The best gifts come from the heart—even better if they’re from Detroit. Photo credit: iStock.com/Vadym Petrochenko

Searching for gift ideas for a special person? Well, if they love Detroit, you’ve come to the right place. 

We’ve put together this list with a variety of options for people with all kinds of interests and needs. Whether they’re into books, home goods, art, architecture or the environment, we’ve got you covered. 

Here are eight ideas to help you find just the right gift. 

Photo credit: Belt Magazine

Book on Detroit maps

Books are a great gift. “Detroit in 50 Maps” is one we’ve read, reviewed and can recommend. 

The book, which was released this year, presents a portrait of the city through a combination of serious and lighthearted maps, all which are informative. But it’s not just eye candy: the book also makes a not-so-subtle argument about Detroit’s inequities, from segregated neighborhoods to disparate health outcomes. It has wide appeal for anyone interested in Detroit, maps or an addition to their coffee table. 

For other Detroit book recommendations, check out this selection I put together in Curbed Detroit. And if you want to buy them in Detroit, head to one of the city’s many independent bookstores, including Source Booksellers, Pages, Book Suey and 27th Letter Books

Detroit in 50 Maps from Belt Publishing, $30

Photo credit: Signal-Return

Screen print of the city

Signal-Return, a letterpress print shop based in Eastern Market, sells some beautiful posters and cards with original illustrations. There’s a wide selection, but we thought Dig readers might enjoy one of the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory at night, where the iconic glass dome of the Belle Isle building is beautifully reflected off the water.

Belle Isle Conservatory Print, $30 or $100 (depending on size)

Detroit-themed home goods

Detroit has a number of great businesses selling quality items for the home, many of it locally made and themed. There’s City Bird/Nest, Urbanum, Savvy Chic and Post, to name just a few. You can browse the stores in-person or online.  

Obviously the item you’ll want to buy for someone will depend on your budget and their taste. But here are a couple quick suggestions to get you started.

Buildings of Detroit glasses from City Bird, $12
Reclaimed wood frame from Post, $56

Antique or salvaged furniture

If you’re concerned about conspicuous consumption, buy something from one of the city’s many great vintage shops that carry furniture and are worth browsing, including Fred’s Unique Furniture, Xavier’s, Mama Coo’s Boutique, Vintage Eastern Market and Odd Fellows in Berkley. 

Another option is to go the repurposed route—for better or worse, there may be no better city for salvaged goods than Detroit. And it shows in the number of shops that just specialize in making wood furniture saved from abandoned or demolished buildings, including Detroit ReMade, Woodward Throwbacks and Workshop.

Table leg shelves from Detroit ReMade, $65

Tour of the city

Perhaps the best gift you can get for someone who loves Detroit is the chance to see more of it. Be it history, architecture or drinking, there is a wealth of Detroit tours on offer to satisfy any number of interests. You can tour on foot, by bus or even on the Detroit River. 

A great choice would be a tour with Jamon Jordan, founder of the Black Scroll Network. The city’s first official historian gives tours of Black history in Detroit, but unfortunately doesn’t have any scheduled at the moment. We recommend checking the website regularly—dates often get added when the weather is warmer—or maybe writing an IOU to the recipient of your gift. 

In the meantime, here are a few other options.

The Guardian Building tour with Detroit History Tours, $10
Holiday lights tour with Detroit Bus Company, $53
Kayak on the canals with Detroit River Sports, $60

Home repair class

As we’ve reported before, home repair in Detroit is a commonplace need. It can also be quite expensive. 

That cost can be considerably defrayed, however, by doing the work yourself. So, if someone you know needs to take on repairs but can’t spend thousands of dollars on contractors, get them a class on home repair and encourage them to DIY the project. 

Be sure to point them to some home repair resources, like Brick + Beam, this guide on financing projects and our article on weatherization. 

Home renovation workshop with Detroit Training Center, $70

Photo credit: Keep Growing Detroit

Land stewardship

There are lots of great gifts for the environment lover in your life.

If they’re interested in local food, maybe encourage them to grow some themselves (or together) by enrolling them in Keep Growing Detroit’s garden resource program, which provides educational resources as well as more than enough seeds to start a fairly large produce garden. 

You also could help fund a tree that becomes part of a park, buy honey from local beekeepers or, if you’re feeling exceptionally generous, get a rain barrel and installation kit ($149). And if you want to go the donation route, Planet Detroit put together a guide to gifting sustainably in the city. 

Garden Resource Program with Keep Growing Detroit, $15-30 (depending on garden type)

Support local journalism

We may be biased—and it’s important for journalists to disclose our biases—but we think people who are invested in Detroit should also be invested in local journalism. There’s no better way to know what’s happening in the city than to have a robust media ecosystem.

Detroit has a plethora of small newsrooms and publications that need your support. We’d of course be honored if you decided to donate to Outlier Media, publisher of The Dig. But there are plenty of others that your gift recipient might also like to support through a donation or membership, including Detour Detroit, Planet Detroit and Tostada

Reach AARON MONDRY at aaron@outliermedia.org or 313-403-7221.

“Get quality info and insights on neighborhoods in Detroit every week. Sign up here for our weekly newsletter The Dig.”