In days past, many people would agree that Detroit could be considered synonymous with dilapidation and despair. However, times have certainly changed.
As a city most known as being a hub for the automotive and manufacturing industries, today’s Detroit could be likened to the comeback kid of American cities.
Currently, Detroit is a mecca of modern culinary excellence, an artist’s empire and a desired destination — both for fun and permanency — for people young and old who used to flock to the suburbs.
Arguably likened to such gritty cities as Houston or New Orleans, Detroit is making a new name for itself in its own right.
The fall (and rise) of America’s grittiest city
As the most populated city in Michigan, Detroit is the largest city on the border of the U.S and Canada. In recent decades, the city has endured economic decline and a suffering auto industry due to global competition. But back well into the 1950s is when Detroit’s population fell, when folks dispersed to neighboring cities.
Add to that, crime rates are among the highest in the nation and many of the city’s oldest and most architecturally awesome buildings have experienced abandonment and severe decay. Combined with the city’s recent bankruptcy and riddled with poverty and blight, there was a time when it would be hard to fathom Detroit ever rising from the ashes.
However, with urban living on trend and the newly revived Midtown and New Center areas of the city, Detroit has and continues to attract young professionals and former residents back into its diverse milieu. Longstanding businesses abound in Detroit, while others are quickly relocating to the city.
Quicken Loans is one such business. Having moved its headquarters from Livonia to downtown Detroit six years ago, Quicken Loans Founder, Dan Gilbert, continues to be a catalyst for revamping the city, aiming to attract hundreds more professionals and residents with several high-dollar projects and bids in the works.
And though the city is very walkable, the newly opened Q-Line is, perhaps, the one of the most exciting developments right now, as Detroit’s newest streetcar that runs along Woodward Avenue, further energizing Detroit’s new pulse.
A great city reborn
With the influx of trendy happenings all over the city right now, Detroit has even garnered national attention for what it’s bringing to the table (in some cases, literally bringing to the table).
Most recently, Detroit was named a top travel destination worldwide by the New York Times. Additionally, Detroit earned recognition as a top “unexpected” food destination from National Geographic (the publication named just one city for each continent, making the honor even more distinguished).
In fact, two Michelin-starred chefs chose to trade their Chicago cooking roots for the appeal of the alive-and-well Detroit culinary scene. Among the restaurants generating buzz around the city are those who specialize in locally sourced menu items, hip craft cocktails and fine wine. Others, still, feature more casual flare like fried chicken, tacos and even food truck fare.
Food aside, Detroit, some would say, is a cultural magnet.
The arts and entertainment offerings in Detroit are a force to be reckoned with. The iconic Fisher Theatre and Fox Theater, as well as the Detroit Opera House, bring in some of the country and world’s top musical, Broadway and artistic acts, while a myriad of smaller theaters make way for up-and-coming talent.
Pedal trolleys, as well as bus, Segway, walking and biking tours further the sense of community while the revived Campus Martius Park offers a plethora of activity, from a “beach” bar to modern fountains, musical stages, history, dining and more.
Combine this with the longstanding DIA, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the various music festivals and the bustling Wayne State University campus, Detroit could very well be America’s best-kept secret that is now being told.
Suffice to say, the city is in an upswing in terms of what it has to offer for food, culture, entertainment and livability. And as a city once known for not much else other than the auto industry it housed has certainly revved up its status when it comes to being an “it” place to visit and live.
And the only way to go from here is up.