15 Things I’ve Learned About Detroit

Detroit Hustles Harder
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I have lived in the greater Detroit area for a year and a half now. Since moving here, I have learned quite a bit about my new home. For example, it took me a while to understand this, but Detroit and Metro Detroit are connected but different. Metro Detroit is considered the suburbs and many Detroiters do not consider Metro Detroit the same thing as Detroit. But I’ve met people from the ‘burbs who will say they live in Detroit, even though they’re referring to the metro area. It’s kind of confusing. Me personally, I usually say I live in Metro Detroit.

Here are 15 other interesting facts I’ve learned about Detroit:

Detroit food is amazing!

Since moving to Detroit, we have tried an assortment of Detroit-style foods. Have you ever had a Detroit-style pizza? It’s delicious! You guys, I was stuck on those chain pizza restaurants when I lived in Tennessee. But Detroit pizza? It has given me a newfound love for pizza! And not just pizza, but other types of food, too. Greek, Italian, and Polish, just to name a few.

Which leads me to another great food discovery I have found in Detroit. The food trucks. I love all of the food trucks that serve authentic food. One Detroit-based food truck restaurant we love is Detroit 75 Kitchen. It’s a stationary food truck restaurant located in Southwest Detroit. Detroit 75 Kitchen features these delicious, mouth-watering artisan sandwiches. My favorite day to go is on Fridays because of the fish sandwiches. They are SO good! I have never had a fish sandwich as delicious as the one Detroit 75 Kitchen makes.

Detroit 75 Kitchen
Detroit 75 Kitchen is one of our favorite restaurants in Detroit.
Detroit 75 Kitchen
Michala loves Detroit 75 Kitchen’s artisan chicken sandwich and seasoned fries. Photo Credit: Jennifer Hamra

Michigan Left

I learned if my GPS says take a right and then a sharp left, it more than likely means make a Michigan Left. A Michign Left is when you make a legal U-turn. It’s the only legal way to turn left on most major streets.

A Michigan left is an at-grade intersection design which replaces each left turn with a U-turn and a right turn. The design was given the name due to its frequent use along roads and highways in the U.S. state of Michigan since the late 1960s. In other contexts, the intersection is called a median U-turn crossover or median U-turn. The design is also sometimes referred to as a boulevard turnaround, a Michigan loon or a “ThrU Turn” intersection. “Michigan Left”. Wikipedia

When I first saw a Michigan Left, I was very confused. I didn’t understand why I had to keep driving down the street just to make a turn around to turn left. But after living and driving in the area for a while, I get it now and I actually prefer it. I wonder how I’ll feel when I go back home, though?

Michigan Left
Stylized depiction of the design in Grand Haven, Michigan, at US 31 and Robbins Road (north to the right), showing the additional area necessary to make a turn on a narrow median. Photo Credit: Nandhp on Wikipedia

Here are 15 cool facts about Detroit! #Detroit #DetroitLove Click To Tweet

Bumpy Roads in Detroit

Speaking of the driving, the roads here are a little bumpy. In some areas, it’s very bumpy. I remember when we first moved to Detroit, I would get very frustrated every time we were on the road. At the time, I was very pregnant so each bump was uncomfortable for me. Now, I am used to the bumpy roads. In fact, if we are driving on a smooth road, I notice it right away.

The roads are in poor condition because of the winter weather. There are so many potholes and cracks in the road. It’s ridiculous. And there seems to always be some kind of road construction. What makes it worse is a week before moving to Michigan, we bought a new minivan. A year later, our minivan has a few dings in it. As my husband says, you have two seasons in Michgian: winter and road construction.

Road
Photo via Free Stock Images

Eastern Market

Uh, I love Eastern Market! I try to go every chance I get. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed a lot of my photos are taken in Eastern Market.

Eastern Market is a big city market which features a farmers market and vendors who sell unique products. We have discovered art, clothing, jewelry, and musicians at the Eastern Market. There is always so much to see and experience. Oh, and I can’t forget to mention the beautiful murals which are on display throughout Eastern Market.

A few of my favs at Eastern Market are: the farmers’ market, Supino’s Pizzeria, Germack Coffee, Mootown Ice Cream, clothing vendors, and the street art.

 

Moo Town
My children enjoying ice cream at Moo Town in Eastern Market.
Supino's Pizza
Delicious pizza at Supino’s Pizzeria
Eastern Market Mural
fel3000ft’s mural in Easter Market

Different Cultures Found in Detroit

I’m from a small, Army town, so living near an Army post I have met people from different cultures. But when we moved to Detroit, I was amazed at the rich culture found in the city. I love the diversity of the city. I love learning about different cultures, too. And there are so many events and festivals to celebrate the different cultures. I always feel like it’s one big party in celebrating culture. It’s an amazing experience!

