Ebooks   ➡  Nonfiction  ➡  Travel  ➡  Essays & Travelogues  ➡  By region

Detroit Best Reviewed Go-See-Do Travel Guide


Best Reviewed


Travel Guide

Edited by Maryann Huk

Published by Cardinal Content

Smashwords Edition

copyright © 2015 by Cardinal Content.

All Rights Reserved







Detroit Go See Do Travel Guide


Detroit is one of it not the most unique of cities in the United States. Unique in the sense that has no true corollary to the way it is now compare to the other cities of North America. This wasn’t true, even a decade or so ago. Detroit was a large version of a stressed Midwestern Industrial City with a high amount of its original neighborhoods and industrial base. Though many of the neighborhoods are in intact and some manufacturing remains, Detroit is transfigured by the recent past. The Detroit we found is becoming more central, younger, with far more high tech and service jobs. It is becoming more reliant on its culture and artistic drive than ever before. It is also taking advantage of the open spaces left by demolition and abandonment in parts of the cityscape. We allude to this by calling it what Detroiters call these areas, Prairie. It’s this combination of reborn primitiveness and twenty first century futurism that is so captivating. We scratched our heads trying to think of another place on the planet quite like Detroit, and we could not come close.


This Detroit we found, the one some are calling Future City Detroit, is coming through a metamorphosis. It would be easier to repeat the already over-used tern of New Detroit, complete with its ironic usage in such popular films as the decades old Robocop. However Future City Detroit, or Future Detroit seems more apt. There is definitely going to be a future in Detroit. At this hour we can see, with some clarity, the full picture of what is developing in Detroit. For a visitor going there it is a rare opportunity to witness the inexorable forces that are the way civilization endures and thrives. At the same time the visitor will have a wonderful time enjoying a safe, clean downtown and central core that is only becoming more vibrant and inviting.



Detroit, a major metropolis in the US state of Michigan, 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. The city offers a myriad things to see and do. Detroit is an exciting travel destination filled with technological advance and historic charm.

Table of Contents:

Downtown Detroit

Events Gaming











Weather in Detroit: The usual description for Detroit’s weather is Continental. Which means of course, hot and humid in the summer, cold and bitter in the winter, with a smidgen of fall and spring in-between. Well, that is not inaccurate but it is not telling, either. Detroit, like any of the Great Lake Cities has a variable microclimate that ranges from the marine temperate along Lake St.Catherines and the Detroit River, to greater hot and cold in the interior. One thing that surprises visitors to Detroit is that it does not share the other Great Lake Cities snowiness. Snow does happen in Detroit, and it can be harsh at times, but the celebrated Lake Effect is rare because the prevailing winds are toward the water, and not from it. Also, what may not be known is that Detroit enjoys lengthy springs and falls, both offering outstanding outdoor weather. And, in spite of the occasional server thunderstorm, Detroit is a pretty sunny place with many days of full and partial sunshine throughout the year.


Getting to Detroit



Air Travel to Detroit


Detroit Metro Airport is located some 20 minutes west of the Detroit City limits. Where it is at the junction of I-275 and I-94 travelers will find numerous hotels and motels. DTW now has two main terminals the McNamara Terminal and North Terminals and have both domestic and international gates. Light rail shuttles travelers in the McNamara Terminal. There is a free shuttle between the terminals. The airport was modernized by adding six major runways. The fastest way to downtown from the airport is to rent a car or take a taxi. It is also relatively expensive, though not as much as other big American cities. Another option is the Detroit Suburban bus system. Route number 125 comes through the airport on the half hour. The whole way takes more than an hour.


We did not drive a car in Detroit while producing this ebook. Twice, we took a cab but that was just because we got lost, sort of. The rest of the time, over months of exploration and discovery Cardinal Content used Detroit and Suburban Detroit public transportation, Amtrak, and the Public Transportation in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti and Megabus to get to both. However the vast majority of the time we walked. The Downtown Detroit area is easy to walk. Even better is by bicycle. However, a large number of travelers go to Detroit by car, or have a car when they are there.

