Royal Oak, MI City Guide
Although Royal Oak, MI, isn’t quite as old as some of the states in the Union, its robust history and thriving nightlife take a backseat to none of them. It started out as a village in the very late 1800s, and got its badge as a city in just 1921.
Today, visitors just like you enjoy the eclectic mix of nightlife attractions that this Detroit suburb has to offer, where there are almost 180 sunny days every year. July enjoys clear skies and 80+ degree weather, with January as the coldest month at about 20 degrees minimum. Royal Oak is very much a walking-city – particularly the downtown area, which is full of bars, original restaurants (plenty of fast-food chains as well) and other attractions.
Downtown Royal Oak
For a city of slightly under 70,000 people (about double a large college campus), Royal Oak, MI, certainly has enough to do in the boisterous downtown region. Check out just a smattering of the delicacies frequented by residents and visitors alike:
- Beirut Palace: If you’re in the mood for some exquisite Lebanese cuisine, then Beirut Palace has rotisserie grilled chicken shawarma sandwiches drenched in perfect tahini sauce and hummus. Try the lentil soup as an appetizer to start your night off right.
- Peking House: Smack in the middle of downtown Royal Oak, Peking House is well-known for the wok-prepared, piping hot nature of the food. The vegetarians will love the garlic and eggplant combo, as well as the vegetable spring rolls and simmering string beans. Of course, there are premium dishes for the meat-eaters – such as Mongolian Beef and General Tso’s Chicken.
- The Blue Nile: Authentic Ethiopian food is the draw in this vegetarian restaurant – although there are some meat dishes, too. Many patrons claim that it is better than any meat dish they’ve ever had; the injera bread is fantastic, and the meat is perfectly stewed. Tenderly-seasoned chicken and cinnamon-spiced tea makes for a delectable night-time dish.
Keep in mind that there are more than 70 restaurants from which to choose, spread out through the five-and-a-half blocks of Downtown Royal Oak. And oh – the bars! There are Brewpubs a-plenty in the tourist-friendly region. Lily’s Seafood Grill & Brewery will take care of both dinner and alcohol for you; there’s also Woodward Avenue Brewers, the Rock on 3rd, and many more.
Downtown Royal Oak Cultural Spots
Before eating, it is incumbent on newcomers to Royal Oak to stroll along the miles-long expanse of the downtown metropolis, where you’ll find plenty of
activities to regale the family. Transit is available, of course, but it’s a very ambulatory region, with the Royal Oak Music Theater right on 318
W. 4th St. Inside, you’ll be entertained by comedians and masterful storytellers – think Christopher Titus and Steven Lynch – as well as musicians
like Jacob Sartorius.
For the kids – assuming you’ve got any in tow – Royal Oak is the stomping ground of the Detroit Zoo, where animals as esoteric as the aardvark, Chilean flamingo and cinereous vulture are in the 125 acres of natural habitat.
In fact, Royal Oak can function as a sort of “staging area” to most of metro Detroit, where the primary east-west and north-south highways run right through it. In less than half-an-hour, you can be anywhere in Detroit proper! Some of the other adjacent neighborhoods are Woodward Corridor, Pleasant Ridge, Bloomfield Hills and Township of the same name, Ferndale and the suburban community of Huntington Woods. These begin in central downtown Detroit and end in the community of Pontiac.
Royal Oak Stores and Boutiques
Royal Oak has an eclectic assortment of stores; of course, there’s the more conventional fare, too. The popular Holiday Market is on Main Street, and some
of the upscale delicacies include a Bakery Shoppe, Deli Shoppe, specialized Cheese Shoppe and even a Cooking School. While here, you’ve got to try
the Smokehouse pork and Mac & cheese special with the house BBQ sauce.
For your fashion shopping, head to 323 South Main Street for clothing and accessories for either gender. Visitors rave about the shoe selection and the abundant styles of eyewear – particularly the sunglasses to ward off the summer sun. As an alternative to shopping, head to the Oakland Shopping Mall which is just 15 minutes away via the I-75 North.
With the many events in the downtown region of Royal Oak it’s a bonafide destination spot for tourists just like you. In fact, the Downtown Royal Oak website has a comprehensive list of the major attractions at places such as the Goldfish Tea, Landmark Main Art Theatre and native Music Theatre. The sense of history of this former village-turned-city runs throughout in the entertainment available and sights to see.