Detroit is a major metropolis in the US state of Michigan that has had a profound impact on the world. From the advent of the automotive assembly line to the Motown sound, modern techno and rock music, Detroit continues to shape both American and global culture. The city has seen many of its historic buildings renovated, and is bustling with new developments and attractions that complement its world-class museums and theatres. After a long economic slump and decrease in population, Detroit has developed a reputation for crime and urban decline, but revitalization means that it is an exciting destination filled with technological advance and historic charm.
The city's central business district. It is home to several nice parks, three sports arenas, the country's second-largest large theatre district, great architecture, and many of the city's attractions. It is Detroit's center of life.
|Midtown-New Center |
The city's cultural center, home to several world-class museums and galleries as well as Wayne State University. The area is also home to some great 1920s architecture. It is probably the most unique destination in Detroit.
|East Side |
This part of the city includes much of the riverfront, Belle Isle, the historic Eastern Market, Pewabic Pottery, and more.
|Southwest Side |
Home to many of the city's ethnic neighborhoods, such as Southwest, Mexicantown and Corktown. The area is mostly known for its cuisine in these ethnic neighborhoods; however it is also home to many historical sites, such as the Michigan Central Station, Tiger Stadium, and Historic Fort Wayne.
|West Side |
Home to many historic neighborhoods, the University District, and much of the infamous 8 Mile.
|Hamtramck-Highland Park |
While not part of the City of Detroit, the cities of Hamtramck and Highland Park are surrounded by Detroit except where they border each other. Hamtramck is often referred to as "Poletown" because it once had a large Polish population. It is now a diverse city of Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Arab, Macedonian, Indian and Polish people. Highland Park is home to many historic buildings and neighborhoods.
Downtown Detroit is unique: an International Riverfront, ornate buildings, sculptures, fountains, the nation's second largest theater district, and one of the nation's largest collection of pre-depression era skyscrapers. Two major traffic circles along Woodward Avenue surround Campus Martius Park and Grand Circus Park, both gathering points. The city has ample parking much of it in garages. Many historic buildings have been converted into loft apartments, and new businesses have opened in the Central Business District. Downtown Detroit features the Renaissance Center, including the tallest hotel in the Western Hemisphere, the Detroit Marriott. Many restaurants emanate from the Renaissance Center, Greektown, the arts and theatre district, and stadium area. Joining the eastern, riverfront parks, the city has the 982-acre (3.9 km²) Belle Isle Park with the large James Scott Memorial Fountain, historic conservatory, gardens, Dossin Great Lakes Museum, and spectacular views of the city skyline.
Visitors may reserve a public dock downtown at the Tri-Centennial State Park and Harbor. Great Lakes Cruises are also available. Shorter pleasure trips provided by Diamond Jack's River Tours and The Detroit Princess Riverboat. Surrounding neighborhoods such as Corktown, home to Detroit's early Irish population, New Center, Midtown, and Eastern Market (the nation's largest open air market), are experiencing a revival. Detroit has a rich architectural heritage, such as the restored historic Westin Book-Cadillac Hotel, the Guardian and Fisher buildings with exquisitely ornate interiors and exteriors, the Detroit Institute of Arts (top five museums in the country) to name a few. In 2005, Detroit's architecture was heralded as some of America's finest; many of the city's architecturally significant buildings are listed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as among America's most endangered landmarks.
Detroit is the largest city in the U.S. to offer casino resorts. The three major casino resorts are MGM Grand Detroit, Greektown, and MotorCity. A fourth major casino is just across the river in Windsor, Canada. Detroit Metro Airport is one of the few to offer world class hotel and meeting facilities inside the terminal. The Renaissance Center and the Southfield Town Center are among the nation's finest mixed use facilities for large conferences. Downtown Detroit serves as the cultural and entertainment hub of the metropolitan region, Windsor, Ontario, and even for Toledo, Ohio residents, many of whom work in metropolitan Detroit. While most of the region's attractions are in the city of Detroit, tourists will find that nearly all of the shopping malls are in the suburbs, such as Troy, Dearborn, Novi and Clinton Township. The Detroit-Windsor metro area population totals about 5.9 million; it jumps to 6.5 million if Toledo is included. An estimated 46 million people live within a 300 mi (480 km) radius of Detroit. The city's northern inner ring suburbs like Ferndale, Southfield, Royal Oak, and Birmingham provide an urban experience in the suburbs complete with dining, shopping and other attractions. The Detroit area has many regal mansions, within the city and especially in Grosse Pointe, Bloomfield Hills, and Birmingham. Ann Arbor provides the nearby experience of a college town.
Detroit is an international destination for sporting events of all types; patrons enjoy their experience in world class venues. The Detroit Convention and Visitors bureau maintains the Detroit Metro Sports Commission. The city and region have state of the art facilities for major conferences and conventions.
Detroit is known as the world's "Automobile Capital", "Motown" (for "Motor Town"), and "Motor City", the city where Henry Ford pioneered the automotive assembly line, with the world's first mass produced car, the Model T. During World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt called Detroit the "Arsenal of Democracy." Today, the region serves as the global center for the automotive world. Headquartered in metro Detroit, General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler all have major corporate, manufacturing, engineering, design, and research facilities in the area. Hyundai, Toyota, Nissan, among others, have a presence in the region. The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor is a global leader in research and development. Metro Detroit has made Michigan's economy a leader in information technology, life sciences, and advanced manufacturing. Michigan ranks fourth nationally in high tech employment with 568,000 high tech workers, including 70,000 in the automotive industry. Michigan typically ranks among the top three states for overall research and development investment expenditures in the U.S.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
Detroit's climate is continental, therefore subject to rapid change and a variety of weather. Winters are snowy and very cold, with an even colder wind-chill factor. Snow usually doesn't remain the entire winter. Spring and fall are normally pleasant but colder temperatures will likely creep in during late fall and remain during early spring. Summer is rather short, but often times it is hot and muggy with sometimes strong to occasionally severe thunderstorms.
