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Detroit/Midtown-New Center

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Midtown is the cultural center of Detroit. It is home to several museums and galleries, such as the Detroit Institute of Arts and the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. Just north of Midtown is the New Center. This area developed in the 1920s as a business hub that would offer convenient access to both downtown and outlying factories. The New Center is home to some great 1920s architecture.

The Midtown-New Center area is bounded by I-75 to the east and south, M-10 to the west, and Highland Park to the north.

Understand[edit]

Detroit's New Center is considered to be the world's first edge city, a buisness hub remote from, but related to, a main urban core. It developed in the 1920s with the construction of several historic buildings, such as the Cadillac Place and the Fisher Building. Some of these buildings were designed by Albert Kahn, who is called the Architect of Detroit as he designed dozens of historic buildings in Detroit in the 1920s.

Detroit's Midtown attracts millions of people annually with its great museums and other cultural centers. It is also home to Wayne State University's main campus. On any given day, Midtown is probably the busiest place in town, with three times its population commuting in.

Get in[edit]

By car[edit]

If coming from the north: Take I-75 South to Exit 53A towards Warren Avenue. Keep straight to go onto Chrysler Drive. Next, turn right onto Warren Avenue East. You will then arrive in Midtown and stay straight on Woodward or Cass Avenues.

If coming from the south: Take I-75 North towards Detroit and continue to Exit 50 towards Grand River Avenue. Keep straight to go onto the Fisher Freeway West. Finally, turn left onto Woodward and you will arrive in Midtown.

If coming from the east: Take I-94 West and continue to Exit 215C toward M-1/Woodward Ave/Brush Street. Keep straight to get onto the Edsel Ford Freeway East. Finally, turn left onto Woodward Avenue and you will arrive in Midtown.

If coming from the west: Take I-96 East and take Exit 190A to merge onto I-94 East towards Port Huron. Take the M-1/Woodward Ave Exit 215C toward John R Road. Keep straight to go onto the Edsel Ford Freeway East. Turn right onto John R Road. Next, turn right again onto Hendrie Street to Woodward Avenue and you will arrive in Midtown.

See[edit][add listing]

Midtown[edit]

Architecture[edit]

  • Colonel Frank Hecker House, 5510 Woodward Avenue, [1]. Built in 1888, this Châteauesque-styled house would make you think you were in Paris. It currently is home to offices, but it is still worth a stop to just see the architecture. The house was based on the Château de Chenonceaux near Tours, France.  edit
  • Detroit Public Library, 5201 Woodward Avenue at Farnsworth Avenue, 313.833.1000, [2]. Tu&W Noon-8PM, Th-Sa 10AM-6PM. Built in 1921, the Italian Renaissance building features white Vermont marble. It holds the second largest amount of books in Michigan after the library at the University of Michigan. Free.  edit
  • Maccabees Building, 5057 Woodward Avenue. This high-rise truss tower was constructed in the neo-gothic architectural style, using a great deal of limestone, much like the Detroit Masonic Temple. This Albert Kahn-designed building is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.  edit
  • Old Main, 4841 Cass Avenue. Old Main has been a part of Wayne State University's main campus since it was built in 1934. It was built over a four year period out of limestone from the land directly in front of it. The structure was designed in a Classical Revival style.  edit
  • The David Whitney House

Museums[edit]

  • Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, 315 East Warren Avenue, 313.494.5800, [3]. Tu-Sa 9AM-5PM, Su 1PM-5PM. This museum, founded in 1965, holds the world's largest permanent exhibit on African American culture. Artwork in the main rotunda features the names of figures from African-American history, such as Prince Hall. See how many you know! $8 adults, $5 children and seniors.  edit
  • Detroit Historical Museum, 5401 Woodward Avenue, 313.833.1805, [4]. W-F 9:30AM-3PM, Sa 10AM-5PM, Su Noon-5PM. This museum chronicles the entire history of Detroit, from the time of French settlement to the 21st century. The Detroit Historical Museum was founded in 1914 when historian Clarence M. Burton donated his collection to the Detroit Public Library, which led to the creation of the museum. $6 adults, $4 seniors and children. (42°21'35N,83°4'1''W) edit
  • Detroit Institute of Arts, 5200 Woodward Avenue, 313.833.7900, [5]. W-Th 10AM-5PM, F 10AM-10PM, Sa-Su 10AM-6PM. It has one of the largest and most significant art collections in the United States. The DIA ranked as the second largest city-owned museum in the United States with an art collection worth more than one billion dollars. Its first painting was donated in 1883, and today its collection consists of over 65,000 works. The actual building of this 677,000 square foot museum is highly regarded by architects. $8 adults, $6 seniors, $4 youth. Free for residents of SE Michigan.  edit
  • Detroit Science Center, 5020 John R Street, 313.577.8400, [6]. M-F 9AM-3PM, Sa-Su 10AM-6PM. This museum features many hands on exhibits and a IMAX Dome theater, a planetarium, and a kids' town during special events. (42.35844,83.062130) edit
  • Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, 4454 Woodward Avenue, 313 832 6622, [7]. W, Sa & Su 11AM-5PM, Th-F 11AM-8PM. This non-collecting contemporary art museum is housed in a 22,000 square foot building that used to be a car dealership. The architecture is intentionally raw and unfinished, and is intended to reflect the scars of urban blight which surround it. Free.  edit
  • Underground Railroad at the First Congregational Church of Detroit, 33 E. Forest at Woodward Avenue, 313.831.4080, [8].  edit

Theatre[edit]

  • Orchestra Hall
  • Masonic Temple Theatre

Historic neighborhoods[edit]

  • East Ferry Avenue Historic District
  • West Canfield Historic District
  • Brush Park Historic District (Woodward East), on Alfred, Edmund, and Watson Streets from Brush Street to John R Street, [9]. It is known for its restored High Victorian-style residences constructed for Detroit's wealthy of the late 19th century.  edit

New Center[edit]

Architecture[edit]

  • Argonaut Building, 485 West Milwaukee Avenue. This building, designed by Albert Kahn, is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. The 275-unit structure structure is an Art Deco building, and uses primarily brick and limestone in its materials.  edit
  • Cadillac Place, 3044 West Grand Blvd. This National Historic Landmark opened as the second largest office building in the world. Designed by noted architect Albert Kahn, it is an exquisite example of Neo-Classical architecture. Originally the General Motors Building, it had housed the company's world headquarters from 1923 until 1996, when the company moved downtown.  edit
  • Fisher Building, 3011 West Grand Boulevard. This National Historic Landmark lies in the heart of the New Center. The Fisher Building itself is a good enough reason to visit the New Center. The office building rises 30-stories with a roof height of 428 ft. Designed in Art Deco, it is considered Albert Kahn's greatest work. The year of its construction, the Fisher building was honored by the Architectural League of New York as the year's most beautiful commercial structure. The building has been called Detroit's largest art object.  edit

Museums[edit]

  • Hitsville U.S.A, 2648 West Grand Blvd, 313.875.2264, [10]. T-Sa 10AM-6PM. "Hitsville U.S.A." is the nickname of Motown Records first headquarters. It was purchased by Motown founder Berry Gordy in 1959, and converted into the record label's administrative building and recording studio. All of the early Motown hits by artists such as Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, The Marvelettes, Marvin Gaye, Tammi Terrell, The Temptations, The Supremes, Martha & the Vandellas, The Jackson 5, and The Four Tops, among others, were recorded in the studio at Hitsville. Since 1985, The Hitsville U.S.A. building has been the site of the Motown Historical Museum, dedicated to the legacy of the record label, its artists, and its music. Owned and operated by Esther Gordy Edwards, sister of Berry Gordy, the Motown Museum contains exhibits featuring costumes, photos, and records from Motown's success era. Also featured are Motown's "Studio A" and Berry Gordy's upstairs apartment, decorated to appear as they did during the 1960s. $10 adults, $8 seniors & children.  edit
  • Detroit Children's Museum, 6134 Second, 313.873.8100, [11]. M-F 9AM-4PM. Detroit's Children's Museum is the third oldest children's museum in the country.  edit

