Detroit: An American Revival, Part 1

Sunset-at-Belle-Isle-Park
Golden light shining on Detroit once again. Photo credit: TinTin Yu. Click for a LARGER view.

It’s been a week since I returned from a whirlwind weekend in Detroit. People keep stopping by my office or stopping me in the halls at works and asking, “How was Detroit?”

And I keep saying, “come in” or “do you have more than a minute? I can’t tell you about it until you do.  There is so much to say.”

The response: “About Detroit??”

Yes.

Detroit.

They haven’t seen what I saw.

A glimmer of greatness.  A peek into the passion, no the groundswell, that is eloping this once downtrodden city and turning into a mecca of where-you-want-to-be.

Yes. Detroit.

Detroit is going through an amazing metamorphosis. A renaissance of sort.  And thanks to people like Jeanette and Jon of Detroit Experience Factory; Natasha and Andy of Selden Standard, Megan and Leon of Salt & Cedar, I see Detroit in a whole new light.

Detroit-Whole-New-Light

I can honestly say that Detroit has never been high on my list of places to visit. Or rather anywhere on the list.

I can honestly say that I was really, really wrong.

This is the Detroit most people think of or think they know.

Fisher-Body-21-Plant-in-Detroit
Photo credit: Ray Dumas

Or this is what they remember it as.

Traffic-at-the-1960-Auto-Show-Detroit
Photo credit: John Llloyd

That Detroit is gone.  And in its place is one of the most explosive places I have seen in my lifetime.  And I am not the only one.  People are flocking to Detroit to be a part of what is going on in this reformation, an American revival. Architects, designers, urban planners, chefs, artists, and entrepreneurs are stoking the fire that is the new Detroit.

You see? I cannot say that passing by someone in the hallway.  Thank God I have this blog!  It took me 349 words to say that, I haven’t even got started!

Experience Buick Project

I have to thank Buick for being the impetus for my weekend trip to the Motor City. Don’t worry, I am not going to start hawking cars. But I am participating in the #ExperienceBuick Project over the next year. A project where I will be taking a journey to learn more about what the Buick brand is and where it’s going.

Buick invited me along with about a dozen other digital influencers to Detroit.  The weekend was intended for us to learn more about Detroit, to get introduced to the Buick brand and attend the 2015 NAIAS (North American International Auto Show).

So now that you get a sense of just how inspiring this weekend was, let me tell you about what I did, what I ate, what I saw and who I met.

I want to get one thing out of the way.  It was cold.  I was colder than I had been in a decade when Mr. Misadventures lived at the base of the Jura Mountains in France.  Without the wind, the cold is bearable.  It was cold and a little snowy on Sunday and Monday, so it was crisp and chilly.  But Saturday.  Saturday was cold because, with the wind, the chill factor was kind of crazy.  Luckily we spent hardly any time outside, so it was for a few minutes at a time (or less).  Even at my coldest moments I barely cared as I was so engrossed in what was going on around me.

Saturday morning I met the other peeps in my group, people I will be seeing every couple of months throughout the next year.  We introduced ourselves and prepared to leave for our all-day tour with Jeanette of Detroit Experience Factory.  I am not a religious person, but if I was to anoint someone the patron saint of Detroit, I am electing Jeanette.  You see this smile:

Jeanette Pierce Detroit Experience Factory
It’s permanent. And her energy and enthusiasm is infectious.  And she talks fast, which I love because so do I, but mainly because there is so much to say!  She is so completely versed on what is going on in Detroit you can ask her anything. She knows what the latest restaurants are and keeps updating a pdf that lists hundreds of restaurants, many of which have just popped up – for instance, there were 15 openings in December and she says there are 15 more in January!  This place is exploding.

There are many urban prairies, that much has been documented by the same people who only talk about the building porn, but these prairies support over 600 community gardens, a great place for chefs to do some urban foraging for their kitchens.  As it is, there is such a massive variety of farms in Michigan, that eating seasonally is exciting.  We had great beet salads and kale wherever we went.  Who says only Californians love beets?!

College-for-Creative-Studies
Photo credit: Dig Downtown Detroit

Back to Jeanette who served as our guide for the day.  We started at the Taubman Campus of the College for Creative Studies where we met up with two of Buick’s designers, Colin and Ali, both graduates of the school who also teach there.  This design school is something else.  People can attend from Middle School (yes, Middle School!) through Masters!

It is one of the best schools in the world for design, not only for transportation (or automotive) which of course makes sense with all of the companies that are in Detroit but also for product and clothing design.  Companies like Nike and Motorola and many others either open up many studios inside the school or sponsor projects with the students and we got to see the amazing work going on there.

