Dearborn, Michigan, is a city with its own distinctive beat. Although it's right next to Detroit, Dearborn has a different flavor. If you're looking for a city rich in diverse cultures, food, music, and specialty shops, Dearborn is perfect for the traveler who prefers a slower, but moderate pace. It's a city where you can relax and explore.
Must see in Dearborn
You can't visit the city of Dearborn without checking out the Henry Ford Museum. Henry Ford, the founder of Ford Motor Co., loved this city, and you'll see why. The Henry Ford Museum features classic cars, Ford's favorites rides, the Made in America exhibit, Presidential limousines and more.
Next up is the Arab American National Museum. Nestled in the very heart of Dearborn, Arab culture comes alive in this beautiful structure. Arts, culture and the overall Arab-American experience is explored. You'll also learn more about Dearborn's Arab connection.
And then you can't miss Greenfield Village. Greenfield Village takes you in a time machine through 300 years of history. You can even ride a Vintage Ford Model T. Time literally stands still in Greenfield Village.
Where to stay in Dearborn
Neighborhoods in Dearborn are generally divided by the major streets: Telegraph Rd. and Michigan Ave. The Telegraph area has a number of fast food stops and local restaurants. Michigan Ave. is the heart of Dearborn, as it connects both East Downtown Dearborn and West Downtown Dearborn. Travelers with children should stay in the East Dearborn area. Younger travelers might want to stay in the heart of West Downtown Dearborn, because that's where the nightlife in the city springs to life. However, you'll find some of the cheapest deals in East Downtown Dearborn, as there are plenty of discount shopping options along Michigan Ave.
Best and worst time go to Dearborn
The best time to visit Dearborn is between May and August, when the weather is generally warm. But it's Michigan, so it can go from 80 degrees to 65 degrees in the span of days (sometimes in a single day).
The worst time to visit Dearborn is during Michigan's winter months (November through February). The worst of it typically kicks in around January and the snow, cold, and icy weather sticks around till about late April (generally lots of rain).
Where to get lost in Dearborn
West Downtown Dearborn is a nice stretch to walk. You'll find cafes, bars, parks, major supermarkets, and bistros. Check out Moose's Martini Pub bar, which has the best chicken nachos you'll find in metro Detroit and some great discount cocktails. Then try Dearborn Music, which has been a staple in the community since 1956, and they still sell records. Yes, vinyl. It's got a vibe that attracts music lovers who want to get lost in the stacks, flipping through titles and discovering everything from rock, jazz, Classical, hip-hop and the unclassifiable. It's one of the city's best treasures.
The best deal in Dearborn
If you enjoy free concerts, the Dearborn Homecoming Festival is one of the best deals happening every summer (August) in East Dearborn. Best of all, it's free. And features live entertainment from national and local artists. Green Brain Comics on Michigan Ave. hosts a Free Comic Book Day extravaganza every first Saturday in May.
Transportation in Dearborn
Although Dearborn doesn't have mass transit, it utilizes reliable SMART bus transportation, which can take you from the downtown area, all the way up to Fairlane Mall (a large indoor mall). You won't see too many taxis in the city because most Dearborn residents (and metro Detroiters) drive cars or take the SMART bus. Parking is plentiful, so renting a car wouldn't be a bad idea at all.
Getting In from Metro Airport
Detroit Metropolitan Airport is situated roughly 15 minutes from most activities you'll find in Downtown West Dearborn. You'll have to take a cab or arrange for a shuttle. From Detroit Metropolitan Airport, you'll take I-94, which can lead you straight to Michigan Ave. The drive isn't very long (about 15-20 minutes).
Local tip for visitors to Dearborn
Dearborn hosts one of the largest populations of Arabs in the country. If you're really interested in experiencing Middle Eastern cuisine, then this'll be well worth the trip. However, you might have to dig a little deeper to find Italian, Thai, or coney island restaurants. Coney dogs are a staple of the metro Detroit experience. Generally speaking, east Dearborn is well known for Middle Eastern shops, cuisine. West Dearborn (downtown) has a more cosmopolitan feel. Keep that in mind as you explore the city.
Author's bio: Cornelius Fortune is a writer and journalist whose work has appeared in Yahoo News, WD's Ventito, iPhone Life Magazine, Cinema Blend, and others. He's been a speechwriter, a ghost blogger, television critic, copywriter, and the managing editor of a weekly newspaper. His play, "Dislocations," was a finalist for the Downtown Urban Theater Festival (DUTF), and was performed during the 2014 Thespis Theater Festival in New York. Follow him on Twitter @Arlingtonscribe.