Historic neighborhoods[edit]

  • Arden Park-East Boston, on East Boston and Arden Park Boulevards, [12]. This neighborhood was created in 1892 with spacious lots to attract the city's wealthier residents. Architectural styles represented in Arden Park-East Boston include Italian Renaissance, Colonial Revival, Tudor, Bungalow style and Prairie Style. The neighborhood's most prominent landmark is the Gothic-styled Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament.  edit
  • Boston-Edison, West Boston Boulevard, Chicago Boulevard, Longfellow Avenue, and Edison Avenue, stretching from Woodward Avenue on the east to Linwood Avenue on the west, [13]. This neighborhood consists of over 900 homes, making it the largest residential historic district in the nation. In 1891, Edward W. Voigt obtained the land that makes up Boston-Edison and platted spacious lots and set building restrictions that established the unique character of the neighborhood. Architectural styles represented include English Tudor revival, Roman and Greek Revival, French Provincial, Colonial Revival, Italian Renaissance, Prairie Style, and Vernacular. Henry Ford was one of the earliest residents of this neighborhood.  edit
  • Piquette Avenue Industrial, along Piquette Street, from Woodward Avenue on the west to Hastings Street on the east.. The area along Piquette was an important center for automobile production in the early 20th century. Several automakers, such as Ford, Dodge, and Cadillac, had plants in this area. The Ford Piquette Plant, a National Historic Landmark, is a three-story mill-style building and where the first Model Ts were built.  edit

Do[edit][add listing]

Events[edit]

  • New Center summer events [14] Detroit. A summer long series of weekly events including concerts, food festivals, happy hour, and outdoor movies in New Center Park near the Fisher Building.
  • Dally in the Alley [15] An annual festival of live music, visual arts, performance, food and beer that takes place in the alleys of the Cass Corridor, the weekend after Labor Day.
  • Dirty Show [16] Detroit International Erotic Art Exhibition, popular event.
  • Fash Bash [17] A cutting edge fashion event and fund raiser coordinated by the Detroit Institute of Arts, featuring big name celebrities, traditionally held in August.
  • Detroit's Vibrant, Underground Arts Scene Detroit is home to over 80 galleries, with artists hailing from around the world. Artists are attracted to Detroit due to its abundance of raw, under-utilized industrial space and its inspiring environment of pre-depression era buildings. Detroit's public information campaign, "The World is Coming, Get in the Game" [18] features an online tour [19] of this arts scene.
  • Detroit's Music Scene The Detroit sound is the sound of the world. It is shaped by Detroit's unique past, its cultural diversity, its energy and its future. Detroit's public information campaign, "The World is Coming, Get in the Game" features an online tour of this music scene. Keep in mind that unlike some cities, there is no central entertainment district (Greektown only partially counts) and many up and coming groups play at venues scattered throughout the area. Website Motor City Blog [20] lists music events happening in the Detroit area.

Theatre[edit]

  • Fisher Theatre, 3011 W Grand Blvrd, +1 313 872-1000, [21]. This theatre is located inside the Fisher Building and is one of Detroit's oldest venues. The theatre is adorned with marble, Indian rosewood and walnut paneling, and crystal and bronze decorative work.  edit
  • The Majestic Theater at 4120-4140 Woodward Avenue combines a show space, a theater, cafe and a bowling alley. Rock -n- Bowl is in the Majestic Theater complex. The oldest bowling alley in the state. DJs play old-school punk and new wave music while you bowl. You can get up close and personal to the bands or shoot pool while listening to live music. Highly recommended for checking out some new music whether it be local or a touring band.