We also visited the auto design area where we met up with a student who had won an online competition and was designing a car for Volkswagen.  Young-Joon Suh was modeling his car with clay.  Clay is still an important aspect of automobile design.  First, it is drawn then modeled in clay where the designer can see it in 3D and get a sense of every aspect of its shape and movement.  Once complete, the student has to spend about 50-60 hours sanding it! They add primer, wait 24 hours and repeat the process, it’s incredible.

College for Creative Studies

There are a lot of cool aspects of the school we didn’t get to see as it was the weekend, but one thing I definitely want to go back to see is the elevator to the rooftop where they move cars up to so that they can be seen in 100% natural light.  Plus, there’s a great view of the city!  I’ll be back!

From the school, we went to check out Shinola.  I had never heard of this retail brand and was impressed by their story.  The founders of Shinola chose Detroit to set-up shop and create an American watch-making business where everything is made on-sight. Besides watches, they also make bikes and leather goods.

The headquarters and watch factory are inside the College for Creative Studies (CCS) on the fifth floor of the building we had visited. We visited the retail store (and coffee house) on Canfield Road.

Detroit Shinola Canfield
Photo credit: Russ

We spoke with the Bridget who leads Marketing and she told us a little more about their history and products.  I fell in love with their watches and of course picked up one of their notebooks, it is just like a Moleskine, but it is American made which I really like!

Shinola-Watch

It was also fun to see San Francisco’s Dandelion chocolate in-shop as well – go SF!

Next up was Z Lot, a parking garage and art gallery.  Yes, I wrote those two things side-by-side!  Think about how many ugly parking garages there are in the world.  Don’t they make the perfect canvas for artists? Well, that is exactly what the folks from Z Lot led by Matt Eaton and a few others did with the 10-story parking structure in midtown Detroit.

Twenty-seven artists rotate through, each with a 130-feet of space to express themselves on.  We visited a couple of floors, but this is when the wind chill factor diminished my enthusiasm a bit and I only took a few shots!

z-Lot Detroit

The alley next to the parking structure had beautiful works as well.

Z-Lot-Alley
To warm ourselves up, we visited the interior of a very special building. According to Jeanette, most locals aren’t even aware of it.  The Guardian skyscraper (500 Griswold Street) is located in the Financial District (which I found interesting since I work in San Francisco’s FiDi) and is a perfectly preserved example of opulence, vintage art deco and acoustic design that just quite simply stops you in your tracks.  It took 7 months to make and cost 12 million dollars – hello Bay Bridge builders, what was your problem??!!

Guardian-Building
Photo credits (Upper left and right) Ken Lund and (Bottom) Jeff Dunn

There is a coffee shop and a Motor City Detroit sweets and treats shop along with a bank that is using the space of the original Union Trust bank.

Seeing Detroit in all its glory worked up a thirst so we headed to the Two James Distillery for a cocktail and tasting of their spirits.  Being so close to the Canadian border, Detroit has a long history with alcohol that stems back from the Prohibition.  Several distilleries have opened up recently and are making small batch whiskeys, bourbons and vodkas.  The great thing about it is that folks like the Two James team are leveraging that history in their naming and labeling.  And wow, is it good tasting stuff!

Being a lightweight, I knew I could only have one drink so I studied the menu extensively and finally settled on the “24 hours from Tulsa” with Rye dog whiskey, ginger syrup, fresh lemon and orange blossom water.   We were invited back into the distillery where we learned about the distilling process and tasted several of their offerings, ending with an yet-to-be-released Absinthe that was delicious.

I set my glass on one of their aging barrels and noticed that it was from Madeira, which is the island in Portugal where my grandfather immigrated to America from!

Two-James-24-Hours-in-Tulsa
Bellies properly warmed up, it was time for an evening meal at the brand new Selden Standard.  Opened for only two months, there was already a two and one-half hour wait to get in.  Thankfully as a group we utilized the private dining room and enjoyed a wonderful communal meal of seasonal foods prepared by chef Andy Hollyday.  Andy, who formerly worked for Michael Symon, is inspired by travels with his soon-to-be wife, Natasha.

Like this pizza oven made in the region which they spotted at a restaurant in Portland.

selden-standard-oven
Photo credit: Selden Standard

That same oven was used to prepare my favorite dish of the night, a grilled trout.  I spoke with Andy and Natasha (I actually begged to go back to the kitchen as I wanted to take some food photos and it was so darn dark in the restaurant I couldn’t see anything!) and they are genuine down-to-earth food lovers who are excited to launch their new restaurant in Detroit and to support farmers from the region. Bravo!

Can’t end the evening without a nightcap! So we visited the Whitney Mansion for a drink in the Ghost Bar.  The mansion is now a fine dining restaurant that also boasts a bar that is haunted.  We braved the stories to enjoy a last drink before retiring for the evening.

