48 hrs in Detroit

48 Hours in Detroit

I spent 48 hours in Detroit, and I must say I was positively surprised when I got to there. The Motorcity, as per what I had read in the media. The vibe of the city is amazing, in most areas. With all the motor industry decadence in the US and  well-publicized budgetary problems, I was expecting something completely different.

Getting There

I arrived to Detroit on Saturday morning. Public transportation from the airport is a little unreliable (the buses take forever to arrive) So I just took an uber to Mexican Town (the premier neighborhood to get some good tacos) and walked from there. I was only going to be in Detroit for a day and a half, so I needed to cover the largest amount in the shortest possible time.

From there, I walked the whole downtown area. Bad times are in the past and the Downtown just keeps getting better and better.

The urban beach in Downtown Detroit
Michigan avenue in Detroit

Just right in the center of Downtown, the city has built the urban beach“,  a relaxing space filled with pounds of sand and comfortable lounge chairs to enjoy during the spring and summer.

After that, I made my way to the Riverfront, not without stopping first at two of the most iconic sculptures of the whole city: the spirit of Detroit and the Monument to Joe Louis

the Monument to Joe Louis
the Spirit of Detroit

The Detroit River riverfront was once totally industrial (full of factories, docks, and warehouses). Nowadays, it has become an open area with parks, nature, and a huge boardwalk that allows you to take a view of the shore of Canada (Windsor) located on the opposite side of the river. People walking, riding, jogging, and skating along the paths at every time.

Panoramic of Detroit Riverfront
Selene in Detroit

From there, and around 2:00 pm I made my way to the Comerica Park (Stadium of the Detroit Tigers). Although it wasn’t season and they weren’t playing that day, I still got to see the installations. It’s a great spot to catch a baseball game so I recommend you go when season. 

Comerica Park, Detroit

On my way to the hostel I saw, for the first time in my life, an electric razor scooter. We didn’t have them in Miami until a couple weeks ago so I wasn’t aware of how popular they are everywhere else.

Instead of walking, I hopped in one of this (and felt like a child again) and decided to see the rest of the city on it. Uber was a thing from the past. It allow me to move around the city pretty easily and for a really affordable cost.

I encountered The Fox Theatre and the Masonic Temple on my way.

The Fox Theatre is a breathtaking performing arts center in downtown Detroit. Opened in 1928, it’s a step back in time.

Regarding the Masonic Temple, I can’t explain you how glorious the structure is. It is the world’s largest Masonic Temple, containing theaters, ballrooms, banquet halls, a drill hall, a swimming pool, handball court, gymnasium, bowling alley, offices…

 This is probably one of the best places to see a concert in Detroit. Beautiful, great acoustics, and historic. Just be careful with the surrounding as it not the safest area of the city. 

Fox Theater in Detroit

(source)

My next stop (and just because I found it on my way, it was not on my plans) was the casino. I tried getting in but they didn’t allow me because I had backpack, so I promise I would come back later. I made it to my hostel: Jazz on the Park. Only 20 minutes away from Downtown, it offers a cozy environment and a friendly staff.

After I checked – in, I decided to see another of the Gems of Detroit, The Heidelberg Project (with my loyal razor scooter always by my side)

Electric Razor Scooter in Detroit

Heidelberg Project

The Heidelberg Project is an outdoor art project located in the McDougall-Hunt neighborhood. Started by Tyree Guyton, who, inspired by his grandfather, transformed vacant lots on Heidelberg Street to giant-size art installations with the refuse they collected.

Nowadays, other artists have joined as well and they occupied the entire block. Different opinions have been given about the “art” they showcase, but it is, without a doubt, an must-see of Detroit.

I wanted to enjoy the sunset by the water, so I made my way to the Riverfront again. I stopped by the GM tower complex or best known as “GM Renaissance Center” on my way. The Renaissance Center is a group of seven interconnected skyscrapers, the world headquarters of General Motors.

Panoramic of Detroit Riverfront at sunset
GM renaissance center in Detroit

I heard really good things about the food in Greektown, so I decided to go there for dinner. This is where the nightlife of Detroit is at, an area dominated by Greek restaurants and businesses with plenty of places to grab a drink and a bite to eat. Everything’s with in walking distance but the people mover is always available anyway (I took my razor scooter instead)

Greektown in Detroit

Sunday Morning

First thing in the morning: I only had a couple hours before my flight (I had to be at the airport at 3) so I didn’t want to lose time at all. Check-out from the hostel, grabbed my bag and went to visit all the things I was missing.

