Detroit, Michigan, is one of the most culturally diverse cities in the United States. Despite having a population of 700,000, Detroit lacks a great mass transit system, so visiting the city with a car is a must. Downtown Detroit is surprisingly walkable, so you can ditch your rental at a Detroit airport parking lot if you are downtown for the day. The sport-crazed and foodie dream city is one of the greatest large cities to visit if you want a little less traffic and better prices for your vacation. Any Detroit fan knows about the Belle Isle and Dave’s Hot Chicken, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a fan that knows all of these facts about Detroit:
Birthplace of Musical Legends
On August 16, 1958, Madonna Louise Ciccone was born in Detroit, Michigan. She would grow up in Rochester Hills, learn dance at the University of Michigan, and become an international superstar. Before Madonna was Madonna, she was a Michigan waitress and backup dancer. In 1982, everything changed for the Detroit-born singer when she began her solo career with Sire Records.
Over twenty years after Madonna was born, a little boy named Marshall Bruce Mathers III would be raised in Detroit, Michigan. Before Eminem, there was Marshall, but he still made his presence known in the Detroit rap scene. By 14, Eminem was famous in the Hip Hop circles of the Michigan epicenter. The Slim Shady EP was an instant success, and it was nothing but fame and fortune for Eminem following 1999. There is a restaurant in Detroit named Mom’s Spaghetti, inspired by Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” and Eminem made an appearance at the restaurant in 2021.
The Center of Political Change
Detroit has been a place of great political change, both on the right and wrong sides of history. When the Underground Railroad was active, Detroit’s geographical location became the perfect stop for those seeking access into Canada. It had a large network of safe houses and a radicalized black community. Many sympathizers resided in Detroit, and the city’s prime location, coupled with its community, ultimately gave it the nickname “Midnight.”
In 1896, a Detroit lawyer, Henry Billings Brown, played a prominent role in Plessy v. Ferguson. Brown legalized segregation under the pretense of facilities being “separate but equal.” He actively fought for racial injustices and had utter indifference to the sufferings of African Americans.
Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech was officially delivered in Washington, but King had debuted the speech in Detroit’s Walk to Freedom two months prior to his Washington delivery.
Rosa Parks was one of the largest contributing members of the Civil Rights movement. Her activism set the fires of the civil rights movement, and her active defiance was a pivotal move for African Americans. When Rosa Parks died in 2005, more than 800,000 people gathered to mourn her death at the Wright Museum of African American History.
Eastern Market is the Supreme Farmer’s Market
Eastern Market is Detroit’s open-air retail market, similar to what most people associate with a farmer’s market, and it is the largest of its kind in the United States. Eastern Market operates on Saturdays, Sundays, and Tuesdays. The market touts over 225 vendors, 150 of which are food-related. Items available for purchase at the local market include clothes, jewelry, produce, and food.
KMart began in Detroit
Sebastian Kresge founded KMart in Detroit in 1897. His chain would eventually grow into a large chain. Kmart ultimately was unable to adapt to a changing customer base, and less than twenty stores exist today. The chain filed for bankruptcy in 2002 and was bought by Sears. In 2018, Sears also filed for bankruptcy.
Birthplace of the Yellow Traffic Light
Tri-color traffic lights make the world a safer place, and we can thank Detroit for that. William Potts was a Detroit police officer that sought the need for a yellow light, and in 1922, the first yellow traffic light was installed on Woodward Avenue and Jefferson Avenue. America’s first four-way traffic tower was also installed at the same corner.
Most Times Rejected By the Olympic
The Olympics is a large sporting event, and every major city wants to be the major sponsor of the vent. The Olympics means tourism and increased revenue, and no one has wanted it more than Detroit, Michigan. Detroit holds the world record for the most rejected attempts at hosting the Olympic summer game. The city has bid to host the summer games nine times and has been rejected each time. It lost the bid to Los Angeles for the 2028 Summer Olympics.