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Detroit, a major metropolis in the state of Michigan, has significantly influenced the world, from the advent of the automotive assembly line, to the Motown sound, to Detroit techno, Detroit continues to shape American and global culture. The Detroit area is bustling with new developments and attractions which complement its world class museums and theaters. Metro Detroit offers myriad things to see and do, an exciting travel destination filled with technological advance and historic charm.
Detroit and the surrounding suburbs provide spectacular views and a dynamic nightlife. Detroit is the largest city and metro region to offer casino resorts. The four major casino resorts include MGM Grand Detroit, Greektown, Motor City, and Casino Windsor which is just across the river. Detroit Metro Aiport is one of the few to offer world class hotel and meeting facilities inside the terminial. The Renaissance Center and the Southfield Town Center are among the nation's finest mixed use facilities for large conferences. Downtown Detroit serves as the cultural and entertainment hub of the metropolitan region, Windsor, Ontario, and even for Toledo, Ohio residents, many of whom work in metropolitan Detroit. While there are many things to see and do in Detroit, from sporting events to world class museums and theatre, tourists may find that certain amenities such as major shopping venues are currently more spread out into the suburbs than those in Chicago or New York. The Detroit-Windsor metro area population totals over 5.9 million; it jumps to 6.5 million if Toledo is included. An estimated 46 million people live within a 300 mile radius of Detroit. The city's northern inner ring suburbs like Dearborn, Southfield, Royal Oak, and Birmingham provide an urban experience in the suburbs complete with dining, shopping and other attractions. Detroit has many regal mansions especially in Grosse Pointe, Bloomfield Hills, and Birmingham. Troy and Livonia provide the best of American suburbia while Ann Arbor provides the nearby experience of a world renowned college town.
Metropolitan Detroit is an international destination for sporting events of all types; patrons enjoy their experience in world class venues. The Detroit Convention and Visitors bureau maintains the Detroit Metro Sports Commission. The city and region have state of the art facilities for major conferences and conventions.
Detroit is known as the world's "Automobile Capital" and "Motown" (for "Motor Town"), the city where Henry Ford pioneered the automotive assembly line, with the world's first mass produced car, the Model T. During World War II, President Franklin Roosevelt called Detroit, the "Arsenal of Democracy." Today, the region serves as the global center for the automotive world. Headquartered in metro Detroit, General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler all have major corporate, manufacturing, engineering, design, and research facilities in the area. Hyundai, Toyota, Nissan, among others, have a presence in the region. The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor is a global leader in research and development. Metro Detroit has made Michigan's economy a leader in information technology, life sciences, and advanced manufacturing. Michigan ranks 4th nationally in high tech employment with 568,000 high tech workers, including 70,000 in the automotive industry. Michigan typically ranks among the top 3 states for overall Research & Development investment expenditures in the U.S. The domestic Auto Industry accounts directly and indirectly for one of every ten jobs in the U.S.
Downtown Detroit is unique -- an International Riverfront, ornate buildings, one of the nation's largest collection of pre-depression era skyscrapers, and the nation's third largest theater district. Many historic buildings have been converted into loft apartments, and over 60 new businesses have opened in the Central Business District over the past two years. Surrounding neighborhoods such as Corktown, home to Detroit's early Irish population, New Center,Midtown, and Eastern Market (the nation's largest open air market), are experiencing a revival. Detroit has a rich architectural heritage, from the restoration of the historic Book-Cadillac Hotel downtown to the Westin Detroit Hotel surrounded by the golden towers of the ulta-contemporary Southfield Town Center. Nearby, explore Somerset Collection in Troy, Metro Detroit's premier shopping mall with an award winning skywalk. Downtown Detroit features the Renaissance Center, including the tallest hotel in the Western Hemisphere, the Detroit Marriott, with the largest rooftop restaurant, the Coach Insignia. In 2005, Detroit's architecture was heralded as some of America's finest; many of the city's architecturally significant buildings are listed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as among America's most endangered landmarks.
Detroit is bordered to the south by the Detroit River, which divides the U.S. and Canada (Detroit is the only place in the U.S. where you have to go south to enter Canada!). Downtown is located on and near the riverfront, so the rest of the city expands north, east, and west from downtown. The Cultural Center, home to most of the city's museums, is just north of downtown, along Woodward Ave..
Detroit Metro Airport (DTW) is in Romulus, about 20 minutes west of the city proper, located at the junction between I-275 and I-94. It is a Northwest hub, and so offers direct flights to and from a surprising variety of cities, from Des Moines to Osaka. The huge, recently built McNamara terminal is used by Northwest and allied airlines; the other airlines use the smaller, somewhat dilapidated Smith and Berry terminals. There is a free shuttle between the terminals – look for blue and white vans that say "Terminal - Westin - Terminal".
The quickest way to get to downtown Detroit is to rent a car or take a cab. Standard cab fare to downtown is $45-$50. You can also get to Detroit using the SMART (suburban) bus system . Route 125 serves the airport approximately every half hour, beginning alternately at the Smith and McNamara terminals (no bus serves both terminals), and takes about an hour and fifteen minutes to get downtown. The fare is $1.50. Familiarize yourself with the route map and schedule before you try this – it is not the usual way to get to and from the airport.
Several interstates converge in downtown Detroit. I-75 North/South runs from Toledo up through to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I-94 East/West comes from Chicago and continues up to Sarnia. I-96 East/West heads to Lansing, Michigan. I-696 runs along the northern edge of the city, connecting the eastern suburbs (e.g. St. Clair Shores) to Southfield.
All of the interstates have gone through major overhauls in preparation for Detroit hosting the 2006 National Football League Super Bowl XL. Prior to this, the highways were in poor condition, but since 2004, the road conditions has improved.
As with any major city, traffic during rush hour can make travel really slow. This is especially aggravated during shift changes at the local automotive plants.
For smaller streets, the Detroit area is laid out in both grid and wheel-and-spoke configuration. This was due to first French development (wheel and spoke), followed by British development (grid). Mile roads run east-west, starting at downtown Detroit and increasing as you travel north. These mile roads may change name in different cities, so pay attention. There are also several spoke roads, including Woodward Ave, Michigan Ave, Gratiot Ave, and Grand River Ave.