• Visiting Detroit

  • by Danny McGuffin

I travel to Detroit more times in one year than most people would in their lifetime. That is because my team works in the Detroit office, while I am located in San Diego. One Reverse Mortgage’s Detroit office is filled with wonderful people working to help seniors reach their financial goals. I wrote about Detroit close to five years ago, and I think revisiting the city is incredibly important.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am an ardent supporter of California. As I get older and travel around the country more and more, I notice that people have the same view as me; wherever they live, they have a sense of pride for their hometown. Today, after visiting numerous states, I can say there is no other city that I have ever visited that takes hometown pride to heart like the city of Detroit.

The people of Detroit – and the surrounding metro areas – love Michigan and love Detroit; and they are not afraid to show it. This passion could stem from all of the years they were kicked while they were down; when the automobile industry fell on hard times, the manufacturing sectors neared collapse, the city faced financial woes, and crime escalated to near-historic levels.

If you’ve never travelled to Detroit, or have only been to the city years ago, you won’t see what I have seen in the last seven years. The city is coming back, with a comeback like no other. This primarily is driven by a passion that I have never seen in any city that I have ever been to. Detroiters take their city very importantly. The downtown is revitalized, and the environment around downtown is gentrifying. The downtown, once just a scary place nobody would go, is now an epicenter to the boom that will eventually put Detroit back on the map as one of many great American success stories.

Here are a few places to visit when in Detroit

The Heidelberg Project: The reason I go with this place first is that there is a ticking clock going off, as this project is due to be dismantled in the summer of 2017. Local artist Tyree Guyton set it up in 1986. If you ever in your life have a chance to view this area, you should take it. What the Heidelberg project is in essence is a neighborhood that is vibrant, colorful, and filled with some of the strangest work of art that I have ever laid my eyes upon. Just to give you an idea of how fun this place is and why you should visit, here are the names of a couple of the homes: The Taxi Doll House, The Number House, Street Scene, and The Code Pink Hummer just to name a few. Their website has much more information about the program and the artist himself.

Eastern Market: The Eastern Market is a historic district located about two miles north east of downtown Detroit. It has become a place for people to sell their produce, livestock, and artwork in a festive open environment. There are a number of internationally recognized art galleries in the area as well, including the Red Bull House of Art and OmniCorp Detroit. It is a nice place to gather and people watch on a weekend afternoon. You can find out much more about Eastern Market at their website.

Greektown: Created in the 1880’s by Greek immigrants, Greektown has become the heart of downtown Detroit. To this day, there is a strong Greek presence with some of the most notable eateries standing out amongst the rest. Music plays on the streets during the day, and plenty of bars and activities line the street. Without a doubt, it is one of the premier places I spend my time when I am in town for work.

This is only a small sampling of the rich, cultural and artistic scenes in Detroit. There are countless others to mention as well, like The Detroit Institute of Art, the MoTown Museum, and the Detroit Jazz Festival.

There are also many new projects occurring in the near future of this great city. They are installing a light rail system for easier access down Woodward Avenue, a new Hockey stadium for the Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Pistons, and a major league soccer stadium is being planned. Great things are afoot.

I can honestly say that I still have tremendous respect and love for my home town of San Diego, but if there is a place that I can see a bright future, it is in Southeastern Michigan in a city that, in time, will be praised as the “comeback city” and will be known for how it reestablished itself as one of the jewels of the Midwest. And that city is Detroit, MI.