Downtown Detroit is bordered to the south by the Detroit River, which divides the US and Canada. The downtown is on the riverfront; the rest of the city expands north, east, and west from downtown. The Cultural Center, home to most of the city's museums, is just north of downtown, in Midtown.
Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport
1 Detroit Metro Airport (DTW IATA) is in Romulus, about 20 minutes west of the city, at the junction between I-275 and I-94 with many nearby hotels. The airport is a major Delta hub and operational headquarters, so it offers direct flights to and from a surprising variety of cities, from Seattle to Osaka. The airport has been modernized and has six major runways.
The quickest way to get to downtown Detroit is to rent a car or take a taxi. Standard cab fare to downtown is $45-50. Uber & Lyft are also popular options. You can also get to Detroit using the SMART (Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation) bus system. In 2018, SMART began a frequent regional service called FAST (Frequent Affordable Safe Transit). Buses run 7 days a week on Gratiot, Woodward & Michigan Ave all day. FAST Michigan #261 picks up at the McNamara and North terminals every 30-40 minutes on weekdays and every 45-60 minutes on weekends. This bus follows Michigan Ave, making limited stops in Dearborn, Corktown, Rosa Parks Transit Center, Grand Circus Park and ends downtown Detroit on Larned. Route #125 Fort serves the airport every 60 minutes, beginning alternately at the McNamara and North terminals, and takes about 75 min to get downtown. This bus only reaches downtown on weekdays during peak hours. The fare is $2. Familiarize yourself with the route map and schedule before you try this–-it is more commonly used by workers at the airport than tourists.
Airport Shuttle and Taxi services are available by reservation. Reservations 9AM-9PM, +1 313 759-7741. Rates from Detroit Metropolitan Airport to downtown Detroit are $49, plus a $10 airport fee charged by the airport to all licensed transportation providers picking up passengers at the airport.
Windsor International Airport
2 Windsor International Airport (YQG IATA) may be a cheaper alternative for those traveling to Detroit from a Canadian city. Transit Windsor offers limited bus service (on the Walkerville 8 route, weekdays only) from the airport to the Windsor International Transit Terminal, from which you can transfer to the Tunnel Bus [dead link] that will take you into Detroit. If renting a car from Windsor Airport, make sure the rental agency allows their cars to be taken into the United States.
Several interstates converge in downtown Detroit. I-75/the Chrysler (north of Downtown)/the Fisher (south of Downtown) Freeway North/South runs from Toledo through downtown Detroit to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I-94/the Ford Freeway East/West runs from Chicago to Detroit and continues up to Sarnia. I-96 East/West heads from Detroit to Lansing, Michigan. I-696/the Reuther Freeway runs along about 3 mi north of city limit (8 Mile), connecting the eastern suburbs (such as St. Clair Shores) to Southfield. I-275 connects with the suburb of Livonia. Highways, the Lodge Freeway, M-14, M-23, and the Southfield Freeway are major freeways which interconnect with the Interstates in the Detroit metro area to ease navigation. The Southfield Freeway connects Dearborn to Southfield. The Lodge Freeway, connects Southfield to downtown. Highway M-14 connects Ann Arbor to Detroit via the Jeffries Expressway. Bypassing Ann Arbor, highway M-23 connects I-94 to I-96.
The metro area's major Interstates and freeways were overhauled in preparation the 2006 National Football League Super Bowl XL in Detroit and are in good condition.
As with any major city, traffic during rush hour can make travel really slow. This is especially aggravated during shift changes at the local automotive plants. But due to economic hardships for the region, rush hour traffic lasts less than an hour, and some freeways are clear all day. The Mixing Bowl, I-75/696 interchange, the I-94/Ford Freeway through Detroit, and the Southfield Freeway can be slow in late afternoons. However some freeways can be congested.
The following freeways have chronic congestion in the morning and evening rush:
- Northbound I-75: Between 8 Mile and 12 Mile
- Southbound I-75: Between Rochester Curve and I-696
- Westbound I-696: Dequindre Curve to Woodward; Coolidge Highway out the Mixing Bowl; Drake Rd. to I-96.
- Eastbound I-696: Mixing Bowl to Woodward Ave.; Groesbeck Highway to I-94
- Westbound I-96: Off of I-696 to Wixom Rd. (due in part to the growing urban sprawl in the area)
- Eastbound I-94: Warren Ave. to Mt. Elliott St.
- Westbound I-94: 12 Mile to I-696; Connor to Jeffries Freeway
For smaller streets, the Detroit area is laid out in wheel-and-spoke, grid, and strip-farm configuration. This was due to first French development (strip farms along the river), early city layout (wheel and spoke from the river's edge), followed by the modern North/South grid. Mile roads run east-west, starting at downtown Detroit and increasing as you travel north. These mile roads may change name in different cities, so pay attention. There are also several spoke roads, including Woodward Ave, Michigan Ave, Gratiot Ave, and Grand River Ave. Only in the old downtown business district is the original Washington D.C./L'Enfant-style wheel and spoke layout found (it is quite confusing, with several one-way streets added for fun). In areas along the River and Lake St. Clair, the colonial-era French practice of allocating strips of land with water access is seen as main roads parallel the water, and secondary roads perpendicular to it.