By Car a Quick Look.

The most common way travelers come and go to Detroit is by car: Pretty appropriate. One has to wonder for how many American made cars going to Detroit is a kind of homecoming. And why not? All the things cars love. Detroit has hundreds of miles of high-speed freeways (really high speed.) wide boulevards and arterials, and plenty of free parking. However, they will not like the occasional pothole, and seemingly endless road construction, but they will get over it.

By Car More in-Depth

As your GPS indicates, Detroit is one of those places where the central city butts up against water -- the Detroit River and everything radiated out from there. The tricky part to grasp is the orientation. The trick trivia question about what lies south of Detroit? (Windsor, Ontario Canada) gives you an idea of the challenge. The key thing to keep in mind is that though it seems you come into Detroit from the south on Interstate 75, headed north (and you are) you are actually traveling from the West to the East. Then, as you head out of downtown Detroit on one of the east-west freeways such as 96, you are not going west, (though you are) you are heading north. It’s like the much-made-famous 8 Mile road that some think defines Detroit, is an east to west road, that is north of downtown Detroit. Okay, now you are getting it. The orientation of Detroit is downtown at the center of a compass, with the lower quadrant belongs to Canada, and the rest is the city and Michigan beyond.

Now that you are heading in the right direction, and have you GPS working just so, get ready to drive. . .fast. Michiganders take driving as an exercise that should be done for only the shortest time possible. More than a few topflight amateur drivers from cities with big reputations for fast and furious drivers are stunned by what the encounter in Detroit. It is not beyond the possible to observe high speed driving (approaching and exceeding 100 mph) on the freeways close to the city center. At the same time, moving from lane to lane and passing on any side, is something that is done instinctively and with great confidence by Michigan drivers. Now, the end result of this is a certain fatalism they have about the eventual accident. At the same time, they are easily among the most focused and reliant drivers to found, anywhere. None the less, we have personally encountered occasions where professionals who drive hundreds of thousands of miles a year will ask among themselves who will and who will not even try to drive in Detroit. Not just a few will not. It seems it is not for everyone.

On the slower city streets, the Detroit area is laid out in wheel-and-spoke; grid, and strip-farm configuration. This was due to first French settlers (strip farms along the river), early city layout (wheel and spoke from the river’s edge), followed by modern North/South grid. Mile roads, such as 8 Mile, 9 mile, 10 mile et. run east-west as measured from Campus Martius in downtown Detroit. 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 can be quite confusing at first 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. This also can be very confusing to non-residents.

Buses to Detroit

Time and again, Megabus was our first choice for travel to Detroit. Now, our advantage is that our base of operation is Pittsburgh, Pa. Megabus has a limited hub in Pittsburgh with a single route that originates in Pittsburgh, and terminates in Detroit with stops in Cleveland, Toledo, and Ann Arbor along the way. As is almost always the case, Megabus was a clean, quiet, convenient, inexpensive (brother!) city-to-city transportation choice. The Megabus stop in Detroit is at the Rosa Parks Transpiration Center. This recently built hub point for the Detroit City and Suburban buses is a significant architectural site in its own right, and a short walk to the People Mover as well as an easy to walk to most of Downtown Detroit.

Greyhound. Goes to Detroit, from all directions. Their terminal is in downtown at 1001 Howard St.

[+ Transit Windsor+] The public transit bus to Canada runs seven days a week. Catch the bus at 300 Chatham St West in Windsor into and stops in downtown Detroit.

Trains to Detroit

Amtrak’s main station is located at 11 W Baltimore Ave Train service to and from Chicago on the Wolverine Service. Detroit is the terminus of the westbound Wolverine. This then requires Amtrak to bus riders to the Toledo Amtrak station for their trains to New York and Washington, D.C.

