Metro Detroit is the principal urban area in Southeast Michigan with a population of over 5 million.
Metro Detroit is among the major metropolitan areas of the United States with a recreational waterfront. Its freshwater coastline along the Great Lakes connects to the St. Lawrence Seaway, making it a highly desirable location for commerce and tourism. The metropolitan area shares an international border with Ontario, Canada. Boating and watersports of all types are among the popular activities. A major port and cruise ship docking site, the area is known as the world's automotive capital and contains many major corporations.
Metro Detroit is the site of national convention activity and business meetings, major sports, and large concerts and events. Consequently, the area has a full complement of world class hotels, restaurants, entertainment, museums, and theaters. Detroit features major casino resorts including MGM Grand Detroit, Motor City Casino, and Greektown Casino with Caesar's Windsor just across the border in Canada. A passport is required to cross the border, but U.S. currency is readily accepted in Canada, although you will get the best exchange rate by trading your U.S. dollars for Canadian ones at a bank.
Metro Detroit contains a number of major shopping destinations including the upscale Somerset Collection Mall in Troy, the Great Lakes Crossing outlet mall in Rochester Hills, and the Twelve Oaks Mall in Novi which are popular enclosed malls, each containing around 180 stores. The Mall at Partridge Creek in Clinton Township offers an upscale outdoor shopping experience in a lifestyle center with about 90 stores. Laurel Park Place Mall in Livonia is a popular 70 store shopping destination and features an attached Marriott Hotel. Briarwood Mall is a large suburban mall which serves the Ann Arbor college community. Other large malls in the metro area include Lakeside Mall in Sterling Heights and Fairlane Towne Center in Dearborn. Fairlane Town Center Mall in Dearborn is about 15 minutes from downtown Detroit.
English is the major language spoken in Metro Detroit. However, there are business travelers and residents in the metro area from all over the world so residents and businesses are accustomed to communicating with those who have difficulty speaking English.
The metro area is served by the Detroit Metropolitan Airport and has an advanced network of freeways. There are no toll roads in Michigan. Greyhound bus lines and Amtrak provide national service to Metro Detroit.
The metro area has public bus transportation provided by the Suburban Mobility Transport (SMART) and the Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT). The Detroit People Mover, an elevated train system, serves downtown Detroit's central business district and will link to Midtown Detroit by the Woodward Light Rail. Regional planners have implemented a limited rail service from Ann Arbor to Dearborn and Detroit - check for times.
One major destination is The Henry Ford in Dearborn, whose main attractions are the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village, a National Historic Landmark. The Henry Ford is America's largest indoor-outdoor museum complex with an IMAX. Great for families, the museum entertainment complex has the world's largest car collection and features Model T rides, an old-fashioned railway, and many of America's historic treasures including Edison's original laboratory, the Wright Brother's Bicycle Shop, JFK's limousine, Abraham Lincoln's chair from Ford's Theatre, and many other things. Tour some of "America's castles," the historic mansions of the 'auto barons' and even a 'media mogul', including those Henry Ford's Fairlane, the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House on the lakefront in Grosse Pointe, Meadow Brook Hall (Dodge-Wilson) in Rochester Hills, the Lawrence Fisher mansion (General Motors) in Detroit, and the Cranbrook House in Bloomfield Hills.
The Detroit Zoo in Royal Oak is world renowned, beautifully landscaped, and highly recommended. Among the many outstanding exhibits, the zoo features an underwater glass tunnel showcasing the arctic ring of wildlife with the world's largest polar bear exhibit. The zoo contains the full complement of wildlife exhibits and is encircled by an old fashioned train ride.
The Detroit area is known for its arts and culture as well as its architecture and regal estates. The Detroit Institute of Arts in Midtown Detroit contains over 100 galleries of fine arts from the world famous artists and is one of the largest collections of prominent art in the United States and is highly recommended. Another important art collection resides at the Cranbrook Art Museum in Bloomfield Hills the site of Cranbrook House and many large estates. Cranbrook is a National Landmark. A cruise along Lake Shore Drive in Grosse Pointe will also reveal many regal mansions. Downtown Detroit contains many skyscrapers and theatres including the National Landmark Fox Theatre which features Broadway performances. Seeing a theatre performance in Detroit is highly recommended.
There are great full service hotels and resorts throughout the city and metropolitan area. Its best to stay on a hotel that is near the locality or places planned for the itinerary. The Westin Southfield is an example of a central, full service hotel for someone needing to cover the entire metropolitan area.
- Tour the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House and grounds in Grosse Pointe for about two hours. Take some scenic lakefront photos. Afterward, cruise Lakeshore Drive heading toward downtown Detroit along Jefferson Avenue. You'll pass the restored monument known as the Hurlbut Memorial Gate at Jefferson Avenue and Cadillac Blvd along the way. There should be time to stop and park at the Renaissance Center just before you dine to satisfy curiosity and see the riverfront. From the Renaissance Center along Jefferson Ave., take a right on Woodward Ave. and head toward Grand Circus Park. Splurge and pay to park next to the stadium for an easy exit so after the grand finale fireworks after an evening ball game. Before the Tiger's evening baseball game, dine at the Hockey Towne safe across from Comerica Park. This is a full day.
