy a range of options, with an emphasis on pickled vegetable rolls.

Things to Do 

Don’t think of Detroit as a vibrant tourist town? Guess again. Motown’s home is rich with cultural and natural experiences.

motown museum

Motown Museum

It wouldn’t be a proper visit to Detroit without paying a visit to the Motown Museum. There, you can explore the city’s rich cultural history as the home of the iconic Motown sound. The guided tours will deepen your experience as you soak in the sounds that made America.

Eastern Market Detroit

Eastern Market

One of the most appealing activities is the Eastern Market where you can purchase fresh produce and allows you to support local businesses.

Blue Heron Lagoon, Detroit

Parks and Rivers

Detroit’s local parks and rivers are unrivaled natural destinations. Take a trip to Blue Heron Lagoon in Belle Isle where you can enjoy a scenic hike around the Detroit river amid local flora and fauna. The River Rouge spans 127 twisty-turny miles through Detrioit with must-visit stops including a bird observatory and if you can make it out to Ann Arbor, the Gateway Greeway Trail.

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