Over the past few years, people have begun to see Detroit as some sort of wasteland. But while it is certainly in a downturn economically, it is still one of the major cultural centers in America. Here are ten reasons why:
10. The Fox Theater
The Fox Theatre is a performing arts center in downtown Detroit, and was originally opened in 1928 as a movie theater. It is the largest surviving movie palace of the 1920s, and the largest of the original Fox Theatres. It is 10 stories high and its architecture is a blend of Burmese, Indian, Persian, and Chinese. After a full restoration that took place in 1988, it now houses over 5,000 seats. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1985, and was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1989.
Address– 2211 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48201
Cost Range– 40 to 80 dollars
9. The Detroit Institute of Art
This museum was founded in 1885 on Jefferson Avenue. However, because of its rapidly-growing collection, it moved to a larger location on Woodward Avenue in 1927. The new building, designed by Paul Cret, was referred to as the “temple of art.” Two wings were added in the 1960s and 1970s, and a major renovation took place from 1999 until 2007. It covers 658,000 square feet, and includes more than 100 galleries, a 1,150-seat auditorium, a 380-seat lecture/recital hall, an art reference library, and a state-of-the-art conservation services laboratory. It is one of the largest collections of art in the United States, and is not only filled with American and European works of art, but also several pieces of African, Asian, Native American, Oceanic, Islamic, and Ancient art.
Address– 5200 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, Michigan 48202
Cost– 5 dollars for a guided tour
8. Comerica Park
Comerica Park is the home of the Detroit Tigers. The park itself is built around the playing field, but the surrounding buildings conform to the property boundaries of Montcalm, Witherell, Adams, and Brush Streets. The park was renovated to include extras that most ballparks don’t have. Thanks to a $300 million project that began on October 29, 1997, the park now includes a carousel, a Ferris wheel, a water feature in center field that can be choreographed to any music, and a decade-by-decade pedestrian museum. The resulting feeling is a mixture of baseball and amusement park.
Address– 2100 Woodward Avenue?Detroit, MI 48201
Cost Range– 15-75 dollars, depending on seats
7. Belle Isle Conservatory
The famous architect Frederick Law Olmsted, one of the men who helped design the buildings for the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in the 1890’s, designed the Belle Isle Conservatory. It is on the National Register of Historic Places and has over 3 million visitors per year. Not only is it a beautiful landscape, it also includes an aquarium, playground, a driving range, a small internal zoo, a beach, and two giant slides. It is surrounded by wetland forest, a remnant of the old forest that covered the entire area prior to the settlement of Michigan.
Address– 8109 E Jefferson Ave Detroit, MI 48214
Cost Range– Free
6. The Detroit Eastern Market
The Detroit Eastern Market is a local food district with more than 250 independent vendors. The six blocks where the market takes place have housed it since the year 1891. Every Saturday it is transformed into a bustling marketplace with open-air stalls. Foods sold include fruits, vegetables, flowers, homemade jams, and maple syrups. Each week, around 40,000 people buy products at the Eastern Market. There is also an artisan village where artists, designers, and crafters are encouraged to sell their products. They are also sometimes open on Tuesday, and plan for this to be weekly in 2012.
Address– 2934 Russell Street Detroit, MI 48207
Cost Range– Varies Widely
5. Motown Museum
The music most associated with Detroit is probably soul. And the most famous record company in Detroit is Motown Record Corporation. The name “Motown” is a shortening of one of Detroit’s nicknames, “Motor Town”. Berry Gordy Jr. founded Motown in 1960. The innovative music that they released came to be known as the Motown Sound, a distinctive variant of soul music. Esther Gordy Edwards founded the Motown Historical Museum in 1985. The museum catalogues the history of the record company, from the formation to the present day.
Address– 2648 West Grand Boulevard Detroit, Michigan 48208
Cost Range– 10 dollars per person
4. The Detroit Symphony Orchestra
The Detroit symphony orchestra, which performs at the Detroit Opera house, was originally formed in 1887. However, it ceased operations in 1910. A few years later, ten young Detroit society women each contributed $100, and pledged to find 100 additional subscribers to donate $10, to support the symphony. They worked swiftly, and where able to find a conductor and began holding concerts again in early 1914. They became so popular, it was decided the orchestra needed their own building. Orchestra Hall, which was designed by noted architect C. Howard Crane, was opened in 1919. They perform a variety of musical forms today, including classical and jazz.
Address– 3711 Woodward Avenue Detroit, MI 48201
Cost Range– 15 to 50 dollars
3. Ford Field
In 2002, the Detroit Lions began playing in a brand new, $500 million stadium. It’s almost 2 million square feet, and seats 65,000 people. Its unique design incorporates the old Hudson warehouse, which has been around since the 1920’s. In the first year of operation, approximately 1.5 million people visited the stadium. In addition to hosting the Lions, there are also other sporting events, concerts, banquets, tradeshows, business meetings, and conventions. As a special extra bit of knowledge, there are 92 total public restrooms.
Address– 2000 Brush Street Detroit, MI 48226
Cost Range– 35 to 100 dollars
Greektown Historic District was ironically first settled in the 1830’s by German immigrants. Most of them left in the early 20th century, and new Greek immigrants moved into the area. So, not that ironic after all. It is a primarily commercial district today, dominated mainly by Greek restaurants, stores, and coffeehouses. Certain buildings on Monroe Street are themed to resemble the Parthenon, Pegasus, and other forms of Greek architecture. The district was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.
Address– Greektown Historic District, downtown Detroit, MI 48226
Cost Range– Varies widely
1. Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History is the world’s largest institution dedicated to the African American experience. It houses over 30,000 artifacts that explore the diverse history and culture of African Americans. It is 125,000 square feet and includes a 317-seat facility for live performances, film screenings, lectures, presentations, and more. It was founded by Dr. Charles Wright, an obstetrician and gynecologist, who decided, after visiting a museum preserving Danish history, that the same should be done for African Americans. He partnered with 30 other like-minded Detroiters, and in 1965 they founded the Afro-American Museum, which was eventually renamed after Mr. Wright.
Address– 315 East Warren Avenue Detroit, MI 48201
Cost Range– 8 dollars per person