I had spent an entire day being introduced to Detroit and I was hungry for more! I know the song is “Georgia on my mind,” but that evening as the head hit the pillow, it was literally Detroit on my mind.

Thankfully there was still DAY TWO to come!

How about you? Have you been to Detroit before? What were your impressions? If not, have I inspired you to think about visiting Detroit?  Do tell!

181 Comments

  1. Christine B
    January 21, 2015

    Wow! That’s awesome!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Christine, thanks so much for saying so, you know you will be hearing much more 😉

      Reply
  2. Sierra Burton
    January 21, 2015

    Wow! This is definitely a side of Detroit I’ve never seen. I’ll admit I was one of those people who thought it was a dangerous rundown place. Thanks for helping me see differently!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Sierra, so glad to hear I could change your opinion!

      Reply
  3. Jeanine
    January 21, 2015

    I’ve never been to Detroit. I have some friends who frequent there often and love it. I’ve heard lots about it, not all good but mostly and think it would be a neat place to visit!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Jeanine, you have built in guides!

      Reply
  4. Such neat pictures! I love seeing the history in cities I have never been to.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Joanna, there is a ton of history, something I really love learning about!

      Reply
  5. Carol Cassara
    January 21, 2015

    I’m super-impressed with your photos and the inside view of a city we never think to visit.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Carol, thank you so kind of you to say!

      Reply
  6. Jennifer
    January 21, 2015

    I have been to Detroit many, many times but never more than to connect to a flight to my hometown. The city has never called to me either, though I think seeing some of the car museums and such would be interesting. I really do hope it revives.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Jennifer, I do hope you make an opportunity to see more, I would love to see the car museum as well!

      Reply
  7. Angelic Sinova
    January 21, 2015

    I’ve only been to the Detroit airport (it was an amazing airport) but I have many friends who live and Detroit and LOVE it! Like Chicago sometimes, I think it gets a bad rep but both cities are boasting with culture and so many amazing things <3

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Angelic, I thought the airport was awesome too! Cool that you have friends there so you have built in guides!

      Reply
  8. Cathy Sikorski
    January 21, 2015

    Wow. I have never been to Detroit. And it was never on my list. But I will def rethink that. Great article!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Cathy, I hope you do!

      Reply
  9. Sheryl
    January 21, 2015

    What a comprehensive – and surprising – review of Detroit, which normally gets a bad rap. I’ll have to think twice about visiting…my husband is coveting a Shinola watch and I never realized they were made right in Detroit!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Sheryl, I had not heard of Shinola before this trip and I am going to pick up one for my husband’s birthday next year. I feel safe saying that here in the comments, because he usually doesn’t read them all!

      Reply
  10. Ruth Curran
    January 21, 2015

    I have not been to Detroit since I was little girl (a few minutes more than I care to admit ago) and have been hearing about the city rising from the ashes! I love your photo tour – such a great look at this city on the comeback trail! I have been considering putting Detroit on my US must-go list – in the spring or fall of course!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Ruth, I am sure you will be surprised by all the changes! And hope you do consider adding it to your visit list!

      Reply
  11. Natasha
    January 21, 2015

    Great post! I had a similar experience. I had to go to Detroit for work and had very very low expectations. Instead, I found a really fun city and the people were great. Detroit gets an unfair bad rap!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Natasha, so cool when you get surprises like that!

      Reply
  12. Tamara @ We3Travel
    January 21, 2015

    It looks like you got a great introduction to Detroit! I visited for the first time this summer when I went on a similar trip for Chevy. We saw more of the GM headquarters and not as much of the city but one thing that really surprised me was the revitalization of the city and how many professional jobs were open (I think it was like 10,000 engineering and tech jobs?)

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Tamara, yes, the job market along with everything else is booming! I will be back in the summer and hope to see more – I hope you get to as well!

      Reply
  13. Amanda @ MoveLoveEat
    January 21, 2015

    I love it when you stumble into a place that is magical and everyone else looks at you as though you are nuts when you say you really enjoyed it! It’s places like those that are super special!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Amanda, super special is right! Means less people too!

      Reply
  14. Lisha Fink
    January 21, 2015

    I’ve never had the urge to visit Detroit… until now. Great post.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Lisha, yay, so glad to hear! I hope you do get to visit!

      Reply
  15. Amanda
    January 21, 2015

    I’ve never been to Detroit but I have a few friends from there and they speak highly of it!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Amanda, your friends were right!

      Reply
  16. Lois Alter Mark
    January 21, 2015

    This totally makes me bummed that I missed Saturday! Your photos are gorgeous, and I agree that Detroit was not at all what I expected – it is truly a city in revival mode, and I’m so glad we’re getting to experience it together.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Lois, you missed some really good stuff! But we’ll see more soon…and together!

