While it’s true that Detroit, Michigan has lately been showcased in the news more for its current financial problems than its pivotal role in American manufacturing, there’s still plenty to see in The Motor City. It houses a healthy art scene, as evidenced by displays like the dilapidated house revival Heidelberg Project, and a burgeoning food culture.
Try your luck at any of the downtown casinos, see a play at the Bonstelle Theater, check out night clubs like Bleu on Woodward Avenue, and get a schedule of events in the Metro Times. There are historic homes to explore, plenty of history to absorb, and plenty of grassroots enthusiasm to help Detroit rise above its negative reputation.
Must see: If you’re looking to get in a little exercise, check out the Detroit Waterfront, a six-mile promenade that passes numerous parks, shops and restaurants. The Henry Ford Museum is always a promising destination. It showcases 200 unique vehicles, including the 1961 Lincoln Continental in which John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Also, make sure you check out the Motown Museum, and spend an evening at Baker’s, the world’s oldest jazz club.
Lodging: Stay at the Townsend Hotel in Birmingham, or the Westin Book Cadillac if you’d rather lodge in the city center.
Cuisine: The Eastern Market attracts crowds of 40,000 people on Saturday mornings, and with good reason - join them to sample a huge array of foods from around the world. For a heartier and more luxurious dinner later in the day, visit The Lark, a French restaurant that’s garnered attention nationally and abroad. Try the rack of lamb.
Ground Transportation: Renting a car is your best option, though there is one interesting addition to consider, if you’re not prone to too much distraction when you’re driving. Consider hiring a tour guide through Backseat Detroit. The guide will join you in your own car (or rental car) and provide a personalized tour of the city as you drive and see the sights.
Packing Tips: Because Detroit is on the shores of lake Michigan, there can be some heavy, wet snow and high winds from time to time in the winter. Locals report that spring and fall are beautiful, though, so time your visit according to your ideal conditions.
Recommended Books: Author Mitch Albom currently resides in Detroit. All three of his bestsellers (including Tuesdays with Morrie, The Five People You Meet in Heaven, and Have A Little Faith) have been made into films. Of course, if you’d like to explore more about the city’s history, biography of Henry Ford would be an excellent place to start.
Currency: The dollar is the local currency.
Calling Code United States: 1
Best Travel Dates: The peak travel time to the Great Lakes region is summer. To avoid the crowds, try to time your visit with the changes in season. Fall is beautiful next to the water, and while spring can be damp and unpredictable, it’s less crowded.