Royal Oak is a suburb of Detroit in Oakland County, Michigan known for its trendy downtown shopping area and bars. 1 mile South of Royal Oak is Ferndale, a place very similar to Royal Oak, known for its large lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender population. North of Royal Oak is Birmingham, an opulent area known for its upscale boutiques.
I-75/the Chrysler Freeway is located directly east of Royal Oak, and runs north-south. I-696/the Reuther Freeway is located directly south or Royal Oak, and runs east-west. Bordering the left-hand side of Royal Oak is Woodward Avenue, which runs northwest-southeast, and will take you southbound directly into Detroit.
Royal Oak is a very walkable city, the downtown area is a mile long, Main Street and Washington Street are the definite downtown areas to walk around.
- Affirmations, 290 W 9 Mile Rd, Ferndale, toll-free: . M-Th 9AM-9PM, F-Sa 9AM-Midnight. Lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender community center.
- Brew and View at the Magic Bag (Just north of 9 Mile Rd, on the northeast side of Woodward Ave), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. W-Th 9:30PM. First-run movies are shown. 21+ 2.00.
- 1 Main Art Theatre, 118 N Main St, ☏ . Nice and clean Independent film theater; they also have special midnight movie nights on the weekends.
- Motor City Pride. Gay pride festival that takes place along 9 mile in Ferndale. (Now relocated to Hart Plaza in downtown Detroit. Ferndale still has a street festival and shuttle service is provided between the two events.)
- 2 Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W 4th St, ☏ .
- Hilton Family Billiards, 2141 Hilton, Ferndale, ☏ . All-ages pool hall, smoking is allowed.
Royal Oak has 2 Disc Golf courses, it is an inexpensive game to get into; there are liquor stores located directly across from the parks that sell individual discs ranging from $9-$18. Also, the store "In Flight" in the Oak Park/Ferndale area also sells discs and other disc golf accessories. The Throw Shop in Ypsilanti, an hour West on I-94, is the largest disc golf store in the region, well worth the trip as it also features a 28-hole disc golf course.
- Antiques at the Royal Oak Farmers Market, 316 E 11 Mile Rd, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Su 8AM-3PM. Come here on Sundays to shop for Antiques and Collectibles, baked goods and coffee are also sold here. There is also a tiny cafeteria in the corner that sells inexpensive breakfast and lunch.
- BDT Pipe & Tobacco, 21640 John R Rd, Hazel Park (From Ferndale: Head east on 9 Mile Rd, turn right at S Chrysler Dr/I-75 Service Drive, then turn right on to John R Rd), ☏ . M-F 9AM-9PM, Sa 10AM-9PM, Su 11AM-7PM. The preeminent head shop of the Detroit metropolitan area. Knowledgeable and friendly staff.
- Cloverleaf Fine Wine, 711 S Main St (Located directly across from Oakland Community College near Lincoln & Main St), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. M-Th 10AM-8PM, F-Sa 10AM-9-PM, Su noon-5PM. Obscure fine wines and craft beer, competitive prices. All craft brews are sold as singles with no extra markup on them.
- 1 Holiday Market, 1203 S Main St, ☏ , fax: . M-Sa 8AM-9PM Su 8AM-8PM. Upscale grocer, large craft beer and wine selection.
- In Flight, 8106 W 9 Mile Rd, Oak Park, ☏ . Disc golf gear, locally blown glass pipes and other head shop paraphernalia.
- 2 Lost and Found Vintage, 510 S Washington Ave, ☏ . M-Th 11AM-7PM, F-Sa 11AM-8PM, Su noon-6PM. Vintage clothing store. $25-50.
- 3 Noir Leather, 124 W 4th St, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Th 11AM-9PM, F-Sa 11AM-10PM, Su noon-7PM. Fetish fashion boutique, this is a must see.
- 4 Nutri Foods, 120 S Main St, ☏ . M-F 9:30AM-8PM, Su 11AM-5PM. Health food store.
- Salvation Army, 114 E 4th St, ☏ . Thrift store, not as large of a selection as other ones in the area. $.
- The Rust Belt Market, 22801 Woodward Ave, Ferndale, ☏ . F 2PM-7PM, Sa 11AM-7PM, Su 11AM-6PM. An indoor market that provides space for local artisans and merchants a place for vending. Handmade goods, food, art, photography, jewelry, and many other vendors are found here.
While a lot of fast food restaurants and chains such as Noodles & Company and Jimmy John's can be found in Royal Oak, as a visitor you shouldn't bother wasting your time eating in those establishments.
- 1 2nd Street Sub Shop, 108 W 2nd St, ☏ . M-F 11AM-7PM, Sa-Su 11AM-6PM. Large delicious submarine sandwiches. Don't waste your time eating Subway or Jimmy John's fare; this is the real deal.