The station in New Center is functional; though not much more than a smallish lobby with elevators to an elevated platform. This is extraordinary when compared to the renowned Central Station once the largest and grandest train depots from the golden age of American train travel. The difference between the two could not be more illustrative of what happened to passenger train travel in most of the United States. Nonetheless, train travel has never been more popular, and regardless of its inconveniences it offers so many advantages including the ease of getting a train in the central city area. Thus it remains a brilliant way to get around.

From Ontario, Canada

Since 911 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. There are frequent delays. The two passages across, as of today are the Ambassador Bridge (accessible from the 401) and the Windsor Tunnel accessed in downtown Detroit and Windsor, respectfully. Bridge traffic can be congested, due to the high number of 18-wheelers. Expect wait times of 30 minutes.

This past election (2012), the voters of Michigan did not succumb to the media blitz by the billionaire owner of the Ambassador Bridge and voted not to get in the way of Canada’s spending the money and guaranteeing the bonds to build a new bridge from Windsor to Detroit. This bridge, when completed, will offer the easiest and fastest access to and from Canada. You would not expect anything less, from the Canadians. This new bridge will not curtail the Ambassador Bridge; the demand for access is too high. And, it will remain a privately owned property, as it has always been.

Detroit-Windsor Tunnel Is down by the river in downtown. Traffic signs guide to the entry on both sides. If you take Transit Windsor customs on both sides must be satisfied. Just remember all the onerous identification is to get back into the United States. The Canadians are just as concerned about security; they just don’t think that part of that is putting on a good show. You cannot walk through the tunnel, but you can bring your bike on the bus to Canada as long as it is dissembled and in a bag. So, leave the bike home and enjoy walking. Both cities are easy to walk.

[] Downtown Detroit




Downtown Detroit is the focus of this ebook. That is in and of itself is different. Years ago we were involved in a travel guide project that was about "Detroit". What it ended up being was Detroit's suburbs, and a bit here and there on some of the revitalizing Detroit neighborhoods. Not that we did not want to cover downtown and the central core of Detroit. That was the way we did the travel guides for all the other American Cities we covered. The difference was that there just wasn't much to report on. There were the usual downtown hotels, and nationally known eating spots, peppered with the home grown Detroit places that deserve a mention, but for the most part downtown Detroit was so un-special, and not just a little bit hairy that it got a short shrift. Then, burgeoning suburbs deserved the most attention for travelers. All of that is changed. The action is downtown Detroit. This is where a massive re-invention is taking place. The influx of new business and young business people is not happening to qualify for the dubious honor of ‘gentrified’. With any luck it will never be so. In so many ways moving to the downtown of this big American city has never been so invigorating, challenging, and rewarding, while at the same time -- in fundamental ways -- easy. Yes, easy. Detroit, because of its long history of being a major American city already has many of the accommodations that a great city offers. Its infrastructure is more intact than many outsiders realize. Other cities struggle to offer quick access transportation, and face the challenges of terrain and funding. Detroit is festooned with fast access freeways, shooting in and out from all directions. Admittedly, these freeways are the physical manifestations of the White Flight that needed the freeways to get to work in the still active city. These freeways moated the city into easily isolated cityscapes that became the literal framework for depopulation and decline. But, when one factors in that Detroit once had, and will have again a superior Regional transportation system AND that its flat typography easily lends itself to bicycles and other green forms of transportation including on foot AND the overlay of grid streets and wide boulevards on top of the original French colonial ribbon farm dimensions help generate a functional street plan that is highly efficient, though a bit daft with first use – it is then you start to understand how this great city could not help but regenerate itself. The basics of a civilization are too deep here. Humans have for a long time, and will for a long time more inhabit and enjoy the advantages of the south side of a River that is the straits (Detroit) between two of the Great Lakes.


Downtown Detroit is the central business district of Detroit, bordered by the Lodge Freeway to the west, the Fisher Freeway to the north, Interstate 375 to the east, and the Detroit River to the south.



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 over sixty new businesses have opened in the Central Business District over the past two years. Downtown Detroit features the Renaissance Center, including the tallest hotel in the Western Hemisphere. Greektown, the arts and theatre district, and the recent stadium area are downtown.



