Things to Do

Things to Do

Metro Detroit with its growing population of 5,516,124 is an impressively vibrant, diverse and cultural area. Detroit city itself has 911,402 residents, and is renowned as the home of the automobile and the Motown sound. With its rich ethnic makeup, the Metro Detroit area truly offers something for everyone, and it’s all located within an easy commute of the region's major employment centers. This region has attractions ranging from zoos and museums to top-notch restaurants, lively nightlife and entertaining festivals. Metro Detroit provides a network of superior educational, cultural and recreational offerings. Whatever your preference, you can find it here in Metro Detroit. 

Location 

Metro Detroit is the U. S. metropolitan area consisting of nine counties in Michigan. It is the eighth largest metropolitan area in the nation and encompasses most of southeast Michigan. However, the three counties which contain or border the city of Detroit, Wayne, Oakland and Macomb, are more commonly considered the Metro Detroit area, and are traditionally referred to as the "tri-county area."  

The city of Detroit itself is located in Wayne County, in southeast Michigan, just north of the Canadian city of Windsor, Ontario. It is the county seat, the largest city in the State, and the 11th most populous city in the nation. 

Geography/Terrain 

Metro Detroit (tri-county area) covers an area of 2,150 square miles, 1,967 square miles of which is land, and 183 square miles of which is water. In southeast Michigan, the Huron and Raisin rivers flow into Lake Erie. Lake Erie is the smallest of the Great Lakes in volume and spans 241 miles across. The Detroit River and Lake Huron are the two other major bodies of water in the area. Lake Huron is another one of the Great Lakes chain, and is located on the border between Canada and the United States. 

The city of Detroit has a total area of 142.9 square miles, 138.8 square miles of which is land and 4.1 square miles of which is water. The city sits above a large salt mine, at an altitude of 626 feet. It is on the north bank of the Detroit River between Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair. 

Distance to 3 Closest Major Cities 

Metro Detroit includes the anchor cities of Flint, Ann Arbor, Detroit, Livonia, Monroe and Warren. Detroit is located 35 miles east of Ann Arbor, 57 miles southeast of Flint, and 82 miles east of Lansing. The Ambassador Bridge and the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel provide motor vehicle and railroad access to and from Canada.
 

   

Jobs 

The Metro Detroit area has the distinct advantage of mature status as an industrial center and the presence of many multinational corporations. Progress has been made in diversifying the area’s economy as evidenced by growth in non-manufacturing sectors, including high technology.  

The city of Detroit is known as the world's automotive center, and is home to the world headquarters of General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. The North American headquarters of DaimlerChrysler and Volkswagen are also located in metro Detroit. The area is a leader in the production of non-electrical machinery, paints and automation equipment, as well as rubber products, pharmaceutical, synthetic resins and garden seed. 

 

   

Other major corporations headquartered here include: The Budd Company, American National Resources, SBC, Compuware and Kmart, as well as pizza giants Domino's, Hungry Howie's and Little Caesars. There are seventeen Fortune 500 companies headquartered in Metro Detroit, including Borders Books and Music, Comerica, Federal-Mogul, Kelly Services and Lear Corporation. Other major industries in the area include advertising, medical services, chemicals, computer software, and casino gambling. The unemployment level in the Metro Detroit area is13.8%, and the average time to travel to work is 28.4 minutes. The median household income is $40,504. 

 

   

Housing 

Metro Detroit offers a range of residential options. Residents can choose between quiet suburban neighborhoods, rural farming communities, a variety of ethnic neighborhoods, exclusive and chic urban areas, or the excitement of the big city. Architectural styles range from 1920s buildings to modern homes. Single-family homes and apartments are interspersed among the small commercial areas. Interest rates are excellent and there are a good number of homes to choose from. Homes stay on the market an average of 72 days, and prices range from $15,500 to $205,000, with an average price of $65,972. 

