Whirlwind Sampler Plate Driving Tour

14 stops · 2 hrs by Driving
Created by Jerry Paffendorf

A fast (less than 2 hours), diverse driving tour of different icons, landmarks, and neighborhood types around the core of the city. Designed to quickly give you a sense of different Detroit landscapes. Keep your eyes peeled between locations!



Woodward & Fort

Just cruise around downtown in a loop and look at all these sweet new and old buildings, shops, and nice little parks. Hint: you'll know you're there because you'll be surrounded by skyscrapers. photo by Hubert Sawyers:


0.9 km from Downtown to Joe Louis Fist
Head southeast on Woodward Ave (38 m)
Continue straight to stay on Woodward Ave (0.2 km)
Turn left onto Larned St (0.3 km)
Turn right onto Randolph Street (85 m)
Turn right onto E Jefferson Ave (0.3 km)
Slight right onto W Jefferson Srv Rd
Destination will be on the right
(34 m)


Joe Louis Fist

Jefferson & Woodward

One of my favorite works of public art ever. A huge, 24-foot-long metal fist suspended in a 24-foot-tall frame right where Detroit's main drag (Woodward Ave) hits the Detroit River overlooking Windsor, Canada. photo by rdfl313 on Flickr:


2.0 km from Joe Louis Fist to Corktown
Head southwest on W Jefferson Srv Rd toward Griswold St (28 m)
Turn right at the 1st cross street onto Griswold St (0.4 km)
Turn left onto Michigan Ave (1.6 km)



Michigan & Trumbull

Detroit's oldest existing residential neighborhood. The big empty field at this cross-section was the original Tiger Stadium/Ernie Harwell Park. It was torn down in 2009 to make way for...the future? photo by Trovarsi on Flickr:


1.1 km from Corktown to Michigan Central Station
Head west on Michigan Ave toward 10th St (0.8 km)
Turn left onto Vernor Hwy (0.2 km)
Turn left onto Lacombe Dr
Destination will be on the right
(74 m)


Michigan Central Station

2001 15th St

Built in 1913 at one time this was the world's tallest train station. It closed in 1986 and has become Detroit's most iconic ruin. Note: the park in front of it is Roosevelt Park, and across Michigan Avenue you'll find the famous Slow's BBQ as well as Astro Coffee and Suger House Cocktails. All great places. photo from justurbanism.com:


1.1 km from Michigan Central Station to North Corktown
Head west on Lacombe Dr toward Vernor Hwy (74 m)
Turn right onto Vernor Hwy (0.3 km)
Continue straight onto W Fisher Service Dr (0.3 km)
Turn left onto 12th St/Rosa Parks Blvd (0.5 km)


North Corktown

Rosa Parks & Temple

Once contiguous with South Corktown before I-75 came through in the '60s, NoCo is a relative urban rural wildland with neighborhood projects and urban farms dotting the largely open landscape. Watch out for pheasants! photo from thejewishnews.com:


2.0 km from North Corktown to Cass Corridor
Head north on 12th St/Rosa Parks Blvd toward Elm St (0.4 km)
Continue straight to stay on 12th St/Rosa Parks Blvd (93 m)
Turn right onto Martin Luther King Jr Blvd (1.5 km)
Turn left onto Cass Ave (36 m)
Turn left
Restricted usage road
Destination will be on the left
(24 m)


Cass Corridor

Martin Luther King & Cass

Largely rebranded as Midtown, Cass Corridor (running north up Cass) still has plenty of gritty evidence of its notoriously seedy past -- charm, alarm, recent redevelopment and all. photo by Bob Jagendorf on Flickr:


0.2 km from Cass Corridor to Chinatown
Head northeast toward Cass Ave
Restricted usage road
(24 m)
Turn right onto Cass Ave (0.2 km)



Cass & Peterboro

Detroit's Chinatown is really currently an abandoned Chinese restaurant and a placemarker in Mandarin. Note: as of 2011 there's a Chinatown soccer team in the Detroit Futbol League made up of mostly midtown residents. photo from modeldmedia.com:


0.5 km from Chinatown to Woodward Avenue
Head northwest on Cass Ave toward Peterboro St (0.2 km)
Turn right onto Martin Luther King Jr Blvd (0.3 km)


Woodward Avenue

Woodward & Mack

Cruise the strip north and south, the first paved road in America, as the story goes. It runs from downtown up through the suburbs and cuts through the fabled Mile roads, with 0 starting downtown and running up to 8 Mile where the city limits end. photo from Wikipedia


