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Detroit, also known as the Motor City or Motown, is most famously known for its automobile industries. Detroit is the largest city of Michigan. With approximately nine hundred and eleven thousand residents, Detroit is the ninth most populous city of the United States.

Like most of Southeast Michigan, Detroit has two distinct seasons, with winters being cold and experiencing light to moderate snowfall and summers ranging from warm to hot, with great precipitation. Diverse not only in terms of population and culture, Detroit can also be seen to exhibit a great number of architectural styles, with some inspired by Art Deco and others showing hints of the Renaissance. The buildings also range from high-rise luxury buildings to low-rise condominiums, depending upon where in the city you are. Detroit experiences a very diverse cultural life, with a great number of festivals and events held all year long, particularly in the summer. Detroit also has a hustling nightlife scene, with music being an integral part of the city's culture. Having influenced many modern genres, live music has been a star attraction of the city since the early 1940s. There are many live concerts hosted both indoors and outdoors, attracting large crowds to the famous Motown music scene, as well as the renowned Detroit Symphony Orchestra and Detroit Opera House. In addition to these modern attractions, there are also a number of museums, zoos and cultural centers located in the city.

Detroit's Culture and History

Detroit, Michigan is located in the Northeastern Midwest. Its population is estimated, as of 2009, at 910,000. Over the past 50 years, Detroit has had a population exodus like no other city in the United States. For example, in 1980, the population was 1.2 million and it has fallen in subsequent years at a rate of about 10,000 people a year. Currently, Detroit is the 11th most populated city within the US. Detroit was termed as the Motor City because of the automobile industry that has flourished since Henry Ford began manufacturing his automobiles there early in the 20th Century.

In 1701, Fort Pontchartrain, the first settlement of Detroit by the French, was founded. It was a major trade Mecca between the French and Native Americans. The French held the fort for 59 years until it was lost in 1760 to the British and they held it until the American War for Independence in 1783. Detroit was a crucial tie to the Underground Railroad during and before the Civil War because of its close proximity and easy access to Canada. This helped Detroit establish the thriving black community that exists today. The American Auto Industry was born on the banks of the Detroit River in 1903. Prior to this, the city thrived as a carriage production center. In 1903, Henry Ford decided to put his first automobile factory in Detroit because of the city's skilled workers in the carriage making field. Detroit's motto “We Hope for Better. It Will Rise from the Ashes” is an apt one because after losing so much of its population due in large part to unemployment since the 1973 oil embargo, that enabled Japanese auto companies to enter the American marketplace, Detroit is finally beginning to be revitalized.

Living in Detroit

If you want to move to Detroit, now is the time to do it. The cost of living is about 2% below national average in 2010. Apartments are available everywhere within downtown Detroit and the outlying areas. The cost of rent is on average about $580 per month outside of the downtown area. You can find some apartments for $300 to $400 per month but these are usually located within questionable neighborhoods. On the other end of the spectrum, high end, luxury apartments, whether located in the downtown area or in the surrounding communities, will usually run between $1,000 and $3,000 per month. Gas prices are at about $2.76 a gallon as of Mid-August of 2010 vs. the national average of $2.80.

Detroit is currently undergoing a multimillion dollar renewal of its cultural resources. Subsequently, property values are on the rise, businesses are beginning to return to the revitalized waterfront district and crime is in decline. New and invigorated sites include the Motown Museum, the Detroit Institute of Arts and the Detroit History Museum. Detroit has an interesting mix of cultures and races that enable a resident to find a niche within the city and its surrounding areas.

Current Recession Takes a Bite out of Detroit's Economy

The Detroit metro area lost about 18,700 jobs in July of 2010. Detroit is currently ranked 5th in the nation's job loss rate. The US, recently, has increased its job loss rate by .1% while Detroit has increased its job loss rate by 1.1%. As it stands in August of 2010, the unemployment rate in Detroit is above 14% vs. the United States which is holding steady at 9.5% unemployment. Detroit, which has always been the historic center of auto production, has lost the most amounts of jobs because of the varied problems that have plagued the United States as well as the automotive industry. Most of the population of Detroit, one way or another, is employed with, or concerning, the automotive industry. The serious decline in production since the 1973 Oil Embargo, which enabled Japanese auto competitors to move in and take up residence, has adversely affected everything within the City of Detroit. There are jobs available, though, especially for those that have college degrees in various fields. The jobs that are available include the medical research, technological, pharmaceutical and chemical industries. Jobs are expected to increase in the latter part of 2010 and begin to have a faster rebound beginning in 2011.