Buy[edit][add listing]

  • Division Street Boutique [22] 1353 Division St. Suite 1w, Serves as a home base storefront for Aptemal Clothing, famous for creating the "Detroit Hustles Harder" clothing line.
  • Eastern Market [23] 2934 Russell St., Detroit. Historic Farmers Market. Hours 7AM - 5PM. M-Sa. Closed Sundays.
  • Pure Detroit [24] Detroit. Detroit Souvenirs. Stores inside the Renaissance Center, the Fisher Building, and the Guardian Building.
  • Peoples Records, 3161 Woodward Ave (at Peterboro), +1 313 831-0864, [25]. Vinyl record shop in Midtown.  edit
  • Shinola, 441 W Canfield, +1 313-285-2390, [26]. Detroit based manufacturer of watches, bicycles, and leather bound goods.  edit
  • Submerge Records, 3000 E Grand Blvd (between John R and Brush), [27]. Record shop in New Center specializing in Detroit techno and other electronic music.  edit
  • The Peacock Room, 15 E Kirby Ste 110, +1 313 559-5500, [28]. Boutique store selling men's and women's vintage clothing.  edit

Eat[edit][add listing]

Vegetarian Friendly[edit]

  • Avalon Bakery, 422 W Willis St, +1 313 832-0008. Assorted breads, vegetarian sandwiches, cookies, muffins, coffee and espresso are served here. Located in the Cass Corridor near Wayne State. Bread is $3.25-$5 a loaf.  edit
  • Cass Cafe, 4620 Cass Ave, +1 313 831-1400, [29]. M-F 11AM-11PM; bar until 2AM; Sa 5PM-1AM; bar until 2AM; Su 5PM-10PM; bar until midnight.. Hip restaurant, bar & art gallery. Located in the Cass Corridor near Wayne State. Voted "Best place to take friends from New York" by the Metro Times $5 to $10.  edit
  • Goldengate Café, 18700 Woodward Ave (3 Blocks South of 7 Mile), +1 313 831-1400, [30]. M-Tu noon-8PM, W-Th 11AM-11PM, F noon-11PM, Sa noon-9PM, Su noon-7PM. Friendly vegan cafe. Busiest nights are on Wednesday when they have a drum circle. Most entrées: $7-$9.  edit
  • Grace of India, 4445 2nd Ave, +1 313 262-6204. Indian take out joint with a wide selection of meat and vegetarian dishes. They also offer delivery. $.  edit
  • Go! Sy Thai, 4240 Cass Ave, +1 313 638-1467, [31]. Thai restaurant with a wide selection of meat and vegetarian dishes. $.  edit
  • Sala Thai, 3400 Russell St, +1 313 831-1302, [32]. M-F 10.30AM-10PM (Dinner starts at 3PM), Sa 11AM-10PM, Su 12PM-9PM (dinner all day on Sa-Su). Located in an old fire house in the Eastern Market district. Great food. Lunch: $6.50 - 9.50 Dinner: $9.00 - 13.00.  edit
  • Seva, 66 E Forest, +1 313 974-6661, [33]. 100% vegetarian food, very vegan friendly, gluten-free options always available upon request, including desserts! Located behind an art gallery with entrance on the side of the building, very urban chic, and delicious!. Bread is $3.25-$5 a loaf.  edit
  • Traffic Jam and Snug, 511 W Canfield St, +1 313 831-9470 (), [34]. M-Th 11AM-10:30PM,F-Sa 11AM-Midnight, Su 11AM-8PM. Bakery, dairy and brewery. This was one of the first brew pubs in Michigan. Has a vegetarian sandwich, vegetarian burger and vegetarian burrito.  edit
  • The RAW Cafe, 4160 Woodward Ave (at Willis), +1 313 778-9774, [35]. M-Sa 11AM-7PM, Sn noon-5PM. Raw vegan restaurant. Entrees $10-$13.  edit

