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Best Place to See Art
Detroit Institute of Arts
5200 Woodward Ave.; 313-833-7900; dia.org
You haven't been able to actually see much in recent months due to its ambitious renovation and expansion project, but years of visits starting with those school field trips for many of you have taught reverence for an art collection ranked among the top five in the nation. Amid high expectations and anticipation, the museum reopens to the public at 10 a.m., Friday, Nov. 23, with a 32-hour gala that runs until 6 p.m. the next day.
Best Gallery Showcasing New Artists
CPOP Art Gallery
4160 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-9901; www.cpop.com
You can thank CPOP's director Rick Manore for flying in the toy Dunnies craze from the East Coast to Detroit or at least bringing it to the attention of the metro area's uninitiated. But maybe the best proof of this gallery's dedication to showing new artists is It's Humble to Be Good, a recent juried exhibit featuring work by up-and-comers who grabbed an unheard-of 90 percent of the proceeds if their art sold at the show.
Best Place to See a Mainstream Film
250 N. Old Woodward Avenue, Birmingham; 248-644-FILM
Among its many amenities, the Uptown Palladium 12 in Birmingham features the latest in state-of-the-art projection, Dolby Digital sound systems and exclusive high-back seats with custom Tempur-Pedic cushions. Now that's movie-watchin' in style.
Best Place to See Live Theatre
TIE: Fisher Theatre
3011 W. Grand Blvd., Detroit; 313-872-1000
2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-396-7901
Early memories of seeing the Canadian children's television star Mr. Dressup or the wondrous French mime Marcel Marceau are the kind that last a lifetime. These two theaters continue on with that tradition, continually bringing in live shows in for adults who are kids at heart and their young ones.
Best Place to See Local Theater
Purple Rose Theatre
137 Park St., Chelsea; 734-433-7673
Zillions of Midwest wannabe actors dream of making it in Tinsel Town. Having made it there, Michigan native Jeff Daniels dreamed of setting up a theater company back home, which he did in 1991, and which flourishes today. It's both a nonprofit haven and a showcase for Michigan talent with an emphasis on new works, such as The Poetry of Pizza, the current offering. The name comes from The Purple Rose of Cairo, a Woody Allen film Daniels starred in.
Best Place to See an Independent Film
Main Art Theatre
118 N. Main St., Royal Oak; 248-263-2111
Snuggled in amid Royal Oak's busy main drag, this classic movie house from the 1940s now carved into a three-screen space caters to some uptown tastes, showing films you're not likely to find at any multiplex. This week it's home to the Reel Pride GLBT Film Festival.
Best Place to Hear Poetry
Java Exchange Cafe
440 Burroughs St., Detroit; 313-822-6456; www.javaexchangecafe.com
Poets of this age are on to something. Instead of spewing thoughts about nature and "The Man" in parks and on street corners, they are taking it where people actually listen to them. Brimming over with other artsy types, Java Exchange is the place to go for poetry. Every Friday from 8:30 to 11:30 p.m. you can check out "Echo Verse" (a rotating group of local poets) and have a latte-sipping, finger-snapping good time.
Best Hangout for Gamers
1214 S. University Ave., Ann Arbor; 734-213-2502
The proud staffers tell us that the gamer magazine Tips & Tricks recently ranked this emporium as No. 5 on its list of the top arcades in the country. The basement hangout boasts about 250 games, from pool and pinball, up through "old school" arcade games like Donkey Kong and Frogger to the latest stuff.
Best Belle Isle Attraction
In 1910, gambler and rascal Jim Scott shocked Detroit's city fathers by leaving them his fortune and demanding this fountain be built as his legacy. Now it's a sure bet for respectable wedding party photos.
Best Public Golf Course
10100 W. 10 Mile Rd., Huntington Woods; 248-543-4040
Great course, messy politics. Located in Huntington Woods, owned by the city of Detroit, which wants to sell it. Until a sand trap of a lawsuit between the two cities is finally over, everyone's just puttin' around.
Best Miniature Golf
8520 Ford Rd., Westland; 734-728-7222
With two golf courses featuring waterfalls and a pirate ship, Sport-Way is a great way to get out and have some outdoor fun before you're stuck indoors playing Scrabble all winter.
