10.17.2017

Take A Walk Along The River, or Read a Book On The Beach…in Downtown Detroit!

Take A Walk Along The River, or Read a Book On The Beach…in Downtown Detroit!

By Michael P Coleman

If I were to mention a beautiful walk along the river, outside concerts in the park, world-class restaurants, and a bustling retail scene, what cities would you think of? 

Detroit
Photos courtesy of Coleman Communications

Sacramento?  Of course!  San Antonio?  Yup.  Chicago?  Yes — well, if pizza’s your thing and you wouldn’t mind freezing during that walk along the river. 

If Detroit didn’t come to mind, you haven’t been there in awhile! 

I spent a week in Motown a couple of months ago, on assignment and catching up with friends and family.  It was my first time back home in several years.  And taking in the city, I have never been more proud to have been born and raised in Detroit.

Detroit
Photos courtesy of Coleman Communications

Some might argue that Detroit’s been on the comeback trail for over 40 years, beginning with the opening of Joe Louis Arena and the Renaissance Center downtown.  But it’s really been in the last 20 or so years that the city has come back into its own. 

I arrived as Detroit was preparing for the annual International Jazz Festival, held at the riverfront each Labor Day Weekend.  Streets were blocked off, food vendors were setting up…and the very things that might drive someone crazy as he navigated a city made me joyful.  It was great to see my hometown alive and thriving again. 

Would you believe that Detroit is home to wet marshlands, in the heart of downtown?  How about a carousel for the kids to ride?  Omnipresent kiosks from which you can rent a bike to ride around downtown?  Again, I had to see it to believe it! 

Detroit
Photos courtesy of Coleman Communications

In a city that has depended on automobiles for decades, I loved seeing the new Q Line shuttling people up and down Woodward Avenue.  And the sandy beach, installed right at Campus Martius Park in the heart of downtown, was a masterstroke.  As I chilled in a beach chair with my iPad, listening to the live band with my flip flopped feet in the sand, I didn’t miss the west coast at all! 

Detroit
Photos courtesy of Coleman Communications

Are you looking for brand-name shopping and dining?  Nike, Ben & Jerry’s, and the Hard Rock Cafe are just a few of the brands with storefronts in downtown Detroit.  But don’t miss Detroit’s incredible “mom and pop” stores and restaurants, especially if you want to experience the best hot dog in the history of the world.  Tourists look to Lafayette and American Coney Island, but Detroiters know that as good as they are, you can find awesome Coneys, generously laden with chili, onions, and mustard, all over the city. 

Detroit’s Ford Field and Comerica Park have long been the home of the Detroit Lions and Detroit Tigers, respectively.  But the Pistons haven’t played in Detroit in my lifetime, so the sight of their new downtown home, the Little Caesar’s Arena, which just opened across Woodward from Comerica Park was one I won’t soon forget.  To quote a classic Motown song, I’ll be there! 

Given some of the city’s past struggles, and decades of post-1967 activity in its northern and western suburbs, it feels wonderful to be able to say this:  I didn’t have enough time in Detroit to see and experience everything I wanted to see.  If it wasn’t for their long, cold winters (I may have mislead you earlier — Chicago’s got nothing on Detroit in THAT regard!) I could envision moving back. 

If you want to take a vacation off of the beaten path, check out Detroit.  You won’t regret it! 

Get more information on activities and events in Detroit at visitDetroit.com

 

Get more information on Sacramento-based, Detroit-born freelancer Michael P Coleman at www.michaelpcoleman.com or follow him on Twitter:  @ColemanMichaelP.