Restaurants, Shopping & Art in Downtown Birmingham

By: Amber Ogden | May 20, 2015

Southeast Michigan’s downtown areas are always bursting with restaurants, shopping and activities. We’re continuing our “Downtown Series” today with downtown Birmingham! Whether you’ve never been to the area before or you frequent it quite often, take a look at some highlights and get ready to spend a fun afternoon in downtown Birmingham.

Located along Woodward Avenue, Birmingham boasts over 20,000 residents, and the downtown area houses nearly 300 different shops. That’s plenty of eating, drinking and shopping to be had! Here are a few things to keep in mind while planning your afternoon:

Upcoming events

This week, Birmingham celebrates Fitness Week through Friday, May 22 with specials at various fitness retailers. Orange Theory Fitness, HIT Ultimate Fitness and The Barre Code are all offering deals, including one free class per person.

The 52nd Annual Birmingham Village Fair begins next week on Thursday, May 28 and runs through Sunday, May 31. The fair, which takes place on the streets of Shain Park, includes entertainment, rides, games and food.

The Birmingham Farmers Market, which opened for the season at the beginning of May, is open every Sunday through October from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. You’ll find everything from produce to prepared foods to hand crafted goods at the 70 plus booths. Live music sets the tone for your shopping experience, and a “Kids Zone” allows your children to be entertained by arts and crafts during market days.

Food and drink

Hunter House Hamburgers, 35075 Woodward Ave., is a staple in the area, and home to arguably one of Metro D’s best sliders. Hamburgers and cheeseburgers are topped with grilled onions, ketchup, mustard and pickles. You can choose to add an extra beef patty, bacon, jalapenos or onion rings to your toppings.

Don’t forget the side of fries (with or without chili and cheese) or onion rings.

The Stand Bistro, 34977 Woodward Ave., is a gastro bistro, which means the menu is full of sophisticated dishes. The dinner menu includes Shrimp Linguini (with lobster sauce, tomato, tarragon, basil and parmesan cheese), Wagyu Sirloin (served with crisp potatoes, chenterelle mushroom and Madeira) and Canadian Wild Salmon (served with pickled broccoli, broccoli sprouts and red pepper coulis).

If you’re there for brunch instead, try Braised Beef Short Rib Hash Skillet, Stuffed French Toast or Ricotta and Orange Blintzes.

Beyond Juice, 270 W. Maple Rd., is known for its one, two or three day juice cleanses, but you can still enjoy the product even if you can’t commit to fasting for that long. Beyond Juice offers juice blends and bottled juice, including premade varieties or ones you can customize on your own.

Try the Caliente (cilantro, celery, kale, spinach, cucumber, cayenne pepper, ginger and lemon) juice blend, or pick up a ready to go Light & Lovely (grapefruit, pineapple, coconut water, orange and ginger). Smoothies are also available, in fresh and fruity flavors like Ultimate Buzz (apple, strawberry, banana, papaya, lime, honey, vanilla and bee pollen) and Mango Tango (mango, pineapple, banana, cream of coconut, vanilla and honey).

If you’re hungry, too, sandwiches and salads are also on the menu. Opt for the Honey Roasted Turkey, California Veggie or Toasted Cheese sandwich.

Mad Hatter Bistro Bar & Tea Room, 185 N. Old Woodward Ave., is a unique establishment that offers lunch, dinner, afternoon tea and brunch. One thing to keep in mind if you’re planning on afternoon tea: reservations are required, during the 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. time slot.

The afternoon tea menu includes The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, a three-tier affair including an assortment of finger sandwiches, fresh scones, homemade pastries and more. Lunch menu items include The Hatter’s Chicken Panini (chicken breast on ciabatta with caramelized onions, roasted peppers, avocado, chipotle aioli and queso fresca) and Mad Queen’s Reuben Sliders (served on mini brioche with fries).

Shopping, art, and more

Woodward & Maple, 266 E. Maple Rd., is a boutique that offers a broad variety of items, including clothing, handbags, home accessories, gift items and collectibles. Keep an eye on the Facebook page for the latest offerings and announcements of new products.

Whether you need a new seasonal bag for yourself, a gift for your girlfriend or anything in between, you’ll find something cute and stylish at Woodward & Maple.

Birmingham Wine at the Market, 588 N. Old Woodward Ave., is a store with not only wine, but also craft beer and ciders. The store offers 100 great wines for under $15, so if you’re on a budget, this is a great place to swing by if you’re in the area.

There are occasionally wine tastings, and if you really like vino, you can sign up for the wine club.

Beach House Day Spa, 34645 Woodward Ave., is a great way to escape if you can’t actually afford a vacation. You can indulge in services including airbrush tanning, a mini facial, sports massage, scalp treatment, manicure, and the list goes on and just gets more relaxing.

Check out the specials online before you book your appointment, and probably plan on ending your day here. You’ll be so relaxed you’ll be ready for a nap afterward!

Robert Kidd Gallery, 107 Townsend St., is a local art gallery that allows for some cultural enrichment. Beginning next Friday, May 29, enjoy the works of Kikuo Saito, which will be on display through the beginning of July.

Later in the summer, new paintings will arrive from artist Stephen Duren mid June, with an artist’s reception on Saturday, June 28. Keep an eye on other upcoming artists and events here.

No matter what you choose to do while you’re in downtown Birmingham, be sure to take in as much as you can! Enjoy your leisurely afternoon, and stay tuned for the next spot in our “Downtown Series.”