- 2 Beirut Palace, 205 S Main St, ☏ . M-F 10:30AM-midnight, Sa-Su 10:30AM-2AM. Family-owned Mediterranean restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating available. Those inclined can order a hookah and partake in smoking shisha with friends.
- 3 Comet Burgers, 207 S Main St, ☏ . M-W 11AM-midnight, Th-Sa 11AM-3AM, Su noon-midnight. '50s style restaurant, Sliders & Milkshakes, malt shakes, ice-cream. Known more for its pink-vinyl decor than its food. A good place to get a late night bite to eat if you can handle the crowds. $5-10.
- 4 Inn Season Cafe, 500 E 4th St, ☏ . Tu-Th 11:30AM-9PM, F 11:30AM-9:30PM, Sa noon-9:30PM, Su 11AM-3PM. Vegetarian restaurant open since 1981, features assorted veggie & vegan friendly cuisine such as Mexican dishes and stir fries. $7-10 per entree.
- 5 Loui's Pizza, 23141 Dequindre Rd, Hazel Park (Head east on E 9 Mile Rd, Turn left at Dequindre Rd.), ☏ . W-Th 11AM-9PM, F-Sa 11AM-11PM, Sun Noon-9PM. Tasty deep-dish pizza, A local favorite. Also has a bar. Entrees: $6.50-$18.75.
- 6 Peking House, 215 S Washington Ave, ☏ . M-Th 11AM-10PM, F 11AM-midnight, Su noon-10PM. Mediocre Chinese cuisine
- 7 [dead link] Leo's Coney Island, 110 S Main St, ☏ . 24 hours daily. A diner chain that covers most of south eastern Michigan and inspires nostalgia in all those who leave the area. Leo's is known for its Greek salads, gyros, omelets, and coney dogs (a Detroit specialty) . $9-11.
- 8 Toast, 23144 Woodward Ave, Ferndale, ☏ , fax: . Mo-F 7AM-3PM, Sa-Su 8AM-3PM. Popular spot serves breakfast and lunch. $9-11.
- 9 The Fly Trap, 22950 Woodward Ave, Ferndale, ☏ . M closed, Tu-F 8AM-9PM, Sa-Su 8AM-5PM. Described as a "Finer Diner" Lots of vegetarian options. Was featured on the Food Network show "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives".
- 10 Zumba Mexican Grille, 121 N Main St, ☏ . M-Th 11AM-10PM, F-Sa 11AM-11PM, Su noon-9PM. Mexican fast casual restaurant, fresh ingredients make the food here & features a salsa bar. $.
- 11 Tom's Oyster Bar, 318 S Main St, ☏ . Very good seafood
There is a Starbucks and Bean & Leaf Cafe located in Royal Oak, both of which are on Main Street.
- Cafe du Marquis, 204 5th Ave, ☏ . 11AM-midnight daily. Free Wi-Fi internet connection, one of few smoker friendly places in Royal Oak.
- Hookah Joe's, 734 S Washington Ave (Right across from Oakland Community College). M-Th 8AM-2AM, F-Sa 8AM-4AM, Su noon-midnight. Hookah Bar that attracts a young crowd. Free Wi-Fi. $1 drinks, $8 Hookahs.
- Java Hutt, 165 W 9 Mile Rd, Ferndale, ☏ .
Royal Oak has a ton of bars such as Mr. B's Pub, Woody's, Duggans, O'Tooles, Rock on 3rd, Goodnite Gracie, Sky Club, Ye Olde Saloon, Norm's Field of Dreams and Luna Lounge.
- The Berkley Front, 3087 W 12 Mile Rd, Berkley (Take 12 Mile Rd west across Woodward, the bar is located after Coolidge on your left side), ☏ . M-Tu 4PM-12:30AM, W-Th 4PM-2AM, F-Sa noon-2AM. Around 40-50 beers on tap and around 80 bottled beers available. German food, Sandwiches, Burgers, Tex-Mex and a few vegetarian options. Has Pool tables and a jukebox. Live music upstairs Th-Sa. Half off appetizers and certain pints are $2.50 on Mondays. Entrees: $5-$9, Beer $4-$6.
- BlackFinn Restaurant & Saloon, 530 S Main St, ☏ , fax: . Trendy Fake Irish Pub chain, Happy Hour 4PM-7PM $2 Domestic Drafts, $3 Import Drafts, $3 House Wine, $4 Calls, $5 Martinis. Good place for a cheap pint of Guinness during happy hour, Drink specials on Wednesday night also. Tends to get really busy.
