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Downtown Detroit Sights & Attractions

 

people-moverTour Overview

The best way to see downtown Detroit is a ride on the Detroit People Mover.  The People Mover is a driverless, fully-automated rapid transit system that travels a 2.9 mile (4.3 km) one-way loop through the heart of the City.  Total round trip time is a brief 14 minutes with pickups at each of the 13 stations every couple of minutes.  For a mere $0.50, the People Mover gives you great views and insight into the downtown area.  For the first time visitor, we recommend first doing a full lap around to give you a general idea of the stops along the way and the locations you will be visiting.  The destinations along the People Mover route are actually quite close to one another, and after you get the lay of the land, you may decide to walk between stops or do a combination of People Mover trips and walking.

 

We recommend making the GM Renaissance Center your first stop and "home base" for this tour.  Park your car here and board the People Mover to begin your exploration of the downtown area.  There are interesting attractions to be found near each station, but we highlight some of our favorites below.

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Renaissance Center -- MSN Encarta (Steve & Patty Constable -- Michigan Travel Bureau)

 

Renaissance Center (People Mover Station 7)

Don't be too hasty to board the People Mover until you've spent some time exploring the tallest building in Michigan and Detroit's most recognizable icon.  Opened in 1976 with the hopes of re-energizing Detroit's economy, the Renaissance Center, or "Ren-Cen", is again at the forefront of Detroit's redevelopment efforts.  General Motors moved its headquarters to the Renaissance Center in 1996 and spearheaded extensive renovations completed in early 2005.  The renovations not only modernized the facility but made it more accessible and welcoming to the public from Jefferson Avenue.  The Ren-Cen and its 6 cylindrical towers previously offered mainly office space and few public attractions.  Now, the building's interior treats visitors to a brilliant new Wintergarden that provides views of the Detroit River, a suspended glass circulation ring that helps improve pedestrian flow inside the building's maze-like interior, a GM-sponsored showroom of historic vehicles, a first-run movie theater, a 1,298-room hotel located in the 73-story center tower, and several prominent restaurants and retailers.  The exterior of the facility was also redeveloped with the Riverfront Promenade as the first step and centerpiece of Detroit's overall Riverfront revitalization.

 

 

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Hart Plaza (People Mover Station 9)

Hart Plaza is situated in the heart of the City along Jefferson Avenue, opposite the Financial District and adjacent to the Renaissance Center.  This mostly hard-surfaced 14-acre park was opened in 1955 to provide a new gathering place and focal point for the City.  Hart Plaza occupies 14 scenic acres on the riverfront and has a capacity of 40,000, making it an ideal host for numerous cultural and ethnic festivals throughout Spring, Summer, and Fall.  Notable events held here include the Detroit Electronic Music Festival, Detroit International Freedom Festival, and Detroit International Jazz Festival.

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Grand Circus Park (People Mover Station 2)

A plethora of choices awaits you at this stop.  Grand Circus Park is perfectly situated within a block or two of Foxtown, the Stadium District, Harmonie Park, and the Theatre District.  Catch a game at Comerica Park or Ford Field, live music at the Fox or State Theatres, or a performance at the Opera House or Music Hall.  A number of popular bars and restaurants are located in these  areas as well.  New venues and residential loft developments are tranforming Grand Circus Park into an attractive locale for residents and visitors alike.

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Greektown (People Mover Station 5)

Greektown is the traditional center of Detroit's Greek community with history dating back to the 1890s.  Although most Greek residents moved out of this Ethnic Neighborhood by the 1920s, many Greek restaurants, coffee houses, boutiques, and small grocers remained.  Today's Greektown encompasses only a few blocks, but despite its size, the district has become one of the most popular dining and entertainment hotspots in the City.  The recently built Greektown Casino, one of Detroit's three primary Casinos, has attracted additional tourism to the area, and its close proximity to the Foxtown area and Stadiums makes it a convenient destination.

Campus Martius Compuware Atrium -- compuware

 

 

 

Campus Martius Park (People Mover Station 4)

A fire devastated the City of Detroit in 1805, and the rebuilding process began in Campus Martius Park.  The intersection of Woodward and Monroe was designated the City's "Point of Origin", from which a new street grid was developed.  With the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors Monument serving as a marker, the park became the center of a bustling downtown area and a major gathering place for citizens.  By the 1960s, Campus Martius was no longer vibrant as the City rezoned the area to accommodate increased downtown traffic and shifted the focal point of the City to Hart Plaza.  But, after a long hiatus, Campus Martius Park is back -- and in a big way!  In 1999, the City initiated redevelopment of the park with the goal of creating the best public space in the world.  The first phase of this project opened in late 2004 and includes sculptures, spectacular lighted fountains, a seasonal ice skating rink, and two entertainment stages.  The park is anchored by the new Compuware office center showcasing a spectacular 16-story atrium, a waterfall, and retail and dining establishments.

Tour Map

Number of Destinations:  5

Overall Tour Time:  1 day

 

Related Tours

Architectural Tours

Art & Culture

Automotive Heritage Tours

Casinos

Ethnic Neighborhoods

Museums

Music

Nightspots

Restaurants

Riverfront

Theatres

Windsor (Canada)

Woodward Avenue

Resources & Links

Campus Martius Park

Hart Plaza

Renaissance Center

 

 

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