      Reply
  17. Jenn
    January 21, 2015

    Detroit seems like such an amazing city. I would love to visit there someday!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Jenn, it is and I hope you do!

      Reply
  18. lauryn Hock
    January 21, 2015

    I am glad that the town is being revived… it deserves it!

    xo Lauryn
    Lauryncakes | Beauty & Fashion

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Lauryn, I think so too!

      Reply
  19. Shannon Peterson
    January 21, 2015

    I totally had a terrible image when I thought of Detroit. I can’t wait to see more of your adventures!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Shannon, I hope you will enjoy, there are more to come!

      Reply
  20. Doreen McGettigan
    January 21, 2015

    I haven’t been to Detroit in many years. I’ve had no desire to go.
    How wonderful that it is turning around finally.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Doreen, I hope you will consider revisiting one day soon.

      Reply
  21. I’ve never been to Detroit, and like you said it’s probably not at the top of my list either.. but I love what you wrote about it.. and I feel like more people need to see the revitalization side of it. I also really think every city has its gems no matter what’s the general perception of it is, so i’m glad that you had such a positive experience. we need to move it up our list. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Esther, I think you would really enjoy discovering the city and in particular photographing it!

      Reply
  22. Detroit was never on my list either, but after seeing your photos and reading about all the food it is on the list now! It’s a wonder to watch a city rise from the ashes, and I am so glad the people and businesses of Detroit are enjoying the dawn of their Renaissance.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Amy, I am really excited for the people of Detroit and all that is happening there.

      Reply
  23. Laurie
    January 21, 2015

    Thanks for giving us a sweet view of Detroit! I’ve never been but it looks like a place worth traveling to.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Laurie, I definitely think so!

      Reply
  24. I am one of those people that has just imagined this city as down trodden. Your photos show a different picture than what I ever imagined. What a fun trip to go on, thank you for sharing!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Alana, so glad that I could contribute to changing your point of view!

      Reply
  25. Karissa
    January 21, 2015

    Great photos I’ve never been to Detroit.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Karissa, maybe someday you will get a chance!

      Reply
  26. Ashley Servis
    January 21, 2015

    I need to visit the world more. Amazing photos. I especially like the art work like graffiti

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Ashley, the street art was very cool!

      Reply
  27. Brenda
    January 21, 2015

    I have only been to Detroit once and I definitely didn’t get to hang out long enough! I will definitely try to next time!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Brenda, you definitely should!

      Reply
  28. Angel
    January 21, 2015

    Looks like you had fun and you took lots of nice pictures! 🙂 God bless!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Angel, thanks! I was a lot of fun!

      Reply
  29. Mai T.
    January 22, 2015

    Detroit Rock City movie is a good movie that I remember. But it was not a sample movie to encourage people to visit Detroit though. But like any location in the world, there must be an element of surprise in Detroit. Great photos!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Mai, it was very surprising, like a hidden treasure!

      Reply
  30. jen
    January 22, 2015

    I read your post about Detroit with great fascination, Andi. I love Rehab Addict with Nicole Curtis. She does a lot of restoration of old historic homes in Detroit (and Minneapolis). I’m a big believer in historic preservation. Your post gives me hope for this American city! Wow – I wish I had money to invest in property!!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Jen, I had not heard of Rehab Addict before, but my hair stylist mentioned it too! I need to look into the show and see some of the areas she has gone into.

      Reply
  31. Jamie
    January 22, 2015

    I haven’t been to Detroit, but have watched several documentaries the past couple of years. I find the area fascinating and am so glad to hear it is doing so well!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Jamie, there is so much to discover there, somehow I missed every documentary, I need to look them up and see some of them!

      Reply
  32. Carra D
    January 22, 2015

    I’ve never been to Detroit. I don’t think I’d ever visit just because its not really a place on top of my list. I enjoyed viewing your photos. I love finding street art, so pretty.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Carra, I hope someday you reconsider.

      Reply
  33. Ashley
    January 22, 2015

    Confession: Detroit has been a city my fiancé has been dying to see and I have deliberately been moving it further and further down our list by showing him beautiful pics from other cities/states, etc. Clearly the Detroit in my head is absolutely not the Detroit that exists in real life! Thank you- moving it back up to the top 😉

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Ashley, that is so awesome to hear!

      Reply
  34. Julia Rose
    January 22, 2015

    Looks like another great trip. I’ve never thought about visiting Detroit.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Julia, I hope I have changed your mind about visiting!

      Reply
  35. Sarah Beth
    January 22, 2015

    Everytime I see the Chrysler commercials that say “imported from Detroit” it makes me want to go!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Sarah, I love that line too! I think it is so clever!

