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  #1  
Old Posted May 7, 2009, 1:21 AM
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Visiting Detroit - Ideas????

Right, so after talking about taking a random roadtrip for the last few years, two of my friends and I are driving to Detroit for a weekend. We're leaving on Friday May 29 and returning the evening of the 31st. None of us have been to the city before.

So basically, I'm looking for ideas of what to do. We have a vehicle and would like to see as many areas of the city as possible, within reason of course. This would range from nice neighbourhoods with great architecture to urban prairie and gutted buildings. I know it's cliched, but we're coming from a city lacking the latter two.

Also looking for suggestions of good bars and restaurants. Oh, and hotels. We're planning to do this on the cheap, but since costs would be split between 3 people it wouldn't need to be too cheap.

So yeah, suggestions? Any and all ideas taken.
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  #2  
Old Posted May 7, 2009, 1:42 AM
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Hit Michigan Central Station before it's gets demolished, the Ford River Rouge Plant (which just really looked like something straight out of RoboCop to me[/i]). Downtown is a treasure trove of deco and Belle Isle Park is certainly charming.

Keep an eye out for guys in football helmets hanging under trees.
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  #3  
Old Posted May 7, 2009, 2:01 AM
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I was going to start this same thread soon. I am planning to go to Detroit over Memorial day. I love to camp, but memorial day is the worst time to camp for a single dude. Campgrounds are crowded with loud annoying families.

I really want to see Detroit to know what the city really is like. I have many cities I want to know what is like, but Detroit is one of the top ones in this country that I have a wonder for.
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  #4  
Old Posted May 7, 2009, 4:55 PM
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Take a downtown tour led by Bo-Bo the crackheaed
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  #5  
Old Posted May 7, 2009, 6:40 PM
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How will they discern which crackhead is bo-bo?

...oh Detroit, I used to love that place.
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  #6  
Old Posted May 7, 2009, 6:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by volguus zildrohar View Post
Keep an eye out for guys in football helmets hanging under trees.
What?

God, I can't wait to see this city. It sounds so exiting. Dudes in football helmets haging in trees, and downtown tour guides! You guys are making it sound fun. How much do you have to pay Bo-Bo?
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  #7  
Old Posted May 7, 2009, 7:35 PM
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How will they discern which crackhead is bo-bo?

...oh Detroit, I used to love that place.
Bo-Bo makes himself KNOWN!
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  #8  
Old Posted May 7, 2009, 7:49 PM
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How much do you have to pay Bo-Bo?
That Bo-Bo is a tough negotiator. A few bucks should suffice for his daily dietary needs (two rocks and a Mickey's). In any event never pay Bo-Bo before service is rendered (his work effort tends to diminish after payment, if not alltogether stop) and whatever you give him tell him that's all you got!
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  #9  
Old Posted May 7, 2009, 8:56 PM
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I don't think it's really necessary to go out searching for blight. You'll get enough of it between the major points of interest. Granted two of the more famous examples are Michigan Central Depot and the Packard Plant.

Obviously you'll be spending a lot of time Downtown. I would suggest staying at the Westin Book-Cadillac. You can take a tour of Downtown by riding the People Mover. The nearest station to the Book-Cadillac is only a block away. The train runs in a giant loop around the Downtown area and takes about 15 minutes to complete a full circuit. It costs 50 cents to ride. The hotel is also a block away from Campus Martius Park, a nice little urban park at the center of Downtown. Greektown is a popular Downtown neighborhood for visitors. It is home to Greektown Casino as well as many shops and restaurants. I would suggest spending Friday night in Greektown.

