When most people hear the word "Detroit", they either cringe or laugh. "Why would anyone want to live in Detroit?". "Don't you feel unsafe?". "You're gonna get shot!". "Detroit is so horrible!". I'm here to tell you...Detroit is amazing.
Now, I haven't always felt this way. I've lived in the suburbs for most of my life, and went to college in Kalamazoo, so my vision of Detroit was also very distorted. I wouldn't set foot in this city unless I was going to a concert or a sporting event, and even that was rare. However, for the past 10 months, I've been living right here, in the city. Just minutes from downtown...and you know what? I've come to love it. I find myself wanting to learn more, wanting to help more.
I could write a five page blog educating you on Detroit...the economy, the corruptions, the school system, how it's built for millions but so empty and abandoned...but I won't do that, for a few reasons. One is because I am still learning myself, and don't want to spread and false infromation. The second is because I encourage you to educate yourself on this city. Instead of laughing at it, or judging, why don't you HELP? People are suffering every single day. We need you.
What I am going to do is share some of my favorite places. Maybe it will help you understand why I have fallen in love with this city. I am going to continually add new places or sights that I find, and also going to pick other citiies that I love to highlight...so stay tuned.
-Corktown. My neighborhood, and, in my biased opinion, the best neighborhood in Detroit. Corktown is the oldest Detroit neighborhood. It is historically known as being an Irish neighborhood. (You should see it on St. Patty's Day!) In Corktown we have Nemo's, Slow's BBQ, The Gaelic Leage, Most Holy Trinity, Cabrini Clinic, Honeybee Market, and more. It's safe, it's full of goregous houses, and it is so much fun. I couldn't have asked to live in a better neighborhood, and I would eventually like to permanently move here, if I don't move to Nashville.
-mexicantown. Mexicantown is most known for it's amazing, authentic restauraunts. The town is primarily hispanic, and it is lined up with restauraunts, taco stands, bakeries, and shops. I have a special place in my heart for mexicantown because that is where Cristo Rey is located. It's also home to Cafe Con Leche (local coffee shop) and Clark Park, two Detroit favorites of mine.
-greektown. I haven't spent any time in Greektown since I've been living in Detroit, but it's still one of my favorite places. It's dominated by Greek restauaraunts, historic churches, and the Greektown casino. It's a very popular restauraunt/entertainment district, a little pricey, which is why I haven't spent time there. It's cool to see, though, and perhaps one of these day's we'll try our luck at the casino.
-eastern market. On a nice Saturday, you can find thousands of people at Eastern Market. It's a local food district with hundreds independent vendors. It has great selections of fruits, veggies, fresh-cut flowers, homemade jams, maple syrups, local foods. There's also a lot of famous restaurants and shops. I've become all about supporting local businesses, and Eastern Market is a great place to do just that.
-john king books. Michigan's largest used book store! It's huge! It's actually hard to even go there, because there's so much to look at...but I still enjoy browsing.
-honeybee market. The BEST local grocery store in southwest Detroit! We love this place. It's just minutes from our house, clean, GREAT produce, and excellent service. Plus, they have the best homemade gaucomole I've ever tasted.
z's villa. I was introduced to Z's Villa by my brother in law. It's located right before you hit the heart of downtown, off of woodward. The building is over 100 years old, and the food is delcious...and also affordable.
slows. When we moved in all we kept hearing about was Slow's BBQ. It's even been mentioned on Jimmy Kimmel :) I can't say enough good things about this place. The food is delicious, the atmosphere is fun. It's good southern cooking, right here in Detroit. It's well worth the money, and the portions are huge. I'm not even a bbq/meat fan, and I still love Slow's. (Veggies- try the macaroni and cheese. you'll thank me later). People wait for over an hour to get into Slow's on a busy night- so I suggest go during the week or for lunch. Plus, it's a hop and a skip from our house :)
mudgies. One of the sister's took us to Mudgies our first or second day here, and we all fell in love. Their sandwhiches are incredible and creative, and they have a good amount of vegetarian options. I've been back twice since my first trip, and I've tried soup and two different kinds of sandwhiches. I've never been disapointed. Plus, they have a new flavor of iced tea every day. Mmmm. It's also in Corktown, and they are known for their fresh, organic food. Dang it, now I really want mudgies for lunch.
-renaissance center. known to Detroiters as "ren cen". The Ren Cen is GM's global headquarters. It's the tallest building in Detroit (73 stories) and full of shops, dining, and more. Katie and I refer to it as a an airport without planes. Just a few of the highlights: CVS, food court, marriot, movie theatre, AND a YMCA...plus many more shops and places to eat. We go there to see a movie every once in a while, because it's only 5 bucks on Saturday's. Plus it's cool to go look at the cars on display :)
-heidelberg project. By far the most creative sight I've seen in Detroit thus far. A Detroit resident, Tyree Guyton, decided to transform a street of abandoned houses into a work of art. It is really quite undescribable, unless you see it in person. It's incredible. It is recongized as being one of the most influential art enviornments in the entire world. They aim for art/education and community development. If you are EVER visiting Detroit, this is a must see.
-belle isle. Belle Isle is one of the most unique parks in the world at 2.5 miles long and 985 acres. The island sits in the middle of the Detroit River on the U.S.-Canada border. It's attractions include athletic fields, an aquarium, beach, nature zoo, casino, conservatory, golf course, green house, and much more. I'm going to start going there once or twice a week to go walking.
-fox theatre. I've always been in love with the Fox Theatre because it holds so many precious memories for me. My grandma used to take us there every year to see The Nutcracker and the Christmas Spectacular Show. It's a beautiful theatre and has since become one of my favorite concert venues. I went there for Kelly Clarkson in October, and realized just how much history the place had. When we were backstage waiting to meet her, I saw so many displays of old shows that have come through, and because I'm a theatre nerd, it was very exiciting for me. It was one of the coolest little surprises I have found in Detroit.
-campus martius and hart plaza. Campus Martius is also known as Detroit's Gathering Place. Campus Martius Park has quickly become an awesome public space where anyone is welcome. Hart Plaza is a riverfront plaza which happens to be the site of many of Detroit's most popular activities. It's rich in Michigan/Detroit history with monuments and historical markers. It's also home to many festivals, like tech fest, jazz fest, country music fest, and more.
So you see, Detroit is full of rich history and fun sights! I haven't even covered everything. Be on the look out for more blogs in the future to "discover Detroit".
Tell me about your city!