Random, Fun & Free: Downtown Detroit


Many suburbanites and out-of-towners are still scared of Downtown Detroit. The media doesn't help. Recently, my friend from Kentucky came to visit and we drove downtown on a Sunday afternoon so I could show her the sites. If you haven't been down there in a while, you'd be surprised at how classy and upscale downtown actually is. I took my friend on a walking tour of the amazing sites south of Campus Martius, and she was impressed!  When we strolled along the Riverwalk, she threw her arms up and screamed, "I LOVE DETROIT!"
If a southern belle from Kentucky can appreciate our beautiful city, you can too! Here are some great sites to see downtown, whether you're from out-of-state or just haven't visited in awhile, courtesy of The Detroit News.
Campus Martius Park
I feel like this is a diamond in the rough! Campus Martius ("field of Mars") showcases over an acre of grassy park, a beautiful fountain, and an ice-skating rink in the winter! Cafe tables offer a great place to read, eat, or socialize, and you might even stumble upon an impromptu concert from a local musician. It also serves as the measuring point for Detroit's mile roads -- so, for you out-of-towners, it's eight miles south of 8 Mile Road!
Compuware Building
Right across from Campus Martius is the modern, slick-looking Compuware World Headquarters. The lobby is 16 stories tall and showcases a wicked awesome fountain. The glass-fronted building looks especially awesome at night, so if you're downtown at a Tigers game, cruise by and check it out!
Guardian Building
The Guardian Building, at the corner of Griswold and Congress, is open to the public on Saturdays. It was built in 1929, and It's unlike anything else in the city, with its crazy mix of Mayan and Art Deco influences. When you go inside, you can't help but wonder how anyone would envision this building as "financial", because it's just so beautiful! But it used to be the center of Detroit's finance. Don't miss it -- it's truly a sight to behold. (Strangely, a neon outline of a martini glass has been showing on the top of it recently -- anyone know what that's about?)
Spirit of Detroit statue
This iconic Detroit landmark sits in front of the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center on Woodward and Jefferson.  Whenever the Detroit Red Wings make the NHL playoffs (which is, ahem, VERY frequently), the statue is outfitted with a Wings jersey. In 2006, it also sported a Detroit Tigers baseball jersey!
Joe Louis "Fist" sculpture
In case you live under a rock, Joe Louis was the world heavyweight boxing champion from 1937 to 1949. He's also a big deal in Detroit. We named our hockey area after him. (Still not sure why "hockey" = "Joe Louis", but that's my own personal beef.) In any case, there's an awesome sculpture of his fist in the median of Jefferson Avenue, and it's definitely a must-see.
Detroit Riverwalk
The Riverwalk is awesome! If you start at Hart Plaza, you can spot the Detroit Princess RIverboat and the Underground Railroad monument. Head toward the RenCen and take in the beautiful river views, with Windsor just across the way. Take a ride on an old-fashioned carousel and stop for a bite to eat at the Riverwalk Cafe. It's a truly different view of Detroit than the one you get in the media!
There's also MUCH more to see. So check it out, have fun, and as always --
Stay awesome!