Best Suburban Park
Best Frisbee Golf Course
Best Sledding Hill
2240 W. Buno Rd., Milford; 800-477-3178
Nearly 4,500 acres, with hilly, wooded terrain surrounding lovely Kent Lake. Plus an 18-hole golf course, beaches, boat rentals, picnic areas, a nature center and a farm learning center. As if all that weren't enough, our friends who are into "disc golf" (those in the know, apparently, don't call it Frisbee golf) say Kensington's course is the most challenging around and the great scenery only enhances it. Also some great areas to sled (for that, though, we hear it's best to wait until winter). No wonder more than 2.5 million people visited the place last year.
Best Hiking Trail
TIE: Kensington Metropark
2240 W. Buno Rd., Milford; 248-685-1561, 1-800-477-3178
Stony Creek Metropark
400 Main Park Rd., Shelby Township; 586-781-4242, 1-800-477-7756
Kensington offers more than eight miles of trails varying in length and taking you through various habitats that include woodlands, wetland, abandoned fields and a tamarack bog. All that and a heron rookery at Wildwing Lake. Stony Creek has six miles of trails crossing the park's nature center area, 14 miles of trails used by both hikers and mountain bikers, and a five-mile paved loop around Stony Creek Lake. The only bad thing is having to choose between these two gems.
Best Dog Park
Canine to Five
3443 Cass Ave., Detroit; 313-831-DOGS; detroitdogdaycare.com
Dogs are the new kids. Here's how to treat your canine to the equivalent of summer camp, with Canine to Five offering dog daycare, boarding, and grooming. Oh yeah, there's also the reason it won this category: Cost to use the actual dog park is $5 per dog, per session.
Best Place to Fish
Our readers speak the truth: The fishing can be terrific. It's just eating the catch that you have to be wary of.
Best Place to Canoe or Kayak
Not a gill, not yet a wadi, the Huron is developing right before our eyes. Go catch her before she's an ice-cold ditch.
Best Fitness Course
Stony Creek Metropark
4300 Main Park Rd., Shelby Township; 586-781-4242, 1-800-477-7756
Three trails of different lengths with 20 exercise stations located in a beautiful setting and, best of all, near Eastwood Beach, so you can take a nice cool dip after getting all hot and sweaty.
Best Public Bathroom
Northern Lights Lounge
660 W. Baltimore St., Detroit; 313-873-1739
How nice is the ladies' room at this hip New Center bar? It's so nice that the girls ask the guys to take a peek!
Best Bathroom Graffiti
309 S. Center St., Royal Oak; 248-545-2235
Picture this: You step into the men's bathroom and see a caricature of a man pointing down at your genitals saying, "My girlfriend's clit is bigger than your penis." Or perhaps you step into the women's facilities and see the condom dispenser. Written on it you read, "This gum tastes like shit!" These are just a couple mild examples of why our readers chose Gusoline Alley for this category.
Best Skate Park
We were thinking skateboarding when we put this category out to our readers, but you all apparently had cooler things in mind as in the ice skating that goes on at the rink the city now sets up here every winter.
Best Indoor Rock Climbing
Planet Rock Climbing Gym
34 Rapid St., Pontiac; 248-334-3904
82 Aprill Dr., Ann Arbor; 734-827-2680
Looking to get out of the "dinner and a movie" rut? Or maybe the kids found the stash of Halloween candy and need to burn off all that energy. Either way Planet Rock is the place for adventures for both kids and adults alike. A "starter pack" with equipment rental and instruction goes for $39.
Best Beach for Swimming
Best Beach for People Watching
Metro Beach Metropark
31300 Metropolitan Pkwy., Harrison Twp.; 586-463-4581, 800-477-3172
The sandy beach is always nice, but in years past there was sometimes a problem with the water being contaminated with nasty bacteria after heavy rains. That didn't happen this year (hoo-ray!). As for the people watching, we think it would be hard to find a more diverse gathering of people having a good time in the entire metro region. A ogle-worthy scene.
Best Place for a Picnic
With a view of two countries, a pair of skylines, and the mighty Detroit River flowing serenely past, there's no nicer spot to spread out a blanket, uncork a bottle, open up the food basket and laze away the day.
Best Place for a First Date
Detroit Institute of Arts
5200 Woodward Ave; 313-833-7900; www.dia.org
We prefer somewhere darker where more alcohol is served, but finding smart things to say about art you may not understand could work too.