- The Emory, 22700 Woodward Ave, Ferndale (One block south of Woodward and 9 Mile Rd on the east side of Woodward), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. M-F 11AM-2AM, Sa-Su 9AM-2AM.
- Gusoline Alley, 309 S Center St, ☏ . M-Sa 10AM-2AM, Su noon-2AM. Local dive-bar, smoker-friendly. Notable beer selection. Bikers and hipsters tend to hang out here.
- The Loving Touch, 22634 Woodward Ave, ☏ . 5PM-2AM daily. Pool hall in downtown Ferndale near the Woodward Avenue Brewers and the Emory. Named after a seedy massage parlor that used to be in Ferndale. 1.25 for 1 game, 5 dollars for 5 games.
- Post Bar, 22828 Woodward Ave, ☏ . Good drink specials, frequented by hipsters. Features foosball, Golden Tee, plasma TVs and a pool table for entertainment.
- The Rock on 3rd, 112 E Third St, ☏ .
- Snookers' Pool & Pub, 30295 Woodward Ave, ☏ . Pool, Golden Tee Golf. Nice bar
- Vinotecca, 417 S Main St, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Upscale wine bar with large selection. 4PM to 6PM everyday half-off all glasses of wine. 80s Thursdays 9PM-2AM, half off glass wines, $5 martinis, $3 pints of Bastone beer.
Luckily for beer enthusiasts there are a fair number of brewpubs in this area. Brew pubs are restaurants that brew their own beer. For around 10 dollars you can also buy a "growler" from these establishments which holds a half gallon of beer and is a means to buy take-out beer. Besides being a great deal, growlers make a great souvenir. Also, just a short bus ride away is the Woodward Avenue Brewery in Ferndale, take the Smart 450/460 Direction: Inbound (Runs down South Washington) in Royal Oak to get there.
- Bastone, 419 S Main St, ☏ , fax: . M-Th 11AM-11PM, F-Sa 11AM-midnight, Su noon-10PM. Award-Winning Beers & Belgian Fries, kids eat free on Sundays.
- Lily's Seafood Grill & Brewery, 410 S Washington Ave (Near 11 Mile Rd), ☏ . Happy Hour is on Weekdays 2PM-6PM and Saturday 11AM-6PM with 2 dollar pints of their own beer. Also Monday nights is an You Can Eat Fish Fry $9.99 with $2 pints from 8PM-midnight.
- Royal Oak Brewery, 215 E Fourth St, ☏ . M-Th 11:30AM-midnight, F 11AM-2AM, Sa 11:30AM-2AM, Su noon-midnight. Food and microbrews, $5.00 Growler refills on Tuesdays, Happy Hour: 2.75 pints. 3 dollar pints on Wednesdays from 9PM-Close.
- Woodward Avenue Brewers, 22646 Woodward Ave, Ferndale, ☏ . M-F 11AM-2AM, Sa-Su noon-2AM. Brew pub that features A deck and sidewalk seating. $2 pints after 9PM on Sundays. Half-off food on Mondays 4PM-midnight. $.
- Palms Motel, 29806 Woodward Ave, ☏ .
- Saranay Motel, 28202 Woodward Ave, ☏ .
- Seville Motel, 28300 Woodward Ave, ☏ .
- Travelodge Royal Oak, 30776 Woodward Ave, ☏ , fax: .
Royal Oak is generally considered a safe city with a low crime rate. Crime is highly uncommon during the daytime but spikes considerably during the night time.
While most crime in Royal Oak affects residents, there have been many cases where travelers were victimized, especially in the case of burglaries of vehicles with out-of-state plates.
While Royal Oak's downtown area is a very safe place, avoid walking into alleyways during the night time. Many strongarm robberies and rape attempts take place in the city's downtown alleyways. The sidewalks and streets of Downtown Royal Oak are otherwise safe to walk during the daytime and night.
Avoid walking in any neighborhoods near or around an industrial park, railroad or apartment complex at night. Drug dealers are often present in these types of neighborhood after dark. If you choose to walk through such neighborhoods after dark remember to wear neutral-colored clothing and avoid large groups of people.
In addition, try not to walk on the Eleven Mile corridor during the night-time outside of the Downtown area as it is where many robberies in the city take place.
Always park in a well-lit area during the night time. Lock your doors and roll up your windows. Even during the day time, car burglaries are common, especially when an open window is involved.
Take further precaution regarding your vehicle if you are the owner of a Chrysler vehicle. Chrysler and Dodge automobiles are often targeted for navigation systems and owners of such vehicles may fall victim much easier.
Royal Oak has a significant homeless population in the city, mostly centered around the downtown area and industrial neighborhoods. If you are approached by a panhandler simply state in a firm tone of voice that you do not wish to pay them and walk away.