Detroit Headwrap Show
Photo Credit: Jennifer Hamra

Carry on. It’s just snow.

When we lived in Middle Tennessee, if we got 3 inches of snow just about everything closed. But here in the D if it snows, it’s business as usual. Last winter, it snowed on and off in Southeast Michigan. I can’t quote the exact numbers for you, but I just know the amount of snow was considered lower than normal. And when it snowed, schools remained open. So did the businesses.

And that surprised me. Again, when I lived in Tennessee, if it snowed, schools were closed and most businesses closed, too. So as a Tennessean, the snow in Detroit seemed like a lot of snow to me. But according to Detroiters, it was a very mild winter. I’m a little nervous to see what a “normal” winter is like then!

snow day
Snow in January
snow at lake
Carry on. It’s just snow!

In Detroit, it’s pop- not soda.

Simply said, a soda is called a pop in Detroit. Whereas in the south, it’s called a soda or a coke. I’m just now starting to call it “pop”. It sounded so strange to me to hear people refer to a soda as a “pop”. Even the restaurant menus say “pop” on it!

Pop Menu
It’s not a soda. It’s a pop!

Detroit loves Eminem.

So Eminem is from Detroit. And Detroit loves Eminem. You can pretty much hear an Eminem song on the radio almost every hour. Okay, that’s a slight exaggeration, but radio stations here do play Eminem quite frequently. And it doesn’t just have to be an Eminem song. It can also be an artist featuring Eminem! I mean, Travis and I have heard Eminem songs that we didn’t even know were Eminem songs!

Detroit Proud!

Detroiters love their city! “Detroit Hustles Harder”…”Say Nice Things About Detroit”…”Everybody vs. Detroit”. These are all very popular sayings (and some businesses) in Detroit. My husband says he has never seen people have so much pride for their city. And the great feeling of pride for Detroit is very catching.

We’ve been living here for a year and a half now, and from our experiences, we believe Detroit is on the rise. I’ve heard people say and read articles stating Detroit is in the midst of a renaissance. My husband believes this is true. He also thinks we made the right decision to relocate to the greater Detroit area. Now he’s talking to me about moving to within the city limits of Detroit. A year ago, I would have said, “Nope!” But now I am actually considering it!

Detroit Hustles Harder
“Detroit Hustles Harder” Photo Credit: Jennifer Hamra

Detroiters love their city! #DetroitProud #DetroitLove #Detroit Click To Tweet

Welcome to Motor City

Detroit is the heart of the automotive industry in America. Home of Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors. I didn’t fully understand the meaning of “Motor City” until I learned these three major car companies are headquartered here in Detroit. Travis says, “Chances are if you know 40 people, you know somebody in the auto industry.”

 GM Building
The GM Building at night in Downtown Detroit. Photo Credit: Jennifer Hamra

Dream Cruise

The Woodward Dream Cruise is a huge car event which happens annually on the third Saturday in August. People come from all over travel to Detroit to participate or experience the Dream Cruise. It’s a big deal here in Detroit. On Saturday from morning to night, cars drive and up and down Woodward Avenue.

Today, the Woodward Dream Cruise is the world’s largest one-day automotive event, drawing 1.5 million people and 40,000 classic cars each year from around the globe—from as far away as New Zealand, Australia, Japan and the former Soviet Union. North American cruisers from California, Georgia, Canada and all points in between caravan to Metro Detroit to participate in what has become, for many, an annual rite of summer. “History”. Official Website of the Woodward Dream Cruise 

Classic Red Car
Photo via Visualhunt

More Popular Detroit-based Car Shows: NAIAS and AutoRama

Again, because Detroit is the capital of the automotive industry, I found out NAIAS and Autorama are very popular car shows. NAIAS stands for North American International Auto Show. It is held every year in Detroit, and all of the top automotive brands attend the car show. They feature their new vehicles and even some prototypes. NAIAS is said to be one of the largest car shows in the country! President Obama even made a special appearance at this years 2016 show. Now, I’m not a big car person (my husband is), but I really enjoyed NAIAS and I plan on attending the 2017 show!

Lexus at NAIAS 2016

NAIAS 2016

Corvette

AutoRama, on the other hand,  is a car show which showcases classic cars and products from the automotive industry. It was our first time attending the show this year. We went on AutoRama’s “Student Day” and then again on a different day so my husband could attend. My husband and son were in car heaven, by the way.

