Art & Entertainment, Life in Detroit

Feet on the Street Tours Show Detroiters and Visitors the Beauty of the City

The first year we moved to Michigan, Eastern Market was the second Detroit place we visited (Greektown was the first). Our introduction to Eastern Market was in December 2015 during a city tour. I registered Travis and me to take a tour of the market with Feet on the Street Tours.

After spending three months exploring some of the metro area, I had wanted to see more of the city of Detroit. The problem was I felt a little scared to venture out into Detroit. Before moving to Michigan, many people had told us bad things about the city. Although I know their intentions were sincere, it really frightened me because I was new to the area.

Before I continue, I want to clarify something about these “bad stories” that were shared with us. What I’m referring to is there were more “horror stories”, if you will, and not many positive stories about Detroit.

I am very aware that big cities have crime and various issues. My concern was more of there were not stories shared about the beautiful culture of Detroit and how the city was working hard on rebuilding itself. I think the uplifting stories and understanding the “rebirth of Detroit” are equally as important as knowing the downsides of the city.

My first visit to Eastern Market in December 2015. 
Eastern Market 2015 (Photo credit: Jennifer Hamra)
Eastern Market 2015 (Photo credit: Jennifer Hamra)

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Don’t Be Scared of Detroit– Or Maybe Just a Little?

We moved to Michigan in April of 2015. (We currently live about 25 minutes from the Detroit city limits.) My hometown of Clarksville, Tennessee is a small city (to a Detroiter, Clarksville may look like a town) that is known for some agriculture, a state university, and the second largest Army base in the U.S.

At the time, the only thing I knew about Detroit was cars were manufactured here and Eminem is from Detroit. (LOL!) That’s it! So imagine being from a small city and not knowing anything about Detroit– good or bad. You tell your family and friends you’re going to relocate to Detroit, Michigan after your husband’s Army contract ends.

Next thing you know, people are telling you all of these bad things about Detroit. How the crime rate is extremely high and it’s not safe to be in the city. From carjackings to gun violence and drug wars, I heard quite a few frightening stories about Detroit BEFORE we moved to Michigan! 

Since I had never been to Detroit or the state of Michigan, I honestly didn’t know what to expect when we moved. Everything people were saying to us about Detroit made me very nervous. Not to mention, I was 8 months pregnant at the time of our big move! (That’s another story for a different post! Let’s just say we finally found a place to live TWO WEEKS before I gave birth to Zechariah!)

Saks Fifth Avenue
2014: Travis served 8.5 years in the Army before we moved to Michigan. We were a Family of five, and since living in Michigan we have added two more children to our bunch!
2015: I was 8 months pregnant with Zechariah (our 4th baby) when we moved to Michigan!

Exploring Detroit and the Metro Area

But once I started exploring the metro area and attending city events, I decided I wanted to see for myself what Detroit looked like. Is it really as bad as everyone made it seem?

DECEMBER 2015— I did a quick search on Google to look up any tourist attractions in Detroit. I came across Eastern Market and stumbled upon a holiday tour of the market– Feet on the Street. I liked what I read about the description of the tour and decided to give it a try. Plus, I knew we’d get to see some of the new murals in Eastern Market and I was absolutely amazed by the mural art. Back home, we didn’t have mural art in Detroit. This was my chance to see it up close!

Long story short, Travis and I took Zhen and Zechariah with us on the tour. Zhen was three at the time and Zechariah was just a baby so Zephaniah, our fifth baby, wasn’t even born yet!

2015: Zhen and Travis at the Feet on the Street Tour. (Photo credit: Jennifer Hamra)
2015: Touring Germack Pistachio Co! The Feet on the Street Tours still take guests to visit Germack. (Photo credit: Jennifer Hamra)
Germack’s sign on the day we visited in December 2015! (Photo credit: Jennifer Hamra)

FUN FACT: I buy my coffee and fresh lavender from Germack. I use a French Press to make my lavender coffee. SO GOOD! 


Ann Taylor Factory

Our 2015 Feet on the Street Experience

We almost didn’t make it in time for the tour. Travis and I were running behind because I had to feed the baby before we left for Detroit. I was so worried we wouldn’t get to make it in time so I called Linda Yellin, the founder of Feet on the Street, to let her know we had purchased our tickets online and were running late.

Linda was very kind and understanding and told me it was no problem at all. We could still join the group and catch up with them. She said to just call her once we made it to Eastern Market so she could to direct us to where to meet the group. Whew! I was so relieved!

