Rediscovering Detroit: A City Worth Pulling For
Leaving sunny Los Angeles to explore Detroit during the cold months is considered taboo here on the west coast but I made the trip. It was Fall, the picture of cold and damp weather in Michigan. The first thought that came to mind was a humble prayer to Mother Nature, “Please don’t snow; I can deal with anything but snow”- she granted my wish. There is so much more to Detroit than what is being reported in the news. While we could dwell on the obvious, the hidden gems and little known facts make this come-back kid worth visiting.
Don’t stop believing Detroit.
You want to know the real Detroit? Visit a sporting event. Once I landed, I met up with two Michigan writers for a Sunday morning boozy brunch which consisted of whiskey shots and omelets. Detroit is home to the Two James Distillery and my senses had the pleasure of being run over by a bottle of their Grass Widow Bourbon. Once brunch was complete, we opted for public transportation and took the People Mover to the Detroit Lion’s game to watch them take on the New Orleans Saints. The heart of any town is the people that live in it and everyone came out to support the local team. This is where we captured the true spirit of what Detroit is all about- not the past failures, but the hope that resonates in the people who chose to stay. The Lions were outscored and played for most of the game. At the point when there was 4 minutes left in the final quarter; I had predicted that the game was a lost cause and left early in attempt to beat the post-game traffic. Upon arriving back to the hotel, I learned that the Lions had made a comeback and went on to win the game. Just as they are doing with the city, the fans rallied behind their team and pulled them out of the deficit with support.
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When visiting, consider staying at the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center. My experience was that of ease, safety, and sound sleep; I only wish they had sent me home with one of their mattresses sets as it was the best night’s sleep I have ever had. You’ll wake up refreshed and ready to tackle one of the 500 museums located in the Detroit area. A few standouts include the Motown Museum, Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, and the Henry Ford Museum which houses the original bus that Rosa Park rode on. Also, consider visiting the Underground Railroad Living Museum. This is where you can learn about Seymour Finney, the hotel owner that helped thousands of slaves escape to Canada, while often times hosting pursuing masters in his hotel.
Downton Detroit is home to a diverse selection of restaurants and bars. From Brazilian to classic American you won’t have an issue finding good food. As a suggestion, try doing a food crawl starting with beer from Traffic Jam and Snug, truffle fries from Green Dot Stables, and lamb chops from Texas de Brazil. If your time is limited, try Roma Café, Detroit’s oldest restaurant known for its authentic Italian fare.
While there are beautifully ornate ruins that serve as haunting reminders of the past, Detroit is at the beginning of a resurgence. You can either be swept away by negative publicity or move forward by discovering the heart of a city rich in history and culture for yourself. Don’t give up on the city of Detroit in the final quarter, they will come back for the win.