Motor City has a lot to offer, from food to music and culture. But beyond the Detroit metro, there’s plenty of amazing places to explore. These four destinations, all located a short drive away from Detroit, will transport you to another world while remaining close enough to return home by sundown.
Explore Detroit’s Irish heritage without even leaving the Detroit metro area! Corktown, the historic district situated just went of downtown, is the city’s oldest neighborhood. Its name can be traced back to the County Cork in Ireland, the area from which many of its early Irish inhabitants immigrated.
More recently, Corktown has acquired a reputation for its exceptional food scene. From Mudgie’s Deli, a neighborhood sandwich staple, to Batch Brewing Co., which boasts unique pub food and beer brewed on-site, Corktown has plenty of spots to fill a day — or more — of exploring.
This charming Michigan town is known as “Michigan’s Little Bavaria.” Located just an hour and a half from Detroit, Frankenmuth has the full package: Bavarian architecture, authentic German food, and a rotating lineup of German festivals. Its commercial district is lined with timber-framed buildings that echo the architecture of the Franconia region of Germany, making for an authentic-feeling European escape.
After working up an appetite exploring Main Street, stop into the Bavarian Inn Restaurant or Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth, the city’s two most famous Bavarian-themed eateries, which serve up everything from rolled pretzels to world-famous chicken dinners. Before you go, make sure to check out Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland, the world’s largest year-round Christmas store.
(No, not that Holland.) Located just two and a half hours from Detroit, Holland, Michigan is a picturesque city on the banks of Lake Macatawa. Holland’s Dutch influence extends beyond the name: there’s Dutch-inspired architecture, windmills, and a tulip festival. Big Red Lighthouse, the beloved landmark that launched a thousand Instagram posts, is a treasured part of Holland’s Dutch heritage. Similarly, Holland’s Windmill Island Gardens are home to DeZwaan, the only authentic Dutch windmill that currently operates in the United States. You can ever purchase the flour that this treasured artifact produces in the gift shop!
Beyond its heritage structures, Holland has plenty to offer visitors looking to escape to Europe on a budget. Nelis’ Dutch Village, a charming vintage village chock full of modern entertainment options, is a perfect option for a family day trip with a Dutch twist.
Though Hell, Michigan doesn’t share quite the same European charm as the other entries on this list, it’s a fascinating study in what makes for a great tourist attraction. Hell leans into the absurdity, proudly proclaiming on its website that “More people tell you to go to our town than anywhere else on Earth.” The unincorporated community of Hell made waves back in 2019 when internet star Elijah Daniel “bought” Hell and renamed it Gay Hell in protest of the Trump administration. Even before, 2019, however, Hell was known for its offbeat name. Urban legend claims that George Reeves, who helped to settle the land that became Hell, was consulted on the name and said, “I don’t care. You can name it Hell for all I care.”
Believe it or not, there’s also plenty to do in Hell: From a Paris-style Lock Bridge to plenty of devilish landmarks like the Hell Hole Bar, Hell Saloon, and Screams, you’ll find plenty of photo opportunities to commemorate your trip.