Things to Do in Detroit: By JUNKET
Did you know 70 percent of all the illegal alcohol that entered the US during Prohibition came through Detroit? Or that it’s the only city in the lower 48 where you can look south and see Canada? Or that the ice cream soda was invented here when a candy store ran out of sweet cream, so the owner improvised?
Dubbed the "Motor City" for its groundbreaking contributions to the automotive industry, Detroit boasts a captivating story that extends far beyond its industrial prowess. From its humble beginnings as a small French fur trading post known as Fort Pontchartrain to its meteoric rise as the heart of American automobile manufacturing in the 20th century, Detroit's journey has been one of constant evolution and transformation.
As you explore Detroit’s local treasures, you'll find yourself enchanted by its beautiful riverfront, a tranquil escape that beckons both residents and visitors to its serene embrace. The rugged beauty of Canada lies just a stone's throw away, adding an international touch to Detroit’s allure.
Detroit unveils a symphony of history and modernity, from the melodious rhythms of Motown in the air to Henry Ford's visionary pursuit of making transportation affordable for the middle class. Whether you're discovering the city's industrial legacy, relishing the picturesque waterfront, or uncovering hidden local gems, Detroit offers a captivating array of experiences that celebrate the spirit of innovation and unwavering determination that has shaped its identity.
Delve Into Detroit
As you explore the city's cultural heritage, you'll find a treasure trove of places to visit, such as the stunning architecture and intricate Art Deco design of the Guardian Building, often referred to as Detroit's "Cathedral of Finance." Get your groove on at the Motown Museum, an essential stop for music enthusiasts looking to learn about the city's legendary contribution to the world of music.
Discover the city's hidden local gems where authentic experiences await you, such as the Eastern Market, a vibrant hub of local produce, artisanal crafts, and delectable treats, offering a glimpse into the city's culinary prowess and community spirit. Wander through The Heidelberg Project, a unique art installation featuring unconventional and thought-provoking outdoor artworks.
From trendy rooftop bars providing breathtaking views of the city's skyline to pulsating nightclubs at the heart of downtown, Detroit's vibrant entertainment district offers a captivating fusion of sophistication and excitement.
Motor City Macabre
When darkness takes over the city, the haunting thrill of the Detroit Ghost Tour beckons, unveiling the mysterious past and chilling tales of the city's haunted history. Brace yourself for an otherworldly adventure as you venture through dimly lit streets and visit haunted landmarks, where you experience spine-tingling moments when you:
- Encounter the ghostly patient at Detroit Medical Center
- Unearth the vindictive owner of the James Scott Mansion
- Discover the eerie lights of the Alhambra Building
- Uncover the notorious spirit of the Grey Ghost Pub
- And so much more…
There’s a Junket for everyone – Pick yours.
A French Stronghold
Prior to European exploration, the area now known as Detroit was inhabited by various Native American tribes, including the Algonquian-speaking peoples such as the Fox, Miami, Ojibwe, Huron, Ottawa, and Kickapoo. These tribes lived in the Great Lakes region, where they thrived on fishing, hunting, and trading.
The European influence began with the arrival of French explorers in the early 17th century. In 1701, the French explorer Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, along with approximately 100 soldiers and workers, established Fort Pontchartrain on the banks of the Detroit River.
The strategic site chosen by Cadillac for his settlement rested where the river was most slender, flanked by high banks that provided a natural stronghold.
The fort was strategically positioned to oversee the flourishing fur trade in the region that now encompasses Michigan and the Northwest. It also acted as a buffer against British encroachment.
This river linked Lake St. Clair to the north and Lake Erie to the south, serving as a vital thoroughfare frequented by travelers. Those early French explorers had become familiar with the land and christened it "the Strait" or, in their own language, "le Detroit."
British Rule and American Control
During the French and Indian War, the British captured Fort Detroit in 1760, gaining control over the region. Under British rule, Detroit continued to serve as a hub for fur trade and commerce. It would also serve as a haven for Loyalists during America’s war for independence.
Following the American Revolution, the area was officially granted to the newly formed United States through the Treaty of Paris in 1783. However, the British refused to withdraw their troops until 1796, when the Americans finally took control of Detroit.
Fire and War
Detroit was officially incorporated as a town in 1802, and its population steadily grew as a result of trade and its strategic location along the Great Lakes. Over time, Detroit expanded and became a significant hub for trade and commerce, attracting settlers from various backgrounds, including French, British, and Native American communities.
