Introduction to Detroit, Michigan
Detroit, located in southeast Michigan on the Detroit River between Lake Huron and Lake Erie, is the largest city in the state and the tenth-largest in the country. It is the oldest major city west of the original colonies and the only city in the US that allows you to travel south into Canada. It began as a fur-trading town in the 1700s, Detroit took full advantage of its prime geographical location in the 1800s, becoming a major shipping and manufacturing center. With an influx of workers from Europe and the American South, including many African Americans, Detroit was an industrial juggernaut in the early 1900s. During the two World Wars, Detroit was a leading supplier to the military. The birthplace of the automobile and the home of the "Big 3" (General Motors, Ford and Chrysler), Detroit remains the nucleus of the industry despite competition from Japan and Europe. One of the largest manufacturing cities in the country, Detroit is a leader in steel, fabricated-metal, chemicals, paper products, food and beverages. The health industry is also among the city's leading employers.
There are also a few postseconday institutions in Detroit, such as Wayne State University, Marygrove College, The University of Detroit Mercy, and the College for Creative Studies.
Perhaps more than any other city, Detroit has contributed great names in the music industry to America's ears. Detroit record producer Berry Gordy created the Motown sound in the 1960s, with legendary Detroit artists such as Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, the Supremes and the Temptations. Even aside from Motown, the seemingly endless list of Detroit musicians reads like a who's who in music, with John Lee Hooker, Aretha Franklin, Madonna, Bob Seger, George Clinton, Anita Baker, Wilson Pickett, Iggy Pop, Alice Cooper, Kid Rock and Eminem.
Music and cars dominate the cultural attractions in the Detroit area. The Motown Museum in the north of the city offers a memorable tribute to Berry Gordy and his influential stable of artists. The International Jazz Festival, held each September at Hart Plaza on the Detroit Riverfront, is the largest free jazz festival in North America, featuring 1000 musicians and over 100 performances. Just west of Detroit in Dearborn, the Henry Ford bills itself as "America's greatest history attraction," where you can watch automobiles being manufactured at the Ford Rouge Factory Tour, experience America's past in Greenfield Village, and see the latest films at an IMAX theatre. Just a half-hour away, the Silverdome in Pontiac produces many major concerts each year.
Detroit Sports and Leisure
Detroit has a long sports history in all four major leagues. Baseball's Detroit Tigers play downtown at 40,000-seat, state-of-the-art Comerica Park, which has a Ferris Wheel and a carousel. Adjacent 65,000-seat Ford Field is the domed den of the NFL's Lions. The stadium also hosts national events such as the Super Bowl and NCAA Men's Final Four basketball. The NHL's Detroit Red Wings play at 20,000-seat Joe Louis Arena, which also features college tournaments such as the Great Lakes Invitational in December and the CCHA tournament in March. A half-hour drive northwest of the city, the 2,000-seat Palace at Auburn Hills hosts the NBA's Detroit Pistons, the WNBA's Shock, and Arena Football's Fury. Just 33 miles west of the city in Ann Arbor, the University of Michigan Wolverines play at 107,500-seat Michigan Stadium, the largest in the country. Another 45 miles west is East Lansing, home to the Michigan State University Spartans.
With easy access to water sports on the Great Lakes and Detroit River, Detroit offers an endless array of outdoor activities.
Detroit at Night
A popular section of Detroit for the young and hip is along the riverfront. The Renaissance Center ("Ren Cen") is a 7-building, 73-story office and hotel complex with restaurants, shops and great views of the lakes. The Greektown neighborhood is another popular area, with places to grab ethnic foods, coffee and libations of all kinds. The downtown area near Comerica Park and Ford Field is another hotspot. A short drive to Ann Arbor will access a progressive city and a thriving college scene. Home to the University of Michigan, the area is loaded with hip bars, coffee houses and places to hear live music. Detroit has three casinos within the city and another across the Canadian border in Windsor.