 

   

Parks/Sports/Recreation/Golf 

Metro Detroit has over 7,500 acres of public recreation land, with 391 miles of rivers and streams. There are ample facilities for picnicking, bicycling, canoeing, sledding, fishing, running, walking, golfing or swimming. The Detroit River offers some of Michigan’s finest fishing. The Huron River and Lake Erie also offer boating, swimming, fishing and camping opportunities. 

Metro Detroit boasts an extensive system of public parks and recreation facilities. Algonac State Park, located northeast of Detroit in southeastern Michigan features a half-mile of St. Clair River frontage and offers hunting, fishing, picnicking and hiking. Brighton Recreation Area in Howell encompasses 4,947 acres of irregular ranges of hills and attractive lakes, with miles of trails for equestrian, mountain biking and hiking. Holly Recreation Area, located between Pontiac and Flint, consists of rolling woodlands and open fields for outdoor activities such as hunting, hiking, fishing and swimming. The Waterlook Recreation Area in Chelsea covers over 20,000 acres, and is the largest state park in the Lower Peninsula. It offers 12 miles of interpretive nature trails and 47 miles of hiking trails. 

 

   

The Detroit city parks include Belle Isle, Palmer, Chene, River Rouge, and Campus Martius Parks. Hart Plaza on the riverfront hosts several events and music festivals throughout the year. Belle Isle Park is the largest island park within a U.S. city, and is considered the crown jewel of Detroit's public park system. This 1,000-acre island park is accessible by bridge and features a zoo, a conservatory, and the Great Lakes Museum.  

You can hike, bike or watch the boats. Chandler Park Family Aquatic Center is great fun for the family, and offers a Wave Pool, Kiddies Gadget Pool, and the Giant twin slide Pool.  

Metro Detroit residents love sports of all kinds and for every season. You can participate in hockey, archery, boating, boxing, wall climbing, scuba diving, figure skating and skiing, to name a few. The area has several marinas, and it is noteworthy that there are more registered boats in Michigan than any other state in the country. Michigan's premier ice and fitness facility, Ann Arbor Ice Cube, boasts 2 NHL rinks and 1 Olympic size rink, as well as recreation and training for individuals of all ages. The Michigan Stadium, located on the University of Michigan campus, is the nation's largest college-owned stadium, with a capacity of over 107,000. 

For golf enthusiasts, Metro Detroit offers more than 200 top-notch golf courses. The Oasis Golf Center in Plymouth, erected in 1983, is the oldest golf dome in North America. It offers lessons, an indoor driving range, and mini-golf. In the city of Detroit there are four municipal golf courses: William Rogell, Rouge, Belle Isle, and Palmer Park. The Detroit Golf Club is a private course with two regulation eighteen hole courses. It has small, fast greens, and open fairways. This course was rated the 11th "Best in State" course for 1995-96, and 14th best in 1997-98 by Golf Digest. 

 

   

Special Attractions/Events 

Metro Detroit is rich in culture and entertainment. The Henry Ford in Dearborn brings the American history to life, with JFK’s limo, Rosa Parks’ bus and thousands of technological, social and cultural innovations. Greenfield Village is an 81-acre historic site with 90 buildings, period presenters and artisans. Ford Rouge Factory Tours bring you inside one of the largest industrial complexes in the world to witness the production of the Ford F-150 pickup truck. The Detroit Zoo in Royal Oak is an animal-lover’s paradise. It has a fascinating Mandrill exhibit, a Wildlife Interpretive Gallery, a butterfly/hummingbird garden, a coral reef aquarium, theater, exhibition space, art gallery, and multi-media interactives. In downtown Ann Arbor you can enjoy “May Moonlight Delight” with late night shopping in the city’s newest stores and restaurants music, art, and refreshments. In the same area you can enjoy Taste of Ann Arbor, an exciting outdoor event featuring food and entertainment and Rolling Sculpture Car Show displaying 400 antique, classic, concept and exotic cars. Ann Arbor also boasts the Ann Arbor Film Festival, where more than 100 films are screened during the six days of the event. 

