Would you ever consider vacationing in Detroit?
For me, the answer isn’t “no,” exactly, it’s more like… “perhaps…”.
Now that I am in Detroit, I see that like any major American city, there is a lot to do here! When determining your Detroit getaway, here are some things to consider:
Price. I naively thought that Detroit, a midwestern city, would be a more affordable destination. Wrong! Downtown Detroit, at least, is pricey. Even the smaller hotels that only have a room and no frills to offer you cost at least $200 a night (in the summer). Similarly, in this area, seafood entrees are (often) at least $30 a plate.
Public Transportation. Detroit has a robust bus system (one can get from the airport to the downtown area for only $2), but, unfortunately, during the pandemic it was not fully running. For example, the Detroit People Mover, an elevated tram line that can quickly take passengers around the downtown area, was temporarily closed.
Casinos. Detroit has two large casinos right in the city. As a Boston-area person, this was surprising to me, as Boston only got its first casino a few years ago (more here). Smack in the middle of downtown, there is the Greektown Casino, which offers two levels of slots and games, as well as casual and high-end dining options inside. On the opposite side of the city, there is the MGM Grand Detroit, which is, perhaps, the more upscale casino option.
Safety. Have you seen the 1987 movie “RoboCop?” It is set in futuristic, crime-ridden Detroit on the brink of societal ruin. While 2021-Detroit is in a much better state than its hypothetical, sci-fi conception, I would also caution one to take heightened safety measures in the downtown area.
Airport. The Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport is huuuuuuge! This is great if you like to pace up and down the airport terminals like me or if your flight is delayed by over an hour (like mine was). A particularly interesting feature of this airport is the tunnel that connects gate A to gates B and C. This stretch of hallway becomes a show of lights and sounds as you stroll (or are carried by the moving walkways) from one end to the other. Coming down the stairs and setting one’s eyes upon the glowing hallway can easily persuade the first-time visitor to slow their roll and take it all in.
Food. You can find some A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. (and pricey) cuisine along the river front and in the downtown area. However, there are also some hidden gems like Niki’s Pizza, which sells a fine Detroit-style pizza and Greek food for affordable prices.
Renaissance Center. If you consider weather to be the enemy, try moving through (a small section of) downtown Detroit through the GM Renaissance Center. The Renaissance Center is a network of connected skyscrapers that allows you to cross streets and move from one city block to another without facing the harsh sun, wind, snow, or rain. Within the main Renaissance Center complex, one can also stop in restaurants and shops, as well as visit the GM World Exhibit.
Canada. If you find yourself strolling along the Detroit River Walk and see that there are Canadian flags lining the opposite shore — know that yes, you are indeed looking at Canada. For those of you who don’t know, Detroit easily connects by bridge and tunnel to Windsor, Canada. So, be sure to check your GPS before you accidentally find yourself in line to cross the border. If you want a closer look at what’s on the other side, also consider booking Diamond Jack’s River Boat Tour to see Windsor up-close from the Detroit River and learn a little more about this border city.
All in all, Detroit is what you make of it!