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Detroit

Travel Guide North America USA Midwestern United States Michigan Detroit

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Introduction

The Spirit of Detroit, Detroit, MI, USA

The Spirit of Detroit, Detroit, MI, USA

© All Rights Reserved GregW

The Motor City, Detroit, Michigan, is both an example of the great industrial power of the United States, and the decline of it's inner cities. Henry Ford, the Dodge brothers, and Walter Chrysler started manufacturing of the automobiles in Detroit, and it soon grew to be one of the most important industrial centers in the USA. The automobile and the resulting highway system, though, was also downtown Detroit's downfall, as "the white flight" created a city of rich commuters living in the suburbs and poor, mostly African-American residents left in downtown Detroit. The gasoline crisises of the 1970s led to hard times for the automotive industry in America, and as a result, the city of Detroit. By the 1980s, downtown Detroit was a ghost-town, a city of abandoned buildings surrounded by poor neighbourhoods that scared most travellers away.

In the 1990s and 2000s, though, downtown Detroit has started to come back. New industry has moved into town. The Detroit Tigers baseball and Detroit Lions football clubs have built new downtown stadiums, returning from the suburbs, and creating a boom in restaurants and bars to serve gameday patrons. Three casinos have been built in the core, bringing in tourists and locals alike.

Detroit is the birthplace of the motown sound, soul music with a dancible beat championed by the likes of Marvin Gaye, The Temptations and the Supremes.

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Suburbs

  • Royal Oak - Royal Oak downtown is a trendy and urban-chic restaurant, shopping, and entertainment district, and hosts the Detroit Zoo. Approximately 20 - 30 minutes from downtown Detroit.
  • Windsor, Canada - Just across the river from Detroit by either the Ambassador bridge or the Tunnel, Windsor draws Detroit citizens across to partake in the carnal delights of a lower drinking age (19 years versus 21 in Detroit), more liberal strip clubs and massage parlours.

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Sights

  • Casinos: three casinos are in downtown Detroit: MGM Grand Detroit, Motor City Casino, and Greektown Casino. In addition, there is a casino across the river in Windsor, Ontario.
  • Renaissance Center - a massive complex built on the Detroit river offers shopping and dining in a beautiful but confusing maze of an 6 story open attrium with multiple levels.
  • Belle Isle - This island situated on America's busiest waterway offers hiking, beaches, watersports and an aquarium.
  • Cranbrook - numerous attractions including the Institute of Science museum, an art museum, and the Cranbrook House and Garden. Located in Bloomfield Hills, MI, approximately 25 miles north west of downtown Detroit.

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Activities

Comerica Park, Home of the Detroit Tigers

Comerica Park, Home of the Detroit Tigers

© All Rights Reserved GregW

  • Lions and Tigers and Red Wings, oh my - Detroit Tigers baseball is at Comerica Park, Detroit Lions football (NFL) is at Ford Field and Detroit Red Wings Hockey plays in the Joe Louis Arena, all downtown.

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Events and Festivals

  • Friendship Festival - held first week of July to celebrate both Canada Day and Independence Day. Includes fireworks.
  • Detroit co-hosts the two-week-long Windsor-Detroit International Freedom Festival along with Windsor, Canada, which culminates in a fireworks display to celebrate Canada Day and the American Independence Day.

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Weather

Detroit has a humid continental climate. Summers from June to mid-September see average highs of 24-29 °C with lows of around 14-18 °C. Winters from December to February have highs around zero and nights between -5 °C and -8 °C. The alltime high and low are 41 °C and -29 °C! Precipitation averages around 850 mm a year with rain falling quite constantly throughout the year, summers being somewhat wetter. Snow is possible from the end of October to the beginning of April, though tends to concentrate from December to February with around 10 inches (25 centimetres) a month.

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg Max-0.9 °C0.7 °C6.9 °C14.3 °C20.9 °C26.1 °C28.5 °C27.4 °C23.3 °C16.4 °C8.9 °C1.8 °C
Avg Min-9.1 °C-8 °C-2.8 °C2.7 °C8.4 °C13.5 °C16.3 °C15.3 °C11.4 °C4.9 °C0.1 °C-5.9 °C
Rainfall44.7 mm44.2 mm64.8 mm74.9 mm74.2 mm91.7 mm80.8 mm87.1 mm73.4 mm53.3 mm67.8 mm71.6 mm
Rain Days7.77.39.49.68.38.57.77.37.878.69.9

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Getting There

By Plane

Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW) is the main airport, and is a major hub for Delta Airlines, which mainly has domestic flights but also a significant number of international flights, including to/from Amsterdam, Cancun, Frankfurt, Manila, Tokyo, Shanghai Pudong International Airport, Mexico City and Rome. Several dozens of other airlines serve Detroit, with many domestic services and quite a few international flights, like Amman, Paris, Toronto and London.

To/from the airport

  • Car: The airport is accessible from I-94 and from I-275 via Eureka Road. John D. Dingell Drive is an expressway that runs from I-94 to Eureka Road. This expressway was built in 1999 for access to the McNamara Terminal. Many other local roads all have access to the airport. There are about 11,500 parking places at the airport and both rental cars as well as taxis are widely available. Taxis are provided by MetroCab, while limousine service and luxury vehicle service is provided by MetroCars.
  • Bus: The Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART) provides bus routes 125 and 280, one per hour, that connect the airport with the rest of Metro Detroit. Robert Q. Airbus also provides independent shuttle services, and most hotels located at the airport provide their own shuttle services as well.