The city of Detroit has been renowned for its music since the late 1940’s and boasts two of the top live music venues in the nation. DTE Energy Music Theatre was rated the most attended summer venue in the U.S. in 2005 for the fifteenth consecutive year, and The Palace of Auburn Hills was rated twelfth. Detroit has eighteen professional theatres, making it the second-largest theater district in America. Other major theaters include Masonic Temple Theatre, Fisher Theatre, Fox Theatre, State Theatre, Detroit Repertory Theatre and Music Hall. Detroit is home to the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the Detroit Opera House. The Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor hosts a variety of events, such as performances by the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra and film showings. Kerrytown Concert House, also in Ann Arbor, presents performing arts events each year, including chamber concerts, solo concerts and a jazz series. 

Detroit is also the location of The Detroit Institute of Arts, which holds some of the works of Picasso and Vincent Van Gogh. The city’s Cultural Center includes the Detroit Historical Museum, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, and the Detroit Science Center. You can also visit the Motown Historical Museum, Tuskegee Airmen Museum, Historic Fort Wayne (Detroit), Dossin Great Lakes Museum, and the Belle Isle Conservatory. The J.W. Westcott II delivers mail to boats on the Detroit River, and is the world's only floating post office. Other special attractions are the Northwest Activities Center, the Detroit Zoo, and the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory.  

Metro Detroit has many special events throughout the year. Two that are associated with the automobile industry are the North American International Auto Show in January and the Woodward Dream Cruise in August. Some annual music events are the Downtown Hoedown and DEMF/Movement/Fuse-In electronic music festivals in May, the Concert of Colors in the summer, and the Ford Detroit International Jazz Festival in September.  

During the summer months, the Windsor-Detroit International Freedom Festival, Comerica Tastefest, Detroit ThunderFest, and Detroit Fashion Week are celebrated. Other annual festivities include Art on the Move and America’s Thanksgiving Parade. 

 

Interesting Facts/Historic Buildings and Places 

The Gerald Ford Library in Ann Arbor houses a fascinating collection of presidential papers, documents, videotapes and films on U.S. domestic issues, foreign relations and political affairs during the Cold War. 

Michigan is ranked 7th in the nation as a summer destination and is the most popular outdoor state in the Midwest. 

The magician Harry Houdini died in Detroit on Halloween in 1926. He collapsing during his opening-night performance, suffering a ruptured appendix from being punched in the stomach some days earlier. 

The Detroit area was the filming location for the1984 movie, "Beverly Hills Cop", the 1992 movie, "Hoffa", the 1998 movie, "Out of Sight", the 2004 movie, "Against the Ropes" and the 2005 movie, "Assault on Precinct 13". 

Well-known Metro Detroit residents have included: Eminem, rap star; Aretha Franklin, singer; Joe Louis, fighter; Gilda Radner, comedian; Sippy Wallace, blues musician; and Suzi Quatro, rock musician. Detroit is the birthplace of: Charles Lindbergh; Alice Cooper, rock and roll singer; John De Lorean; Carl Levin, politician; Quincy Watts, athlete; Lily Tomlin, comedian; Diana Ross, musician; Francis Ford Coppola, filmmaker; and Kevin Nash, professional wrestler. 

Metro Detroit is also where Vernors ginger ale (the oldest surviving soft drink in the nation), Better Made potato chips, and the Coney Island hot dog, all got their start. 

Detroit is known as "The Motor City," (for it’s automotive industry) and "Motown" (for its music). The name Detroit comes from the French word for "strait". 

The city has also had the names: Fort Pontchartrain du Detroit, Teuchsa Grondie, Tsychsardonia, Waweatunong and Yondotiga. 

Henry Ford Hospital, Children's Hospital of Michigan, and Harper University Hospital are consistently rated by US News and World Report as some of the best hospitals in the nation.