      Reply
  36. Christine
    January 22, 2015

    I have been to Detroit but it was like 4 or 5 years ago at this point. We went to a playoff hockey game (Pens vs. Red Wings) so we got to see what was around the arena but we were actually a little too nervous to be “tourists” so we stayed close to our hotel. Reading about what you discovered and seeing your pics makes me sad that we didn’t venture out anywhere. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Christine, there is always next time, you should go back when the new stadium is added, the plans I heard for the site are incredible!

      Reply
  37. Aisha Kristine Chong
    January 22, 2015

    It seems like such an amazing place – I wish I will be able to visit it one of these days… to see it myself.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Aisha, you definitely should add it to your list of places to visit soon!

      Reply
  38. Natalie
    January 22, 2015

    This makes me so happy! I hate to hear when cities are suffering, and Detroit has long been this symbol of American innovation. You’re so right–that dilapidated building is how I see Detroit. I’m SO glad that Detroit is seeing a resurgence!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Natalie, it really is so inspirational to see the transformation!

      Reply
  39. Tara Joy
    January 22, 2015

    What an amazing experience, I have never been there and like you said it hasn’t been to far up on my list but I think I may want to go see it someday now!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Tara, you should definitely think about adding it!

      Reply
  40. Jane @ Limeade Gal
    January 22, 2015

    I’ve never been to Detroit, nor Michigan. My impression of Detroit is the ghost city & closed down automotive plants. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your visit and viewing your gorgeous photos. I now see this city in a different light!
    & yes Jeanette has an infectious smile 🙂

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Jane, yay, so glad to have provided you an opportunity to learn more about Detroit!

      Reply
  41. Ronda
    January 22, 2015

    Awesome photos! I’ve never been to Detroit, so thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Ronda, happy to share my adventures!

      Reply
  42. yaitza
    January 22, 2015

    I have never visited Detroit.. looks like a big city though… I can vouch for Buicks, I am a pround owner of an Enclave and it is the best car I have ever owned… Love Buick!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Yaitza, that is so awesome to hear!

      Reply
  43. Debi @ Life Currents
    January 22, 2015

    What a great article on a great American city. One day I’d love to visit there and see so much history.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Debi, so glad you enjoyed it!

      Reply
  44. Echo
    January 22, 2015

    I have never been to Detroit, but I am so glad that it is making a comeback. It is always sad to see a city fall, but it is wonderful to see them reborn!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Echo, well said!

      Reply
  45. Britney
    January 22, 2015

    I have never been there but it looks like it would be a great place to visit!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Britney, glad to hear you are interested in checking it out.

      Reply
  46. sarah
    January 22, 2015

    Just amazing and beautiful photographs! You’ve really captured your experience well through this photos! I have to say I have been to Detroit a few times and the last time was there was for the Elite 8 NCAA Basketball tournament in ’08. I’m from OH but now live in NC. We enjoyed the casino there and the tournament despite the valet at the hotel stealing my IPod out of my car. It is my hope that Detroit gets back it’s charm, like Cleveland, which both have been hit hard by the economy and the loss of manufacturing jobs. The suburbs of Detroit are really beautiful. I haven’t been to some of the places you visited and hope to one day. Thanks for opening my eyes.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Sarah, so sorry to hear you had a bad experience, but so glad you are open to visiting again and trying out new experiences.

      Reply
  47. Vicki W
    January 22, 2015

    Wow, Detroit sounds like an amazing place to visit one day! Your pictures are gorgeous! I have landed there once to change flights, but the airport is the only thing I was able to see! Maybe one day we will have the opportunity to visit Detroit!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Vicki, the airport is pretty great too 😉 I hope you do get to visit one day!

      Reply
  48. Chelley @ AisForAdelaide
    January 22, 2015

    Such a rich in history city! I hope I get to visit (and see the Red Wings play)!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Chelley, I saw where the new stadium is going to be, looks like it is going to be awesome!

      Reply
  49. Ashley | Spoonful of Flavor
    January 22, 2015

    I have never been to Detroit but after all of the negative things I have read about it during the economic downturn, I am so glad to hear that a revival is taking place. Your pictures are beautiful and portray a city full of life!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Ashley, so glad you appreciated the post and that I could change what you knew about Detroit.

      Reply
  50. Lalia @ Found Frolicking
    January 22, 2015

    What a great opportunity for AMAZING photos! I’ve never had any desire to go to Detroit since I’ve never heard anything positive, but now I’d love to see it! Sounds very unique. What fun! Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Lalia, you must definitely head there, so much going on!

      Reply
  51. Lisa @bitesforbabies
    January 22, 2015

    What a great post!!! Your pictures are amazing and I love how you described the city. I’m not too familiar with Detroit but I live right across the border. I have friends that have moved and then go on and on about how the city has been reborn!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Lisa, wow so close, you must start exploring, I am sure you will love it!

