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Exploring the Districts of Detroit
Posted On September 22, 2010
Exploring the Districts of Detroit
In Detroit, many of the really great destinations are nestled in the communities that spiral out of the city. Easily mistaken as purely quiet suburbia, these districts of Detroit possess vibrant downtowns and other unique attractions that make them worth exploring.
Reveling in its recent resurgence, Ferndale is home to an increasing multitude of progressive professionals, along with artists and musicians. This is a community of people who value a walkable community with eclectic shops and restaurants. Moving north on Woodward Avenue, things become more polished in Royal Oak, filled with successful professionals who support venues such as Main Art Theater and the newly revamped Royal Oak Music Theater. The Detroit Zoo is also located within walking distance from downtown. Things continue to get glitzier traveling north on Woodward Avenue to prestigious Birmingham. The charming downtown features trendy upscale shops and even trendier residents. A bit east of Birmingham, Troy is a must for one main reason: The Somerset Collection, beautifully designed with soaring ceilings, palm trees, and brilliant skylights. The shopping mecca is high-fashion, high-style, and high-prices.
Once a remote rural community filled with rolling apple orchards and horse farms, Rochester today brims with upscale developments, yet the charm of country life lingers with quaint cider mills and a historic picturesque downtown. In the center of town, more than 200 specialty boutiques, restaurants, and more await. The newest shopping hotspot is the Village of Rochester Hills, a 357,000-square-foot outdoor shopping district featuring more than 50 national and local retail shops and restaurants. Mega mall Great Lakes Crossings is also nearby.
The arts are alive and well in North Oakland, with places like the Oakland University Art Gallery, the Meadow Brook Music Festival, and Meadow Brook Theatre, Michigan’s largest non-profit producing professional theater. The Avon Players, a community theater, has provided quality drama and comedy for nearly 60 years.
For the outdoor enthusiast, the area also provides numerous parks where visitors can do everything from fish and swim to bike and blade. Golf courses, tennis courses and hiking trails are also plentiful. Sports enthusiasts can also watch the action from the courtside at the Palace of Auburn Hills, home to the NBA’s Detroit Pistons and the WNBA’s Shock.
West of the city of Detroit, Dearborn is a historical hot spot, home to one of America’s leading tourist attractions – The Henry Ford. It’s also home to Ford World Headquarters and the University of Michigan Dearborn.
The nation’s largest indoor/outdoor American history museum, The Henry Ford features a diverse offering of exhibits, programs and reenactments. Here, visitors explore the home of famous Americans such as Daniel Webster and Thomas Edison in Greenfield Village, sit on the bus made famous by Rosa Park, or explore the birthplace of modern manufacturing at the Ford Rogue Factory Tour.
For more on the Ford legacy, visit Fair Lane, Henry and Clara Ford’s stunning country home estate. Named one of America’s 10 grandest mansions” by Budget Travel Magazine, this 56-room home is where the Fords entertained some of the world’s most influential people. Located in a converted indoor pool, the aptly named The Pool restaurant is an ideal place to savor the surrounding luxury while enjoying a glass of wine.
Another unique feature of Dearborn is its demographics. Dearborn has the largest Arab-American population of any community in the United States. Here, the Arab American National Museum is the first of its kind in the world and is a great place to discover how Arab Americans have enriched the economic, political and cultural landscapes of the United States.
Another feature of this Arab-rich community is the food. Dearborn is rife with middle-eastern restaurants and shops. For shopping, head to Michigan Avenue for a sampling of quirky establishments or to Fairlane, one of the area’s biggest shopping malls.
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It was still dark outside on October 19, 2008 when I woke up from my restful slumber at the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel in Detroit. I heard some noises, looked outside and saw hundreds of people on the sidewalk on Washington Avenue: the Detroit Marathon was on! I decided to get dressed quickly and check out the action. The Detroit Marathon is the only marathon world-wide that features an underwater portion (the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel), and its international course linking Windsor (on the Canadian side) and Detroit makes it unique. I enjoyed the busy atmosphere of runners and onlookers and walked south to the Detroit River to catch a beautiful red and orange sunrise. After my brisk morning walk and a nice breakfast at the hotel my friend Linda and I embarked on a trip to Dearborn, Michigan, to visit The Henry Ford, the largest indoor-outdoor history museum complex in the United States. The indoor exhibits include the vehicle that President Kennedy was shot in as well as the real bus where Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat and effectively triggered the Civil Rights Movement. Other highlights include the chair that President Lincoln was sitting in when he was shot. One of our favourites was the Dymaxion House, inventor Buckminster Fullers futuristic round suspended house, originally conceptualized in 1927. The outdoor grounds include Greenfield Village which encompasses almost 100 historical buildings that were moved here to recreate an America of yesteryear. A steam …