- 3 Greyhound. Service west to Chicago (5-8 hr, $35), south to Toledo (1 hr, $15), and all over Michigan. The terminal is near downtown at 1001 Howard St.
- Megabus. Discount bus service to and from Chicago (6 hours, $1-25) and Toledo. Megabus has two stops in Detroit: one is at the 4 Rosa Parks Transit Center near Cass and Michigan in Downtown, the other is the 5 Megabus Wayne State University stop in Midtown on W Forest Ave between Cass and Woodward, outside of WSU Parking Structure #8.
- Transit Windsor. The tunnel bus from Windsor runs seven days a week for CAD$5 or US$5 (each way). The bus runs from the main bus station in Windsor (300 Chatham St West) to Rosa Parks Transit Center in Detroit, with stops near the tunnel entrance in Detroit and around downtown Detroit.
- SMART FAST Bus In 2018, SMART began a regional bus service called FAST. Three routes (Michigan, Woodward & Gratiot) run from the suburbs to downtown Detroit making limited stops (every 1-2 miles). Commuters and visitors can park at designated Park&Rides in the suburbs and ride downtown in just under 60 minutes depending on how far away you start out. Cost is $2 for a 4 hour pass ($0.50 reduced), $5 for a 24 hour pass ($2 reduced), $22 for a 7 day pass ($10 reduced) and $70 for a 31 day pass ($29 reduced). Reduced fares apply to students 6-18 & seniors 65+ with proper ID and those with disabilities.
6 Detroit station (Baltimore Street station), 11 W Baltimore Ave (Located at Woodward, in the Midtown and New Center area of the city.). The Amtrak hub for Detroit. The station is connected to the Q-Line streetcar, and from the end of the Q-Line to the People Mover System in downtown Detroit. The station is also serviced by some bus routes.
- Amtrak has services to and from Chicago on the Wolverine Service (5 hours, $25-50), with many connections in Chicago. Deeply-discounted tickets are often available at Amtrak's Weekly Specials page. For travel to the east, a bus connection is available to the Toledo Amtrak station, with trains to New York (16 hr, $75-150) and Washington, D.C. (15 hours, $65-130), but travelers may find the middle-of-the-night departures unappealing.
- Via rail serves neighboring Windsor (Ontario). While there is no train service crossing the border at this point, there are various other options to get from Windsor to Detroit (see below)
U.S. and Canadian citizens are required to present a passport, passport card, enhanced driver's license, or trusted traveler card when crossing the US-Canada border. For more detailed identification requirements, visit Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI). Although it is efficient for an international border, this is the busiest crossing between the two countries, with frequent delays.
There are two ways to get to Detroit from Windsor:
- 7 Ambassador Bridge (accessible from Huron Church Road, which connects to the 401). Bridge traffic can be congested, due to the high number of 18-wheelers. Expect wait times of 30 minutes. Toll per passenger car: $4 (US or Canadian).
- 8 Detroit-Windsor Tunnel (accessible from downtown Windsor). Every time traffic backs up in the tunnel the tunnel is shut down until traffic congestion is eased, which can sometimes take quite a while. A "tunnel bus" (part of Windsor's bus system, but with a higher fare) connects downtown Detroit with Windsor for $5.00 (either US or Canadian). Greyhound buses also use the tunnel. The tunnel bus has its pros saving you money from parking on either side of the border, but the customs and immigrations process can be quite lengthy for bus riders as everyone on the bus must disembark and be cleared through customs. Toll per passenger car: $4.00 (US), $4.75 (Canadian).
Large trucks (including those not allowed on the bridge or into the tunnel due to hazardous cargo, or size) can also be taken across the border by the Truck Ferry.
Pedestrians cannot walk across the bridge or through the tunnel, they must use the tunnel bus. Bicyclists are also prohibited from using the bridge and the tunnel; however, since Oct 31, 2017, it is possible to carry a bicycle in the bike rack of a tunnel bus. It is also possible to disassemble the bike and put it in a bike bag, which can be brought on the bus.
A foot passenger or a bicyclist can also cross the international border about 50 miles north of Detroit, using one of the two ferries on the St Clair River:
- 9 Walpole-Algonac Ferry Line. between Algonac, Michigan and Walpole Island (Port Lambton, Ontario
- Blue Water Ferry. Used to run between Marine City, Michigan and Sombra, Ontario; the Canadian dock was heavily damaged by ice in early 2018 and the two ferryboats were sold in July 2020, ending a five generation family-run operation. .
(See also the list of all ferries in Michigan State here.)
A third crossing, the Gordie Howe International Bridge, is being built between the two existing crossings and is now expected to open in 2024. Unlike the other two crossings, the only stops will be the customs posts on either side of the border, as it will connect to controlled-access highways on both sides. The Detroit side will connect with I-75 and I-94 via a new highway, while Ontario is extending the existing Highway 401 through Windsor directly to the new bridge.
As the historical center of the American automobile industry, with Ford, General Motors and Chrysler once having their main factories here, Detroit is unsurprisingly one of the world's most car-dependent cities.
Detroit's street layout is truly unique, combining wheel-and-spoke, grid, and strip-farm (near the River) layouts. Six major spoke roads radiate out from downtown; they are, in clockwise order, Fort Street, Michigan Avenue, Grand River Avenue, Woodward Avenue, Gratiot Avenue, and Jefferson Avenue. Woodward Avenue runs northwest-southeast (more or less) and divides the northern half of Detroit into east and west; West Warren Street, for instance, becomes East Warren Street when it crosses Woodward. Smaller streets generally conform to a strict grid pattern, but the orientation of the grid and the size and shape of blocks frequently varies to fit better with the spoke roads. Downtown, the layout abandons the grid design, with the spoke roads converging in a confusing but oddly logical arrangement of diagonal, mostly one-way streets.
