Detroit City Guide
The port city of Detroit is located on the Detroit River and is the largest city in the US state of Michigan. It is also the oldest city in the American mid-west.
Vacations to Detroit take you to the famed birthplace of the US auto industry and the renowned Motown record label. Detroit was also established as a trading post in 1701 by a French explorer, Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, who built a fort to establish the city on the banks of the Detroit River.
Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac was removed from his post due to bad conduct but Detroit continued to grow and develop. In 1796 it became an American city which went on to produce most of the automobiles that were sold in America: Fords, Oldsmobiles, Chevrolets, Dodges became household names that ruled the US car market until the 1980’s when they came up against Japanese imports and failed to leave an impression.
Besides auto industry, Detroit is also famed as the birthplace of the Motown sound, which gave rise to stars like Stevie Wonder, the Temptations, the Jackson 5 and Diana Ross.
Today, Detroit has lost some of its glory that was omnipresent during the boom times of the US car industry; though the city still has much to offer for visitors who take time to visit this erstwhile first city of the US automobile industry. For automobile lovers, Detroit vacations are a treat indeed.
Where to stay in Detroit
The city of Detroit is unlike other cities for the city itself is like a large neighborhood, which is surrounded by other counties and Canada that lies across the Detroit River.
Most visitors on Detroit vacations choose to stay in its skyscraper speckled downtown area, which is also its central business district. Detroit’s downtown hosts most of the Detroit hotels along with important buildings like the Renaissance Center (which is a set of seven interconnected skyscrapers), the Penobscot Building and the Guardian Building along with many parks and green spaces; which are linked by a promenade along the Detroit International Waterfront.
Midtown Detroit, which is the cultural center of the city, is located just north of downtown along Woodward Avenue. This area which is home to the gigantic Wayne State University and cultural institutions like the Detroit Institute of Arts, Orchestra Hall, the Detroit Public Library and the Detroit Historical Museum covers two square miles between Downtown Detroit and the New Center.
Midtown Detroit also affords access to newly constructed Woodbridge district, which is home to several restaurants, galleries, and nightlife venues.
North of Woodward is Detroit’s New Center neighborhood and its new business center that hosts several hotels as well as the city’s National Historical landmarks like Cadillac Place and the opulent Fisher Building, which was built by Albert Kahn in 1928. Depending on what budget you have in mind and what neighborhood your desire, you can book a variety of hotels for Detroit vacations through our platform.
Places to see in Detroit
The Henry Ford Museum
Henry Ford, who built his first car in Detroit in 1896, invented the system of assembly line production that catapulted Detroit’s car industry to world fame. The Henry Ford Museum, which is Detroit’s foremost attraction, was established in 1929 and it extends over 90 acres in Dearborn that is located outside metro-Detroit. The museum features many interesting exhibits like the limousine in which John F Kennedy was assassinated and a writing desk that belonged to Edgar Allen Poe. It also hosts an IMAX theater that shows educational 3D films as well popular releases.
Automotive Hall of Fame
Detroit’s Automotive Hall of Fame is located close to the Henry Ford Museum and is a must- do attraction for car buffs for it features exhibits that center around the car industry and the people who define it. The museum also has several interesting interactive exhibits that enable you to design your own car and more. Your trip to Detroit would be incomplete without a visit to this hall of fame.
Detroit Historical Museum
The Detroit Historical Museum offers exhibits that catalogue the city’s rich history from its origins to its rise as an industrial powerhouse. The museum also recreates the streets of Old Detroit and its 19th Century stores. Further, the museum hosts the popular and interactive Glancy Trains toy train exhibit, which is considered to be its star attraction.
Detroit Institute of Arts
The Detroit Institute of Arts is America’s fifth largest fine arts museum that offers more than 100 galleries that showcase 65000 works featuring the works of artists from all corners of the globe. These works display all styles, genres and time periods. The museum also hosts a Film theatre that screens an impressive collection of international films and short features. It’s a must visit place for film enthusiasts on their trip to Detroit.
Detroit’s Belle Isle Park is an island park located in the Detroit River. Belle Isle was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted of New York City’s Central Park fame and extends over 1000 acres and features the many gorgeous orchid plants which were bequeathed to the city by Anna Scripps Whitcomb.