Visitors may reserve a public dock downtown at the Tri-Centennial State Park and Harbor. Great Lakes Cruises are also available. 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 recently restored historic Westin Book-Cadillac Hotel; the Fort Shelby Doubletree Suites Hotel; the Guardian and Fisher buildings with exquisitely ornate interiors and exteriors, the Detroit Institute of Arts (top five museums in the country) recently re-opened after an extensive restoration. In 2005, The National Trust lists many of the city’s architecturally significant buildings for Historic Preservation.



As was alluded to before, the Downtown Scene is endlessly fascinating and surprising. Suffice to say it is an extraordinary (in the correct use of the word) circumstance when a person can saunter down the middle of a major American City’s street, in the middle of a workday, and have the whole street to oneself. Not a car, a truck, a bus, a bike, or a person in sight. And do this walk not on the rare occasion, but almost on any day in Downtown Detroit. Does this mean that the place is abandoned, dark and scary? No, it is just the opposite. Downtown Detroit is the work destination for tens of thousands, everyday. It is also the home address for thousands of residents, many of them new and more coming in all the time. No, this ‘have it all to yourself’ feeling is just the here and now of Detroit after a major economic reshaping, if you will. Detroit, as of 2012 when we were there was a place in the first chapters of an unexpectedly insightful Science Fiction novel of what it is really like when massive change happens, but so much is still standing of what was before. Who is left? Who is coming in? The novel first establishes that the one thing that did not conclude in this city is Civilization. The resources, the will, and ability remain even though so many of the people and some of the establishment went away. So, instead of scary Zombies and Underground Wretches, you have wide clean streets, low crime, and a burgeoning population of newcomers along with those of the recent past.



Today’s and Future Detroit are moving quickly beyond any post-apocalyptic reality. What is at question is will downtown Detroit succumb to the inevitability of exclusivity and gentrification? We don’t think so. Because as best we can tell the point to the revitalization of Detroit, from the perspective of many of these new and old Detroiters, is NOT to lead it to the moribund confines of Gentrification. There seems to be an honest and more than just sincere resolve to make sure this time everyone participates, everyone benefits, and everyone is a shareholder in this metamorphosis. So much so that the eventual definition of the change that is well under way in Detroit cannot be easily surmised, It cannot be known precisely by what has come before and of itself is the most hopeful part of Future Detroit



There is no safer place and eerily comforting place in Detroit than a wide and open field of new Prairie; all grassy; free of most refuse, and not a soul in sight. Yet, just beyond the patch of Prairie returned is the cityscape of Detroit. There just beyond. Not in decay, but revitalizing and re-emerging.


The Greening of Detroit, and the Farming of Detroit.


With the availability of new prairie comes the availability of new opportunities on the land. Two concurrent and mutually supportive movements are utilizing this Future City Detroit reality that, if it can last, will give Detroit marvelous nature based resources decades ahead of similar sized cities.



The Greening of Detroit is a not for profit organization that has been around for a long time. Their initial activity was to do something about the loss of hundreds of thousands of urban trees – primarily from the ravages of Dutch Elm Disease – and the consequences to the Detroit landscape. Seemingly endless residential streets shaded by mature Elms and other urban forest species graced the cityscape of Detroit. Much of that is gone now. Perhaps the unintended irony is that the loss of so much of that urban forest left more room for the prairie’s return in the abandoned parts of the City. It is on this cleared ground is where we found the [+ future city Detroit farming families+] who are doing something extraordinary with the opportunity created by the city’s recent history. These self-defined low impact bicycle farmers (they actually deliver their fresh goods to the nearby Eastern Market by bicycle), along with community groups dedicated to helping get good, fresh local food to folks who need help with food are reshaping the whole idea of what a city’s land should do for its citizens. The biggest challenge they face in the future is not just surviving. The potential is there for a cohesive and beneficial culture of greening and city agriculture that can thrive. The big challenge is the possibility that the land will become too valuable again by the inevitable urban population expansion. If it does this Eden after the Fall will come to an end. The good news is that these organizations are aware of that possibility and the citizens and the leadership of Future City Detroit seem to understand that this Green Revolution is a vital element in the city’s comeback.