As Detroit spreads over a large area, it is difficult to be without a car. An extensive freeway system and ample parking make the region one of the most auto-friendly in North America. Detroit has one of America's most modern freeway systems. See the Michigan Department of Transportation website for a current listing of downtown road closures and construction projects. Downtown has a number of parking garages.
Greektown Casino, in the downtown, has a free 13-floor parking garage. Visitors are welcome to pay to park at the Renaissance Center garage. There are plenty of pay-to-park garages, lots, and valet near the Greektown/stadium areas. Premium parking right next to the stadium is well worth the extra price and usually available during a game. Downtown has an ease of entry from the freeways that may surprise new visitors. Valet parking is available at four Renaissance Center locations, the main Winter Garden entrance along the Riverfront, the Jefferson Avenue lobby, Marriott hotel entrance west, and Seldom Blues entrance west.
Detroit has an abundance of taxi, limo, and shuttle services. Car rental prices are reasonable.
While MDOT has discontinued emphasis on the names of freeways, most locals still cling to their names. Make sure you have an atlas with the names as many roads change names as you go along them.
The Mixing Bowl is the confluence of the Lodge/Northwestern, the Reuther, Telegraph Rd, and Franklin Rd. The Spaghetti Bowl is the confluence of 96/275, the Reuther, the M-5, and the Haggerty Connector. The Junction is the confluence of the Jeffries, 275, and M-14 on the far west side suburbs. The Triangle is the beginning of the Jeffries at the Fisher Freeway. The Interchange is the interchange of the Reuther and the Chrysler Freeways. Many freeways bend and because of this many bends are called Curves:
- 9 Mile Curve, Gardenia Curve, Rochester Curve, Big Beaver Curve, Crooks Curve all on I-75
- Dequindre Curve on I-696
- Mound Curve on I-696
- Wyoming Curve and Linwood Curve on the Lodge Freeway
- Fisher/Chrysler Curve: Near downtown Detroit, I-75 makes one of the sharpest turns in the interstate system. It is also the change between the Fisher Freeway and Chrysler Freeway. So if you are going north on the curve it is the Chrysler Curve, if south, the Fisher Curve.
Unlike in most other U.S. cities, traffic signals change to yellow while the pedestrian signal (hand) is still flashing. Exercise caution at intersections to avoid hitting pedestrians scrambling to cross the street when the signal is yellow.
By public transit
The QLine is a 3.3-mile-long tram line on Woodward Avenue, running from Congress Street in downtown Detroit to Grand Boulevard in the New Center. Detroit's history of streetcars began in 1863 with horse cars and eventually grew into a complex and comprehensive system. However, streetcar service eventually ended in 1956; the QLine opened 61 years later and is hoped to be the first of many new tram lines.
The line has 12 stations (four downtown, five in Midtown, and three in New Center/North End), each covered with seating and free Wi-Fi. It connects with the People Mover at Grand Circus Park and with Amtrak at the Amtrak Station. It operates M-Th 6AM-11PM, F 6AM-midnight, Sa 8AM-midnight, Su 8AM-8PM. Walk-up fare (valid for three hours) is $1.50, a day pass is $3, and a monthly pass is $30. Tickets can be purchased with cash on the streetcar or with credit cards at stations or on the app.
Detroit's only rail-based transit is the People Mover, an automated, elevated rail system that runs a 3-mile loop in the downtown area. It is the best way to get around the downtown area. A round trip excursion, covering 13 stations, takes approximately 25 minutes, and offers great views of the city's downtown landmarks. Signature stops include the Renaissance Center (GM HQ & Retail Complex), Greektown, Joe Louis Arena (former home of the Detroit Red Wings), Cobo (Convention) Center, and Cadillac Center (Campus Martius Park). The stations feature original works by local artists. Standard fare $0.75 in cash, and a token can also be bought at the same price.
The Detroit Department of Transportation was organized in 1974 but was formerly known as the Department of Street Railways since 1922 (DSR). DDOT provides mass transit bus service within the city of Detroit and features (10) 24-7 Core Routes, (2) additional 24-7 routes and (30) Local, Crosstown and Express Routes. The main bus terminal is the Rosa Parks Transit Center, located at Cass and Michigan Ave. DDOT buses are green and white.
The SMART Bus was established in 1989 and serves the tri-county area providing peak trips to downtown Detroit and all-day FAST service on three corridors (Gratiot, Woodward & Michigan Ave). These buses are good for commuting both ways, shopping, dining and entertainment.
Bus fares: SMART & DDOT accept DART passes. Cost is $2 for a 4-hour pass ($0.50 reduced), $5 for a 24-hour pass ($2 reduced), $22 for a 7-day pass ($10 reduced) and $70 for a 31-day pass ($29 reduced). Reduced fares apply to students 6-18 & seniors 65+ with proper ID and those with disabilities.
Bike rentals are available in downtown Detroit along the International Riverfront at Rivard Plaza from Wheelhouse. Downtown and the riverfront are usually bustling with visitors.
MoGo is a large public bike share system with 43 stations across the city. A daily pass is $8 and includes unlimited 30-minute trips. There are also monthly and annual passes.
Detroit is one of the best cities for biking. Due to the surge and collapse of the auto industry, most streets have multiple lanes in each direction. Because of sharp population declines, there are rarely enough cars to fill all these lanes, therefore bikers can usually have a lane to themselves, a rare occurrence in most cities. Detroit is home to many budding bike co-ops, the most active is the Hub of Detroit, and its sister program Back-Alley Bikes. Both are in the Cass corridor, on Cass Ave. and Martin Luther King Ave. Back-Alley Bikes has weekly volunteer nights, and monthly women and transgender bike workshops.
