Our Trip to the D!

When I first moved to Michigan, I embarrassingly thought that Detroit was the state capital. I think most people from other parts of the world would think the same thing — and not without reason. Detroit, the biggest city in Michigan, is widely known for its nicknames: The D, Motor City, Motown. Our radios have played a lot of songs written about Detroit by famous musicians like Eminem, Kid Rock and Kiss. There’s also the Detroit Pistons, Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Tigers that even a sports novice like me has gotten wind of from the media. So it is easy for us foreigners to mistake Detroit as the capital instead of Lansing. Yes, the actual capital is Lansing.

8 Mile Rd, Detroit

Ever seen Eminem’s movie, “8 Mile”? The road sign shows the exit going to 8 Mile Road.

Detroit, Metro City

Like a welcome sign, this building was one of the firsts we saw as soon as we entered the city. Detroit is known as the Motor City for having the three largest automakers, Ford, General Motors and Chrysler, set up their business here.

Because of an appointment with immigration (don’t worry, I’m not being deported), Kyle and I had a chance to go around Downtown Detroit for two hours. On the way there, I squealed at my first sight of a tall building, which may actually be no more than forty floors. Coming from Williamston with buildings built horizontally, a city girl like me couldn’t help but get excited by a medium-sized tower.

We were blessed with a chilly but still beautiful weather with the sun out, so walking around and taking pictures like first-time tourists were pleasant activities. To sum it all up, I LOVE the city. Its landmarks and structures contain a mixture of the past and the present, the old and the new, the good and the bad. I’ve always been the type of traveler who sees things based on the story they tell, and Detroit with all its fragility and tumultuous condition, is teeming with art, music, theater, sports and nightlife.

Church in Detroit

One of the many churches we saw in Detroit. Almost every corner of the city stands a church for Catholics, Protestants and Methodists.

The Fillmore Detroit

Built in an Italian-renaissance style in 1925, the Fillmore Detroit was originally a movie theater, but is now a venue for live performances. This is also where the Detroit Music Awards are held every year.

Fox Theatre

Built in 1928, the Fox Theatre is one of the first chain of Fox Theatres in the US. Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra were two of many other notable artists who have performed in this theatre.

Fox Theatre in Detroit

In front of the Fox Theatre

Detroit monument

Is that a fish head behind me?

Comerica Park

The Comerica Park is the home of the baseball team, Detroit Tigers, and has a seating capacity of more than 41,000. Comerica is taken from Comerica Bank, which used to have its headquarters in Detroit. The stadium looks deserted on the day of our visit, but the next day is opening day so just imagine the hordes of Tiger fans invading the place to watch the game.

Hockeytown Cafe in Detroit

We stopped over at Hockeytown Cafe for a sumptuous meal! The restaurant’s set-up is prominently designed for sports fans and motorcycle lovers.

Hockeytown Cafe in Detroit

Hockeytown Cafe in Detroit

If there’s New York- and Chicago-style pizzas, Detroit is also famous for its own square-shaped pizza.

Hockeytown Cafe in Detroit

Hockeytown Cafe in Detroit

Detroit buildings

You see opulent and modern buildings on one side, and then abandoned high-rises on the other. I call it the Detroit paradox.

In spite of Downtown Detroit being a sports and entertainment hub, there are still hard facts that cannot be ignored about this city. Just driving outside the city and into the suburbs will show how the distressed economy is still far from bouncing back from the way it was. Real estate is so miserable that you can buy a house for $2000. It sounds like a steal but you can’t actually live there due to the crime-infested neighborhoods. While we were on the highway, we saw miles and miles of dilapidated houses that once belonged to the middle class.

Houses in Detroit

They appear nice and normal from my vantage point, but look closer and you’ll see broken windows and holes on the walls on these once-beautiful houses.

Deserted buildings in Detroit

Big buildings with no occupants

Deserted buildings in Detroit

Zombieland in the middle of the city

Detroit will charm you with all its iconic blasts-from-the-past landmarks, but at the same time, bombard you with eye sores and confusion as to what happened to it. It’s a shame to see what Detroit used to be and what it could have been today. Nonetheless, it is still a living legend and if you know where to look, you might find more than what it can offer.

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