- Optional: Following a daytime activity or game, plan to dine downtown. For first time visitors, dine atop the Renaissance Center at Coach Insignia, or at Andiamos inside, and ride the People Mover around for some scenic views and stop in Greektown for the evening nightlife. Best to make reservations when dining at the Coach Insignia atop the Renaissance Center on a game day. The Omni Riverplace is great choice for dining as is the Westin Book Cadillac.
- Visit the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village for a whole day of fun inside and out. Check the internet for special events at the Henry Ford. Dine in Greenfield Village for lunch and at the Dearborn Inn for dinner afterward and/or visit the rooftop lounge at atop the Hyatt Regency Dearborn.
- Visit the Detroit Zoo in Royal Oak during the day. In the evening, head to Somset Collection Mall in Troy for dining and shopping. Visit Royal Oak restaurants and bars in the evening.
- Visit the Detroit Institute of Arts during the day. Take a break. Dine at the Whitney House Mansion in Midtown or the museum cafe, head to one of the Casino resorts and night club in the evening.
- Visit one of the metro area beaches, Kensington, Detroit Metropolitan Beach, or Stony Creek Beach and play golf.
- Tour Meadow Brook Hall in Rochester Hills, also known as the Dodge-Wilson mansion, head to the nearby enclosed Great Lakes Crossing outlet mall in Auburn Hills for shopping. Dine at the Rainbow Forest Cafe inside the mall. The Royal Park Hotel in Rochester is great place to stay.
Detroit offers a array of events with some of the highlights listed. 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 city articles for more.
- Beaches, Canoeing, Kayaking, and more Metro Detroit's popular destinations include Metropolitan Beach in St. Clair Shores, Stony Creek Beach, and Kensington Beach. Detroit's Huron Clinton Metro Park system is a great source of fun. Enjoy canoe trips on the Huron River [dead link].
- Car Racing at Flat Rock Speedway, Michigan International Speedway, Milan Dragway, and Waterford Hills Race Track.
- Casinos The four major casinos include, MGM Grand Detroit, Motor City and Greektown, and Casino Windsor. Check for performances.
- Concerts, and more Detroit is the birthplace of American electro/techno music, with Juan Atkins, Kevin Saunderson, and Derrick Mays 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. 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 public information campaign, "The World is Coming, Get in the Game"  features an online tour  of this arts scene.
- 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 many cities, Detroit has no central entertainment district (Greektown only partially counts) and many up and coming groups play at venues scattered throughout the area. Website Motor City Blog lists music events happening in the Detroit area.
- Golf Metro Detroit has many award-winning golf courses. Try Detroit's Metro parks [dead link], St John's Resort in Plymouth, and more.
- Horse Racing Hazel Park Raceway, Northville Downs, and Windsor Raceway.
- 1 International Freedom Festival. Detroit. Begins the last week of June.
- Motown Winter Blast. Held in January or February in Campus Martius Park, includes ice skating, concerts, and a street party in Greektown.
- 2 North America International Auto Show. Cobo Hall. NAIAS is held in January.
- Old Car Festival Antique and classic car collector's show in Greenfield Village at The Henry Ford in Dearborn the weekend after Labor Day.
- Palazzo di Bocce, 4291 S. Lapeer Road. In Orion Township, about 40 minutes north of Downtown, is the largest and most elaborate bocce facility in the United States, and perhaps the world. You can play bocce on one of 10 indoor tournament-sized courts with court hosts and hostesses to help if you don't know the game. You can have cocktails and eat courtside while playing, or later in the restaurant, which serves authentic Italian food. Palazzo was the site of the 2005 U.S. national tournament, and hosted the 2005 Singles World Bocce Championships attended by athletes from 17 nations in September. Very popular for group events; Friday and Saturday nights are more crowded.
- Sailing Races. The annual Bayview Yacht club Mackinaw Island sailing race starts in Metro Detroit.
- Skiing and Snowboarding in Metro Detroit, Mt. Brighton Ski Area, 4141 Bauer Rd., Brighton (near I-96 & M-23 in Metro Detroit). See also, Alpine Valley ski area, Apple Mountain Ski Resort, Baki Maountain Cross Country Ski Trails, Mt. Holly ski area, Pine Knob ski area.
- Spirit of Detroit Thunderfest. Hydoplane races on the Detroit River. Mid-July.
- 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.
- Waterparks, including Belle Isle Waterslide, Waterford Oaks, Red Oaks, Four Bears Water Park & Entertainment Complex.
- Woodward Dream Cruise. A car fanatic's paradise, this is an informal drive along Woodward Avenue from Ferndale to Pontiac, where anything imaginable can be seen, from Vipers to vintage cruisers to tricked-out garbage trucks. Happens every August at the height of summer.
Metro Detroit has a multitude of great restaurants to explore. See individual city articles for more. The area is famous for such delites as Vernor's ginger ale, Sanders Candy and Desert Shops (Birmingham, Grosse Pointe, Livonia, and Novi) known for chocolate butter cream bumpy cakes, and Vince and Joe's Gourmet (Clinton Township and Shelby Township) with all sorts of wonderful deserts.