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
If you are looking for some souvenirs from your trip to Detroit, your best bet is the Pure Detroit store, which is a long running, locally owned store that has its flagship outlet in the Guardian building in Downtown Detroit.
Another shopping option in Detroit is the city’s Russell Bazaar, which is housed in an industrial complex. It was designed by Louis Kahn. Held on weekends, the Russell Bazaar features many interesting works of Detroit’s local artists and craftsmen. It’s a must visit place for avid shoppers on Detroit vacations.
Additional, shopping options in Detroit includes areas like The Hill, which is located within the city’s Grosse Pointe neighborhood and features cafes, unique stores and several men’s boutiques and the Somerset Collection which is located in Troy in Oakland County that offers several upscale stores like Nordstrom, Sak’s Fifth Avenue, Louis Vuitton, Salvatore Ferragamo and more.
Where to eat in Detroit
Detroit is not counted as a prominent dining destination in the US and though the city offers a wide array of restaurants which include several fine dining establishments, it is especially known for its own unique pizza and excellent Middle Eastern food, which are served up by many casual dining restaurants like Hamido located in the heavily Arab city of Dearborn.
Another dining destination of note in Detroit is the city’s Eastern Market, which is a farmer’s market that is held over a large space on Gratiot Avenue on every Saturday. This market features more than 250 independent vendors and merchants who sell a whole host of prepared foods and fresh produce. It also features many permanent restaurants and cafes on its periphery like Supino Pizza, Lafayette Coney Island( famed for its hot dogs), and the Russell Street Deli, which are also definitely worth a visit during Detroit vacations.
Nightlife in Detroit
Detroit’s is known for its great music and has produced artists like the stars of Motown and mega artists like Madonna and The White Stripes. It is also regarded as the birthplace of techno music.
However, its club scene like that of many other cities is always evolving and changing as it is marked by several openings and closing.
More enduring establishments in Detroit are its many bars which form the cornerstone of its nightlife scene and feature joints like the Cadieux Café(Eastern Market/Downtown), D’ Mongo’s Speakeasy(Eastern Market/Downtown) which is open only on Fridays and features a piano player and great cocktails and other live music venues like Cliff Bill’s and Small’s.