      Reply
  52. Joyce Duboise
    January 22, 2015

    You are an incredible writer. I want to sit here and read your blog all day long after reading this post. You’re right. Detroit is beautiful. I visited a year ago despite all of the warnings to stay away from the bankrupt city. I loved my visit. My favorite part of Detroit is the history. There is a LOT of history that many forget about in Detroit! A lot of great minds and forces came from that area. If you didn’t get a chance to visit The Heidelberg Project then you have to go back or at least look it up. It shows that any kind of poverty and pain can be made into art. Your experience looked incredible! Congrats to you on this opportunity.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Joyce, thank you so much for the kind words, that was incredibly nice of you! I love history so was really keen on soak it all in. I plan on weaving more of it into my next post. I did not get to go to The Heidelberg Project, but when I return this summer I will definitely check it out.

      Reply
  53. Olivia Schwab
    January 22, 2015

    I’ve never been to detroit but I’ve heard a lot about it from people who has been there before. Your pictures look great and I love what you focus on!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Olivia, so glad to hear it!

      Reply
  54. Kelly Saffold
    January 22, 2015

    Wow, I’ve never visited Detroit but would love to go now.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Kelly, I hope you get there, you’ll love it!

      Reply
  55. lauren
    January 22, 2015

    i love to travel! it looks like you had a TON of fun!!! I think ill be adding detroit to our visit list 🙂

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Lauren, please do you won’t regret it!

      Reply
  56. Camesha
    January 22, 2015

    That’s where I grew up. Happy to read something highlighting the positive.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Camesha, wow! You should be so proud of its deep history and recent transformation.

      Reply
  57. jess meddows
    January 23, 2015

    We’ve been through Detroit so many times on the drive between Canada and America, that I’ve actually lost count of how many times I’ve been through it! The first time I saw Detroit was about 5am or so in the morning after we’d crossed the border, and I remember saying to Shawn that it had a strange apocalyptic beauty at dawn. The steel and smoke stacks glistened in the early morning light, and the smoke coming out of the refinery was this gorgeous grey colour against the pink sky. I remember being struck by how beautiful such an industrial setting was when no one was around. After that i’ve been saying that we need to visit and find out what the city is about!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Jess, I can totally picture the scene you described and think it would be awesome to see. You definitely should go back and take a peek!

      Reply
  58. Rosie
    January 23, 2015

    Detroit looks awesome would love to get over there at some point x

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Rosie, I hope you get that opportunity!

      Reply
  59. Fi Ní Neachtáin
    January 23, 2015

    It’s great seeing cities being revived years after their main industries have shut down and the city may have become run down. Great pictures too.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Fi Ni, have there been similar occurrences in Ireland?

      Reply
  60. Ann Harrison
    January 23, 2015

    I can’t believe how jazzed I am about visiting Detroit now. I had no idea growth, energy – any kind of care at all – was happening there. And I am SO glad to hear it!! I find great beauty and intrigue when buildings have fallen away from being all bright and shiny, take a turn to decay and then come back with the care and love of someone with a good eye, talent and heart.

    Lovely post. Happy #NYNB

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Ann, wow, so well said. I believe the abandoned buildings have their own beauty as well and I saw some of the renovated ones, particularly some buildings that were converted to lofts while respecting the former facade, gorgeous!

      Reply
  61. Vidya Sudarsan
    January 23, 2015

    I’ve never been to Detroit. It’s always fun to see pictures of different places and hope to visit them someday. You have some good photographs here..

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Vidya, thank you, I am so glad you enjoyed learning about Detroit!

      Reply
  62. Lindsay
    January 23, 2015

    Really interesting perspective! So glad I read through. I admit this is NOT what I thought of when I thought of Detroit. Thanks for the wake up call. So many beautiful sights!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Lindsay, so glad you read the post and that it had a positive impact on your opinion. Maybe someday it will get on your travel list!

      Reply
  63. @Travelpanties
    January 23, 2015

    I went to U of M so whenever people talk about how awesome Detroit is I am so happy! I need to get back soon! Love it and all of its surrounding suburbs! It’s awesome!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Travelpanties, yay! It is changing so fast I am sure a lot has changed since you were there, which is really exciting as you will have a lot to catch up on!

      Reply
  64. Melanie
    January 23, 2015

    Sounds like I need to visit! I’ve never been but I’d love to see the history there.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Melanie, there is a lot of history I did not mention, I hope to weave in more in my next post stay tuned!

      Reply
  65. Hope N Griffin
    January 23, 2015

    How fun and exciting. I’ve never been but want to.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Hope, I “hope” you get a chance!

