I’ve spent my life in Detroit. I’ve experienced the city as a kid in the neighborhoods to a young professional working downtown and witnessing a transformation from eerie abandonment to bustling town.
Detroit is a city of contrasts, a Big Little City where you often run into the same people time and again. The central city is on the rise. Investment by Dan Gilbert has spurred activity downtown and where there was vacant buildings and few options for entertainment a few years ago, today everywhere is a construction site and you need reservations for dinner.
The neighborhoods are a different story. There are pockets of vibrancy and investment but it is a very large city (142 sq miles) and there is a lot of poverty. I share the good and the challenges because nothing will improve if we put on rose colored glasses.
If you’ve never been to Detroit, come visit. If you haven’t been in awhile, come back – you won’t believe what you see! And if you are here often, let me know where I should be going!!!
Eastern Market // If you only do one thing is Detroit, make it Eastern Market on a Saturday morning. Thousands visit the open air pavilion market to purchase fresh local produce, homemade goods, listen to music, eat at food trucks and local restaurants, shop and enjoy events.
Downtown // The big city skyscrapers and green space. Countless restaurants and music venues. Home to the Tigers, Lions, MGM Grand Casino and Greektown. You can walk from each end of downtown in 15 minutes or take the people mover. Campus Martius Park and the Renaissance Centers are must.
Midtown // The arts and culture oasis of Detroit, Midtown is what all of Detroit is striving for – residential and urban. Walkable streets make it easy to explore restaurants and shops. The renown Detroit Institute of Arts is surrounded by the Detroit Public Library, Detroit Historical Museum, Michigan Science Center, Charles H. Wright Museum of African and African American history, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and Detroit Museum of Contemporary Art. Sport fans will soon also enjoy watching the Red Wings and Pistons play in the new Little Cesar Arena. Bonus: The QLine is a new rail-line that can take you easily from downtown, Midtown and to New Center.
Belle Isle and the Riverfront // A river city, Detroit’s natural assets have been brought back to life in recent years. Belle Isle is drivable island in the Detroit River with museums and recreational activity. The Riverwalk connects the island gem downtown and the Dequindre Cut offers biking/walking access to Eastern Market.
Corktown // The birthplace of New Detroit and the oldest neighborhood in the city. At Roosevelt Park you will find the signature Detroit contrast on Michigan Avenue. On one side of the street is Slows BBQ, a restaurant that played a catalytic role in revitalization. And on the other the infamous abandoned train station that attracts ‘ruin porn’ photographers from around the world. Eat, shop and sight-see beautiful Victorian era homes.
The Neighborhoods // From the Villages on the eastside of the city to Grandmont Rosedale and the University District on the westside to Hamtramck in the center (a city within the city) and Mexicantown in the southwest, there are so many wonderful shops, restaurants and activities across Detroit to visit and explore.