The Detroit Critical Mass held on the last Friday of every month is well attended. The Detroit Critical Mass is a guided fun and friendly paced ride, often going through Downtown, passing the old train station, Slows Barbecue, and parts of Mexican town. Critical Mass occasionally meets on Trumbull between Merrick and Warren, near the Woodbridge Pub, though sometimes meets at Grand Circus Park. Check the location and time before you meet-up. Attendance varies with season.
By electric scooter
A car is helpful for getting around the rest of the city, but due to the unusual layout and large number of one-way streets, getting out and walking for a few blocks is a good way to see downtown and Midtown.
This is only a small list of some of the biggest attractions and even though they are listed here, their info is brief. Make sure to check out the district articles for more.
- Renaissance Center, also known as the Ren Cen, is a group of seven interconnected skyscrapers whose central tower is the tallest building in Michigan and the tallest hotel in the Western Hemisphere. Built in 1977, it has the world's largest rooftop restaurant that can be reached by a glass elevator ride. The headquarters of General Motors, it is on the Detroit International Riverfront. See: Downtown.
- Fisher Building is a historic Art-Deco building designed by Albert Kahn in 1928. It has been called Detroit's largest art object. See: Midtown-New Center.
- Guardian Building is a bold example of Art Deco architecture, including art moderne designs. The interior, decorated with mosaic and Pewabic and Rookwood tile, is a must-see. See: Downtown.
- Westin Book Cadillac Hotel is a renovated architectural gem built in 1928. See: Downtown.
- Wayne County Building is America's best surviving example of Roman Baroque architecture. See: Downtown.
- Urban exploration. Detroit is known for its enormous, impressive but decaying relics of American industry and wealth, and thus has much potential for urban exploration. See: Urbex
- Corktown is Detroit's oldest neighborhood. It was settled by Irish people from County Cork, hence the name Corktown. Many historic landmarks are found in the neighborhood, such as the Michigan Central Station and the remnants of Tiger Stadium. See: Southwest Side.
- Greektown is probably Detroit's most famous neighborhood. It has an endless number of Greek restaurants and is home to Greektown Casino. See: Downtown.
- Mexicantown is the fastest growing neighborhood in Detroit. It is famous for its Mexican cuisine, which is evidenced by its vast number of restaurants. See: Southwest Side.
- Palmer Woods is a private historic neighborhood in the city of Detroit west of Woodward Avenue and north of Palmer Park. See: West Side.
- Woodbridge is a historic district home to many architecturally significant houses, most of which are Victorian-style. The neighborhood was one of the few that were not affected by Detroit's decay a few decades back. See: Southwest Side.
- Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History holds the world's largest permanent exhibit on African American culture. See: Midtown-New Center.
- Detroit Institute of Arts is one of the most significant museums in the United States. It has an art collection worth more than one billion dollars. See: Midtown-New Center.
- Hitsville U.S.A. was Motown Records' first headquarters. Berry Gordy founded it in 1959, and all of the Motown hits were recorded here. Today, the building houses a museum of the history of Motown Records. See: Midtown-New Center.
- Detroit Historical Museum covers the history of Detroit and its industries.
- Dossin Great Lakes Museum is a museum devoted to the maritime history of the Great Lakes. One exhibit is the pilot house of a bulk ore freighter.
- Historic Fort Wayne is a fort built in 1845 to defend Detroit from Canada. It also houses the Tuskegee Airmen Museum.
- Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit hosts modern art exhibits.
- Belle Isle is Detroit's premier park. The 1000-acre park lies in the river between Detroit and Windsor and is reached by bridge. It offers swimming, a nature center, yacht club, rowing club, conservatory, golf course, maritime museum. The park hosts motor racing, off-shore boat racing, concerts and small athletic events. The park, which is larger than Central Park in New York City, shared the same designer.
- Rouge Park is the largest park in Detroit. The 1200-acre park includes a golf course, model airplane field, swimming pools, hiking and mountain bike trail.
- Campus Martius Park is Detroit's main urban park. Several skyscrapers surround this park and the adjacent Cadillac Square Park, which was made in 2007 to increase the amount of park space. The park is also home to several monuments, such as the Michigan Soldiers' and Sailors' monument, a Civil War monument. See: Downtown.
- Hart Plaza is a park on Detroit's riverfront. It offers great views of the city's skyline and also has several monuments, such as Dodge Fountain and the Joe Louis Fist. See: Downtown.
- Grand Circus Park is a park that connects the financial district to the theatre district. It is also surrounded by many skyscrapers. The park also has many monuments and statues. See: Downtown.
This is only a small list of some of the some key activities and events to enjoy and even though they are listed here, their info is brief. Make sure to check out the district articles for more.
- Casinos The three major casinos include, MGM Grand Detroit, Motor City and Greektown. Check for performances.
- Concerts, and more Detroit is the birthplace of American electro/techno music, with Juan Atkins, Kevin Saunderson, and Derrick May all hailing from the area. Although other cities around the world have picked up Detroit's torch and carried it further in some ways, Detroit is still a great place to dance and see the masters at work.
- Cruise Ships, the Great Lakes Cruising Coalition. The Dock of Detroit receives major cruise lines on the Great Lakes. Adjacent to the Renaissance Center on Hart Plaza. Local tours include Diamond Jack's River Tours and Detroit Princess. Chartered tours are also available.
- Detroit's Night Life includes a multitude of clubs throughout the metropolitan area.