      Reply
  66. We always see the bad side of Detroit but recent programs has shown a side so different that I’m really interest in seeing myself. These photos and the blog shows a side of Detroit I would love to visit.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Joyce, things are different and I can imagine are only going to continue to get better and better as more people hear about it. I hope you get an opportunity to see for yourself.

      Reply
  67. Yona Williams
    January 23, 2015

    I love the snippets of Detroit art and architecture that you’ve shared in your post. I lived about 1 1/2 hours away from Detroit for some years, and we would visit it on and off. Also, we’d have to cut through the city to get back to my hometown in Upstate New York – a really nice shortcut that also goes through Canada that we can no longer take. In all those years, I never really got a chance to explore it as deeply as you did.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Yona, I hope that is something you might have the opportunity to change one day. I learned so much in a weekend and can’t wait to explore more.

      Reply
  68. I didn’t realize Detroit was such a happening and thriving place. Any of the news that seems to come from there is doom and gloom and crime. Glad to know that’s not true and it’s a great place.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @April, that seems to be representative of the sad state our news channels are in. They rarely share happy news, but there really is a lot of positive things to say!

      Reply
  69. Courtney
    January 23, 2015

    Omg Buick looks like a fascinating place to visit!!! Such a great brand!!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Courtney, I hope to get to visit more of the Buick offices, etc. It is definitely headquartered in an amazing city and it is a brand that has a bright future.

      Reply
  70. Amanda
    January 24, 2015

    I loved seeing all of your photos! They made me feel like I was right there taking in the sights 🙂

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Amanda, so glad to hear that! And maybe it will inspire a future trip to Detroit!

      Reply
  71. Alysia
    January 24, 2015

    I live in the metro Detroit area and I’ve been following you on Instagram & loving your positive perspective of Motown. Thanks for shining a complimentary light on Detroit – it has a ways to go but it truly is a beautiful place and has so much to offer!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Alysia, thanks for coming over from Instagram to comment, that means a lot! It is a wonderful place and that fact that it has a ways to go is super exciting to me, there is an opportunity to be apart of it and to be able to look back in a decade or two and remark on all that has happened!

      Reply
  72. Leah
    January 24, 2015

    Hi, I live in Ferndale, MI which is the city just directly North of Detroit and I’m so glad that you enjoyed your time here! Yes, it was super cold when you came to visit and I really wish you could have come later in the year when the weather is truly lovely. You definitely got to see some of the great sites here and I hope you have a chance to see some other things like our beautiful art museum and some of the other incredible bars and restaurants here. Thanks so much for visiting!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 24, 2015

      @Leah, thanks so much for commenting! Luckily I am going to get to return in warmer weather, either June or July for another weekend event. I am thinking to extend my trip a day or two as I want to do more exploring! Thanks for suggestions!

      Reply
  73. md kennedy
    January 24, 2015

    I used to go to Detroit regularly on business in the days before it really sank. You’ve inspired me to stop again in the near future.

    Reply
  74. diana
    January 24, 2015

    I have never been to Detroit and only know what I have heard about it which is all negative. It’s so good to learn that a revival is taking place. Oh, and beautiful pictures!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 25, 2015

      @Diana, thanks, it is really great that I can share a little bit of Detroit with you.

      Reply
  75. lola
    January 25, 2015

    the pictures are to die for! my fav is the chinese woman grafitied on the wall!

    Reply
  76. Lesa
    January 25, 2015

    Wow, who knew! I always see those “ghost town” shows on TV, which is my last impression of Detroit, not to mention all the crime you hear about! Interesting!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 25, 2015

      @Lesa, I hope I got to change your mind and bring a fresh perspective!

      Reply
  77. Lindsay
    January 25, 2015

    Great shots and thank you for this post! I love Detroit and I feel like it gets such a bad view! It is such a cool city!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 26, 2015

      @Lindsay, oh so glad to hear! What is a favorite spot of yours?

      Reply
  78. Rebekah
    January 26, 2015

    Beautiful shots! I would love to visit Detroit, it’s wonderful that people are working to rebuild it!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 26, 2015

      @Rebekah, it is super exciting to see something positive happening in place where it had been bad news for so long.

      Reply
  79. Tania B
    January 26, 2015

    Wow, it sounds like you had an incredible trip! I was not aware of the upward momentum happening in Detroit, but I am glad I could read your very well-written post. Now I need to add Detroit to my must-visit list. Thanks so much!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 26, 2015

      @Tania, most definitely do add it, you will be so surprised! Thanks for the kind words!

      Reply
  80. Jess
    January 26, 2015

    Awesome post! Such an informative read!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 26, 2015

      @Jess, thanks, I am glad you enjoyed it!

      Reply
  81. Lana @ The Truth About Blondes
    January 26, 2015

    I love these photos. I love hearing about a new side of Detroit. Thanks for writing this.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 26, 2015

      @Lana, glad you enjoyed, it was such an unexpected surprise for me to discover this city!

