The Southwest Side of Detroit is located 2 miles outside of downtown. It is home to popular ethnically diverse neighborhoods, such as Corktown and Mexicantown. Also in the area are historical attractions, such as Fort Wayne.
The Southwest Side is bounded by Michigan Avenue to the north, downtown and the Detroit River to the east, to the south by the downriver communities, and to the west by Dearborn.
Southwest Detroit is home to a large melting pot of different ethnicities including Italians, Mexicans, Ecuadorians, Polish, Hungarian, Irish, etc. This is evidenced by the many ethnic neighborhoods and the large diversity of restaurants in the area. Whatever your taste, Southwest Detroit has something for you.
However, Southwest Detroit has even more than vibrant neighborhoods and great cuisine. It is also home an abudance of landmarks, such as Tiger Stadium and the historic Michigan Central Station.
- Ambassador Bridge, . This suspension bridge, over the Detroit River, connects Detroit with Windsor. It had the longest suspended central span in the world when it opened in 1929 to 1931. The Ambassador Bridge is the largest international border crossing in North America, and over 25% of all the trade between the US and Canada crosses this bridge. It is styled in a mixture of Art Deco and Streamline Moderne architectural designs, with some Gothic architecture blended in. When the Detroit International Riverfront is totally completed, it will run from the Amassador Bridge to Belle Isle, which is about 5 miles in length.
- Fort Street-Pleasant Street and Norfolk & Western Railroad Viaduct. This bridge was the largest and most ambitious structure included in the 1920s grade separation plan, where major streets and rail lines were separated by bridges and subways. Fort Street was designated a "superhighway," requiring the bridge to be 80 feet (24 m) in width; the tracks underneath required a 2,800 feet (850 m) span.
- Fort Wayne, 6325 W Jefferson Avenue, along the Detroit River, ☎ +1 313 297-9360, . Sa 9AM-4PM, Su 11AM-4PM. Located one mile from the Canadian shore of the Detroit River, this historic fort, built in 1849, is listed on the National Register for Historic Places. Fort Wayne was built when Canada was seeking independence from Britain. The United States wanted to remain neutral on the case, but realized that they lacked fortifications along the northern border to repel a potential British attack. The Army named the new fort for Revolutionary War hero General Anthony Wayne, who took possession of Detroit from the British in 1796. Before any cannon had been installed at the newly-constructed Fort Wayne, the United States and Britain peacefully resolved their differences, eliminating the need for a fort on the Detroit River. Fort Wayne remained unused for a decade after its initial construction. But it was once again used during the Civil War because the British supported the Confederacy. For the rest of the Civil War, the fort served as a mustering center for troops from Michigan, as well as a place for veterans to recover from their wounds. After the Civil War and until 1920, Fort Wayne served as a garrison post. Today, the fort is operated by the Detroit Recreation Department. $3 for everyone.
Derelict building of Michigan Central Station
- Michigan Central Station. This beautiful Beaux-Arts building stands as a perfect example of urban decay in America. Located in Corktown, it opened as a passenger rail depot in 1913, and closed in 1988. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. There have been several reports of remaking it into a police headquarters, a casino, or a trade center. But none of these proposals have gone through. Thus, the building stands vacant but, nonetheless, is still a great site for architecture buffs.
- Ste. Anne de Detroit, 1000 Ste. Anne Street, ☎ +1 313 496-1701, . Founded in 1701, it is the second oldest active Roman Catholic parish in the United States. The current church was built in 1886 in a Classical Revival and Late Gothic Revival architectural style. Ste. Anne de Detroit was the first building made in the French settlement of Fort Ponchatrain du Détroit, which today is the city of Detroit.
- Woodmere Cemetery, 9400 West Fort Street (at Woodmere), ☎ +1 313 841-0188. This 150-year-old cemetery is home to many beautiful headstones and mausoleums. The founder of Buick, David Buick, is buried here.
Museums and galleries
- Zeigeist Gallery, 2661 Michigan Avenue, ☎ +1 313 965-9192, . F 5PM-8PM, Sa 12PM-5PM, or by appointment. Located near the Michigan Central Station, on the outskirts of Corktown, this gallery is home to dark works by several talented artists. The gallery also hosts plays.
