Michigan is not only the birthplace of the auto industry, but it presently manufactures more cars and trucks than any other state in the U.S. Michigan is #1 in employment of mechanical and industrial engineers and is headquarters to 61 of the top 100 automotive suppliers. Michigan also has a premier automotive education program. In 2011, greater than 1.9 million vehicles were produced in Michigan – more than 1.5 million were made right here in the Detroit area. You will find almost 1,300 auto-associated production businesses in Michigan, and thousands of car dealerships that support the growing heartbeat of Michigan.
Michigan’s Hard-Walkin’ Hero Receives New Ford
The Detroit resident, James Robertson, 56, whose story in the Detroit Free Press of his 21-mile dedicated daily walk to work, made him famous overnight. On Friday, February 2, 2014 James Robertson walked into the Suburban Ford Dealership in Sterling Heights, Michigan, only anticipating picking up pamphlets and brochures, but instead a great surprise was waiting for him. The Ford dealership gave James his brand new dream car as a gift. Robertson wanted the model he said he admired- the Ford Taurus. Blake Pollock, a banker who became friends with Robertson during his long trek to work helped him to get the car, after Robertson told him that was his dream car. Robertson became very emotional after receiving his free 2015 Ford Taurus with a price tag of $35,215 from Suburban Ford. When David Fischer Jr., co-owner of the Suburban Collection, which owns the dealership that awarded the car, asked, “So, do you like it?” “I don’t like it,” Robertson said, “I love it. It’s just as I had envisioned. Friend, Blake Pollack, had come to find out that Robertson had been walking this commute to work for 10 years. His previous car, an older Honda, had died and making $10.55 an hour and with Detroit’s high insurance rates he could not afford another vehicle. This hard-walkin hero’s commute to work will now be cut by hours with his new wheels. Thanks to online fund-raising effort, GoFundMe, that raised over $312,000 and to Evan Leedy of Macomb Township, Robertson will not have trouble paying for the car insurance. When the media followed up with Robertson after receiving his donation he said, “I’m the same man I’ve always been. They (parents) kept me humble and kept me working. When I slip into this car, I’ll be thinking about them, every time.” (Detroit Free Press)
#1 The Heidelberg Project
Disheartened with the crime, poverty, and drugs close to him, artist Tyree Guyton created a declaration by converting the deserted homes and lots within his eastern Detroit, Michigan local community into guerilla-artwork installations. Now referred to as the Heidelberg Project, 24 years later these installations are among Michigan’s most significant tourist pull. This wide open art setting consists of houses, street and sidewalk surfaces and lots inside an approximately 2-block area. Large polka-dots completely cover 1 property. Yet another house is painted with “lucky lotto numbers” while some are entirely festooned in mannequins, bicycle and car parts, toys, signage, tools and appliance parts, and more; some gradually disintegrating. The area embraces visitors; nevertheless it continues to be among the poorest zip codes within the United States. Donations are always appreciated as fundraising is underway to build an arts-education and community center for local schoolchildren if you visit.
#2 The Cass Corridor
Although this neighborhood is marketed as “midtown,” die-hard Detroiters continue to refer to it as “The Cass Corridor,” a rough part of Woodward Avenue that is clearing up beautifully. Definitely worth a visit is the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, an edgy art gallery constructed within a once car dealership, that displays shows in photography, sculpture and mixed media. Friday evenings the Detroit Institute of Arts remains open till 10pm and boasts film screenings or live music shows, as well as remarkable art shows.
#3 The Westin Book Cadillac Detroit
This Westin Hotel opened last year after an amazing $200 million remodeling that restored this architectural landmark to it’s circa 1924 Italian glory. The Westin’s stylish guest rooms, practical downtown location, and nearness to the Detroit People Mover (which you can take to attractions for only $.50) proves it to be a plausible lodging destination. Make sure to visit the uniquely cool Café DeMongo’s Speakeasy, which features live jazz and soul food on Friday and Saturday nights.
Having an approximately 48,000-robust Hispanic and Latin American population; Michigan hosts amazing Latin restaurants and supermercados in Mexicantown. Even though there’s local argument regarding the variables of “authentic” Mexicantown, as opposed to “the touristy portion,” each provide tasty choices and excellent shopping. A couple of great restaurants include Taquiera El Ray and Tamaleria Restaurant Nuevo Leon. The various area supermercados ensure it is easy and reasonably inexpensive to supply your kitchen with all you need to recreate that D-Town deliciousness in your own home.
#5 The Eastern Market
Michigan’s Eastern Market is among America’s earliest farmers’ markets, functioning since 1891. At this vast market, treasures can be found from local vegetables, eggs, and honey to handmade jams and birdhouses. Detroit is on the leading edge of the urban greening movement, with over 1,000 community gardens, and the fruits of that labor can be purchased at the market. Aside from groceries, small-batch pastries, pies and breads can be found there. Also noteworthy are the vegetarian, vegan, and organic eateries.
#6 Detroit on Wheels (or Feet)
Bike or walk the 1.35-mile Dequindre Cut Greenway, which connects Detroit’s revamped riverfront to the delicious Eastern Market. Initially part of the Grand Trunk Western Railroad, the beneath-street-level greenway was launched during 2009. Take a guided group tour or rent a bike through Wheelhouse Detroit. Bike tours consist of a filed-to-fork tour of urban hotspots, Dequindre Cut,“haunted Detroit”, or tour beautiful Belle Isle. Belle Isle is an island oasis that includes picnic area, a conservatory and a Pavilion.
The Russell Industrial Center hosts more than 150 commercial spaces for artists including painters and glass blowers. Inexpensive studio space in Detroit has encouraged it to become an artists’ mecca. Every year Detroit has Gallery Week which is a multi-venue art celebration with many galleries and hundreds of artists participating. This usually runs the last week of September into October. The Metrotimes calendar will guide you with openings and special events in the Michigan metro area.
#6 Motown and more Musical Lures
A music lover’s visit must include a stop at the Motown Historical Museum, which was once where many Motown artists recorded their hits between 1959 and 1972. These Motown legends included Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross and the Supremes, the Jackson 5 and Stevie Wonder. Detroit is where the famous Motown sound was created, and it also credited as being the birthplace of techno music. Music lovers will revel in the Electronic Music Festival that is hosted every spring, and the annual Labor Day weekend Detroit Jazz Fest. These attractions bring in DJ’s, musicians, and fans from all over the world.
#7 The Coney
The Coney Island Hot Dog is not only a NY specialty but also a Detroit one. The beef hot dog covered in chili and yellow onions may be found all over the city but the biggest rivalry remains between Lafayette Coney Island and American Coney Island for the perfect Coney. Try it for yourself to decide the winner!
#8 Michigan Car Dealerships
As America’s home to automobile manufacturing, Michigan car dealerships continue to be the heartbeat of the automotive industry. Car dealers support the backbone of the economy in Michigan and are a driving force in the continuing rebirth of Detroit. Visit our Dealers Current Offers page for more information and details.