These plants are housed in a conservatory that was designed by Albert Kahn and opened to the public in 1904. The park connected to the city by MacArthur Bridge also offers programs like Jazz on the Beach during the summers and features several other attractions like the Detroit Yacht Club, the Detroit Boat Club, the James Scott Memorial Fountain, the Dossin Great Lakes Museum, a Coast Guard station, and a municipal golf course. The island also additionally hosts a half-mile (800 m) swimming beach.
Motown Historical Museum
This museum, which is housed on a modest home in Detroit’s New Center district, was the epicenter of the Motown music movement. This home was the private residence of Berry Gordy, the automobile worker who is considered to be the father of the Motown movement. The museum features exhibits like the family’s living chambers, the control room and Studio A, which hosted many Motown luminaries like Gladys Knight and the Jackson 5 down the ages.
Best time to visit Detroit
Detroit enjoys a temperate climate that is characterized by warm, humid summers and freezing winters. Temperatures in the summer months often touch highs of 90F (32F) while during the winters temperatures often plunge below freezing and are accompanied by much snow. The best time to visit Detroit is perhaps during early spring or fall when the temperatures are not so harsh.
Getting around in Detroit
Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport is one of a major international airports located in US. It is also the second largest hub for Delta and understandably various attractive air flights are available from around the country and world. However, if you want to try other options as well and compare shop, you can try our platform for excitingly cheap air tickets.
Detroit doesn’t offer much by way of a public transport system. If you choose to stay at a hotel in downtown Detroit, then the People Mover, which is an elevated monorail system that serves the city center, should fulfill your transport needs. The People Mover can always be supplemented by taxis which are easy to find and can be ordered on the phone.
Detroit, however, is still very car reliant and perhaps the best way for you to see Detroit is to hire a car and drive. The bus service offers a scattered service at best. We also offer affordable car rental services at Fare Buzz and if you need to hire a car for your stay in Detroit; do remember to ask about tariffs for car rentals when you are making your Detroit hotel reservations with us.
Where to shop in Detroit
Shopping in Detroit is a rather decentralized affair for it entails heading out from downtown to various suburbs and neighborhoods. Downtown Detroit does however; offer a few options in the form of the historic Eastern Market. This open-air market has been a mainstay on the city’s shopping scene since it was established in 1892. Residents of Detroit come to shop for fresh produce, meat, fish and plants at the market every day. The market also hosts several cafes and sandwich places which are popular as breakfast and lunch spots.
Other downtown Detroit locations worth perusing include the GM Renaissance Center, a mixed-use expansive complex featuring, shops, offices and banks and the Fairlane Town Center, a mall, which dates back to the mid-1970s and hosts 160 stores including anchor tenants JCPenney, Macy’s and Sears. Detroit’s other mall shopping options include the Somerset Collection, an upscale mall offering 150 specialty stores and high-end department stores located in in the northwestern suburb of Troy and the Twelve Oaks Mall located in Novi, that features 180 fashion and lifestyle stores. Outlet shopping in Detroit can be had at the massive Great Lakes Crossing Mall, situated in the suburb of Auburn Hills.
Aside from these malls, Detroit also offers much opportunity for retail therapy, within its diverse neighborhoods like the Birmingham, which hosts a slew of antique stores, boutiques, art galleries and street-side cafes and the neighborhood of Royal Oak whose offerings include hip clothing stores, art galleries and antique stores along with many restaurants and cafes.
Where to eat in Detroit
Detroit’s dining scene is fairly diverse. Some of the city’s best restaurants include eateries like Roast (steakhouse), Supino Pizzeria, Texas de Brazil (steakhouse), Giovanni’s Restorante (Italian) Slows Bar Bq, Taqueria Mi Pueblo (Mexican), Joe Muer Seafood, Assagi Bistro (Mediterranean) and Bucharest Grill (Middle Eastern).
Nightlife in Detroit
Comedy clubs, live music venues, sports bars dance clubs, lounges and bars, are the various nightlife options offered by the motor city. Popular nightlife haunts in Detroit currently include spots like Northern Lights Lounge, V Nightclub, Baker’s Keyboard lounge (jazz club), Pulse Detroit (lounge), La Casa de Habana (cigar bar and martini lounge), Bert’s Marketplace (jazz club), the Bronx Bar and Skybar lounge.