Best Place to Pop the Question
The nice thing about this is, should the love of your live turn down your proposal of holy matrimony, you can conveniently eliminate the pain of that shattered heart by following Leadbelly's sometimes great notion of jumping in the river and drowning.
Best Place For an Outdoor Wedding
A view of two countries, a pair of lovely skylines, the mighty Detroit River flowing serenely past, a burbling Scott Fountain ... oh, wait, you already know all that. So just go ahead and get hitched already.
Best Place for an Indoor Wedding
Detroit Athletic Club
241 Madison Ave.; 313-963-9200; www.thedac.com
Elegant, impressive and traditional, the DAC is a classic club. But haven't our readers ever been to the Butterfly House at the Detroit Zoo?
Best Place to Break Up
Over the phone
In this hectic, Bluetooth-wearing, no-capital-letters, get-it-done yesterday world, you don't have to meet face-to-face when it's dumping time. But at least have the decency to do it over the phone. Texting a breakup is sooooo 2005.
Best Place to Cruise
Attracting about 1.7 million spectators and thousands of classic muscle cars, the Woodward Dream Cruise has no serious competition. It's the only place to be the third Saturday of August. Unless you're the type who thinks this makes it the best place to avoid that day.
Best Airport Parking
7782 Merriman Rd., Romulus; 1-888-844-PARK
"The fast lane to your plane" is their motto. Cost is $10 a day but only for those who aren't in the know and don't go to the Web site (qwikpark.com) to download a coupon that'll get you a free day and a $1 discount.
Best Bus Stop
Blake Transit Center
331 S. Fourth Ave., Ann Arbor
Secure, comfortable and climate-controlled now that's a bus stop worth bragging about. OK, so its more of a terminal than just a bus stop, but it's the place to go to get anywhere in Ann Arbor.
Best Place for Outdoor Sex
Best Public Place to Discreetly Smoke Weed
Guess these two activities just go naturally hand-in-hand, so to speak. And since Belle Isle seems to be everyone's favorite place for just about everything else, why shouldn't our readers choose it for a little tokin' and pokin'. Just keep out of sight of the kiddies, OK?
Best Way to Beat a Drug Test
Don't do drugs
Sure, that's what they all say.
East Lafayette and McDougall, Detroit; 313-567-345
Designed using the ideas of famed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead (best known for New York's Central Park, and who had a hand in shaping Belle Isle), this 160-year-old plot of land is a sort of country garden-getaway near downtown. Gravestones are festooned with names out of city history, such as Lodge, Buhl, Joy, Canfield and Young (as in Coleman A.). It's too good to leave just for the dead.
Best Place to Adopt a Pet
Michigan Humane Society
We dare you to go in and not come out with a new best friend. In fact we double-dog dare ya. C'mon. Do it, you fraidy cat, you.
Best Reason to go to Eastern Market
Fresh Produce (fruit, veggies)
And while we're on the subject, we'll share our market-going tip. If you want the best selection, go as early as you can. If you want the best prices, go after 4 p.m. If you arrive too late, there'll be nothing to get. If you arrive a hair earlier, you may get something for nearly nothing. (A case of lettuce for $1, for instance.)
Best Farmers' Market Other Than Eastern Market
Ann Arbor Farmer's Market
315 Detroit St., Ann Arbor; 734-761-1078
Of course, there's great locally grown produce, but you'll also find everything from flowers, plants and shrubs to jams, maple syrup and honey, from baked goods, dairy products and homemade wearing apparel to toys, furniture and jewelry. In the historic Kerrytown District. Open Wednesday and Saturday, May through December; Saturday only January to April.
Best Place to Spot a Celebrity
100 Townsend St., Birmingham; 248-642-7900; townsendhotel.com
You won't read this in the Townsend's promotional materials but it's true. Hang out in the lobby and fulfill your e-Bay autograph sales needs.
Best Place to See Ostentatious Bling
Best mall for people watching
2800 W. Big Beaver, Troy; 248-643-6360
Tiffany & Co., Rogers & Hollands, Swarovski, Brighton Collectables ... enough shiny things to make even the most rational consumer want to live outside of his means. And you can catch a gander of them all as you kick back with a coffee or soda and observe the gaieties of capitalism, and the joyous or glassy-eyed consumption of ridiculously good-looking people.
