First off, let me make clear that I'm a suburban kind of guy. I don't spend a lot of time downtown, and I've been that way for the past 15 years or so. We go to Greektown a few times a year for dinner, and some shows at the downtown theaters, and that's about it. Maria and the girls aren't into sports, and we have been so damn busy with work and getting the kids through school, we've just turned into boring homebodies. Maybe now that both of them will be out of the house this September will inspire us to be more active in terms of seeking out fun things for the two of us to do.
That said, Detroit isn't nearly as dangerous for tourists as its hideous reputation for violence and poverty suggests. Most of the trouble is gang and drug-related, and goes on between rivals in the contested neighborhoods, which surround the downtown area and just aren't worth driving into at any time of the day or night, unless you like being sad, and occasionally scared. I understand some people do enjoy checking out the "ruins porn" in Detroit, as the blighted, post-industrial wasteland areas, but I'm not into that. There are probably guides to that online.
Basically, the downtown area that includes Hart Plaza, the Renaissance Center, Greektown and the New Center area is fine for walking around during the day. I have a nephew living down there at Wayne State University, and he says it's all safe and we should all come down and hang out, but I don't entirely trust his judgement as he lived in a grungy area of NYC for several years, and spends his vacations traveling through the scary parts of South America and Mexico. He's got a different way of relating to things, and knows how to blend in wherever he goes. So, ignore his advice.
Where should we absolutely NOT go?
1a) During the day?
1b) During the night?
Avoid the crumbling, drug-infested neighborhoods by driving on the freeways between the small, safe downtown Detroit area, and the nice suburbs. I live in Novi, which is pretty far out on the fringe of "suburban Detroit," but is also home to lots of shopping like Twelve Oaks Mall and a number of other shopping centers nearby.
I need to find a hotel, we usually don't mind staying at any of the Choice Hotels, or even a Motel 6 or Super 8 as long as it's in a good part of town, where would you recommend?
I always recommend the hotels in and around Novi, mainly because I'm familiar with the area. I like the Comfort Inns when I'm traveling, or the Residence Inn, both of which are Marriott-owned and well-run. There are several Motel 6 and Super 8's around the area -- there's a Motel 6 right off the I-96 in Farmington Hills that's very conveniently located, and in a good area of town.
I've looked up a few of the shopping centers, and it's not like we want to spend a lot of time there, but what shopping malls would you recommend, in order of preference if you could.
I hate shopping, but the kids love Somerset Mall. It's huge, and has all their favorite stores. It's also located in a very nice suburb. You should check that out, along with Twelve Oaks Mall in Novi.
4)We'd still like to see "Detroit", both night and day, from the safety of our car most likely, and this would include some of the lesser attractive places, any recommendations?
Heheh...this is easier than you might think. Just drive around town during the day, and you'll see things you will remember forever. Bad things. Sad things. Some good things. More bad, sad things. It's a city in severe decline, shrinking in size and population as the industrial base has moved elsewhere.
5) I think I'd like to drive 8 Mile, just because of the movie, would that be worth it...and safe? Two malls that came up right away were Somerset Collection on 16 Mile (W Big Beaver) and Twelve Oaks, would they be the best malls?
To me, 8 Mile's nothing special, as far as seeing Detroit goes. It's pretty rugged in stretches, but I can't think of anything really great to see along there. I might be forgetting something I've driven past a hundred times, though. Those are the nicest malls, as mentioned earlier, with Somerset being the larger, fancier one.
6) Is there anything else you could suggest that would make our 24 hours in Detroit a worth wild visit?
Let me think about this for a bit...I'll post something later.
Posted on Jun 23, 2011, 1:19 PM from IP address 188.8.131.52