2.8 km from Woodward Avenue to Fisher Building
Head northwest on Woodward Ave toward Mack Ave
Pass by McDonald's (on the left in 600 m)
(2.7 km)
Continue straight to stay on Woodward Ave (0.1 km)


Fisher Building

Woodward & Grand

A biiiig building in an area of town called New Center. The idea back in the day was to build a new downtown (or a new center) here. photo by mgsmith on Flickr:


4.6 km from Fisher Building to Eastern Market
Head northeast on E Grand Blvd toward John R St (0.5 km)
Turn right onto Beaubien St (0.8 km)
Turn left onto E Edsel Ford Service Dr (0.2 km)
Continue onto Chrysler Dr/I-75 Frontage Rd (2.1 km)
Keep right to stay on Chrysler Dr/I-75 Frontage Rd (0.4 km)
Turn left at the 1st cross street onto Wilkins St (0.2 km)
Turn right at the 2nd cross street onto Rivard St (0.3 km)
Turn left onto Division St (0.1 km)


Eastern Market

Russell & Division

A huge, huge in-and-outdoor farmer's market open on the weekends with many restaurants open throughout the week. photo by dreaminofbeadin on Flickr:


0.8 mi from Eastern Market to Brush Park
Head northwest on Russell St toward Division St (0.2 mi)
Turn left onto Wilkins St (0.5 mi)
Turn right onto Brush St (499 ft)


Brush Park

Brush & Erskine

Swing back south and make your way to Brush Park, an open landscape just outside of downtown dotted with crazy old mansions and wonder why not too much is happening here in this beautiful central spot. photo from citynoise.org


3.8 mi from Brush Park to Packard Plant
Head northwest on Brush St toward Erskine St (0.2 mi)
Turn right onto Mack Ave (0.3 mi)
Turn left onto Chrysler Dr (217 ft)
Take the Interstate 75 N ramp on the left (0.1 mi)
Merge onto I-75 N (0.6 mi)
Take exit 53B for Interstate 94/Ford Freeway toward Chicago/Port Huron (0.4 mi)
Keep right at the fork, follow signs for I-94 E/Port Huron and merge onto I-94 E (1.2 mi)
Take exit 217B toward Mount Elliott Avenue (0.2 mi)
Merge onto E Edsel Ford Service Dr/I-94 Service Rd (0.1 mi)
Turn right onto Mt Elliott St (0.2 mi)
Turn left onto E Grand Blvd (0.3 mi)
Turn right onto Concord Ave
Destination will be on the right
(256 ft)


Packard Plant

1539 E Grand Boulevard

Quoth Wikipedia: "The Packard Automotive Plant is a former automobile-manufacturing factory in Detroit, Michigan where luxury Packard cars were made by the Packard Motor Car Company of Detroit, Michigan, and later by the Studebaker-Packard Corporation of South Bend, Indiana. The 3,500,000-square-foot (325,000 m2), plant was designed by Albert Kahn and is located on over 40 acres (0.142 km2) of land on East Grand Boulevard on the city's depressed east side. It included the first use of reinforced concrete for industrial construction in Detroit. The Packard plant was opened in 1907 and at the time was considered the most modern automobile manufacturing facility in the world with skilled craftsmen who practiced over eighty trades.[citation needed] The factory closed in 1958, but the buildings remain standing as of 2012." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Packard_Automotive_Plant


1.9 mi from Packard Plant to The Heidelberg Project
Head northwest on Concord Ave toward E Grand Blvd (256 ft)
Turn right onto E Grand Blvd (0.7 mi)
Turn right onto Gratiot Ave (0.8 mi)
Turn left onto Ellery St (0.3 mi)


The Heidelberg Project

Heidelberg & Ellery

Basically an entire neighborhood turned into an art project by artist Tyree Guyton and friends. Just out of this world. Park the car and walk around if you can. You won't really see anything else like it. photo by Becks Davis:


1.8 mi from The Heidelberg Project to Belle Isle
Head southeast on Ellery St toward Benson St (0.3 mi)
Turn left onto E Vernor Hwy (0.4 mi)
Turn right onto Concord Ave (0.8 mi)
Turn left onto E Jefferson Ave
Pass by Church's Chicken (on the left)
(0.2 mi)


Belle Isle

Jefferson & E Grand

Without doubt worthy of the phrase "a jewel of Detroit". Belle Isle is basically the city's Central Park. Cross the short bridge and do a lap. Wonderful parks, old buildings and monuments, views of Canada and Downtown Detroit. Gorgeous.