First thing in the schedule:  the Eastern Market on Sunday.  It is one of the oldest and largest markets in the US. Offering fresh produce from local farmers and craft from artisans, this huge complex is definitely worth a visit. It is open Tuesdays, Thursday nights, Saturdays and Sundays. Each day offers different products and events.

Eastern Market in Detroit on Sunday
The Z Lot is an artful Parking Garage & Alley filled with murals and graffiti, like the cooler garage ever. Every floor showcases an array of murals by artists from around the world. You don’t have to park here to see the art.
The Belt Lane and Alley that run alongside are filled with art and murals as well, some of which changes on a regular basis.
The Z Lot in Detroit
The Z Lot detroit

The Guardian Building, a landmark skyscraper of Detroit, located within the Financial District, feels more like a piece of art. It features a three-story lobby  with an exquisite and ornamental tilework in Art Deco style.

The building has been designated a National Historic Landmark, the highest honor given by the National Park Service. The lobby area has a lot of retail stores, selling T-shirts and all kinds of souvenirs. You can’t miss it.

The Guardian Building Detroit

I wasn’t leaving Detroit before trying one of its iconic “Coney Islands“. They are a unique type of Greek American restaurants. Nothing but an icon of Michigan, Coney Island Hot Dogs (Or just coneys) have been a favorite with Detroiters and visitors for nearly a century. A hot dog in a steamed bun dressed with chili, diced onions, and yellow mustard, a classic you shouldn’t miss.

Coney in Detroit

Last stop

I said I was going to the Casino no matter what. It had been more than 5 years since the last time I have gone to one, and I was cautious about it cause I was traveling on budget, but I still wanted to have some fun, so I decided I was only going to spend $20 bucks. At the end I lost them all, but I made them last 3 hours (in which I made $100 and them lost it all again) and had an awesome time.

Little advice

If you are traveling with a backpack, leave it at the hostel/hotel as they wont let you in with it, mine were really close from the casino so I asked them to hold my stuff for a bit.

Motorcity Casino in Detroit

48 hrs in Detroit

48 Hours in Detroit

I spent 48 hours in Detroit, and I must say I was positively surprised when I got to there. The Motorcity, as per what I had read in the media. The vibe of the city is amazing, in most areas. With all the motor industry decadence in the US and  well-publicized budgetary problems, I was expecting something completely different.

I arrived to Detroit on Saturday morning. Public transportation from the airport is a little unreliable (the buses take forever to arrive) So I just took an uber to Mexican Town (the premier neighborhood to get some good tacos) and walked from there. I was only going to be in Detroit for a day and a half, so I needed to cover the largest amount in the shortest possible time.

From there, I walked the whole downtown area. Bad times are in the past and the Downtown just keeps getting better and better.

The urban beach in Downtown Detroit
Michigan avenue in Detroit

Just right in the center of Downtown, the city has built the urban beach“,  a relaxing space filled with pounds of sand and comfortable lounge chairs to enjoy during the spring and summer.

After that, I made my way to the Riverfront, not without stopping first at two of the most iconic sculptures of the whole city: the spirit of Detroit and the Monument to Joe Louis

the Monument to Joe Louis
the Spirit of Detroit

The Detroit River riverfront was once totally industrial (full of factories, docks, and warehouses). Nowadays, it has become an open area with parks, nature, and a huge boardwalk that allows you to take a view of the shore of Canada (Windsor) located on the opposite side of the river. People walking, riding, jogging, and skating along the paths at every time.

Panoramic of Detroit Riverfront
Selene in Detroit

From there, and around 2:00 pm I made my way to the Comerica Park (Stadium of the Detroit Tigers). Although it wasn’t season and they weren’t playing that day, I still got to see the installations. It’s a great spot to catch a baseball game so I recommend you go when season. 

Comerica Park, Detroit

On my way to the hostel I saw, for the first time in my life, an electric razor scooter. We didn’t have them in Miami until a couple weeks ago so I wasn’t aware of how popular they are everywhere else.

Instead of walking, I hopped in one of this (and felt like a child again) and decided to see the rest of the city on it. Uber was a thing from the past. It allow me to move around the city pretty easily and for a really affordable cost.