AutoRama 2016

AutoRama 2016

Detroit AutoRama 2016

Detroit Abandoned Building and Urbex Photography

Detroit is famous for its abandoned buildings and urbex photography. Many people from around the world actually travel to Detroit to explore the historic abandoned or old buildings and photograph them. When I lived in Tennessee, I first learned of urbex photography from Instagram. I thought it was pretty cool and was immediately drawn to it. I had no idea Detroit was a popular city for urbex.

When I found out about the Detroit urbex scene, I started researching how I could explore the abandoned buildings and photograph it. So far I’ve found a few photography groups who host tours. I went on my first urbex tour a few months ago at the Highland Park Ford Executive Office. (Yes, it was perfectly legal, as it was a paid tour with a photography group.) Next month for my birthday, my husband and I are going on a tour with a photography group for more urbex photography.

Abandoned Building Photography
Yellow Hat. Photo Credit: Jennifer Hamra
Highland Park Ford Executive Office
Photo Credit: Jennifer Hamra
Highland Park Ford Executive Office
Photo Credit: Jennifer Hamra

BONUS: If you ever get lost in Detroit, follow the “mile roads”!

Mile roads are unique to Southeast Michigan. Have you heard of the movie 8 Mile? Again, another Eminem reference there, but before I moved to Detroit, I just thought 8 Mile was the name of the movie. It wasn’t until after we moved here, I learned the 8 Mile reference to Detroit. Eight mile road is the dividing line between the City of Detroit and the ‘burbs aka Metro Detroit.

My husband and I have discovered the mile road system is a great way to navigate our way around the large city and metro area. I also learned when most people ask me where I live, I need to say which major mile road I live near and the intersecting street. It took me months to figure this out. For the longest I was telling people the actual neighborhood we live. I get it now. 🙂

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17 thoughts on “15 Things I’ve Learned About Detroit

  1. Ty

    Thanks for sharing. I would love to visit Detroit one day. Yes, pop instead of soda. My family is from the midwest and always makes fun of me when I say soda.

  2. WOW, So much information about Detroit that I had not read about before today. I knew a bit about it but this really gives a good insight about the lifestyle and culture over there.

  3. This makes me want to visit Detroit even more. Food trucks in the DC area are really popular as well. I love the way they have made a name for themselves in a non-traditional way.

    I enjoy our majorly dramatic snow days. We are such big babies about snow but I love.

    It sounds like you’ve settled in well.

  4. I love this post! Your pictures are gorgeous and so are your children! As you know I have been learning more and more about Detroit from my husband who lived there and my friend and I am ready to visit! Have you been able to visit the Motown area? The food looks so good!!

    1. Hi, Nadeen! Thank you! The Motown area is on my list to visit! I was just thinking about this the other day. I hope you will be able to visit Detroit. Let me know when you plan on visiting. Would love to meet up!

  5. I’ve never been to Detroit before, but I had friends in high school that were from there and relocated. Food trucks have made their way down here and people love them, me included. I love your amazing pictures. Hopefully, one day I’ll get to visit Detroit and check out some of these amazing places you have listed. Thanks for sharing!

  6. WOW! I haven’t been to Detroit since I was 4yrs old so I have no recollection of it but plenty of pictures since we lived there. I will find out form my parents where we used to live and take them for a visit.

  7. I would head to Detroit right now just to eat from Detroit 57. That sandwich + seasoned fries is calling me by name!

  8. Eva

    Wow! That Michigan left would have me all out of sorts. I have trouble in Jersey with those creative turns. The abandoned building photography is amazing! My son would flip over these car shows.

  9. Antoinette

    I’ve heard that Detroit is very culturally diverse. I would love to visit.

  10. Kim

    I have wanted to visit Detroit. Your post and photos, especially of the food (yummy) have motivated me to research a trip there.

  11. Such an informative post about Detroit! I did not know that Eminem was from there.

  12. I have GOT to make it to the motor city! I love the culture diversity, and food is my love language. I gotta get there!

  13. What an awesome post! I see Detroit through a different lens now. I have a few friends who live there, so now I need to visit. 😀 I also lived in Middle Tennessee while going to grad school at Trevecca and living in Nashville. It snowed very lightly once during the five years I lived there, and schools were closed. I was a teacher at the time. When we moved to the D.C. area, we saw SNOW for the first time. Wow…what a difference! Thanks again for showing some love for the Motor City. <3

  14. I’ve never visited Detroit but looking through your post, I feel like I just left!
    You had me at your first statement when you mentioned how great food is in Detroit. I would literally come to Detroit and plan a restaurant tour! Beautiful family and pictures!

    1. Thank you, Pump! Detroit food is so good!

  15. Tiffany

    This is awesome. Thanks for sharing I live in Michigan my whole life and there are something I didn’t know .

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