Budget[edit]

  • Avalon Breads, 422 W Willis (Midtown; Willis & Cass), (313) 832-0008, [36]. Neighborhood pioneers providing great coffee, baked goods (including vegan), and sandwiches, not to mention the best variety of the best bread around. $.  edit
  • Byblos Cafe & Grill, 87 W. Palmer (Midtown; Palmer & Cass), (313) 831-4420, [37]. Restaurant serving Lebanese and Middle Eastern cuisine. They also offer online ordering for take out. $.  edit
  • Good Girls go to Paris Crepes, 15 East Kirby (Midtown; Kirby & Woodward), 1-877-PARIS-CREPES, [38]. Restaurant which specializes in crepes. Their menu features 50 crepes, Intelligentsia brand and Fair Trade coffees along with the orange drink, San Pellegrino Aranciata. $.  edit
  • La Palma, 113 E Canfield (Midtown; Canfield & Woodward), (313) 833-5000, [39]. M-F 10am-10pm Sa 10am-6pm. Restaurant serving Lebanese cuisine. $.  edit
  • Supino Pizzeria, 2457 Russell St (at Napoleon), +1 313 567-7879 (fax: +1 313 892-6619), [40]. T-Th 11AM-8:30PM, Fri 11AM-10PM, Sa 11AM-10PM. Restaurant specializing in New York style pizza. The place could have a long wait on a Sunday or during lunch time so be prepared.  edit

Mid-range[edit]

  • Cass Cafe, 4620 Cass (Midtown; Cass & Forest), (313) 831-1400, [41]. Great cafe fare with vegetarian options and a full bar near Wayne State. Local art on display. $$.  edit
  • La Feria, 4130 Cass Ave (Midtown), [42]. Spanish tapas bar. $$.  edit
  • Maccabees At Midtown, 5057 Woodward Ave, (313) 831-9311. Known for their gigantic deli sandwiches.  edit
  • Motor City Brewing Works, 470 West Canfield (Midtown), (313) 832-2700, [43]. Restaurant and microbrewery specializing in pizza. $$.  edit
  • Roma Cafe, 3401 Riopelle (Via Roma) (at Erskine), [44]. Opened in 1890, Roma Cafe is the oldest Italian restaurant in Detroit. And they do it old school, Little Italy-style.  edit
  • Shangri-La, 4710 Cass (Midtown; Cass & Forest), (313) 974-7669, [45]. Detroit's dim sum. Excellent Chinese food and sushi. $$.  edit
  • Union Street, 4145 Woodward Ave (between Alexandrine and Willis), [46]. Very good food, great drinks.  edit

Upscale[edit]

  • Atlas Global Bistro, 3111 Woodward (Midtown; Woodward & Charlotte), (313) 831-2241, [47]. As the name implies, cuisine from all over prepared in fresh and fantastic ways. $$$.  edit
  • Cuisine Restaurant (French). [48]. 670 Lothrop, Detroit. New Center area, behind the Fisher Theatre.
  • David Whitney House, 4421 Woodward Avenue, 313.832.5700, [49]. The David Whitney House was built in 1894 for one of Michigan's wealthiest citizens at the time, David Whitney. It has 52 rooms, 218 windows, 20 fireplaces, a secret vault in the dining room, and an elevator. The house has been a restaurant since 1986.  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