I’m so glad we didn’t miss the tour. YOU GUYS! THIS TOUR CHANGED EVERYTHING FOR ME! We never knew the rich culture and history of Detroit. Going on the Feet on the Street Tour showed us a beautiful side of the city.

After the tour was over, our tour guide Peter Croce (who is now a deejay, musician, and producer!) chatted with us a little bit about Detroit and the history of the city. It was so helpful for us and it helped change our initial impression of Detroit.

2015: Motown Mural at Bert’s in Eastern Market (Photo credit: Jennifer Hamra)
2015: Travis, the kids, and I with Linda and Peter

CHECK OUT PETER CROCE’S OFFICIAL WEBSITE HERE FOR MORE INFO ABOUT HIS MUSIC!


Feet on the Street 2015 was a magical experience during the holiday season!

Our tour of Eastern Market in December of 2015 felt magical to me because (1) it was the holidays and (2) the market was so beautiful and lively. It was very festive during that time. People were also really cool…smiling, laughing, and just enjoying their time in the city. Again, nothing like the bad things we had heard about Detroit.

The day of our tour, we saw many vendors out selling goods for the holidays. We even ran into a singing quartet who were singing Christmas carols! After the tour, I remember feeling even more inspired to explore more of Detroit and learn about the city.

2015: Here’s a photo of some of the people who went on the tour that day. We ran into a singing quartet at the Gratiot Central Meat Market!
2015: Linda with the singing Quartet at Gratiot Central Meat Market. (Photo Credit: Jennifer Hamra)
2015: The singing quartet  (Photo credit: Jennfier Hamra)

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The Places We Visited on the 2015 Tour

During the tour, Linda and Peter took our group to visit Shed 2 of Eastern Market and a few stores in the area.

Bert’s Market Place Jazz

DeVries & Co 1887

Germack Pistachio Co.

Gratiot Central Meat Market

Inner State Gallery

Rocky’s 

Supino’s Pizzeria

FUN FACT: My nephew’s photograph is on Supino’s Pizzeria Facebook cover! You can see it here (if it’s still up)!

2015: We toured the DeVries & Co 1887 store. (Photo credit: Jennifer Hamra)
2015: Supino Pizzeria (Photo credit: Jennifer Hamra)
2015: Inner State Gallery (Photo credit: Jennifer Hamra)
2015: Little Zhen at Inner State Gallery during our Feet on the Street Tour. (Photo credit: Jennifer Hamra)

10 Reasons Why You Should Book a Feet on the Street Tour TODAY!

NOTE: I was not paid to write this feature. Enjoy the D hosted Good Life Detroit in August 2018 for a tour experience. In December 2015, my family and I paid for our tour.

1.FIRST, THE TOURS BOOK FAST!

If you want to take a tour for the Thanksgiving and holiday season, then book your reservation TODAY! My favorite time to take the tour was during the holidays. Eastern Market is very festive and it really puts you in the holiday spirit. If you’re a local, taking your family and friends on the tour is a great way to show them some of Eastern Market!

2. FEET ON THE STREET IS A GREAT INTRODUCTION TO EASTERN MARKET.

If you’re new to Detroit or you’ve never visited Eastern Market, then Feet on the Street is a perfect opportunity for you to learn all about the historic market. Linda and her team not only take you to a few shops, but they also share great stories about Eastern Market and each location you visit.

3. UM…SUPINO’S PIZZA FOR BREAKFAST! CAN’T GET ANY BETTER THAN THAT. 🙂

Or lunch…it varies according to what’s scheduled for your tour. On our first tour, we had pizza for lunch. On the second tour in 2018, we had pizza for breakfast! YUM!

2018: Guests enjoyed pizza for breakfast at Supino’s Pizzeria on the Feet on the Street Tour. (Photo credit: Jennifer Hamra)
2018: We had pizza and fresh strawberries before we started our walking tour of Eastern Market. (Photo credit: Jennifer Hamra)
2018: Our second stop on the tour was eating breakfast at Supino’s Pizzeria. (Photo credit: Jennifer Hamra)

4. LEARN ENRICHING HISTORY ABOUT
BERT’S JAZZ CLUB AND A LITTLE HISTORY ABOUT MOTOWN.

Visiting Bert’s was a real treat. First, I didn’t realize the inside of Bert’s was so big! There’s a restaurant, bar, and jazz lounge, and in the back a dance hall complete with a stage for live performances! Second, Bert’s Motown Bistro is just beautiful! I love the Motown theme of the lounge. OH! And there’s a BBQ pit outside. The food smells and tastes SO good!

