Detroit – Luxury cars, fancy hotels and a little bit of history

You will find modern skyscrapers at the promenade along the river, luxury cars in Henry Ford’s technical museum, a beach in the middle of the city and of course Motown Hitsville, home of the hits of the 60s and 70s! I checked out Detroit and was wondering, that the city today is really worth a trip.

Detroit Riverside
Detroit – Is it dangerous?
Is Detroit not the most dangerous city in the USA? You can’t step out of the house in the evenings, right? And – is there anything to see? These and other questions my friends asked me before I left. I was also very excited and now I can say “YES!” Detroit is really worth a visit.

After the direct flight with Lufthansa from Frankfurt to Detroit I was surprised: Detroit has a small airport and not to many international flights arrive here. So the immigration was done quickly and after a few minutes I made my way to Downtown Detroit. After half an hour I checked in at the Crowne Plaza Hotel right on the river.

Detroit Crowne Plaza

The hotel offers rooms with plush carpets, a large bed, a desk with a coffee station and a stunning view across the skyscrapers of Detroit. So leave the curtains open all night and have a look outside everytime you are awake. Some rooms face the river, my room had a view over the financial district with its countless skyscrapers.

Ausblick Detroit Crowne Plaza
Walking across Detroit
You can easily explore Downtown Detroit on foot. From the Crowne Plaza there are only a few meters to the newly designed promenade along the river. On the other side is already Canada!

Just luxe travel knowledge Quiz: Detroit is the only city in the United States, where you can look south to Canada!

Detroit Riverside
The old Mississippi ship is crossing the river for Dinner Cruises, many people from Detroit jog or cycle along the promenade. The first highlight is the General Motors headquarters, which is also right on the river. You will see pretty Street Art with GM cars outside.
A look inside is worthwhile in any case. On the ground floor there is a free exhibition with many GM models, including chic luxury cars!

Detroit GM Museum
I leave the headquarters through the front door and walk along the skyscrapers through the urban canyons. Everywhere new restaurants and shops have opened, also big brands now buy properties in order to open new branches in the city. From spring to autumn the heart of the city beats at the new City Beach with its deckchairs. Small bars offer drinks until the late evening, a DJ is playing his songs and especially after work people meet meet here to have a beer.

Detroit Beach

However, the most popular nightlife district is Greektown, only a few blocks away. In the past many Greeks lived here and today there are some Greek restaurants. Along the main street there is one bar after the next, I tried the Santorini Estiatorio with its Greek flair and Greek cuisine – and of course typical American portions. Hardly anyone leaves without a “doggy bag” the restaurant.

My way back to the hotel is short, I take a ride with the Detroit People Mover. The train runs without driver in a circle around Downtown Detroit, a tour only costs 75 US cents. I walk to Greektown Casino, because the railway station is right in front of the lobby.

Detroit Monorail Peope Mover

After a few stops I reach the financial district and go back to my hotel. I take a few minutes to enjoy the view from my room on the 24th floor at the Crowne Plaza before I fall asleep – jet lag!

Detroit by night
Henry Ford – Museum of Technology
The next day I visited the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn District, which is about 20 minutes from the center. In the huge museum you could actually spend the whole day, but I stayed only a few hours. Especially exciting is the history of the automobile, which is represented with numerous cars from a coach to the ultra-modern electric car.

Detroit Technikmuseum Henry Ford

Here you can even sit in an Oldtimer…

Detroit Technikmuseum Henry Ford

Very amazing is the fleet of US presidents from the past until now.

Detroit Technikmuseum Henry Ford

But the Henry Ford Museum offers much more! The history of the aircraft is documented by the first flight tests to current models.

Detroit Technikmuseum Henry Ford

Entire trains from the last century fill the halls, historic furniture and the history of advertising is also a part of the exhibition.

Detroit Technikmuseum Henry Ford
Henry Ford – The open-air museum
Also outside the “Henry Ford” continues. Right next to the museum you will find the Greenfield Village, where visitors explore the life in Michigan in the past centuries.

Detroit Henry Ford Greenfield Village

Historic farm houses with orchards, cattle and equine industry can also be found as the typical wooden houses.

Detroit Henry Ford Greenfield Village

You can explore the extensive grounds by train and carriage or explore the area with an oldtimer.

Detroit Henry Ford Greenfield Village
I chose the comfortable coach and drive through the historic streets. On this sunny autumn the popular park is well attended. Halloween is coming and the first houses are traditionally decorated with pumpkins and corn.

Detroit Henry Ford Greenfield Village

After the one-hour tour, I’m hungry, and turn into the “Eagle Tavern”. The restaurant offers only courts “of the past” with seasonal ingredients. There’s “Pork and Apple Pie”, fresh pasta with pumpkin and Brussels sprouts or bread pudding. But be careful, here also the portions are simply huge!
For music fans – Motown Hitsville
When you’re in Detroit, of course, the Motown Hitsville museum is a must. Even when you are less interested in music you should visit the museum. Here the Jackson Five became famous, also the Temptations are well known. Berry Gordy founded his own music label in this house and the famous Motown band played with numerous artists as well as Stevie Wonder.

Motown Hitsville Detroit Brigitte

Unfortunately taking pictures is not allowed in the museum. The tour starts with a film and a lot of music, most of the guests are real Motown fans and they sing very loudly. You can see many pictures of the stars, the various record labels, hat and gloves of Michael Jackson, the apartment of Berry and the studio, which was located in a garage behind the former kitchen. Of course, the group must sing a song together at the garage and we had to perform “My Girl”.
Unfortunately, my time in Detroit is now over and it continues in the north of Michigan. But I’ll come back for sure!
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  • So glad you enjoyed your stay in Detroit! If you flew Lufthansa, then you probably landed in the North Terminal (which is small!) the McNamara Terminal is the Delta hub and it is huge! It is so large that there is a famous tunnel where the lights change. Next time you come you will have to take a look for yourself :)

    • Thank you for the information. Yes, I landed in the Northern Terminal and I loved that. Maybe next time I will fly with another airline. Do you have any recommendations what to visit next time? Thank you :)

  • Hi Brigitte! So nice to have a fellow travel blogger visiting Detroit — I live in the area & lived in Detroit for about 5.5 years! There’s so much to see and do and I’m glad you were able to get a taste of the history at different museums; good choices! Hope the rest of your travels in Michigan are amazing! If you have any questions or need any suggestions, please let me know. Have fun! Cheers.

    • I was really surprised and I liked the city! We also visited Holland and Traverse City, but the weather was really bad at that days. So I would like to come back to explore more of the Michigan highlights.

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