Once a pioneer farm and now Detroit’s best-known ethnic area, Greektown has long been a bright spot downtown and one of the few districts that jumps after midnight. With its many lively Greek restaurants and the Trappers Alley shopping and entertainment complex, this restored stretch of Monroe Street attracts both natives and visitors. (It also attracts parking enforcement officers, so if you park at one of the plentiful metered spots around Monroe, be sure to bring plenty of change.)
At the core of it all is a Greek neighborhood that dates back to 1915. Although most of the original residents have moved to the suburbs and the majority of restaurants and bakeries have gone upscale, you’ll still find a few coffeehouses where old-timers gather to drink strong coffee or sip sweet retsina and play cards.
One original grocery remains: Open the rusty screen door of the Athens Grocery/Bakery (527 Monroe St., 313/961-1149), and you’ll walk past windows full of neatly arranged loaves of bread, sinfully sweet Greek pastries, and shiny tins of pungent imported olives.
Other highlights include two of Detroit’s most notable churches. Old St. Mary’s Church (646 Monroe St., 313/961-8711, www.oldstmarysdetroit.com), one of the city’s most beautiful Roman Catholic structures, dates to 1841 and serves as Detroit’s third oldest Catholic parish. Meanwhile, the Second Baptist Church of Detroit (441 Monroe St., 313/961-0920, www.secondbaptistdetroit.org) was established in 1836 by several former slaves who had left the First Baptist Church due to discrimination against African Americans. Once a stop on the Underground Railroad, the original church was replaced by the present one after a devastating fire in the early 1900s.
by Laura Martone from Moon Michigan, 3rd Edition, © Avalon Travel