  • Bert's Marketplace, 2727 Russell St, +1 313 567-2030. Jazz club with live music. They also offer barbeque and soul food.  edit
  • The Bronx Bar, 4476 2nd Ave (at Prentis), +1 313 832-8464. Until 2AM daily. "The darkest bar on the planet." The Bronx is a dive bar by any scale, however the drinks are very effective, the pool table works and the jukebox has depth. This is a place to go to relax and knock back a few with your buddies, or to bring an ugly date you just don't want to look at. However, watch where you park your car, as the parking lot across the street is not public and they will tow your car after the businesses in the strip mall close. PBR is $1. Also, enjoy the unique experience of coming out of a bar at 2AM and blinking because it's so bright outside.  edit
  • Jumbo's Bar, 3736 3rd St (at Kirby), +1 313 831-8949. Dive bar with a diverse crowd and a juke box, and karaoke on Saturday nights.  edit
  • Lefty's Lounge, 5440 Cass Ave (at Kirby), +1 313 831-5338, [50]. Sports pub with 15-50 inch flat screens, 1/2 lb fresh burgers, 18 beers on tap, and great pizza. Voted best sports bar in Detroit and the western suburbs. Owned by former left-handed professional pitcher Dave Marcon.  edit
  • Magic Stick, 4120 Woodward Ave (at Kirby), +1 313 833-9700, [51]. Live music venue.  edit
  • Motor City Casino Resort, [52] Grand River, Detroit. Amnesia nightclub, top floor.
  • The Old Miami, 3930 Cass Ave (between Selden and Alexandrine), +1 313 831-3830, [53]. "Miami" is an acronym for "Missing in Action Michigan"; as such the walls in this Midtown dive bar are lined with memorabilia from the Vietnam War and other battles. War vets, bikers, punks, students, and others come here for the cheap drinks, live gigs, and the spacious backyard, which hosts some events during the summer months.  edit
  • Union Street Saloon, 4145 Woodward Ave (between Willis and Alexandrine), +1 313 831-3965, [54]. M-W 11:30AM-midnight, Th 11:30AM-1AM, F 11:30AM-2AM, Sa 4PM-2AM, Su 11:30AM-8PM. Union Street’s building dates back to the early 1900’s when a hardware store/auto parts store were part of a thriving Woodward Avenue. Across the street is the Garden Bowl and the Majestic Theatre built in 1918 and remains in operation. The menu is a creative fusion of American, European, and Asian inspired dishes. The full bar, and knowledge bat stall will help you concoct drinks that only Hunter S Thompson would dare to order. The crowd is a good cross section of regulars - the hip, urban crowd, the theater crowd as well as university professionals and students. If you are a food adventurer and not afraid of a little spice -which means a LOT!!- try the Dragon's Eggs they are chicken breast stuffed with Gorgonzola cheese fried and dipped in the insanely hot rasta sauce. Served on a bed of caesar salad. To quell the inferno you may want to order a side of Ranch or blue cheese to dip them in. The staff is a very friendly group of area locals that can point you in the direction of just about anything you are looking for from directions to blind pig parties to the break of dawn along with the recreation additives that can make a long night a fun night. $5-$20.  edit
  • Temple Bar, 2906 Cass Ave (at Temple), +1 313 832-2822, [55]. Mon-Sun 1 pm - 2 am. Dive bar with a diverse crowd (you have to get buzzed in) with a jukebox, a pool table, and even a resident dog (Jameson). They also have karaoke and a DJ on certain nights.  edit

Sleep[edit][add listing]

  • Inn on Ferry Street, 84 E Ferry St (between Woodward and John R), +1 313 871-6000, [56]. A collection of luxurious Victorian bed & breakfasts lining Ferry St. in a historic district downtown. Adjacent to the world renowned Detroit Institute of Arts.  edit
  • Hotel St. Regis Detroit, 3071 W Grand Blvd (between Woodward and 2nd), +1 313 873-3000 (fax: +1 313 873-2574), [57]. Luxury hotel in stately European styled elegance, casual, old-world feel, intimate setting, urban location, fine restaurant, La Musique - Cajun steakhouse, private fitness center, and 10,000 sq. ft. of meeting space in the historic New Center area with Cadillac Place, adjoins the beautiful Fisher Theatre, a National Historic Landmark, featuring Broadway shows, behind is Cuisine (French) Restaurant. Nearby are Ford Hospital, Wayne State University, Motor City Casino, and downtown.  edit

Contact[edit]

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