Detroit, Michigan, is a truly fascinating city: Once called the Paris of the West for its architecture, it became a beacon of the modern industrial age, home to major American automobile manufacturers and a unique musical sound. After a steep decline in population, political corruption and tax revenue in the second half of the 20th century, Detroit was hurting. Now, intrepid investors and young entrepreneurs are bringing life back to Detroit, with new neighborhoods, hotels, restaurants and more popping up practically overnight. It's an exciting time for Motown.
Must See In Detroit
For those interested in the arts, you must visit the Detroit Opera House and the Detroit Institute of Arts; the latter houses the acclaimed Diego Rivera Detroit Industry murals. Detroit is also home to the renowned Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. Detroit is a crazy sports town, so catch a Red Wings game or a Tigers game and then grab a drink in the nearby trendy Midtown neighborhood.
Where to Stay in Detroit
Most of the big chain hotels are located downtown, close to the major sports venues like Ford Field and Comerica Park, as well as The Fillmore and the Fox Theatre. Consider taking the Detroit People Mover, an elevated tram, which cuts through this area of the city and stops at many of the major highlights.
Best and Worst Time to Visit Detroit
The Detroit metropolitan area is the epicenter of arts and entertainment for the region. As such, from regular events like a Lions game to enormous events like the North American International Auto Show, traffic can get congested. Still, these events are when Detroit possesses a wonderful energy. Check out the annual fireworks event (usually held in late June), or one of the many music festivals that come through the city.
Where to Get Lost in Detroit
Eastern Market, with its dozens of shops, farm stands and more, is a local favorite. Love it or hate it, you should also check out the Heidelberg Project, just north of Elmwood Park. Celebrating its 30th anniversary, the Heidelberg is a massive, polarizing outdoor art installation: some visitors consider it an inspired contribution to a struggling neighborhood, others see it as an eyesore.
The Best Deal in Detroit
Detroit purists will say that you've got to check out their world-famous coney dog: a snapping hot dog topped with chili, mustard and onions. A pair of dogs will set you back a few bucks but are incredibly filling. Try rival (and neighbor) restaurants Lafayette Coney Island and American Coney Island and pick your favorite.
Transportation in Detroit
Beyond the People Mover monorail, local bus lines service the vast geographical scope of Detroit and its suburbs.
Getting in from Detroit Metropolitan Airport
Detroit's major international airport, Detroit Metropolitan Wayne Country Airport, is located some 25 minutes outside of downtown. While very limited and indirect bus transportation is available to downtown, you're better off taking private transportation.
Local Tips for a Visitor to Detroit
Detroit is filled with gorgeous performance spaces, from the Fox Theatre to the Fisher Theatre. Make sure to take in a show if you can; many touring Broadway productions will stop at either of these places. Detroit is also going through a restaurant and bar boom, so explore outside of your culinary comfort zone.
Author's bio: Jeff Birou is an education administrator by day, travel and freelance writer by night. You can find him at his blog, Lance+Jeff, or on Twitter at @Jetsetter_Jeff.