Best Casino for People Watching
555 E. Lafayette Blvd., Detroit; 313-223-2999
When we look out our window and across the street, we see the busloads of old folks rolling in every day, ready to drop inheritances into the nickel slots. But that's just us.
Best Local TV Newscast
Not too perky in the morning, not too sensationalized in the evening. And a lot of Detroit news. Plus, a really good Web site.
Best Hot Newscaster
Not just the best hot newscaster, the senior anchor at Channel 4 is one of the best, period.
Best Local TV Show Other Than a Newscast
When you're looking for interesting talking heads focusing on local issues, tune your set to Channel 4 at 10 a.m. Sundays and watch host Devin Scillian and his guests get it done.
Best Local Radio Music Show
Mojo in the Morning
Thing is, it's not the music that makes this show a favorite. It's the funny stuff, like their phone scams. And here's a clue for the clueless: If someone calls in the morning offering to help you send free roses to a special someone, hang up. Fast.
Best Local Radio Talk Show
Best Local Radio Personality
Drew & Mike
Talking is what they do, but making fun is what they do best. From 6 to 10 a.m. every weekday, Drew & Mike have been on the job day in and day out for years now and their social commentary shtick never gets old, which makes them the best talk radio in the city.
Best Local Radio News
Traffic and weather together every 10 minutes on the 8s ... WWJ delivers serious local and world news for people on the go. Although their commercials and continuous repetition of unchanged information can be maddening for those not on the go, WWJ still provides the most reliable traffic, weather, and local news updates 24/7.
Best Local Character/Public Personality
The late "Shakey" Jake Woods
Surely one of the few passings to inspire a second-line parade this far north, Shakey Jake's death on Sept. 16 brought a flood of reminiscence. The vagabond minstrel who wore a three-piece suit left the world holding the title of AA's most loved and most colorful character. Life around town's a lot less fun without him.
Best Local Shameless Powerbroker
Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, Detroit
At 6 feet, 4 inches and tipping the scales at 300 pounds (or more), you know the power is there. And if he keeps getting the city into losing lawsuits, we're gonna keep getting broke-er.
Best Local Do-Gooder
Last year it was the Super Bowl that Racin' Roger helped Detroit pull off without a hitch. This year he organized the return of the Grand Prix racing to Belle Isle. Mr. Penske's truly on a roll, and we're all cheering for him.
Best Unsung Hero
That's right. And we here at MT would like to take a moment to salute folks like Norma B. Conway (Beaubien Junior High), Don O'Hagan (Dearborn High School), Dora Apel (Wayne State University) and Susan Fino (again WSU), who, over the years, have helped make us the people we are.
Best Local Man to Fantasize About
We weren't exactly sure what this category meant. Best local person to fantasize about in the sense of having on your fantasy hockey team? Or the naughtier, not-to-be-tried kinda thoughts? Either way, Stevie's the guy...
Best Local Woman to Fantasize About
Four-way tie: Carmen Harlan, Meg White, Fanchon Stinger, Danialle Karmanos
We knew some of our readers were into kink (hey, we check out the personal ads too), we just didn't know how kinky. But if they want to dream about all four of these babes, who are we to deny them. Although, if Meg White's purported sex tape had been around before the voting ended, we suspect she might have come out on top.
Best Aftereffect of the World Series
More revenue, more people downtown
The readers have spoken, and they've said it all. Except for one thing: Do it again next year, guys!
Best Republican for the White House in '08
Rudy Guiliani finished second behind "none of the above," but we gotta like our readers' first choice best.
Best Democrat for the White House '08
A young, charismatic senator able to inspire legions of voters, Obama's like Jack Kennedy when he first ran for president, only with a better tan.
Best Reason to Vote
Time to quit yer bitchin' about how shitty everything is and get out there and do something about changing it.
Best Detroit Mayoral Candidate for '09
Anyone but Kwame Kilpatrick
Dare we dream?
Best Oakland County Executive Candidate for '08
L. Brooks Patterson
Raise your glass in a victory toast to the incumbent-for-life. We're sure Brooksie will be the first to join you.
