Detroit Travel Guide

Walter Bibikow/JAI/Corbis

The old story on Detroit resembled a Greek tragedy—the once mighty Motor City rusted, blighted, and abandoned. In its recent incarnation, Detroit enjoys “it” city status and is now celebrated for its gritty urban cachet as well as its downtown, dramatically spruced up when the city hosted the Super Bowl and World Series in 2006. While the streets see their share of tattooed indie kids wearing hoodies, defining Detroit by its hipster renaissance is too simple. For one thing, poverty and decay are still abundant outside the well-maintained core. For another, Detroit clings tightly to deep-rooted traditions, particularly its storied automotive heritage (2008 marks the 100th anniversary of the Ford Model T and the founding of General Motors), its marquee pro-sports franchises, and a rich music scene that’s been the stomping ground for everyone from Aretha Franklin to Eminem.


  • Taking in the Detroit skyline from Belle Isle Park, just east of Downtown.

  • Cruising along the edge of the river on The Detroit People Mover, an elevated, computerized rail system, which travels a 2.9-mile loop through the city’s center.

  • Seeing on the “Spirit of Detroit” (corner of Woodward and Jefferson avenues). The 26-foot high 50-year-old bronze figure by sculptor Marshall Fredericks is an institution, and a symbol of city’s still hopeful spirit.


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