By Train

The Michigan Services are operated by Amtrak providing service to Detroit, operating its Wolverine service between Chicago, Illinois, and Pontiac.

By Bus

Tunnel Bus from Windsor
The Windsor Transit Tunnel Bus runs between Detroit and Windsor approximately every 20 to 30 minutes. The regular Tunnel Bus operates a short route from Windsor to downtown Detroit, including Cobo Center/Arena, Joe Louis Arena, Campus Martius Park and Hart Plaza, before returning to Windsor. During special events, the bus runs to Ford Field and Comerica Park.

Proof of citizenship is required when crossing the international Windsor-Detroit border, and international travellers should check the entry requirements to the USA and Canada to ensure they are prepared. Tunnel bus service costs $3.75 for the regular route, or $4.00 for trips to Comerica Park & Ford Field on special occasions, payable in either Canadian or US funds.

The Tunnel Bus schedule is available at the Transit Windsor website, though travellers going from Detroit to Windsor should note that the bus cannot wait at Tunnel platform, and so travellers are advised to arrive early. The platform for boarding the bus in Detroit is behind the Maritimes Sailor's Church on Jefferson at the entrance to the tunnel.

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Getting Around

By Car

Many international rental companies have a wide selection of rental cars and these include Hertz, Avis, Dollar, Thrifty, Enterprise, Budget and Alamo/National. Most companies will require you are at least 25 years of age, although younger people might be able to rent cars at slightly higher rates and with some insurance differences as well. A national driver's license is usually enough, but an additional international one is recommended. Also note that it usually costs more to include lots of other extra things. For example extra drivers, GPS, the first full tank, SLI (Supplemental Liability Insurance), PAI (Personal Accident Insurance, usually covered already at home), road assistance/service plan, and drop-off costs for one-way rentals.
If you want to book a car, it is recommended that you book your car before arriving in the USA. This is almost always (much) cheaper compared to just showing up. Also, try and book with a so-called 'broker', which usually works together with a few or many car rental companies and can offer the best deal. Some examples include Holidayautos, Holidaycars and Sunny Cars. Some of the cheapest deals to book from Europe, includes Drive-USA, which also has a German version.

For more information and tips about renting cars and campers, additional costs, insurance, traffic rules, scenic routes and getting maps and fuel it is advised to check the USA Getting Around section.

By Public Transport

An automated guideway transit system known as the People Mover provides a 2.9-mile loop in the downtown area and usually operates daily. The cost is $0.50 per ride, exact change required. Check the People Mover website for more information.

D-DOT provides services within Detroit city limits. The Detroit Department of Transportation website lists bus schedules and routes. Costs are $1.50 per ride.

SmartBus provides services to the communities surrounding Detroit. Smart Bus website lists schedules and routes. Costs are $1.50 per ride. For more details on areas, you can check their service maps.

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Sleep

Budget

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
The Shorecrest Motor Inn1316 East JeffersonHotel39
Corktown Inn1331 Trumbull St.,Hotel68
Detroit Metropolitan Hotel31500 Wick RoadHotel-

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Keep Connected

Internet

There is a very small internet bar/cafe culture in the USA. Even then most of the internet bars/cafes tend be located in major urban centers. Accessible WiFi networks, however, are common. The most generally useful WiFi spots are in coffee shops, fast-food chains, and bookshops, but also restaurants and hotels more and more have a network to connect on. Some of them might require you to buy something and you might need a password too, especially in hotels.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The general emergency phone number is 911. The USA has a great landline phone system that is easy to use. The country code for the U.S. is +1. The rest of the telephone number consists of 10 digits: a 3-digit area code, and a 7-digit number. Any small grocery store or pharmacy has pre paid domestic or international phone cards. These phone cards are very cheap and offer good rates. The once ubiquitous pay phone is now much harder to find. Likely locations include in or near stores and restaurants, and near bus stops. The cellphone network in the states is slowly getting better but is still not as good when compared to other western countries. Cell phones tend to operate using different frequencies (850 MHz and 1900 MHz) from those used elsewhere in the world (2100 MHz). This used to prevent most foreign phones from working in America. Phones must be tri- or quad-band to work in the U.S. Fortunately, technology has meant that most phones should now be able to pick up one of the U.S. networks. Prepaid phones and top-up cards can be purchased at mobile phone boutiques and at many discount, electronics, office supply and convenience stores. A very basic handset with some credit can be had for under $40.

Post

The US Postal Service is a very good and well priced mail system. There are post offices in every small and large town for sending packages internationally or domestically. Although some might keep longer hours, most are open at least between 9:00am and 5:00pm. If wanting to send a letter or postcard it is best just to leave it in a blue mail box with the proper postage. First-class international airmail postcards and letters (up 28.5 grams) cost $1.10. There are also private postal services like FedEx, UPS, TNT and DHL, which might be better value sometimes and are generally very quick and reliable too.

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 42.330165
  • Longitude: -83.045913

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This is version 30. Last edited at 13:28 on Jul 11, 13 by Utrecht. 97 articles link to this page.

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