Best Local Pro Athlete
Best Detroit Tiger
Maggs hit a stellar .363 this year. And if that isn't enough, he has a hell of a hairdo.
Best Detroit Red Wing
Filling Stevie Yzerman's skates isn't an easy task, but Lindstrom seems to be handling the job well after leading the Wings to the '07 Conference Finals. But this year we want the Cup back and we guarantee you'll be everyone's fantasy man next year.
Best Detroit Piston
He inked a contract keeping him here for another five years for a cool $60 million. The thing is, "Mr. Big Shot" is worth every penny if he leads us back to the promised land of an NBA Championship.
Best Detroit Lion
Jon "Miracle" Kitna promised 10 wins for the hapless Lions this season. And that was before his head injury. But the guy's tough, and his teammates believe in him.
Best Detroit Shock
Best Ass on a Local Pro Athlete
Injuries, a less-than-stellar year on the court and an even worse relation with coach Bill Laimbeer brought Swin Cash's final year as a Detroit Shock to a sad end. The low point was a diss in the decisive game of the WNBA Finals against Phoenix when Laimbeer pulled four starters in the final pre-defeat minutes so they could leave to applause and left Cash in the game. Still "tearful" over her Detroit ordeal days later, Cash told The Hartford Courant she was putting her house here on the market and moving to Florida. Obviously, readers had a wholly different opinion from the coach.
Best Sports Moment of 2007 (so far)
Justin Verlander's no-hitter
If Verlander can throw 102 mph fastballs in the ninth inning, then he deserves the first Tigers no-hitter since '84. Thanks, Big V, for giving Tigers fans everywhere something memorable to celebrate.
Best New Trend
The city's future lies, in part, in an equation wherein downtown attractions x (visitors + permanent residents) = a critical mass. That'll be the day downtown, from Foxtown to the river, is routinely vibrant well into the night. Optimists say we're getting there. Pessimists say we'll always be getting there.
Best Trend to Avoid
The folks at ihatecrocs.com have a few ideas about how to battle the scourge.
Best Local Web Site
When you hold a contest where people vote on line and that Web site takes first place in a category dealing with Web sites, is the victory somehow tainted? We don't think so either.
Best Local Pop Culture Blog
Here's SupergayDetroit's self-description of what his blog's all about: "Documenting one upwardly mobile, 30-something man's fight to find the kind of gay life every good homo deserves. In Detroit." Hey, good luck with that.
Best Local Music Blog
What began on a whim a few years back has become a one-stop for local music loyalists and international fans of all things Motor City rock 'n' roll. The site has truckloads of passion and links to worthy Detroit music stories and some heady commentary. Sure, MCR kicks up in fits and starts some bits haven't been updated since summer last year and you get the feeling those behind it are, oh, just a little hung over. But its voice is young and pure. Ain't that rock 'n' roll?
Best Local Political Blog
Former Detroit Police Chief Jerry Oliver is long gone, but the blog he inspired fired cop John Bennett to create lives on under the name Detroit Uncovered, and it is kickass.
Best Michigan Weekend Getaway
The bay is beautiful, the shopping is trip-worthy, the bar scene works. And you might catch a glimpse of former Gov. Bill Milliken who makes the northern Michigan town his home.
Best Ontario Getaway
Flashing neon lights and dancing couples are heavy on the mind when thinking of Toronto. Certainly the city's recent advertising spree is somewhat responsible, but believe, Toronto is more than just a night on the town. Bursting with museums, malls, gourmet restaurants and a spectacular zoo, Toronto has a lot to offer and is only a short drive or train ride away.
Best Local Music Festival
Detroit International Jazz Festival
The granddaddy of Detroit music fests was in precarious shape until it expanded its range of musical offerings (while keeping a strong jazz core) and expanded its downtown footprint (spreading up Woodward into the Campus Martius area while keeping a base in Hart Plaza). Mack Avenue Records and Carhartt Clothing, as benefactors, have been key.
Best Metro Detroit Building
500 Griswold Ave., Detroit
Soaring 40 stories amid a mix of classic and modern skyscrapers, the Guardian Building is pure architectural splendor, from its spectacular lobby to its crown of terra-cotta brick and Pewabic tile. And now a lot of you readers are the new owners, or at those residing in Wayne County, which just bought this palace.