- Detroit's Vibrant, Underground Arts Scene Detroit is home to over 80 galleries, with artists hailing from around the world. Artists are attracted to Detroit due to its abundance of raw, under-utilized industrial space and its inspiring environment of pre-depression era buildings.
- Detroit's Music Scene The Detroit sound is the sound of the world. It is shaped by Detroit's unique past, its cultural diversity, its energy and its future. Detroit's public information campaign, "The World is Coming, Get in the Game" features an online tour of this music scene. Unlike some cities, there is no central entertainment district (Greektown only partially counts) and many up and coming groups play at venues scattered throughout the area.
- Theater See a performance, Detroit's theaters include the Fox Theater, Fisher Theater, Masonic Theater, Gem Theater & Century Club, Detroit Opera House, and Orchestral Hall.
- North American International Auto Show: . Early October (date needs fixing)
- Ford Fireworks: . Late June (date needs fixing)
- Motown Winter Blast: . Held in January or February in Campus Martius Park, includes ice skating, concerts, and a street party in Greektown. (date needs fixing)
- Detroit Grand Prix Early June. Annual Indy Car race held on Belle Isle.
- Hydrofest: . Hydoplane races on the Detroit River. (date needs fixing)
- Movement Festival: Memorial Day Weekend. Annual electronic music festival.
- Mo Pop Festival: 2-day weekend in July. Annual indie rock, pop and hip hop festival held at West Riverfront Park.
- Detroit Jazz Fest: Free jazz festival held every year during Labor Day weekend at Hart Plaza and Campus Martius Park.
The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, about 45 miles west of Detroit, ranks as one of America's best. Alumni include President Gerald Ford and Google co-founder Larry Page. Others include Wayne State University (alumni include legendary White House Correspondent Helen Thomas and comedian/actress Lily Tomlin), University of Detroit-Mercy, Lawrence Technological University, Oakland University, Oakland Community College which is one of the largest Community Colleges in Michigan, Eastern Michigan University, Marygrove College, and College for Creative Studies.
The Detroit area has many civic and professional organizations. The headquarters for the Society for Automotive Engineers (SAE), Automotive, is in Troy, Michigan, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers in Dearborn, MI and the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) is headquartered in Ann Arbor, MI. Others include the Detroit Economic Club, the Detroit Athletic Club, the Greening of Detroit to promote urban forestry (tree planting), the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, Detroit Renaissance, and Detroit Economic Growth Association (DEGA).
The International Academy, an all International Baccalaureate school (a public, tuition-free consortium high school operated by Bloomfield Hills Schools which consistently ranks among the top 10 public high schools in the nation by Newsweek magazine), Cranbrook Schools (an exclusive private boarding school and academy), the Eton Academy, and Henry Ford Academy are some of outstanding secondary schools in the area.
Some of the major companies which have headquarters or a significant presence in metro Detroit include GM, Ford, Chrysler, Volkswagen of America, Comerica, Rock Financial/Quicken Loans, Kelly Services, Borders Group, Dominos, American Axle, DTE Energy, Compuware, Covansys, TRW, BorgWarner, ArvinMeritor, United Auto Group, Pulte Homes, Taubman Centers, Guardian Glass, Lear Seating, Masco, General Dynamics Land Systems, Delphi, AT&T, EDS, Microsoft, IBM, Google, Verizon, National City Bank, Delta Air Lines, Bank of America, and Raymond James, PwC, Ernst & Young, the FBI, and more.
This is only a small list of shops and even though they are listed here, their info is brief. Make sure to check out the district articles for more.
- 1 Eastern Market, 2934 Russell St. M-Sa 7AM - 5PM. Historic Farmers Market.
- 2 John K. King Books, 901 W. Lafayette, ☏ . One of the best used bookstores in America with over 500,000 books in stock.
- Pure Detroit. Detroit souvenirs. Stores inside the Renaissance Center, the Fisher Building, the Guardian Building, the Belle Island Aquarium, and the Strathmore.
- Riverfront Shops. Detroit. Inside the GM Renaissance Center Winter Garden.
Groceries and other basics
Detroit does not really have a lot of retail options within the city and as a result most city residents tend to head to the suburbs to do any major shopping. Thankfully this has started to change somewhat with a few local independently owned supermarkets opening up and the opening of a Whole Foods Market in Midtown, two Aldi stores, and two Meijer stores means that Detroit no longer has the dubious distinction of being the largest city in the US without a chain grocery store. The major drug store chains such as CVS and Walgreens in addition to convenience stores such as 7-11 however do have a few locations scattered throughout the city.
- Individual listings can be found in Detroit's district articles
Detroit is home to many American classics including Sanders Hot Fudge, Little Caesars Pizza, Better Made Potato Chips, and Vernor's Ginger Ale. (Vernor's Ginger Ale shares the distinction as America's oldest soft drink with Hires Root Beer.)
Detroit is famous for the ubiquitous Coney Island. The term refers to a hot dog with chili, mustard, and chopped fresh onions; the name also applies to restaurants that serve them. The two oldest are American Coney Island and Lafayette Coney Island, next door to each other in downtown Detroit. Coney Islands can be found all over the city. People in the suburbs get their fill from local chains such as National Coney Island and Leo's Coney Island.
Detroit-style pizza is a delicious and crispy deep-dish pizza that you can't really find outside Michigan (with some exceptions). Not quite as thick as Chicago-style pizza, the buttery crust is worth seeking out. The Detroit classic is Buddy's Pizza, with locations throughout the metro Detroit area. Loui's Pizza in Hazel Park makes a fine example, as well. The dozens of Jets Pizzas in the area do it right and do it quickly.
