Detroit through the lens of a rich cultural and design history. See the spots that continue to inspire children of all ages.
One of the oldest and grandest art institutions in America, The Detroit Institute of Arts was created during the city’s boom. In 1932 Diego Rivera (and Frida Kahlo) were invited to Detroit to create the grand murals in Rivera Court, a four-walled masterpiece depicting the industrial revolution, the automotive industry, and the soul of American at the time. This masterpiece is set in a courtyard with natural light spilling in from the glass ceiling. It is an amazing depiction of the revolution that took place in 1930's Detroit.
The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit features international contemporary art exhibits and evening events such as poetry readings, film screening and live music. It's a great stop along your way south on Woodward Avenue.
For a quick bite to eat stop at Hot Taco. This tiny hip Taqueria serves up delicious tacos and burritos in a cool and colorful setting.
On your drive south, pass the old Michigan Theater that was gutted and turned into a parking garage. The ornate ceilings and faded walls have been left in tact.
The conservatory at Belle Isle is an oasis in the city. Built in 1904 this amazing botanical garden and conservatory is filled with plants of all kinds. The succulent room is majestic, with a giant cactus tree in the center of the space with outstretched arms in all directions. This is a great place to visit in the summer as well as a break from the winter white. Open Wednesday - Sunday 10am - 5 pm.
From the conservatory you will drive 25 minutes north out of the city to Cranbrook Campus. Founded by newspaper maven, George Booth in 1904, the original campus was designed by renown architect Eliel Saarinen and has continued to grow ever since. The campus is filled with architectural features from international superstars such as Albert Kahn, Rafael Moneo, Steven Holl, Todd Williams and many more. The grounds are a great place for a walk outside where the trails lead through lush gardens, past incredible sculptures, and in and out of secret nooks and crannies. The Art Academy and the Art Museum is a place to explore international art and design, often linked to the rich heritage of Cranbrook history and alumni. Some of the most significant design icons have studied at the academy including Charles and Ray Eames, Harry Bertoia, Eero Saarinen to name a select few. Other features on campus include The Institute of Science, a natatorium, Christ Church, educational facilities from k-12 and the graduate Art Academy.
On your way south back to the city, stop off at the Detroit Zoo. With 125 natural acres, this zoo is a special place. The first zoo in this location opened in the 1920's and has been growing ever since. The grounds and animal enclosures are state of the art. The polar bear exhibit, The Arctic Rig Of Life, is an exceptional design and an awe-inspiring experience. Visitors can walk beneath the water where the Polar bears play and feel as if they are sharing space.
The founder of Cliff Bells had a deep legacy stemming from the late 1800's operating Detroit saloons and speakeasies during prohibition. In the 1930's the space that is now Cliff Bells was created. Set in a historic Albert Kahn building on Park, this jazz club was opened through the mid 1980's and reopened in 2005 restored to it's original condition. Now Cliff Bells is a great place to hear all types of live music and most nights the stage is filled with the cities most renowned players. The food is delicious.
During the summer months a concert at Chene Park is a great experience. The amphitheater is set on the Detroit River. Concerts pare scheduled from June - August.