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While Detroit may not be the most touristy city in the US, it has many attractions to excite and delight you. From world-class art museums and architecture to historical sites and beautiful public spaces, these are the spots you must visit during a trip to the Motor City.
A quick and cheap ride on the city’s monorail, functionally titled the People Mover, is a great way to see the city’s resurgent downtown area. The entire loop is only 3mi (5km) long, with 13 stops, and takes less than 15 minutes to complete. While enjoying the tour, don’t miss checking out the original artworks installed throughout the stations, thanks to the Downtown Detroit People Mover Art Commission (now known as Art in the Stations), which raised $2m to finance the creative project.
A Detroit culinary staple, the Coney Island hotdog is covered in chili and onions. The two most famous places to get one happen to be next door to each other on West Lafayette Boulevard, and they share a historic rivalry dating back to when each business was owned by a brother in the same family. Detroiters say that Lafayette is the hometown favorite and has a better atmosphere, but many feel American’s hotdogs and chili are superior. The only way to know where your loyalty lies is to try both.
The Detroit Zoo, in Royal Oak and Huntington Woods, is about 2mi (3km) north of the city. Operated by the non-profit Detroit Zoological Society and the Belle Isle Nature Center, it’s one of Michigan’s most popular family attractions, with 125 acres (51ha) of naturalistic habitats housing 2,100 animals from 230 different species. It also boasts a simulator ride, 4D theater, the Tauber Family Railroad and a custom-made carousel.
Campus Martius Park (Latin for “field of Mars”) lies in downtown Detroit. In 1805, following the fire that nearly destroyed the city, the park became the focal point for rebuilding the city. It’s a great place to hang out and comprises two performance stages, monumental sculptures, public spaces and a seasonal ice-skating rink.
If you love science, you won’t want to miss the Michigan Science Center. Highlights include a dome theater where you can catch educational shows, a planetarium, live science demonstrations in exhibit laboratories and an awesome children’s gallery for the mini scientists among you. After-dark events are also available for those who want to enjoy the museum in a livelier atmosphere. Who knew science could be so much fun?
Additional reporting by Alice Johnston.