Explore Detroit's Greektown, with its Greek restaurants and shops surrounding the Greektown Casino. Detroit's Mexicantown is known for Mexican cuisine at restaurants such as Mexican Village, Evie's Tamales, El Zocalo and Xochimilco. Restaurants, bakeries, and shops are on Vernor Highway, on both the east and west sides of the Interstate 75 service drive. Hamtramck is famous for its Polish cuisine and bakeries. Choose to dine in elegance at one of Detroit's many fine restaurants a sample of which include the Coach Insignia atop the Renaissance Center Downtown, the Whitney House restaurant in Midtown, or the Opus One in the New Center.
Vernor's Ginger Ale, created by Detroit pharmacist James Vernor, shares the distinction as America's oldest soft drink with Hires Root Beer. A local favorite, Detroiters pour Vernor's over ice cream (this drink is called a "Boston Cooler" in reference to Boston Blvd. in Detroit, not the city in Massachusetts). Also try Faygo soft drinks, another former Detroit based soft drink company. Detroiters enjoy Michigan Wines. A family of GM heritage, the Fisher family Coach Wines are served at the Coach Insignia Restaurant atop the GM Renaissance Center. The Detroit area also hosts a number of microbreweries.
- Individual listings can be found in Detroit's district articles
With plenty of luxurious accommodations, the Detroit area includes many fine hotels to fit all types of needs. Whether it is the riverfront ambiance of the Renaissance Center Marriott, or the old world elegance of the newly restored Westin Book-Cadillac. For a mix of the urban/suburban flair try the international style Westin Southfield-Detroit Hotel.
Budget options are also available, including a hostel in North Corktown.
AT&T is the incumbent landline telephone provider, and Detroit is serviced by all the major mobile telephone companies (Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint)
Detroit numbers consist of +1 313 plus a seven-digit number.
As with most other urban areas in the US, precautions should be taken when out after dark: stay in groups; do not carry large amounts of money; and avoid seedy neighborhoods. The overall crime rate in downtown Detroit is below the national average, and crime has declined significantly, but the city is still among the most dangerous in the country.
While locals have been known to exaggerate the threat, the potential for violent crime is real. Visitors unfamiliar with the area would be wise to avoid residential neighborhoods, particularly at night. Downtown Detroit can also get a bit rough, especially late at night when the bars clear out. That being said, if you exercise common sense and don't go looking for trouble, you'll be fine.
Contrary to some people's perceptions, downtown Detroit is generally well-policed and the safest part of the city. Crimes sometimes occur, but exercising common sense will go a long way toward keeping you and your valuables safe.
Stick to major freeways when possible and try to avoid smaller streets through unfamiliar neighborhoods. How you carry yourself can easily keep you from getting mugged.
Sporting events, festivals and other large public events are always heavily policed and very safe. Sporadic crime events, mostly alcohol-related and involving groups of youths, have been reported at some of these events but they are by far the exception.
Some of the hard-core night club music scene is between downtown venues like the Majestic Theater/Magic Stick complex, places in Hamtramck, and suburban venues in places like Royal Oak. Unless you take a taxi, you will have to drive, navigate the city at night, and typically park on the street. Patrons at some venues, such as Harpo's on the east side, should take safety precautions.
Always use caution and ask around before going to a particular venue. People at record stores, guitar shops, "cool" clothing stores, and the like often visit and know which venues are easy to get to and reasonably safe.
Detroit has a modern freeway system that is easy to navigate, but suburban Detroit drivers tend to drive fast and aggressively. The flow of traffic on a freeway is routinely 10 mi over the speed limit, and weaving in and out of lanes is standard practice, often times without signaling. If you are driving the posted speed limit in the fast lane, the driver behind you may have no qualms about tailgating you, so if you plan on driving slowly, stay in the far right lane. Detroit Metropolitan Airport has an attached Westin Hotel and conference center.
The airport is among the most modern in the United States with both international and domestic gates in the World Terminal. Galegroup's Hour Media LLC publishes a full color guest guide found in hotels in the metro Detroit area. Visitors may request a guest packet from the Detroit Convention and Visitors Bureau. The Convention and Visitors Bureau sponsors Discover Detroit TV which airs Mondays at 5:30PM on Detroit Public Television. The city has ample parking garages, valet, and pay-to-park lots near major attractions. Laurel Park Place Mall in Livonia has an attached Marriott Hotel. The Westin Hotel at the Southfield Town Center is centrally located for those needing access to the entire metropolitan region.
- Albania, 3300, Lone Pine Road West Bloomfield, MI 48323, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Austria, 100 W. Long Lake Road, Suite 118 Bloomfield Hills, MI 48304, ☏ , email@example.com.
- Barbados, 28111 Hoover Road, Suite 1A Warren, MI 48093, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Belgium (Honorary), 30 Edgemere Rd, Gross Pointe Farms, ☏ , email@example.com.
- Canada, 600 Renaissance Center Ste 1100, ☏ , fax: , firstname.lastname@example.org.
- France, 500 Woodward Avenue, Suite 3500, ☏ , fax: , email@example.com.
- Germany (Honorary), 2100 Pontiac Lake Rd, Bldg 41 W, Waterford, ☏ , fax: , firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Iraq, ☏ .
- Italy, 535 Griswold, Buhl Bldg Ste 1840, ☏ , fax: , email@example.com.
- Japan, 400 Renaissance Center, Ste 1600, ☏ , fax: , firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Lebanon, ☏ .
- North Macedonia, 2000 Town Center Suite 1130 Southfield, MI 48075, ☏ , fax: , email@example.com.
- Mexico, 645 Griswold Ave, Ste 1700, The Penobscot Bldg, ☏ , fax: .