Detroit's Restaurant Industry is Bigger than Ever

The selection of foods is immensely varied within Detroit's melting pot of cultures. Landmark restaurants that are more expensive include the Fox & Hounds, Capital Grill and the Whitney. A soul food standout is the Fishbone's Rhythm Café. Cheaper but more Detroit authentic fare can be found at Detroit Coney Island in downtown Detroit's Lafayette building. It has great chili hot dogs that only run about $6. If you want Italian food, Andiano's is the restaurant for you. It is located in downtown Detroit in the Renaissance Center. The food is rather pricey, they begin at about $30 per plate, but it is an elegant and romantic dining experience. Andiano's specialties are beef, seafood and chicken with a selection of great side dishes.

Then again, if you decide you want Contemporary-American food, the Rattlesnake Club, on River Place, is for you. The restaurant is very expensive, $50 and above per plate, but it specializes in prime grade-A steaks and fresh seafood. If you're looking for the Jazz/American experience, look no further than Seldom Blues Plays Here in the General Motors Renaissance Center. It is a premier Jazz restaurant and supper club that offers live Jazz every night and food to die for. A total meal at Seldom Blues will usually run about $55 to $75 each person.

Contemporary and Historical Art Found in Detroit, Michigan

Detroit's Historical Museum, founded in 1928, is one of Americas oldest and largest museums that is about metro history. It is housed in an 80,000 square foot facility that has 600 artifacts on display. It is located in Detroit's Cultural Center District. It is open Wednesday through Friday from 9:30am until 3pm and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5pm. Adults get in for $6 and children under 17 get in for $4.

Detroit's Museum of Contemporary Art, on Woodward Avenue, showcases musical performances, lectures, films and educational activities for children all in the pursuit of galvanizing Art into the forefront of contemporary culture. The facility is open Wednesdays through Sundays and is free to the public. The Fox Theater, in downtown Detroit, is one of the top grossing theaters for its size in the United States. The Theater has had events featuring the biggest names in show business. Upcoming events include a variety of children's shows, musical entertainment and even sports events like Baseball and a Movie, which is a full night of fun where the Theater will be showing a baseball movie and later the attendees will go to a baseball game featuring the Detroit Tigers.

Seeing the Sights in Detroit

There are a varied amount of activities that anyone can enjoy. These activities include the Automotive Hall of Fame, Motown Historical Museum, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History and the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge, to name a few. Wheelhouse Detroit is a bike touring company that is for the biking enthusiast who wants to see Detroit in style but for a low cost. The bikes generally are $10 to $15 for two hours. Their bike tours are famous. One is the Family Tour that explores the Riverwalk, Millikon State Park and the Dequindre Cut for $15. Another is the Gallery Scenic Tour, for $35 including bike rental, which stops at several galleries and showcases Detroit's art scene.

The Detroit Zoo is a must-see. It is located in Royal Oak, a suburb of Detroit. The Zoo offers a wide variety of animals in their natural habitats and it is pleasurable to walk its 100 acres of parkland. Prices are $11 for adults above 15 and $7 for children 2 to 14. Fort Wayne is another great stop. It is located on Jefferson Avenue in Dayton. It was built in 1845 and it is the only remaining fort in Detroit. In the summer, re-enactments, special events and outdoor activities delight tourists, locals and history lovers alike.

The Comedic Side of Detroit

Detroit has birthed some of the best names in comedy such as David Allen Greer of In Living Color and Gilda Radner of Saturday Night Live. Many cities only have one or two notable Comedy Clubs, Detroit has four.