On Saturday during the morning/early afternoon, I would suggest the Riverwalk. It is (or I should say will be) a pathway running along the Detroit River stretching nearly 5 miles between the Ambassador Bridge and the Belle Isle Bridge. Currently only about half of the pathway is completed, with a few "holes" in between. You could take the People Mover over to the Joe Louis Arena station (if you're interested in checking out the home of the Detroit Red Wings you can) and then just walk a block down to the Riverwalk. That stretch of the path runs about 1.1 miles, but if you want you only have to walk as far as the Ren Cen (about 3/4 of a mile) You'll get a great view of Windsor across the river as well as the Downtown skyline. A portion of the path will probably still be unfinished as the Port Authority Terminal is under construction, but you will be able to pass through. If you want to go further you can go as far as Rivard Plaza. It has a littler Carousel and public restrooms, etc. It also has a bike rental center where you can rent bikes. If you do rent a bike, you can explore the Rivertown area. I would suggest biking over to the St. Aubin Marina/Tricentennial Park/Chene Park area and riding along the River through that area. You can then come back along Jefferson or explore more of the Rivertown area. I also highly suggest taking the bikes along the Dequindre Cut, a former below-grade rail line that has been converted into a pedestrian greenway. It runs about 1 mile from the River up to the Eastern Market area. Saturday's are always busy in Eastern Market. It's one of the largest urban market districts in the U.S. and is currently seeing a lot of renovations and beautification projects. You can eat lunch at one of the restaurants. On the way back to return the bikes, I suggest riding through the Lafayette Park area. It is one of the better examples of urban renewal in the U.S. with a nice collection of townhomes and highrises in a park setting. Once you return the bikes, you can walk back to the Ren Cen and take the People Mover back to your hotel.

From there, you should probably take the car. Drive along Michigan Avenue (the hotel is right on Michigan Ave) outside of Downtown and the first neighborhood you'll come to is Corktown. While it might not look like much from Michigan Ave, there are a lot of great historic homes along the streets to the south. Corktown is also home to old Tiger Stadium. Most of the stadium was recently torn down. All that remains is a dugout-to-dugout section. All that separates you from the field is a chain-link fence, so its kind of a strange sight. If you continue up Trumbull you'll pass through North Corktown and into Woodbridge. Both have a decent collection of late 19th century homes. Woodbridge is mostly intact, while North Corktown is severely blighted.

If you head back to Corktown, a little further down along Michigan Ave, you'll find the crown jewel of Detroit ruins. Michigan Central Depot. Right now there is a big controversy over the building. The city wants to tear it down as soon as possible at the owner's expense, while preservationists are looking to save it. I'd say there's a pretty good chance it will get torn down, so now's your chance to see it.

After you had your fill of MCD, I would suggest driving along Vernor Hwy into the Mexicantown area. Vernor Hwy is one of the few reletively healthy commercial thoroughfares in the city. It's also home to Detroit's large hispanic population. You can explore the area a little. Hubbard Farms is a nice little sub-neighborhood, and Springwells is an extension of Mexicantown with its own active commercial center. It's also Detroit's densest residential neighborhood. If you want you can eat at one of the restaurants (Xocimilco's is a popular spot) in Mexicantown or you can go back to Corktown and eat at Slow's BBQ across the street from MCD.

On Sunday, I would suggest checking out Midtown. You can take Woodward Avenue north from Campus Martius. Midtown is Detroit's cultural center home to the Detroit Medical Center, Wayne State University, as well as several museums. It is also home to a large collection of historic homes. Brush Park, West Canfield and East Ferry offer great examples of Victorian architecture. North of Midtown is the Techtown/Milwaukee Junction area. You'll find some of the fist auto factories built in the city, including the original Model T factory. Just north of that is New Center, Detroit's secondary downtown. It's home to GM's old world HQ as well as the Fisher Building. If you're interested, you could take Grand Blvd west from New Center to see the Motown Museum. You could also go east along Grand Blvd and eventually you'll come across the Packard Plant, the largest of Detroit's industrial ruins. If you want you can take a little detour and visit the Heidelberg Project. It's a unique urban folk art project. If you travel along Mt. Elliott to Heidelberg St, you'll find it. If you head west, you'll eventually come back to Grand Blvd which you can take to Belle Isle. It's a large island park where you'll have a great view of the Downtown skyline. Once you've explored Belle Isle, you can check out the Indian Village/West Village/Gold Coast area. Indian Village is a beautiful neighborhood full of historic mansions. The West Village is directly adjacent to Indian Village and has a nice collection of more modest homes as well as rowhouses and a few highrises. The Gold Coast area is basically a large collection of highrises long the Riverfront. From there you can head back downtown along Jefferson Ave.
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  #10  
Old Posted May 7, 2009, 8:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JackStraw View Post
What?

God, I can't wait to see this city. It sounds so exiting. Dudes in football helmets haging in trees, and downtown tour guides! You guys are making it sound fun. How much do you have to pay Bo-Bo?
Not hanging in trees - hanging out under them and I assure you what he was doing was much more whimsical than anything he could have been doing in the tree.

