Recently we can’t help but notice that Detroit has not been viewed in the best light. Filing bankruptcy, Detroit has gone into the history books as being the largest city ever to file chapter 9. However, despite its financial problems there is a thriving community here that is justing waiting to be tapped to its full potential!
This last week my wife and I decided to make a day of it exploring Detroit’s art and culture. We started off by visiting the Edsel and Eleanor Ford Home in Grosse Pointe Shores.
If you don’t know much about Detroit, you probably know a lot about Ford. One of the largest and most popular American automobile companies, Ford has its roots in Detroit. Visit the 30,000 square foot home of the Ford family in Grosse Pointe Shores where you will find a history of the ford family and their contributions not only to the automobile industry but also to the arts. The Ford’s were active patron’s of the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) and much of their personal collection was donated freely to the DIA upon Eleanor’s death in 1976. Don’t forget to visit the grounds where you will find as much beauty and history as inside the home.
Once you are done at the Ford home, take stroll south, down Jefferson. The Ford family still resides in this part of Detroit. Jefferson will take you into downtown Detroit. There waiting for you is the national treasure called Pewabic Pottery.
Pewabic Pottery is an educational and arts gem inside of downtown Detroit. It was established in 1903 and is known for its beautifully glazed clay tiles and pottery that have taken center stage in many wonderful and historic landmarks like the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C..
Pewabic Pottery was founded by Mary Chase Perry Stratton who is known for starting some of the best ceramic programs at the university level here in Michigan at MSU and U of M. You can still go and learn about the pottery and see it made with self guided tours or by taking classes.
Once you are done exploring the pottery then head just a little further up jefferson and you come to the Belle Isle bridge. If you have never been to Belle Isle, it offers great views of down detroit and some much needed “natural” space that in the midst of the urban sprawl. Take a walk, stretch your legs and enjoy the views.
After a day tapping into the history and art of Detroit a cold beverage is in store, and what better place then the Motor City Brewing Works.
This microbrew located in the Cass Corridor of Detroit may not be the easiest to find, but it is well worth the trip. Located about two blocks east of woodward on Canfield, and set back up off the street, the Motor City Brewing Works offers great varieties of beers, wines and homemade sodas. Their pizza selection is well rounded and the flavors are much more. It is not your traditional deep dish, but more so a mix between your normal pizza pie and a New York crust. Their summer brew has that citrus flavor that makes you want to have summer all year round and they have a balcony area so you can enjoy a fresh summer breeze. Being that it is located in the Wayne State University area of downtown you will find a young crowd, but it is really just a great place for people of all ages. Once you are done eating and have had your share of great pizza and beer, then why not enjoy some music?
From here you have many options. You could plan your trip so that you can catch a Detroit Symphony Orchestra performance right around the corner, OR you could drive 35 minutes out to Farmington, MI and on Friday nights they have live music in downtown. If swing music and dancing is your thing, then make it a thursday night in downtown Farmington where they swing until their feet are sore. You can also find concerts at Comerica Park (Home of the Detroit Tigers) and Ford Field (Home of the Detroit Lions) as well as music for the family at the Detroit Zoo on Wednesday nights. To check out some of these options you can find the links below. Either way I hope you get a chance at some point to experience Detroit’s art and culture scene, because despite the news, this is where it is happening!