Neighborhood Spotlight: Detroit’s Canal District

By: Aaron B. Cohen | July 16, 2021

Photo credit: Coriander Kitchen & Farm.

Metro Detroiters need not travel far to experience the beauty of a maritime lifestyle. Detroit’s Canal District, often referred to as the “Venice of Detroit,” occupies a unique and culturally rich space within the city’s urban landscape. From farm-to-table cuisine to Purple Gang history, this often-overlooked sector is now at the forefront of local interest. In this week’s neighborhood spotlight, we’re taking a closer look at life along the Detroit River.

Riverside Kayak Connection

If you want to get the full experience, you’re going to need a boat. Riverside Kayak Connection offers paddle tours that allow for an up-close and personal view of the canals, along with an inspiring view of the Detroit skyline. You’ll learn the incredible history of the communities that embrace the aqueous lifestyle and see the beauty of Detroit’s urban nature first-hand. Even lifelong Detroiters will be shocked to discover what they’ve been missing right in their own city. 

Coriander Kitchen & Farm

The newest addition to Detroit’s Canal District features fresh, farm-to-table cuisine in a laid-back, patio-centric setting. Coriander Kitchen & Farm highlights thoughtfully sourced takes on pub classics and delicious craft cocktails. Much of the food is grown on-site, so expect seasonal vegetables to be at the forefront of your dining experience. And for dessert? Try roasting marshmallows over one of their outdoor firepits. It’s the perfect way to spend a summer evening in Detroit.

Bayview Yacht Club

Many dream of life at sea, but few know where to acquire the skills to set sail. The Bayview Yacht Club boasts world-renowned yacht racing and sailor development programs so that locals can become proficient on the water. Youth programs offer the opportunity for children to start young and develop a lifelong passion for boating. The club also features upscale dining and a spectacular bar, so you can spend the entire day out on the river.

Klenk Island

Most Metro Detroiters are aware of Belle Isle’s appeal, but few are aware of the additional islands also within the city limits of Detroit. Klenk Island is a residential neighborhood accessible by water and a single bridge. You’ll find abandoned homes and broken docks alongside quaint, well-kept houses equipped with boats and jet skis. Locals take immense pride in a lifestyle that differs drastically from the common mainland experience. Spend your day exploring the neighborhood by kayak and try your luck at reeling in your dinner.

Fisher Mansion

Located along the Grayhaven Canal, the Fisher Mansion was constructed in 1928 by Lawrence Fisher – one of seven brothers who shaped Detroit as we know it today. It was designed by C. Howard Crane, another name locals recognize as the architect behind the legendary Fox Theatre. The 22,000 square-foot mansion features a combination of Italian Renaissance and Spanish aesthetic, including gold and silver-clad marble columns, black walnut paneling and hand-painted leather walls. In 1975, the estate was donated to the Bhaktivedanta Cultural Center of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. It is open to the public and is now home to a vegetarian catering company, Govinda’s Catering.