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At 143 square miles, and still one of America’s largest cities, Detroit is home to an eclectic mix of people, architecture, and attractions. Separated into six areas, here’s a look at some of Detroit’s most noteworthy neighborhoods and features.
West Jefferson Avenue contains the Renaissance Center, Detroit’s most iconic skyscraper collection, along with conference hall Cobo Center (home to the North American International Auto Show) and the International Riverfront. Parks and marinas extend northeast along Jefferson toward Belle Isle. The tunnel to Windsor, Ontario, is on Jefferson. Residences are mostly high-rises, including the Riverfront Condominiums. The University of Detroit Mercy School of Law is across from the Renaissance Center.
Greektown is primarily commercial, sporting numerous bars, restaurants, and the Greektown Casino, one of the city’s three prominent gaming establishments.
The Washington Boulevard Historic District and Lower Woodward Avenue Historic District feature numerous art deco high-rises used for commercial and residential space.
Wayne State University is one of the key institutions in Midtown. Evolving from the Detroit Medical College in 1868, WSU is now one of Michigan’s three research universities, and enrollment has climbed over 30,000.
The Art Center district is home to the Detroit Public Library, the Detroit Institute of Arts, and the Detroit Science Center. Residences are prevalent, particularly in the East Ferry Avenue Historic District, which showcases historic residences from the city’s early days.
The WSU population, along with the art/education flavor of Midtown, has created a number of housing opportunities in high-rises and lofts, along with redeveloped homes, in neighborhoods like Brush Park, Sugar Hill, Warren-Prentis, and the Cass Corridor.
General Motors built its headquarters in New Center in 1922; now Cadillac Place, the building was GM’s home for 74 years before the company relocated to the Renaissance Center downtown. The area’s other significant building, the Fisher Building, houses the Fisher Theatre and was originally the headquarters of Fisher Body, one of General Motors’ key business partners. Henry Ford Hospital also is in New Center.
Once seen as a kind of corporate campus for General Motors, the entire New Center area is home to a variety of neighborhoods and homes. Arden Park/East Boston contains a variety of larger homes. Atkinson Avenue is primarily single-family homes, while New Amsterdam Historic District has lofts. The Boston Edison historic district consists of over 900 homes, making it the largest residential historic district in the United States.
New Center is approximately five miles north of Downtown.
A mix of residential, commercial, and industrial, the Near West and Southwest areas showcase a number of old neighborhoods and numerous stories of revitalization. Mexicantown is noteworthy for its continued growth and ability to attract visitors and residents thanks to its restaurants and bakeries that feature authentic Mexican food. Corktown, Detroit’s oldest neighborhood (1834), is primarily residential and commercial; named for County Cork in Ireland, from where most of the original residents came, Corktown was also the home of Tiger Stadium (previously Briggs Stadium and Navin Field) until 2009. It also sports newer home developments alongside original Irish businesses.
The Ambassador Bridge, the country’s southernmost US-Canada border crossing, is in the Delray neighborhood. Other neighborhoods include Hubbard Farms, which is primarily residential, and Springwells Village, which is both residential and commercial.
The West area is primarily residential with a handful of commercial establishments. Neighborhoods include Warrendale, Parkland, Bagley, Old Redford, and the Rosedale Park Historic District.
The southwest corner of the East area is home to the Eastern Market, the largest historic public market district in the United States. Originally a place to purchase hay and wood, the market has evolved into a gathering spot, featuring flowers, barbecue, furniture, meat, fruit, vegetables, and numerous other locally-produced and locally-created items.
Belle Isle, the largest island park in the United States, is a 982-acre island park in the Detroit River, accessible by boat and over the MacArthur Bridge on Jefferson Avenue. Designed primarily by Frederick Law Olmstead (the man who created Central Park in New York), the island is home to the Belle Isle Conservatory, the Dossin Great Lakes Museum, and the Detroit Boat Club. Visitors will also find a Nature Center and a swimming beach.
Indian Village is one of the east area’s most noteworthy neighborhoods, thanks mostly to the high-end housing stock highlighted by historic homes built by prominent architects including Albert Kahn and Louis Kamper. The community remains active, with gardening clubs and home tours. Indian Village’s neighbor to the west, the West Village, is another historic district; it’s mostly residential and contains a mix of single-family homes and apartment buildings done in variety of architectural styles.
Lafayette Park, Rivertown, and the East Jefferson Avenue neighborhoods also contain good housing stock, including Alden Park Towers and the Harbortown condominiums.