Detroit’s two main nicknames – Motown and the Motor City -- highlight its famous musical and industrial past. Car aficionados, history buffs and music lovers all will find attractions in the city to satisfy their niche interests.
Since Henry Ford founded his Ford Motor Company in 1904, Detroit has been the automotive capital of the world. The impact of the auto industry can be experienced via museums and events alike, but it’s also a mainstay in the culture itself. Every January, the city lives up to its Motor City moniker: It hosts the North American International Auto Show – one of the largest and most prestigious car shows in the world. Each summer, thousands of classic-car owners participate in the Woodward Dream Cruise along the city’s Woodward Avenue.
Another historic link is the Motown History Museum, which charts the legacy of the Motown Record Company established in the late 1950s. The company’s artists, such as Stevie Wonder, influenced 20th century pop culture and musical styles with their soulful, doo-wop music.
Detroit also is home to teams in the four major sports. The Detroit Red Wings (NHL), the Detroit Lions (NFL) and the Detroit Tigers (MLB) play in downtown stadiums, while the Detroit Pistons (NBA) play in nearby Auburn Hills.
When to Go
From August through October, temperatures tend to be the most consistent and tourism tends to be at its peak. Visit during December through March for the fewest crowds and the lowest prices. People travel internationally every January for the North American International Auto Show.
How to Get There
Nearly 15 major domestic and international airlines, especially Delta and Spirit Airlines, serve Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport. The easiest way to get around the city is with a rental car.
Get a history lesson with a trip to the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village, located in the nearby suburb of Dearborn. The museum centers on the history of transportation and innovation. The village showcases 83 authentic historic structures, such as the courthouse where Abraham Lincoln practiced law.
Cheer on hometown teams at college football games. Watch the University of Michigan Wolverines, or travel north of Detroit to Lansing, where the Michigan State University Spartans play. For locals, the biggest rivalry each year is when the two teams play each other.
Test your luck at Detroit’s three downtown casinos: MGM Grand Detroit, Greektown Casino Hotel and MotorCity Casino Hotel. Visitors will find plenty of restaurants and bars nearby, too.