Detroit, not exactly what you think of when you hear the term “tourist destination”, but as someone who spent almost 2 years in Michigan, I want to put a positive spin on a place that needs some serious positivity.
As mentioned previously, I used to be a consultant, and as a result, getting an excuse to see some parts of the USofA I didn’t think I’d ever visit came with the deal. One of those places, was Detroit. Fortunately, I had a great tour guide who lived there (still does), and gave us the ins, outs, does and don’ts of Detroit. I mean Detroit has a Whole Foods now, how bad could it be??
We went in the summer and scored tickets to a Detroit Tigers / Red Sox game (go Sox!) so we were determined to fill our days with all we could see. We met for breakfast at a cute farm to table spot outside of the midtown loop. What we learned is that when it comes to city planning, the same people that planned Detroit might as well have planned Philadelphia. I-95 runs right through the city, cutting off certain areas from downtown, with not the best public transportation.
Outside of the mid-town loop we saw their own Central station, a beautifully abandoned train station that will eventually be re-purposed. They drove us through an adorable residential area with cute row homes near what they dubbed the “hipster” part of town with coffee shops, bars/pubs, etc. and of course, near the Whole Foods.
We then ventured back into the central business district to see Eastern Market and the Detroit Waterfront. The Detroit waterfront is a beautiful walk along a boardwalk overlooking Canada. I had no idea! Your phone starts measuring everything in kilometers so be warned! The waterfront was really worth the walk, and they have beautiful fireworks each year for the fourth of July. We were really impressed by what they had done with the waterfront, and Eastern Market as well. Eastern Market is the world’s largest farmer’s market and was so much fun to walk through. Just a note – it is only open on weekends, and Sundays only from June through October.
Additionally, we ended our tour in the business district, which really showed the power of private industry. Dan Gilbert, founder of Quicken Loans, moved his headquarters to downtown Detroit and encouraged other businesses to follow suit. As a result, there are beautiful office buildings in Detroit’s central business district, one containing the world’s tallest indoor waterfall.
After leaving our tour guides, we decided to check out Greek Town, a really fun neighborhood in Detroit with delicious, you guessed it, greek foods, bakeries, and casinos. This part of Detroit is full of energy and life, and could be plucked and placed into any major city. With bright lights, enticing restaurants, Greek Town is not to be missed, and is easy to get to on their People Mover, which loops around the city. We were staying at the Westin Book Cadillac Detroit hotel and was in walking distance of public transport.
After a delicious meal, we were off to see the Red Sox get destroyed (womp womp) by the Tigers and check off a new stadium on our list.
I know I gave a very rosy view of Detroit just now, and I want it to remain rosy, but my husband and I had mixed views on the city itself. My husband saw the city as one going through a slow, yet steady resurgence, and I saw one that represented crumbling Americana hoping to some day claw its way back. With that being said, my 24 hours in Detroit were fun, and as with exploring any new city, exciting as well. So if you’re in the area, go support a city that needs a little extra love.