Mark Ridley's Comedy Castle is the place for comedy hopefuls to perform before a live audience. From straight stand-up to improvisation, they have it all. They also offer a workshop for aspiring comics. Bea's Comedy Kitchen is a little known place that has been around for years. The Comedy Kitchen offers up its own brand of soul-food and comics who perform Friday through Sunday nights. CoCo's House of Comedy, located on E. Jefferson, features hilarious comedy acts and an open mic night every Wednesday and offers food and drinks as well. CoCo is a comedian in her own right and is regularly on the local radio station 97.9 in the mornings and she has also been featured on BET's Comic View a few times. One Mic's Stand, on Randolph Street in Historic Greektown, hosts comedians Thursday through Saturday nights. They feature food and an ever-changing cast of comedians. Of course there's more nightlife available than Comedy Clubs in Detroit. There are a myriad of choices including any and all sorts of music venues, dance clubs, sports bars, gay and lesbian nightclubs, local bars and pubs and the list just goes on and on. You'll definitely be able to find something to do at night in Detroit.

The Quaint Boutique: Downtown Detroit Shopping

Downtown Detroit doesn't have any really big shopping malls or centers but that just adds to the beauty of the little shops and boutiques located in the downtown area. In more out-lying areas, the small-name boutiques and the mega-large malls coalesce beautifully into a shopping experience like no other. Naka is a tiny trendy shop which features original hand-crafted accessories including jewelry and other little doo-dads. According to the owner, who studied in Zimbabwe, Naka means “beautiful” in Shona which is a Zimbabwe language. Henry the Hatter, in downtown Detroit, has been around for over a hundred years and sells hats to the dignified and the rocker alike. Even Kid Rock buys hats there. Paris, a lovely little store on 4th Street in Royal Oak, is a store that sells antiques that include Art Deco and Nouveau inspired jewelry, home furnishings and vintage clothing and evening gowns. The prices at Paris range from $10 to $800.

Out in the suburbs, the biggest mall around is the 1.4 million square foot Great Lakes Crossing. It has over 200 stores and a huge food court. It is a fantastic, down-to-earth amusement park mega-mall that is extremely lively and has something for everyone.

Health Care and Beauty in Detroit

Health care is very important within Detroit. The major providers of health care are the Detroit Medical Center and the Henry Ford Hospital. Detroit Medical Center is affiliated with Wayne State University and the facility includes Children's Hospital of Michigan, Karmano's Cancer Center, Sinai-Grace Hospital as well as many others. It is also home to the Wayne State School of Medicine. The Henry Ford Hospital operates 32 centers and clinics. The Hospital, which has 903 beds, is consistently ranked among the nation's best hospitals. It is also affiliated with the Case Western Reserve University of Cleveland Medical School.

On the beautiful side of Detroit, the best reviewed spa in the greater Detroit area is the Woodhouse Day Spa on Woodward Avenue. The spa is pricey but it has spa packages and such excellent staff that the expense is worth it. They have massages and other therapies, gentlemen's services and packages like the Woodhouse Experience, which includes a Rainfall Refresher, a signature massage, a Minkguti facial, a spa lunch and a pedicure/manicure. This invigorating and relaxing experience is for $475 and lasts 5 hours and 45 minutes. Detroit, Michigan may have been hit hard over the past decades from population exodus and the current recession but things in the city are beginning to turn around. Come see for yourself how beautiful Detroit has become.

Hotels and Hospitality in Detroit, Michigan

Detroit, Michigan is known as the City of Colors, and there are many surprises that the city has to offer it vacationers. The MGM Grand Detroit has 24-hour transportation to and from the airport included in your stay. There are five restaurants, a bar, night club, casino, sauna, and swimming pool located within the hotel. If you are looking for something a little more intimate while in enjoying your stay in Detroit, then try the beautiful Victorian house known as the Inn on Ferry Road. While out sightseeing, stop by the Motown Museum for a walk down memory lane. The Detroit Institute of Arts houses the largest collection of art in the USA. You can also visit the Museum of African History. Take a guided fishing trip on Lake St. Clair, or cruise the same lake on the Detroit Princess for a night of performances, music, dancing, and dinner. Giovanni's is known to have the best Italian food in Detroit, and is kid-friendly; there is something on the menu for everyone in the family to enjoy. Or you can indulge in Greek pastries at Astoria Pastry Shop in Greektown. Get to know Detroit by taking one of the many tours the city has to offer. Get the behind the scenes and taste test at Morely Candy Maker's or Stahl's Famous Original Bakery. There are kayak tours down the river or bike tours for the more adventurous. There is also a walking tour of the Historic Elmwood cemetery, the oldest cemetery in Detroit.