Best Building Renovation
Washington Boulevard and Michigan Avenue, Detroit
Far more often than not, the dream of saving a grand but abandoned Detroit building is just that a dream. Which makes the reality of the Book-Cadillac's renovation with retail and condos to go along with the new hotel rooms all the more cause to celebrate.
Best Wi-Fi Hotspot
Various locations, panerabread.com
Unless your office services bagels, mini soufflés and sandwiches, you may never leave once you log in here.
Best-Looking New Condos
111 Mack Ave., Detroit; 313-309-0099
At the corner of Mack and Woodward in the heart of Midtown. Fifty-five luxury lofts. Sweet.
OK, it's a city, not a neighborhood. But we'll still give it to you, because it really is the place to live in the metro area (at least according to those who live there).
Best Neighborhood Turnaround
TIE: Ferndale and Midtown Detroit
So we've got two reasons to cheer for areas in greater Detroit that are re-surging, despite an economic downturn that has the whole state shaking. Yeah and yeah!
Best Abandoned Building
Best Historical Building to Save
Michigan Central Station
For many, the building is both a symbol of Detroit's proud past and how far it has fallen, but the building at the back of Roosevelt Park in Corktown has been causing winces and tugging at heartstrings since it began falling into decay in the 1980s. Maybe one day it will show up on this list as the Best Building Renovation. We can hope, can't we?
Best Argument for Regional Mass Transit
Price of gasoline
Sure, you say that now, but wait until the temp hits 120 degrees on Christmas Day and you're going to realize that mass transit is also needed to help address global warming (along with helping revive the metro area's economy). In other words, there is no best reason they're all good. Regional mass transit we really need it. Right now!
Ann Arbor Hash Bash
That wasn't really the winning answer, but it was the only one that made us laugh. So light up a fatty and chill about the $500 you have to shell out to fix that busted axle.
Best Fucked-Up Traffic Route
This was certainly true when construction had things shut down on the Lodge for months, but now that the major work has been wrapped up, the new contender for this title is I-94 on the east side, where work to keep deteriorating overpasses from falling on us has traffic crawling in both directions.
Best Local College or University
Wayne State University
All the students, grads and faculty of this illustrious institution of higher learning now on staff at Metro Times were proud of the readers' pick on this one. Even if we long for the "Tartar" mascot of old.
Best Job to Work While You're in College
What's not to like? You get the chance to pick up potential dates at closing time when they're sloshed and you're not. And you still get paid. Gotta love it.
Best Thing to Keep People From Leaving Detroit
And unless the economy revives and good new jobs soon appear, the only other things that will keep people from leaving Detroit are razor-wire fences and armed National Guard troops patrolling Eight Mile Road to keep us in.
Best Movie About Detroit
Eminem takes on the bad guys via freestyle at the Shelter. And you get to see lots of other low-down parts of Detroit too. It speaks to the grit that keeps this city going.
Best Bad Movie to Feature Detroit
What some people consider a bad movie others see as great satire. And sometimes it's hard to tell the difference.
Best Reason to Cross to Windsor
Little Italy/Italian Food
Erie Street East, viaitaliadining.com
With 16 restaurants along five blocks, how will you choose your Chianti and calamari?
Best Thing to do with MT Other Than Read It
Pet poop control
Here's confirmation that we're in the finer bird cages, litter boxes and dog training sites around town. Other notable uses: making hats, starting fires and "leave it on your coffee table to look cool."
Best Place to Pick Up MT
Everywhere and anywhere
Hot spots include Dearborn Music, Street Corner Music and the Cass Cafe.
Best Thing About MT Web site
We've got hundreds of them in our database, searchable by cuisine, price, location, etc.
Best Reason to Read MT
The answer came in various ways concert listings, calendar listings, what to do for the weekend but the point was clear. Other top reasons: Jack Lessenberry, Dan Savage, coverage of music, arts and politics. One of our faves: "Get a taste of the life I no longer lead." Wonder which life that is?
Best Reason Not to Read MT
Including: All the trashy ads, escort ads, personals, sex ads, slutty ads, weird ads and "ads for crap." Other reasons: too liberal, already overwhelmed with info, "when they go on and on about shit you just don't care about," "you're dead" and "if you're a closed-minded idiot." We try to keep an open mind on all of those.