      Reply
  82. Winter White
    January 27, 2015

    I have to say I was one of those people who thought Detroit was all automobiles with a bit of Aretha Franklin sprinkled in. You’ve def opened my eyes to what Detroit has to offer.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 31, 2015

      @Winter, I hope you get an opportunity to go see more, it is pretty killer!

      Reply
  83. Val
    January 28, 2015

    Salut Andi,
    what a pleasure to read you ! I¨m a French women living in Detroit´s area in indeed and hopefully the life is very different from what we first expect 😉 With friends this is our aim, showing this reality , the contrasts so we created a photography collective and try to set up an exhibit for 2015. Do not hesitate to follow us ! A bientot…

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 31, 2015

      @Val, salut et merci pour l’info! The next time I am in Detroit (June/July) I will definitely try to find you! I have followed and look forward to learning more!

      Reply
  84. Deborah
    January 29, 2015

    I will admit – Detrioit hasn’t been on my radar, either, until now!! Seriously – you have made me want to visit!! And I am a loyal Buick owner. We bought our Enclave in 2009 right before my daughter was born and are still loving it today. In fact, I would buy the same car 10x over!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 31, 2015

      @Deborah, that is so awesome to hear. I have my eye on the Enclave for a road trip my hubby and I are doing this spring, love the endorsement from you, a real owner! Definitely check out Detroit!

      Reply
  85. Katriza
    January 30, 2015

    WOW! What a great post! I love seeing what people would think as dumpy/trashy into beautiful art and you see this all over Detroit. Thanks for an insightful and inspiring post that you can find beauty in everything, just depending on your outlook and where you look 🙂

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 31, 2015

      @Katriza, well said! I think it take a kind heart and a special eye to see the beauty in all things!

      Reply
  86. Dana
    February 2, 2015

    I haven’t been to Detroit before. I’ve heard that it wasn’t very nice-glad to see you liked it

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      February 3, 2015

      @Dana, I did really like it and I recommend checking it out!

      Reply
  87. Sarah
    February 2, 2015

    Detroit was never high on my list of places to visit either, but it is now!

    Sarah
    Sweet Spontaneity

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      February 3, 2015

      @Sarah, that is so awesome to hear! Do check it out!

      Reply
  88. James
    February 3, 2015

    I find many of the industrial and Rust Belt cities are experiencing complete turn-arounds. While the rest of the big cities continued to thrive places like Cleveland, Detroit, and Buffalo fell by the way side. My hometown – Youngstown, Ohio – still has over 40% of residents living under the poverty line. But to walk around speak with the people you’d never know. The negative attitude and stigma from when I was going up (and which ultimately caused my and many others’ departures from the area) has all but disappeared. these are truly incredible cities with wonderful people and places – and they’re all beginning to realize it.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      February 3, 2015

      @James, so glad you stopped by and commented. I have to agree with you, what is so infectious about my visit and honestly, anyone I have ever met from this region is the positive attitude in spite of their (or the state’s, county’s. city’s) circumstances.

      Reply
      1. James
        February 23, 2015

        There’s a joke for Ohioans – “You’ll find Ohioans everywhere but Ohio.”
        But yes a positive attitude is almost necessary in many of these places.

        Reply
  89. Chloe Logan
    February 18, 2015

    Just found you through The Blogging Elite and I am so excited to read this post. I’m a native of Bloomfield Hills, 20 minutes outside of Detroit, and constantly have to stand up for my city (even though I don’t actually live there/I currently live in France–bonjour!). Unfortunately, I’ve never thoroughly explored Detroit, but it’s on my bucket list for the near future. 🙂 Pinning this so I can refer to all the cool stuff you saw and did while there!

    Chloe | Wanderlust in the Midwest

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      February 18, 2015

      @Chloe, salut ma nouveau amie! Detroit really is something else, convincing others must be hard, but on the other hand it will remain a secret garden for those that believe in it! I hope you get to exlpore it more in the future!

      Reply
  90. Kelly
    September 7, 2015

    I have been to Detroit, and have never desired to go back. It looks like it is definitely changing for the better! I love that it is going through a reclaiming of the city. It was hard to watch the city implode, but sometimes that is necessary for rebirth.

    Reply
  91. Shannon
    September 19, 2015

    I have never been and I would love to go. How lovely and thank you for sharing,

    Reply
  92. Linda Manns Linneman
    July 16, 2017

    I was born and raised in a suburb of Detroit. It was an awesome place to visit and so much to see. It seems like after the auto industry went under there, so did the city. I am so glad they are bringing it back to life again. I am happy you got to visit. Thank you so much for sharing

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      July 25, 2017

      @Linda, they are definitely on the road to recovery.

      Reply

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