Blog: Kerry Doman

Kerry Dolman is on a mission to break the "no jobs-no young people-nothing to do" myth of Detroit into tiny little pieces. As the Founder and CEO of After 5 Detroit, she'll be blogging about her efforts to change the doom and gloom narrative, bring together the region's top graduates and interns, and her involvement with The Collaborative Group. Don't be shy, read on...

Post 3: The Honey Do-List for Downtown

Comparing Detroit to Chicago is not comparing apples to apples, and it never will be.  We are who we are and we like who we are. 

Of course we all want a more bustling city center, a prosperous economy, and a strong job market, but I will argue with anyone who says that we don't  have the resources, activities and culture to make up a great lifestyle.

I live downtown…So the number one question is: Where do you shop for groceries? 

Do you know that within a mile of my condo, I grocery shop where the suburban grocery stores shop?  Every Saturday morning I take my coffee and my oversized reusable bag to Eastern Market and join the nearly 40,000 visitors to get the best local product and prices.  To some, grocery shopping is a tedious task, but Eastern Market makes it more of an experience – especially when you tack on brunch at Russell Street Deli or karaoke at Bert's after your shopping.

Second question: Who else lives downtown?

Meet your neighbor, Sean Mann.  This past spring he started the Detroit City Futbol League in an effort to bring together the Detroit community, showcase the distinct neighborhoods within the city, and connect the people who live there.  With over 150 people participating on 11 teams every Monday night at Belle Isle, it's a pretty good start to meeting your city-wide neighbors.

Meet your other neighbor, Antonio "Shades" Agee.  If you have not already read about him, you soon will, as he continuously leaves his mark on this city…literally.  Graffiti artist is his profession and he's certainly making a name for himself, having just wrapped up 22 pieces within Quicken Loans' new downtown office. He is currently working on a mural on the side of Ann Arbor's Grizzly Peak Brewing Company.

Meet Liz Blondy, owner of the doggy day care, Canine to Five.  And Claire Nelson, owner of the chic home goods store in Midtown, Bureau of Urban Living.  And Andy and Emily Linn, the brother – sister duo that started and run the Midtown shop, City Bird.  And Julie Kouloumberis, who lives in New Center and oversees the new New Center Park that now houses weekly bands, performances, and activities.  And David Fike, the president of Detroit's own Marygrove College.  And Austin Black, who just started his own downtown real estate brokerage.  They're all here and they're all your neighbors!

And just food for thought – with newly developed condos and townhouses ranging as low as $20k – $80k, why would you not consider living downtown? 

Third question: What is there to do?

Ok, first off – go to After 5 for a current list of events!  This is a major market for concerts and festivals and events.  We have the Tigers, the Lions, the Red Wings. We have bars and restaurants and museums and music and parks and there is always something going on. Did you know that there is a driving range on Belle Isle? And free concerts at Campus Martius on the Fourth Fridays of the month? Have you ever been to a movie at the Detroit Film Theatre inside the DIA? Have you ever taken a class at CCS? Hung out at the Elwood Grill before a Tigers game? Run in the Free Press Marathon?  Kayaked the Detroit River?  Had brunch at Le Petit Zinc?  Feather bowled at Cadieux Café?

But also keep your ear to the ground, because the most grassroots of events can provide some of the best experiences.  It wasn't until last month that I finally got the details for the Critical Mass Bike Ride before the event happened, and in time to actually participate.  It was by far one of my top 10 favorite experiences in Detroit.  Every major city does this ride on the last Friday of the month and with over 200 people taking over the streets of Detroit at last month's ride, the movement is certainly building steam here as well.

So, we may not have blocks full of bars and restaurants lined up one after the other as they do in Chicago, but if you're willing to look and sometimes be a little adventurous, Detroit will provide you with some amazing experiences that you'd never expect.