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MidtownCultural institutions like the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Detroit Public Library, Wayne State University, and the Detroit Historical Museum make Midtown an all-encompassing district, but a strip of Cass Avenue is where shoppers will hit retail gold.
4161 Cass Ave., Detroit; 313-420-6000; casscollectivedetroit.com
This collective space is occupied by six local retailers — Dolly Rockers, Mie Radici, Kill the Hate, Not Sorry Apparel, B’Juelz, and Bleu Bowtique — but not for long. The storefront offers pop-up locations for independent retailers as a test drive for operating a brick-and-mortar location. Businesses can use the space for three months to a year, during which time they can get a feel for how well they fit into the neighborhood. Plus, it’s a great chance for shoppers to interact with an ever-changing cast of up-and-comers.
Elite Couture Boutique
4161 Cass Ave, Detroit; 313-771-3687
Located within Cass Collective on Cass Avenue, this adorable little store sells conservative-yet-sassy women’s clothing. Brightly colored and on-trend frocks, tops, and pants fill the intimate space, and all are hand-selected by owner LaKeisha Solomon. Price points are extremely reasonable, making it accessible to just about anyone in the neighborhood, whether they’re a student or a member of the nearby church.
Bob’s Classic Kicks
4717 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-832-7513; bobsclassickicks.com
Bob’s Classic Kicks has a collection of colorful cleats inside a store that’s just as bright as the shoes. The shop is integral to creating a diverse shopping landscape in Midtown — most of the other shops are more female-friendly.
4240 Cass Ave. #105, Detroit; 313-832-1155;sourcebooksellers.com
Janet Webster Jones keeps this bookstore stocked with interesting nonfiction reads as well as unique sideline items. Hit the shop for an author talk, chair yoga, or other community-oriented event.
N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art
52 E. Forest Ave., Detroit; 313-831-8700; nnamdicenter.org
Led by George N’Namdi, this nonprofit organization boasts four exhibition spaces, including indoor and outdoor areas. It serves a double purpose of preserving the work of master artists as well as giving locals a place to show their works.
Majestic Theatre Complex
4140 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-9700; majesticdetroit.com
Lady Gaga likes to hang out at Garden Bowl when she’s in town and locals have spotted Conor Oberst having a drink in the Majestic Café. This place is packed with history, plus it’s a destination for local and national music.
Wayne State University
You don’t have to take classes to stroll through this school’s busy campus and enjoy the beauty of buildings like Old Main, the Mackenzie House, or the Hilberry Theatre. Check out one of the libraries or hang out in the mall.
4160 Cass Ave., Detroit; 313-818-0084; treatdreams.com
An ice cream shop that got its start in Ferndale, Treat Dreams is the perfect place to take a load off — and get a special treat — after hauling shopping bags all around Midtown. We recommend a scoop of Kooky Monster.
4160 Woodward Ave., Third Floor, Detroit; 313-444-3680
4240 Cass Ave. #110, Detroit; 313-775-1018
15 E. Kirby St., Detroit; 313-559-5500
Busted Bra Shop
15 E. Kirby St. A, Detroit; 313-288-0449; bustedindetroit.com
441 W. Canfield St. #5, Detroit; 313-638-2831; run-detroit.com
460 W. Canfield St., Detroit; 313-831-9146; citybirddetroit.com
441 W. Canfield St., Detroit; 313-285-2390; shinola.com
3611 Cass Ave., Detroit; 313-833-0813; thehubofdetroit.org
404 W. Willis St., Detroit; 313-831-4901; flowingflava.com