5. GET A GLIMPSE OF THE SIZE OF EASTERN MARKET.

I didn’t realize the Eastern Market District was so big. I thought it was just the sheds, but I learned on the Feet on the Street Tour that Eastern Market actually goes beyond the sheds. Altogether there are over 60 different businesses, restaurants, and shops in Eastern Market. You can access the district directory here.

2018: On our way into Bert’s, we passed by the BBQ pit. The cook was kind enough to talk to Travis and I about his work at Bert’s. (Photo credit: Jennifer Hamra)
2018: The Grill Master hard at work! (Photo credit: Jennifer Hamra)
2018: Delicious BBQ Chicken from Bert’s! (Photo credit: Jennifer Hamra)
2018: I love the Motown Lounge at Bert’s! They have these big, private booths that are decorated with various Motown artists and also mini, flat screen TVs. (Photo credit: Jennifer Hamra)
2018: One of the booths at Bert’s Motown Bistro (Photo credit: Jennifer Hamra)

6. SHOPPING EXPERIENCES.

Who doesn’t like shopping, right? Visiting some of the local stores like Rocky’s and Germack Pistachio Co. is also a perfect opportunity to grab a few goodies before you leave. Germack’s, for instance, gives group members a small discount when you make a purchase at their store. If you go on the tour during the holidays, it’s a great way to buy a few souvenirs for family and friends!

7. A CHANCE TO CONNECT WITH BUSINESS OWNERS IN EASTERN MARKET. 

The Feet on the Street Tour gives you an opportunity to meet a few of the business owners and learn more about their business. For instance, when we went to the tour in 2015, Dave Mancini– the owner of Supino’s Pizzeria– was available and introduced himself to our group. We learned about his family’s history in Italy and how he came to open the pizzeria in Eastern Market.

2015: Our visit to Supino’s Pizzeria was a lot of fun and the pizza was delicious!
2018: As we headed into Shed 2 for Feet on the Street Tour, Travis and I stopped to look at the beautiful fall flowers and buy fresh produce. (Photo credit: Jennifer Hamra)
2018: Travis looking over the succulents and other plants at Eastern Market. (Photo credit: Jennifer Hamra)

8. LINDA IS SO FUNNY!

Seriously. She had us crackin’ up so many times. And I don’t know about you guys, but I love to laugh. So if a host is funny, then it makes my experience with them very enjoyable.

Linda is very friendly and fun to be around. She is also very knowledgeable about Detroit history. I love her passion for Detroit; it is very catching and inspiring. She is also engaging and welcoming. Linda loves to include the group members. We never felt left out or like we were just following a group of people around. It truly felt like we were hanging out with friends.

9. WONDERFUL PHOTO OPPORTUNITIES OF THE MARKET.

If you love photography as much as I do, then I think you will really love the Feet on the Street Tour. On our first tour experience, I took a lot of photographs of the places we visited and the sights we saw during our walk through the market.

I especially recommend you take photos of any murals you see or other happenings during the tour. You never know what exciting thing you will see (street performers) or if a mural will still be up after your tour. For instance, the photo below is a photograph I took on the 2015 tour of fel3000ft’s mural. It has since been replaced with a new mural he painted.

2015: mural by Detroit artist fel3000ft
2015: While walking on the tour, we came across a man who was walking his dog. His furry friend was dressed in a Santa outfit for the holidays. It was so cute! (Photo credit: Jennifer Hamra)
2015: Santa Doggy 

10. LAST, BUT DEFINITELY NOT LEAST, YOU GAIN A GREATER APPRECIATION FOR THE CITY OF DETROIT.

I am thankful Travis and I discovered Feet on the Street Tours in December 2015. There are so many wonderful things about Detroit, and going on the tour gave us a glimpse of the beauty of Detroit. The tour also gave us an opportunity to learn a little history about Detroit and one of its top attractions in the city– Eastern Market.

Since our tour experience, Eastern Market has now become a place where we regularly shop for groceries and other goods. We also enjoy attending community events and eating at some of the restaurants in the district.

So if you’re wanting to learn more about Eastern Market and explore all it has to offer, then you should make a reservation with Feet on the Street Tours. Remember– their time slots go really fast so hurry and schedule your Fall or holiday tour before they sell out!

For more information about Feet on the Street Tours, visit their official website here

Phone: (313) 393-2055     Email: info@enjoythed.com

Special thanks to Linda and Becky for inviting Good Life Detroit to the August 2018 Feet on the Street Tour!

All photographs are credited to Jennifer Hamra for Good Life Detroit.

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