With a history dating back to 1701, Detroit is one of the oldest cities in the Midwest. Now one of the largest metropolitan areas in the United States, this sprawling urban landscape has more than a few stories to tell. The birthplace of the automobile and the hometown of motown music, Detroit has its feet firmly planted in national and world history.
But this city is looking forward. These days ‘Motor City’ boasts a growing entertainment, performing arts and museum scene. This emerging cultural tourist destination is one to watch.
While motown and motors are what Detroit is most widely known for, the city’s culture and natural landmarks also draw visitors year after year. The city’s ‘beacon of culture’, the Detroit Institute of Arts is a must-visit museum. Characterised by its Beaux Arts architecture, the building is home to more than 100 galleries that showcase one of the largest and most significant collections in the United States.
The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, which offers an excellent insight into African American culture, is another historical and educational must-do attraction. And no trip to Detroit would be complete without a stop at the famed Motown Museum, also known as Hitsville U.S.A.
If you want to get out of the city and into the great outdoors head to Belle Isle Park, one of the most scenic sites in Detroit. Situated 5 kilometres southeast of the city centre, the park boasts 150 acres of wooded area, 3 lakes and a 9-hole golf course.
Eat and Drink
You’ll find classic American fare and a great mix of international cuisine throughout the city, with Lebanese, Greek, Polish, Chinese and Mexican being favourites. For traditional Detroit eats, scope out a Coney Island hotdog or a Detroit-style square pizza, which is said to rival the famous deep-pan Chicago pizza.
As part of the Great Beer State of Michigan, Detroit is no stranger to a frothy ale. Head to the eclectic suburb of Ferndale, pull up a stool at any of the neighbourhood bars and sample some specialty Michigan beers.
After dark Detroit serves up live music, nightclubs, bars and comedy clubs in spades. Live music lovers should head to the Metro areas of Detroit, while those looking to dance the night away will love the Rivertown area of Downtown.
Where to Stay
Hipster hangout Corktown offers some great hotels and rental apartments that cater to a range of budgets, and is perfect for those looking to stay in a charming and historic neighbourhood. Upscale boutique hotels are the order of the day in Rivertown, where the central location puts prices at a premium but makes seeing the sights easy. Greektown is the go-to area for more budget-friendly digs.
A sprawling city, Detroit caters for shopping sprees with ease. Those looking to splash some cash on high-end goods should head straight to Somerset Collection in Troy, which is around 20 minutes’ drive from central Detroit. This is the place to find Saks Fifth Avenue and a range of luxury brands.
For a classic American mall experience look no further than the Renaissance Centre on Jefferson Avenue. This centrally located retail hub offers entertainment and restaurants along with a great selection of shops.
The jewel of shopping in Detroit, however, would have to be the suburb of Birmingham. North of the city centre, this place offers gift stores, antique shops and clothing outlets in a relaxed, small town atmosphere.
Detroit Like a Local
What do the Tigers, the Lions, the Red Wings and the Pistons all have in common? They’re all Detroit sports teams, and they’re all revered by Detroiters. Join the locals, who are proud die-hard sports fans, at a baseball, football, ice hockey or basketball match at any of the sports venues across the city. The electric atmosphere and passion of the fans will be sure to excite.