However, in 1805, a devastating fire destroyed much of the town.
In a remarkable effort to rebuild, Detroit was redesigned under the guidance of Judge Augustus Woodward, adopting a radial street pattern that remains a defining feature of the city's layout.
“Detroit is really the most perfectly laid out city one could imagine, and such an enchanting park and lake – infinitely better than any town I know in Europe. It ought to be a paradise in about fifty years when it has all matured.” – Elinor Glyn
During the War of 1812, tensions between the United States and Britain escalated, leading to the Siege of Detroit. In August 1812, the British, along with their Native American allies, successfully captured Detroit from American forces. The city remained under British control until 1813, when the Americans regained it after the Battle of Lake Erie.
The mid-19th century marked a period of significant growth and industrialization for Detroit, which saw it evolve from a small outpost and military stronghold into a bustling industrial city.
The completion of the Erie Canal in 1825 facilitated trade
Motown, Motors, and More
Poised at the threshold of an exciting future, Detroit continues to honor its storied past and embrace the legacy that has shaped its identity. Learn about the evolution of the city at the Detroit Historical Museum, where interactive exhibits and artifacts showcase Detroit's growth and challenges, providing valuable insights into its fascinating history.
Immerse yourself in the history of Motown at Hitsville U.S.A., where you can explore authentic Motown artifacts, visit the recording studios, and learn about the iconic artists who shaped the music industry.
Just a short drive from downtown, the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation celebrates the remarkable contributions of Henry Ford and his impact on American innovation and culture as well as Detroit's significant role in the automotive industry. Step back in time at the birthplace of the Model T with a tour through the historic Ford Piquette Avenue Plant and learn about the evolution of the automotive industry with a wide range of artifacts and exhibits that bring Ford's legacy to life.
The Great Outdoors
For a taste of Detroit's outdoor charm, meander along the Detroit Riverfront, where scenic views and serene parks await. Enjoy a beach day at the Riverfront's man-made beach, complete with sandy shores, lounge chairs, and picturesque views of the river.
If you're seeking adventure, journey to Belle Isle Park, a lush island sanctuary boasting botanical gardens, an aquarium, and miles of biking trails featuring stunning views of the Detroit River.
The Detroit Zoo is a delightful and family-friendly attraction that offers a diverse range of animal exhibits and educational experiences.
“Detroit is big enough to matter in the world and small enough for you to matter in it.”
– Jeanette Pierce
Detroit is a thriving hub of arts and culture, offering a diverse array of creative expressions and immersive experiences. Experience a world-class art collection at the Detroit Institute of Arts, featuring renowned works from around the globe, including pieces by Van Gogh, Rivera, and Rembrandt.
Catch a live performance at the historic Fox Theatre, known for its grand architecture and hosting concerts, Broadway shows, and other entertainment. The Michigan Science Center is perfect for visitors of all ages, offering interactive exhibits, hands-on activities, and fascinating planetarium shows.
From hearty comfort foods to innovative gastronomic delights, the city is a melting pot of culinary traditions, with influences from all over the world, making it a paradise for food enthusiasts. For authentic soul food, try Baker's Keyboard Lounge, a historic eatery nestled in the heart of the city.
Get to Know Detroit
In addition to the Junket Detroit Experience, Motor City offers tons of entertainment options that cater to every taste and interest, from captivating museums and historical landmarks to outdoor activities and cultural neighborhoods. Some of our favorite Detroit attractions include:
- Motown Museum: Immerse yourself in the history of Motown music at Hitsville U.S.A., where legendary artists such as Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, and Marvin Gaye recorded some of their greatest hits.
- Belle Isle Park: Enjoy nature at this picturesque island park in the Detroit River that provides a beautiful retreat with gardens, walking trails, a conservatory, and a beach.
- Henry Ford Museum: Delve into the world of American innovation at this museum that offers a captivating journey through American history, showcasing iconic artifacts like the Rosa Parks Bus and the Wright Brothers' plane.
- Eastern Market: Experience the city’s vibrant culinary scene at this historic market that offers an array of fresh produce, artisanal goods, and local delicacies.
- Greektown: Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of Greek culture in this popular neighborhood featuring charming restaurants, lively entertainment, and warm hospitality.
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