- Corktown, located directly south of Michigan Avenue, and directly west of the Lodge Freeway., . Corktown is the oldest neighborhood in Detroit. This neighborhood, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is called Corktown because most of its first residents were from County Cork, in Ireland. Corktown is home to some Detroit landmarks, such as the Michigan Central Station and Tiger Stadium.
- Mexicantown, located on Bagley, both on the east and west sides of the Interstate 75 service drive, and along Vernor., . Mexicantown is the fastest growing neighborhood in Detroit. It is particularly popular for its Mexican cuisine. The neighborhood will soon include the Mexicantown International Welcome Center, and the Mercado, which will house 85 shops.
- Bohemian National Home, 3009 Tillman. Free Jazz, Free improvisation & Indie/DIY music venue. Full bar. All-ages venue.
- Senate Theatre, located on Michigan Avenue just west of Livernois, ☎ +1 313 894-4100, . Built in 1926, this theatre served as a movie theatre for Southwest Detroit until 1958. In 1963, the Detroit Theatre Organ Society renovated the theatre and has been located here ever since.
Detroit's Southwest side is known for Mexicantown and its Mexican cuisine at restaurants such as Mexican Village, Evie's Tamales, El Zocalo and Xochimilco. Restaurants, bakeries, and shops are located on Vernor Highway, on both the east and west sides of the Interstate 75 service drive.
- Mi Pueblo, 7278 Dix Rd, ☎ +1 313 841-3315 ([email protected]), . Authentic Mexican Fare, features a bar, Wi-Fi and music on Friday through Sunday starting at 8:15PM. Has been featured in the New York Times and awarded "Best Place for a Food Fiesta by the Detroit Free Press".
- Evie's Tamales, 3454 Bagley St, ☎ +1 313 843-5056 ([email protected]), . Authentic cuisine, Second eldest restaurant in Mexicantown, unpretentious setting. $5 to $10.
- Taqueria Lupita, 3443 Bagley St, ☎ +1 313 843-1105. Su-Thu 9AM-10PM, Fr-Sa 9AM-11PM. Authentic Mexican fare. $5 to $10.
- Xochimilchos, 3409 Bagley St, ☎ +1 313 843-0179. 11 AM - 2 AM All Week. Large portions of excellent Mexican fare. They have menudo (tripe stew) on the menu, as well as many more mainstream dishes. Open late and serves alcohol. For authentic Mexican food try another restaurant in Mexican Town or Mi Pueblo. $5 to $10.
- Le Petit Zinc, 1055 Trumbull Ave, ☎ +1 313 963-2805, . M-Sa 10AM-4PM, Su 9AM-3PM. Small French cafe.
- Doña Lola, 1312 Springwells Street, ☎ +1 313 843-4129. This restaurant is one of the few Ecuadorian restaurants in the city.
- Vince's Ristorante Italiano, 1341 Springwells St, ☎ +1 313 842-2857. This restaurant offers some of the best Italian home cooking in the neighborhood.
- Slows BBQ, 2138 Michigan Ave (at 14th St), ☎ +1 313 962-9828, . 11AM-2AM daily. Great BBQ and beer selection.
- PJ's Lager House, 1254 Michigan Ave, ☎ +1 313 961-4668, . Dive bar with live music.
- Corktown Inn, 1331 Trumbull St, ☎ +1 313 496-1400 (fax: +1 313 496-9024), . $60+.
- Hunter House, 3985 Trumbull Ave, ☎ +1 313 831-9668. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Hunter House was built in 1890 for the co-founder of a manufacturing company. Today, the house is a six-room bed-and-breakfast, known as the "Woodbridge Star."
- The Inn at 97 Winder (formerly the John Harvey House), 97 Winder St, ☎ +1 313 832-4348 (toll free: +1 800 925-1538, fax: +1 313 832-4543), . Located 20 minutes from Metro Airport and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the John Harvey House, built in 1887, has been a guesthouse since 2005.
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