Detroit On a Budget
Murals, markets, greenways, bike shops, distilleries and inventive chefs are getting the city's groove on, along with fresh public works like the new street car and sports arena downtown. While the city does have an abandoned, otherworldly vibe in some areas, it's these same qualities that fuel a raw urban energy you won't find anywhere else. Artists, entrepreneurs and young people keep moving in, and a DIY spirit pervades. They're converting vacant lots into urban farms and abandoned buildings into cafes and museums, making it an interesting and exciting destination to visit.
SightsThe 1928 Fisher Building from the man who built Detroit, Albert Kahn, has an imposing art deco exterior made from Minnesota granite and Maryland marble, and an interior to rival any Italian cathedral. From the soaring vaulted ceilings, featuring an array of intricate, hand-painted patterns, to the sparkling mosaics by Hungarian artist Geza Maroti and gleaming marble on the walls, the visual inspiration here is endless.
The Motown Historical Museum. In this row of modest houses Berry Gordy launched Motown Records - and the careers of Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye and Michael Jackson - with an $800 loan in 1959. Gordy and Motown split for Los Angeles in 1972, but you can still step into humble Studio A and see where the famed names recorded their first hits.
The Detroit Institute of Arts holds one of the world's finest art collections. The centerpiece is Diego Rivera's mural Detroit Industry, which fills an entire room and reflects the city's blue-collar labor history. Beyond it are Picassos, Caravaggios, suits of armor, modern African American paintings, puppets and troves more spread through 100-plus galleries.
The Ford Piquette Avenue Plant Tour takes visitors to the only "Brass Era" auto assembly plant in Detroit that is open to the public. A National Historic Landmark, the Ford Piquette Road plant was built in 1904, and it was the first factory owned by the Ford Motor Company and specifically built to manufacture the Ford. It was in that building that Mr. Ford designed his Model T and forever guaranteed himself a spot in the pages of history.
Detroit's central business district, containing most of the prominent skyscrapers in Detroit. It is the nation's second largest theatre district, has several parks, three casinos, and three major league sporting venues.
This is Detroit's cultural center, home to several world class museums, art galleries, and Wayne State University.
Detroit's oldest neighborhood. It was settled by Irish people from County Cork, hence the name Corktown. Many historic landmarks are located in the neighborhood, such as the abandoned Michigan Central Station and Tigers Stadium.
Detroit's most famous neighborhood, known for its nightlife and gambling scene. It has an endless number of Greek restaurants and is home to Greektown Casino.
The fastest growing neighborhood in Detroit. Predominantly hispanic, the area is famous for its Mexican cuisine, which is evidenced by its vast number of restaurants.
ActivitiesCampus Maritus Park, a new public space in the heart of Detroit's downtown, is the perfect spot to while away a sunny afternoon. At the center is the Michigan Soldiers & Sailors Monument: In the warmer months, there's a sandy beach at its foot; in the winter, the space becomes the city's most popular ice rink. There's a stage for concerts and, in summer, a pop-up restaurant and bar.
Pretty Belle Isle Park floats in the Detroit River. The entire expanse is parkland where kayaking, walking trails and a glass-domed conservatory await. There's a beach, zoo, aquarium and maritime museum, too. The cycling here is terrific.
Experience a jazz fest at Baker's Keyboard Lounge. Come for the music, stay for the top-notch soul food - Detroit's longest continuously operating jazz club has made it through 80 years of ups and downs for a reason.
Go on a river cruise. Built in 1993 in Jennings, Louisiana, the Detroit Princess is an impressive cruise ship that offers several different kinds of river tours including lunch, afternoon, dinner, and moonlight cruises. The Detroit Princess is also available to host a variety of events such as corporate functions or private events like birthday parties, family reunions, and weddings.