- Netherlands (Honorary), 35035 Cricklewood Blvd, New Baltimore, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Sweden, 635 Puritan Ave, Birmingham, ☏ , email@example.com.
- Turkey, 25816 Orchard Lake Road Farmington Hills, MI 48336, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Ukraine, 26601 Ryan Road Warren, MI 48091, ☏ , email@example.com.
- United Kingdom, 150 W Jefferson Ave, Ste 100, ☏ , fax: .
- Yemen, 13939 Michigan Avenue Dearborn, MI 48126.
- The Detroit News. Published Monday through Saturday.
- Detroit Free Press. Published daily.
- Metro Times. Alternative weekly covering news, arts and entertainment. Published Wednesdays; free.
Although Detroit provides the majority of the region's visitor attractions, the Southeast Michigan area is large and diverse and contains a great wealth of hot spots and attractions that are also well worth visiting.
- Ann Arbor - Home to the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor offers many attractions of a self-enclosed small city. A thriving downtown, lots of culture, and plenty of students. Canoeing is a favorite pastime on the Huron River, available through Metro parks near Ann Arbor. Additionally, the city boasts the number one rated Ann Arbor Street Art Fair which attracts over 500,000 attendees from across the nation each July. Enjoy the Beach at Kensington Metropark, or winter skiing at nearby Mt. Holly, and Brighton.
- Dearborn - Detroit's suburb to the Southwest and home of Ford Motor Company, Dearborn, has a leading attraction, The Henry Ford (the Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village), a large historical and entertainment complex, and the Automotive Hall of Fame. Dearborn has the second largest Middle-Eastern population in the world, with mosques being a common sight and a wide selection of Middle-Eastern food and shopping. Detroit's public information campaign, "The World is Coming, Get in the Game" has created an online tour (see section "Do" for the link) of Dearborn's cultural scene.
- Flint - The home of the modern labor union movement in the U.S. While not as tourist-friendly as Ann Arbor, Flint has a great art scene for a city of its size and is much less pretentious.
- Grand Rapids - Michigan's second largest city. With a skyline filled with construction cranes, many believe Grand Rapids is Michigan's future. With a great, clean downtown area and the city's proximity to Lake Michigan, Grand Rapids is a grand experience waiting to happen.
- Lake St. Clair and the St. Clair River - Waterfront activities and living are among the luxuries of the metropolitan Detroit area. Experience cruises and boating on beautiful Lake St. Clair. The St. Clair River connects Lake St. Clair to Lake Huron. In the quiet town of St. Clair, along the St. Clair River, dine at the Voyager Seafood restaurant at 525 South Riverside. Enjoy the charm of a small town lifestyle in a major metropolitan area in and around Lake St. Clair's Anchor Bay. Visitors to downtown Detroit may reserve a dock at William G. Milliken State Park and Harbor. Or enjoy a Great Lakes cruise.
- Royal Oak - Home to the beautifully landscaped Detroit Zoo, Royal Oak is a gay friendly suburb outside of Detroit which boasts a classy night scene with exciting dining and a diverse avant-garde bar culture. Also see: Ferndale
- Troy - Troy, a suburb of Detroit, contains the Somerset Collection, one of the largest upscale malls in the Midwest. Visit Nordstrom, Macy's, Henri Bendel, Ralph Lauren/Polo, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Tiffany & Co, Barney's New York, and more than 180 other specialty shops. Follow Big Beaver Road east as it becomes the Metropolitan Parkway toward Metropolitan Beach on beautiful Lake St. Clair.
- Traverse City is home to beaches, tart cherries, and grapes, and is only a 4 hour drive north on I-75.
- Toledo, Ohio is about an hour south on the DT Expressway (I-75). This mid-sized city is on the edge of Lake Erie, which offers numerous nearby recreational opportunities. The city is a good destination for restaurant and architecture buffs. Toledo also boasts a nationally known art museum and zoo, and is a regional center for alternative energy research and development.
- Cedar Point is about an hour east of Toledo, this action packed amusement park is routinely ranked among the best in the world.
Elsewhere in America
- Chicago is home to blues music, Millennium Park, and many sports teams that are hated in the Detroit area. Only a 6-hour drive away on I-94.
- The Detroit area is a major gateway to the rest of the Great Lakes Megalopolis in the United States and Canada.
- Windsor, Ontario, Canada lies just across the Ambassador Bridge or through the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel, which is located right next to the Renaissance Center (good to use if you see traffic backed up onto I-75). This heavily trafficked border crossing has shaped Windsor more than anything else; well-maintained, walkable streets, shops and restaurants, Caesars Windsor casino, and adult entertainment. The lower drinking age (19) draws young Americans and ensures a vibrant club scene on weekends. Windsor provides great views of Detroit's skyline, especially on summer nights from waterfront Dieppe Park. Crossing the border requires a passport.
- You can start going up the Windsor-Quebec corridor right across the Ambassador Bridge.
|Routes through Detroit|
|Battle Creek ← Dearborn ←||W E||→ Royal Oak → Pontiac|
|Flint ← Ferndale ←||N S||→ Melvindale → Toledo|
|Ann Arbor ← Dearborn ←||W E||→ Grosse Pointe → Port Huron|
|Lansing ← Redford ←||W E||→ Ambassador Bridge → → Windsor|
|Coldwater ← Dearborn ←||W E||→ END|
|Pontiac ← Southfield ←||N S||→ Redford → Toledo|
|Pontiac ← Ferndale ←||N S||→ END|
|Novi ← Redford ←||W E||→ END|
|Farmington Hills ← Southfield ←||N S||→ END|
|END ← Southfield ←||N S||→ Dearborn → Lincoln Park|