2 Girls Who Travel Visit Detroit – “Comeback City”

Okay, so take any preconceived notions you may have about Detroit … and throw them out the window!

Seriously, from the moment we jumped in our Uber from the airport, we learned that Detroit wasn’t playing about their newest nickname, “Comeback City.”

During our 30-minute drive to our hotel downtown, our Uber driver Michael shared some facts about the city and neighborhoods and explained to us efforts made to rejuvenate Detroit. It was refreshing to hear the city’s residents excited about Detroit’s plans for revitalization.

Welcome to Motor City

Welcome to Motor City

We stayed at the Atheneum Suite Hotel, located in the heart of Detroit’s Greektown. Hence the name and area, the Atheneum is an all-suite hotel with a Greek flair. Our suite was actually very spacious and even had a view of the Greektown Casino.

Atheneum Suites Hotel located in the heart of Greektown

Atheneum Suites Hotel located in the heart of Greektown

The Atheneum Lobby

The Atheneum Lobby

After getting checked in and settled, we were really excited to hit the streets. And the first stop was … Motown!! (Val literally could not contain her excitement)

Motown Museum

Motown is Detroit and vice versa. When our Uber driver dropped us off on Grand Blvd. and we saw that iconic blue and white house with Hitsville U.S.A. plastered across the front, we knew we were about to get a taste of musical history. So many legends began their careers inside that very house (Berry Gordy subsequently bought out the entire street of houses).

Legendary Hitsville U.S.A.

Legendary Hitsville U.S.A.

As Motown's roster got bigger, Berry Gordy continued to buy neighboring houses, eventually buying out the block.

As Motown’s roster got bigger, Berry Gordy continued to buy neighboring houses, eventually buying out the block.

We took a quick visit to the gift shop to pick up some souvenirs before starting the tour, which was led by a spirited tour guide who encouraged us all to sing and dance the entire time. The museum included memorabilia and history from some of Motown’s greatest artists, such as Marvin Gaye, the Supremes, the Temptations and the Jackson 5, to name a few.

The tour even ended with us in the actual recording studio … we did the Temptation Walk. Ours needed a little work, but it was a great experience!

~ Day 1 Highlights ~

  

Dinner at Fishbones next to the hotel - the food wasn't as good as we had hoped, but it was a fun, lively atmosphere.

Dinner at Fishbones next to the hotel – the food wasn’t as good as we had hoped, but it was a fun, lively atmosphere.

All smiles at Greektown Casino even though we were losing money!

All smiles at Greektown Casino even though we were losing money!

We found some late night Tex-Mex!

We found some late night Tex-Mex!

Bartender's specialty: strawberry margarita. It was very good!

Bartender’s specialty: strawberry margarita. It was very good!

Detroit Jazz Festival

The Detroit Jazz Festival, held annually every Labor Day weekend, is touted as the world’s largest free jazz festival – and it was our initial reason for visiting Detroit. After venturing off to Eight Mile to get some delicious soul food (more on that here), we headed downtown (only a few blocks from our hotel) to pick up our media credentials for the festival.

Official.

Official

There were festival-goers everywhere … and there were performances every day, all day, on five different stages. We couldn’t see every act, but we caught some great ones! And you know 2 Girls Who Travel can’t visit any festival without getting a little food and drink.

Michigan-made Gypsy Vodka ... it was good!

Michigan-made Gypsy Vodka … it was good!

From vendors to food trucks to musical performances, we enjoyed the festival well into the night. It was a fun time!

 

~ Day 2 Highlights ~

On 8 Mile getting some soul food

On 8 Mile getting some soul food

PUBLIQuartet performing at the Jazz Festival

PUBLIQuartet performing at the Jazz Festival

Packed audience

Packed audience

Legendary jazz great Freddy Cole

Legendary jazz great Freddy Cole

Monday, which was Labor Day, consisted of us driving to Toronto. You can read all about our road trip adventure here.

Museums

We had heard so many great things about the Detroit Institute of Arts Museum, located in Midtown, that we allotted a couple of hours to explore … and it did not disappoint. There were so many mediums, genres and eras of art – wall to wall and room to room – it was very easy to get completely lost in the masterpieces.

Here’s a few shots we took of the art.

20160906_132749

It was a recommendation from Corey, one of the coolest people we met in Detroit, to visit the Museum of African American History – literally a stone’s throw away from the Institute of Arts Museum. If you’re ever visiting Detroit and stay at the Atheneum, seriously find Corey. He’s the best!

While cameras and photography weren’t permitted inside the Museum of African American History, it was still a profoundly deep display of history. One exhibit allows you to follow the journey of a slave, shedding a light on the harsh realities of the slave trade. It was raw, emotional and something you have to visit to comprehend. Our words just won’t do it justice.

~ Day 3 Highlights ~

Thanks for a great trip, Detroit! Till next time...

Thanks for a great trip, Detroit! Till next time…

Detroit was very good to us. We hate that we ran out of time before we could visit The Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village, but now we have something to look forward to the next time we’re in town. We’re so thankful to Visit Detroit for welcoming 2 Girls Who Travel and truly showing us why the D is indeed the Comeback City.

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