Anytime Detroit comes up in a conversation I say "Everything you've heard about Detroit is true but it's still a worthwhile place to visit".
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  #11  
Old Posted May 8, 2009, 3:01 AM
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All I ever receive from crackheads in return is crappy rap party mix CD with liquor spilt upon them.

I wish MCS wasn't such a spectacle these days. Matty should set admission prices.

I'm surprised Mr. ColDayMan hasn't barged in to advertise the MGM casino food court.

Anyway, follow Hud's chamber of commercesque advice. You'll see a lot of interesting things, and the riverfront is impressive. I love biking Detroit btw, and the Dequindre cut is the best part of it. To avoid the "holes" in the riverwalk, follow the signage and walk a block or two away from the river. It's all a safe area so don't worry. You can then pick it back up after you pass the fenced in sites. Again, there is some signage.
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  #12  
Old Posted May 8, 2009, 3:06 AM
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Thanks for the very detailed response hudkina, this sounds very much like the type of trip we'd like to make of it. Glad you mentioned the Heidelberg project, as I've had a mental block on that but been meaning to see it for quite some time.

As for the crackhead named bo-bo, he sounds suspiciously familiar to those living in the crack/rooming house 5 doors down from mine. I find the tours suspect, at best.
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  #13  
Old Posted May 8, 2009, 3:11 AM
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The artist of the Heidelberg Project btw is Tyree Guyton. He's a great guy to talk to and can explain in more detail the purpose behind the project.
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  #14  
Old Posted May 8, 2009, 3:50 AM
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I don't need to speak for the MGM Food Court. It speaks for itself...and the chicken tenders.
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  #15  
Old Posted May 9, 2009, 1:15 AM
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hudkina, I want to thank you for the detailed post. Don't think that you wrote all of that, and it is going to waste. I am going to take all advantage of what you wrote. As of now all I know of is the corktown neighborhood.

Thank you.

I will bring back a photo thead to post.
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  #16  
Old Posted May 9, 2009, 1:51 AM
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And bring me back some chicken tenders from the Legendary MGM Food Court.
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  #17  
Old Posted May 9, 2009, 3:04 AM
hudkina hudkina is offline
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Originally Posted by JackStraw View Post
hudkina, I want to thank you for the detailed post. Don't think that you wrote all of that, and it is going to waste. I am going to take all advantage of what you wrote. As of now all I know of is the corktown neighborhood.

Thank you.

I will bring back a photo thead to post.
Just be kind!

BTW, if you guys are interested in the more suburban areas of the city, you might want to take a drive along Outer Dr. While it might be a little difficult to follow, it basically runs from the Grosse Pointe border through the northern and western areas of the city until it reaches Dearborn.

Granted, the entire "loop" is over 50 miles, so it would probably take a few hours to complete it. Though it does bring you through some of the more affluent neighborhoods in the city, such as the East English Village, Palmer Woods, Sherwood Forest, Rosedale Park, etc. It also gives you an opportunity to see some of Detroit's greater suburbs: the Grosse Pointes and Dearborn.

Here's a map of the loop assuming you take Jefferson east out of Downtown and come back along Michigan Ave.
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  #18  
Old Posted May 29, 2009, 12:39 AM
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I'm passing through Detroit next week so I figured I'd bump this thread with one question...can one actually "visit" Michigan Central Station? It's not surrounded by a chain link fence or anything like that? If it isn't, is it safe to park there, walk up to it, etc. in daylight hours?

Any tips for someone who's thinking about trying to see this behemoth up close, would be very welcome!
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  #19  
Old Posted May 29, 2009, 6:42 AM
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I love the half assed attempt they made to keep people out of MCS by boarding up all those open garage doors. Rode by on my bike the other day and noticed at least 25% of them had fallen with other garage doors open. Genius. Can't they just cement block up all the openings? It's like someone protecting a house by boarding up a window, but forgetting to lock the front door.

Last edited by Rizzo; May 29, 2009 at 6:53 AM.
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  #20  
Old Posted May 29, 2009, 10:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hayward View Post
I love the half assed attempt they made to keep people out of MCS by boarding up all those open garage doors. Rode by on my bike the other day and noticed at least 25% of them had fallen with other garage doors open. Genius. Can't they just cement block up all the openings? It's like someone protecting a house by boarding up a window, but forgetting to lock the front door.
So I take it this means I can have a barbecue on the front lawn if I so choose?
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