Detroit earned the nicknames “Motown” and “Motor City” back when it was at the heart of a booming automotive industry. Over the years the city built a reputation as a cultural and manufacturing powerhouse and its powerful legacy is celebrated today.
Spend time among the Detroit Institute of Art’s formidable collection. European and American masterpieces adorn its walls and the collection of Asian and Middle Eastern artifacts will keep anthropology fans rapt.
Explore the revitalization of Downtown Detroit and admire the city’s architecture as you wander through the Eastern Market, Detroit’s artisan and farmers’ markets. Food lovers will enjoy the gourmet meats and fresh produce.
Leave the crowds behind and go to the 982-acre (397-hectare) Belle Isle Park. There are sporting facilities, spaces for barbecues and picnics and a number of stunning historic buildings. You’ll also get a great view of the downtown skyline, dominated by the GM Renaissance Center.
Travel back in time to some of the greatest minds that have changed the modern world at Greenfield Village in the Henry Ford Museum. Walk through Thomas Edison’s Menlo Park to see where Abraham Lincoln practiced law, and learn about famed automobile manufacturer Henry Ford. For a look at Detroit’s contribution to the music industry, visit the Motown Museum. It’ll take you back to the days when Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson were recording hits in the studio.
Kids will love the Michigan Science Center. With dozens of hands-on exhibits, an IMAX Theater and a planetarium, it’s a great place to spend a whole day. At the Detroit Zoo, see the largest polar bear exhibit in the country and pet red kangaroos.
For a night-time treat, go for a drink at the two-story restaurant atop the GM Renaissance Center, then take in a show at the Detroit Opera House. A masterfully refurbished old building, it hosts everything from Broadway productions to classical music concerts.
Detroit’s fortunes took a downward turn when in 2013 its government filed for bankruptcy. Its strong identity means the city has been quick to recover and the revival of its cultural and historic districts is well underway.