Getting an Education in Detroit

Detroit Public Schools is the largest school district in Michigan. There are 84,000 students in public schools and 54,000 in charter schools. The enrollment in charter schools is constantly growing, causing some public schools to shut down. There are 142 schools in the district including 91 elementary schools, 54 middle schools, 33 high schools and several special education schools, including adult education.

In 2006 “blackboard flue” was staged by several teachers closing the schools for three days. The teachers demanded a pay increase. Their request was denied and they returned to work. Later that year 907 lunch aides plus 713 teaches were laid off. This is partly due to the fact that more and more students leave public schools for charter schools each year. After Detroit Public Schools lost their first-class status, a number of new charter schools were opened. It is predicted that by 2015 there are more students in charter schools than there are in public schools. Some closed public school buildings are already leased to charter schools and the cooperation between public and charter schools is growing stronger every year. One of the charter schools, the University Preparatory Academy has a goal to graduate 90% of freshmen and send 90% of them off to colleges and universities. Next to public and charter schools, Detroit also has a variety of private schools; among them are 23 catholic schools.

Several higher education institutions are also located in Detroit. Largest of them is the Wayne State University which has a focus on law and medicine. Other colleges and universities include the College for Creative Studies, Marygrove College, Lewis College of Business, and Wayne County Community College. Community Colleges in Detroit give open admission and offer two-year programs for associate's degree. There are also four-year universities, art schools and theological seminaries.

Transportation in and Around Detroit

There are two major airports in Detroit area. Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport is the principal airport in the area. It is a primary hub of Delta Air Lines and has several daily flights to Europe and Asia. The airports 6 runways and two terminals were recently modernized and expanded. A total of 31 million passengers used Detroit Metro airport in 2009. Coleman A. Young International Airport is the second busiest airport. It only services charter flights and has no scheduled passenger service. There are several shuttle services and car hire companies available at Detroit Metro airport. You can also take a cab to the city. It costs around $45 to get to the city by cab. There is also a SMART bus available for $1.50.

The Detroit Department of transportation operates public transportation in Detroit. They have 44 bus routes around the city that are serviced by 567 buses. 140,000 passengers ride daily on DDOT buses. The regular fare is $1.50 and there are discount fares available for students, seniors and disabled. In 2007 there was a strike on DDOT, because the drivers protested against crimes like assaults, robberies that were often reported on the buses; now armed deputies work on several most important routes.

In 1987 the Detroit People Mover system was opened. It is a 2.9 mile automated system that moves on a single set of tracks and circles the downtown Detroit. It is operated by the Detroit Transportation Corporation. The capacity of the People Mover is 288,000 people a day, but it usually only has around 8,000 riders each day and the city has to spend $3 for every ride when the fare is only $0.5. The Mover costs 12 million dollars every year. In 2013 The People Mover will have a link with SEMCOG Commuter Rail that will expand the service to a larger area.

Local Government of Detroit, Michigan

The Detroit City Council is one of America's several full-time legislative bodies. A mayor heads the city and has a Detroit City Council which is composed of nine members. A clerk, who is elected on a nonpartisan ballot, is also a member of the council. The courts in Detroit are all administered by the state with a nonpartisan type of election. The city council is responsible for monitoring the administration of the city government and departments. They see to it that implemented programs and laws are effectively enacted within the city. The City Planning Commission exists to direct the physical, social and economic features of Detroit. Detroit is assigned to run the 36th District Court, one of America's busiest and largest courts. It is located at 421 Madison Avenue, Detroit. To appear before a council, send a petition to the Office of the City Clerk and address it to The Honorable City Council. The petition must include the name, position and organization, the purpose of request, location, and the date and time of the event. The city clerk's office is at Room 200 at 200 Coleman A. Young Municipal Center. The district court has authority over small claims suits, all real estate matters, all traffic and ordinance violations, preliminary examinations for Felony Cases, civil lawsuits and all criminal misdemeanor cases. The Detroit City Council has eight community meetings with important people from different places in the country. The one who arranges these meetings for council is the City Planning Commission. Detroit's local government is made up of The Department of Public Works, Solid Waste/Yard Waste, Street Maintenance, City Engineering Division and Traffic Engineering. For more information about Detroit's local government, visit The mayor's city office is located at Coleman A. Young Municipal Center, 2 Woodward Avenue, Ste. 1126 Detroit, Michigan.