Detroit - description of the city:

Detroit, often referred to as the “motor city” is the largest and most populous city in the state of Michigan. Wayne County, where Detroit is located is the most populous county in the state. The area is known for being a cultural, business, transportation, and financial center in the metro area, which consists of around 5.2 million people. It also serves as a major port for the Detroit River as it connects the Saint Lawrence Seaway to the Great Lakes system. 

The area of Detroit emerged as a large and significant metropolitan area in the United States as the freeway system construction was completed in the 50s and 60s. This allowed economic and social integration throughout a larger area because of the new ability to commute. Often, Detroit refers to an area across 3 counties that consist of 3,734,090 people according to the census of 2010. The metropolitan region of Detroit is currently where almost half of the population of Michigan resides. 

The city is well known for the automobile industry. It is also celebrated by popular music legacies, which have provided it with the nicknames Motown and Motor City. Another nickname for the city is “City of Champions,” which started in the 1930s because of the success the city saw in both team and individual sports. 

From 2000 through 2010, the population of Detroit fell by 25%. This changed its ranking from being the 10th largest city in the United States to the 18th largest city. The population of Detroit was 713,777 in 2010, which was over a 60% drop from the peak in population during 1950, which was just over 1.8 million. This shows a long running and serious decline in Detroit’s economic strength.


The name Detroit is French and stems from the city linking Lake Erie and Lake Huron. It was in this area in 1701 where Antoine de La Mothe Cadillac, with 51 French Canadians, settled. France offered land for free during this time as a way to attract families to the area. The city grew to 800 people in the year 1765, making it the largest city between New Orleans and Montreal. The population of the city grew to 1400 by 1773. The population grew to 2144 in 1778, which made it the largest city in the Quebec province. 

The fur trade was extremely important to the economics of the area and the flag of the city still reflects this. 

The Jay Treaty of 1796 passed the city of Detroit to the United States. Most of the settlement was destroyed by fire in 1805. The sole structures that survived the fire were the river warehouse and the brick chimneys of the wooden homes. 

The city of Detroit was the capital of Michigan from 1805 through 1847. During the war of 1812, the city surrendered to the British and then was recaptured by the United States in 1813. In 1815 it was incorporated as a city. 

Before the civil war in the United States, the access from the city to the Canadian border made it a prime stop for the Underground Railroad. Many people of the city volunteered and fought in the Civil War. The Michigan Brigade was led by George Armstrong Custer during the civil war and they called themselves the Wolverines. 

There were several Gilded Age mansions built during the 19th century. The David Whitney House was the most notable of these. It is currently known as the Whitney Restaurant after being restored during the year 1986. The city grew steadily from the 1830s on, with a rise in manufacturing, ship building, and shipping industries. Henry Ford built his first car in a workshop that he rented on Mack Avenue. 

In the year 1903 the Ford Motor Company was founded. Along with Ford, automotive pioneers such as the Dodge brothers, William C. Durant, Walter Chrysler, and Packard all reinforced the city’s status as the automotive capital of the world. 

Along with the factories came labor unions including the United Auto Workers and the American Federation of Labor. These were the unions that led strikes to support the 40 hour work week, 8 hour days, pensions, health care benefits, and other improvements to working conditions that we enjoy today. 

The days of the booming auto industry are now gone and the city has seen a decline over the years. The population of the city peaked in 1950 and has been on a steady decline ever since. This decline has left a toll on the city. There is severe urban decay throughout the area and thousands of empty apartment buildings, commercial buildings, and homes, all throughout the city. This has led to many areas of the city being sparsely populated, which makes it difficult for the city to provide municipal services.


The population in downtown Detroit is beginning to expand with young professionals and a growing retail area. There have been several luxury high rises built and the development plans for the east river area including more developments of luxury condos. This has lured many young professionals to the area. 

Many young professionals are also attracted to the Grosse Pointe area because it is close to the urban scene. The city is also very close to Windsor, Ontario, which offers great views and a fun night life. Detroit is a walkable city, and almost 2/3 of the suburban residents will attend cultural events, sporting events, and dine in the city.


Since the 1940s, live music has been a big part of Detroit’s nightlife. This has brought recognition to the city through its nickname of “Motown.” There are several great live music venues within the metropolitan area of the city. Live Nation hosts many concerts in the city. Some of the prominent venues include Palace of Auburn Hills and DTE Energy Music Theater. The theater venue circuit of the city is the second largest in the United States. 

Music Hall, Fox Theater, Masonic Temple Theater, Gem Theater, Fisher Theater, Detroit Opera House, Orchestra Hall, Majestic Theater, St. Andrews Hall, and the Fillmore Detroit are just a few of the major theaters in the city. Motown Motion Picture Studios offers 535,000 square feet and produces many movies in the area. 

There is a rich musical heritage in the city and there have been a number of different genres of music that have taken root in the area. There are several important music events that take place in the city throughout the year. John Lee Hooker, Donald Byrd, Pepper Adams, Andre Williams, Nolan Strong, and Nathaniel Mayer, are just some of the major artists that have played and lived in the area.


There are several events that take place in the city throughout the year. Some of the summer events include International Jazz Festival, Electronic Music Festival, African World Festival, Woodward Dream Cruise, Noel Night, and the Country Music Hoedown. There are some large events held at Campus Martius Park as well including the Motown Winter blast that takes place each year. The international auto show is also held in the city each year. In addition, one of the largest parades on Thanksgiving Day is has been held in Detroit since 1924.

Reasons to Visit

There are many great reasons to visit the wonderful city of Detroit. The area offers a great history, including being the home of some of the first automobiles of the world.

There are several prominent museums located in the city near Wayne State University. Some of the museums that you should consider visiting in the city include: Detroit science center, Museum of Contemporary Art, Great Lakes Museum, Tuskegee Airmen Museum, Pewabic Pottery studio, Motown Historical Museum, Detroit Historical Museum, and the Institute of Arts.

The G.R. N’Namdi Gallery in 2010 opened a complex located in Midtown. You can study important American history as well as a history of the area at the Henry Ford. This is the largest indoor-outdoor museum in the United States. In addition, you can find information about tours of local skyscrapers, churches, and mansions, at the Historical Society of the city.

For those that are looking for entertainment, there are 3 casino hotels located in the downtown area as well as Greek town. The Eastern Market offers over 150 food and specialty businesses and is the largest open air market in the country. Nearly 45,000 shop this market each Saturday.

Detroit is also the perfect place to visit for sports lovers as the city is home to 4 professional sports teams in four of the major sports. Each of the teams plays within the city, except for the NBA team, Detroit Pistons, who play in Auburn Hills, which is a suburb of the city.

There are many great events that take place throughout the city every year. In addition, there are great museums and a ton of history throughout the city to explore. The great night life along with its close proximity to the Canadian border makes Detroit a place that everyone should see.

Country United States
International title Detroit
Population 713,777 people
Timezone America/Detroit
State Michigan
Geographic coordinates Latitude: 42.33143 x Longitude: -83.04575

Photo Galery Detroit

Views of Detroit
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Unknown Detroit
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A tour about Detroit
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One day in Detroit
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Spending Time in Detroit
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Detroit - places of Interest
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Acquaintance to Detroit
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Places to visit in Detroit
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Places of interest in Detroit
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The main attractions of Detroit
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History and present of Detroit
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Sights of Detroit
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Detroit video guide

Places to visit in Detroit

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