I encountered The Fox Theatre and the Masonic Temple on my way.

The Fox Theatre is a breathtaking performing arts center in downtown Detroit. Opened in 1928, it’s a step back in time.

Regarding the Masonic Temple, I can’t explain you how glorious the structure is. It is the world’s largest Masonic Temple, containing theaters, ballrooms, banquet halls, a drill hall, a swimming pool, handball court, gymnasium, bowling alley, offices…

 This is probably one of the best places to see a concert in Detroit. Beautiful, great acoustics, and historic. Just be careful with the surrounding as it not the safest area of the city. 

Fox Theater in Detroit

(source)

My next stop (and just because I found it on my way, it was not on my plans) was the casino. I tried getting in but they didn’t allow me because I had backpack, so I promise I would come back later. I made it to my hostel: Jazz on the Park. Only 20 minutes away from Downtown, it offers a cozy environment and a friendly staff.

After I checked – in, I decided to see another of the Gems of Detroit, The Heidelberg Project (with my loyal razor scooter always by my side)

Electric Razor Scooter in Detroit

The Heidelberg Project is an outdoor art project located in the McDougall-Hunt neighborhood. Started by Tyree Guyton, who, inspired by his grandfather, transformed vacant lots on Heidelberg Street to giant-size art installations with the refuse they collected.

Nowadays, other artists have joined as well and they occupied the entire block. Different opinions have been given about the “art” they showcase, but it is, without a doubt, an must-see of Detroit.

I wanted to enjoy the sunset by the water, so I made my way to the Riverfront again. I stopped by the GM tower complex or best known as “GM Renaissance Center” on my way. The Renaissance Center is a group of seven interconnected skyscrapers, the world headquarters of General Motors.

Panoramic of Detroit Riverfront at sunset
GM renaissance center in Detroit

I heard really good things about the food in Greektown, so I decided to go there for dinner. This is where the nightlife of Detroit is at, an area dominated by Greek restaurants and businesses with plenty of places to grab a drink and a bite to eat. Everything’s with in walking distance but the people mover is always available anyway (I took my razor scooter instead)

Greektown in Detroit

Sunday Morning

First thing in the morning: I only had a couple hours before my flight (I had to be at the airport at 3) so I didn’t want to lose time at all. Check-out from the hostel, grabbed my bag and went to visit all the things I was missing.

First thing in the schedule:  the Eastern Market on Sunday.  It is one of the oldest and largest markets in the US. Offering fresh produce from local farmers and craft from artisans, this huge complex is definitely worth a visit. It is open Tuesdays, Thursday nights, Saturdays and Sundays. Each day offers different products and events.

Eastern Market in Detroit on Sunday
The Z Lot is an artful Parking Garage & Alley filled with murals and graffiti, like the cooler garage ever. Every floor showcases an array of murals by artists from around the world. You don’t have to park here to see the art.
The Belt Lane and Alley that run alongside are filled with art and murals as well, some of which changes on a regular basis.
The Z Lot in Detroit
The Z Lot detroit

The Guardian Building, a landmark skyscraper of Detroit, located within the Financial District, feels more like a piece of art. It features a three-story lobby  with an exquisite and ornamental tilework in Art Deco style.

The building has been designated a National Historic Landmark, the highest honor given by the National Park Service. The lobby area has a lot of retail stores, selling T-shirts and all kinds of souvenirs. You can’t miss it.

The Guardian Building Detroit

I wasn’t leaving Detroit before trying one of its iconic “Coney Islands“. They are a unique type of Greek American restaurants. Nothing but an icon of Michigan, Coney Island Hot Dogs (Or just coneys) have been a favorite with Detroiters and visitors for nearly a century. A hot dog in a steamed bun dressed with chili, diced onions, and yellow mustard, a classic you shouldn’t miss.

Coney in Detroit

Last stop

I said I was going to the Casino no matter what. It had been more than 5 years since the last time I have gone to one, and I was cautious about it cause I was traveling on budget, but I still wanted to have some fun, so I decided I was only going to spend $20 bucks. At the end I lost them all, but I made them last 3 hours (in which I made $100 and them lost it all again) and had an awesome time.

Little advice

If you are traveling with a backpack, leave it at the hostel/hotel as they wont let you in with it, mine were really close from the casino so I asked them to hold my stuff for a bit.

Motorcity Casino in Detroit
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