Get around Downtown Detroit

By car

Downtown Detroit is perfectly navigable by car. As noted before, it will not be unusual to be the only motorist on a wide city street in the middle of a weekday. That’s nice, but don’t be fooled, a lot of cars come to Detroit everyday, and parking is not always easy to find. Be aware of popular events. It is commonplace during the course of any year for hundreds of thousands of visitors to be downtown at the same time. Especially when the Tigers, Lions and Red Wings are playing downtown at the same time. (It can happen) Or if there are shows, concerts and sports going on simultaneously. Especially at these occasions it becomes clear that downtown Detroit is the central crossroads for a large metropolitan area that is home to millions of people.

On foot or by bicycle

Flat topography and a strange but surprisingly easy to use street layout make Detroit an ideal city to walk. It takes a while to grasp the idea that the street arrangement is not a grid, or a hub and spoke, or a point-to-point system of arteries. It is actually all of those, one layered upon the other, all over the remnants of the original French American ribbon farms. This muti-directional street layout gives the walker in Detroit any number of shortcuts. Now, fold in use of the under-used People Mover, and no spot in downtown Detroit is an arduous excursion to reach. So, coming to stay in Downtown Detroit requires packing some comfy walking shoes. And, in all cases, walking in a city is the most complete way to experience what that city is all about.


Detroit is also one of the best cities for biking, just like walking. Because the Detroit car was king, many downtown streets have multiple lanes in each direction. With so many less cars than anticipated do not fill all the lanes, bikers will find space and access more like Europe than the United States (Yes, the irony is palpable) Accordingly Detroit is home to bike co-ops, the most active is The Hub of Detroit, and Back-Alley Bikes. Both are located in the Cass corridor, just west and north of downtown. They are an excellent resource for all things biking, and being a non-profit their only goal is to get more and more folks to enjoy all the advantages that bicycles have in the Motor City.


People Mover

One of the advantages that Detroit retains is the infrastructure left from its previous incarnation. The freeways, with their urban fabric destroying moats still deserve criticism and derision, though at this point it is just a lesson learned. The Public Transportation operates credibly. With the advent of the Regional Transit Authority a expansion of bus and train services seems inevitable; something akin to Los Angeles’ head-over-heals construction of light rail and subways. That model may very well be the future of Detroit,


Detroit did create a rail transportation system in the late 80s that was by its very route an enclosed loop in reality and inference with little opportunity for expansion. Almost from its inauguration, the People Mover became a lost cause. Ridership was never what it was suppose to be, even though the ride was free. It just seemed to be one of those fanciful indulgences by a declining American city where the idea of an enclosed elevated rail system was built with not much hope of being successful. However, just as long as it offered some short-term economic advantages, and surely some amount of, how should we say, ‘civic largesse’ it was bound to be built.



The irony here is that the People Mover is what it always was: A rather, clever, efficient and accessible elevated rail system that goes to the essential downtown Detroit locations. It is a two car trains running on an automated system such as San Francisco’s highly functional BART system and often. It is completely reliable, clean, and at 75 cents a ride, affordable. The stations are safe, clean, and imbued with interesting Art. The stops include all the top downtown destinations: from Greektown, to the Stadia, to the important commercial centers. It is also a handy way to move around for the new residents of downtown Detroit. Indeed, the People Mover is just now finding its real function. As the population of downtown Detroit grows, the People Mover is becoming a vital transportation resource. When the inevitable every-day stores and services return to downtown, they will want to make sure they find locations that work with the People Mover, offering an added level of access to their local trade.


We used the People Mover extensively to help create this books content. Admittedly, there were times we had our own train car and waited for the People Mover in Stations with no people. But that was just on occasion, the more we rode, the more others were riding. So, we recommend the People Mover to make an excursion to downtown Detroit easy and accessible. And enjoy the easy access, now. That is bound to change as more figure out its decided advantages


Downtown Neighborhoods off of the People Mover


Greektown, is on the east side of Downtown located on Monroe Ave between Brush and St. Antoine Sts. Greektown is a historic neighborhood dominated by Greek restaurants. Some buildings on Monroe Street facades reflect the forms of Ancient Greek architecture. Greek music can be heard on Monroe Street throughout the day. One of Detroit’s three casinos, Greektown Casino, is located in the neighborhood. The People Mover station in reached by going in and through the Greektown Casino. Cannot think of any other Casino, anywhere with its own public transit train station.


Bricktown, is located between Greektown and the Renaissance Center. Bricktown is an historic district that is home to St. Peter and Paul’s Catholic Church, the oldest standing church in Detroit, and the eye-popping exuberance of the Italian Renaissance style Wayne County Building. The neighborhood also has its own station on the People Mover on Beaubien Street, north of Congress Street


Renaissance Center is located on Jefferson Ave. This iconic group of seven [+ interconnected skyscrapers+] contains the tallest building in Michigan and is considered a symbol of Detroit. The entire complex is now owned by General Motors as its headquarters. The central tower, called the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center, was once the tallest hotel in the world, rising 73 stories at 727 feet. Since then much taller hotels have been constructed in cities such as Dubai. Free tours of the complex are offered Monday thru Saturday. The tour include: the GM Wintergraden, a tropical atrium overlooking the Detroit River; GM Next Showroom, a display of classic and concept cars; “Borealis” Glass Sculpture, the tallest vertical glass sculpture in the world; Riverfront Plaza and Promenade; and a glass elevator ride to the 72nd floor, that offers great views that extend 30 miles (48 km) in all directions. The Renaissance Center’s station on the People Mover is located in Tower 200 on level 2


Visit: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/581255 to purchase this book to continue reading. Show the author you appreciate their work!

Detroit Best Reviewed Go-See-Do Travel Guide

Detroit, Michigan is now the most fascinating city in America. Not because it offers any particular charm or renowned, vibrant urban experience -- though both can be enjoyed in today's Detroit. No, the fascination of Detroit is how it has weathered just about every negative motivation in the American psyche from exploitation of the Natives, to unfettered greed and ravenous capitalism, to the social upheavals of the 20th Century and is still intact and simply put, getting better every day. And, with not much effort at all, the good stuff that is going on now in Detroit is easy to find and enjoy. (A lot of it is in this book.) But not nearly all of it. There are so many dynamic, post-apocalyptic, renewal and restoration things going on in Detroit that by now the story of the curious Millennial who came just to see what it is all about and stayed so as not to miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime chance to remake a great City while always respecting those who remained and endured, is beyond apocryphal and is now, Legend. This book celebrates some of the newer places that meet that criteria. It also describes some of the hidden gems that weathered the storm only to burnish their patina of authenticity and genuine quality. And, again these are just some of the best reviewed. In all ways the point of this travel guide is to facilitate even the slightest notion of visiting Detroit. Any visit is well worth it. Any time of year, too. To that end, this guide includes in-depth information on traveling to Detroit, and how to get around Detroit -- and amazingly well -- without a car. You will find great places to stay, eat, go, see and do. All pretty much in and around the center of Detroit. When paired with our companion ebook on nearby Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, A2 Ypsi Go See Do, also available though Smashwords, the whole of Southeast Michigan becomes something at your fingertips. Just a quick reminder to support us and our distributors by leaving your review of out Detroit ebook. We offer it for any price you wish, including free. However the asking price of $1.99 is indeed, quite modest.

  • Author: Maryann Huk
  • Published: 2015-09-29 22:05:08
  • Words: 22087
Detroit Best Reviewed Go-See-Do Travel Guide Detroit Best Reviewed Go-See-Do Travel Guide