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:
1. 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.
2. Michigan Left
I learned if my GPS says take a right and then a sharp left, it more than likely means to make a Michigan Left. A Michigan 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?
3. 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 Michigan: winter and road construction.
4. 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.
5. 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!
6. 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!
7. 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!
8. 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!
9. 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. I have to say, I am happy we moved here, too. 🙂
10. 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.”
11. 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
12. 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!
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.
13. Just About Everybody Has a Bike.
Except for me. I don’t have a bike. The last time I had a bike, I was probably a teenager, and even then I don’t remember riding my bike that much as a teen. But in Michigan, bicycling is very a popular activity. Families even ride their bikes together. This was one of the top things I noticed about Detroit and Metro Detroit. Every time we would go out in our van, I noticed people riding their bikes around. I felt so inspired that I told Travis we have to get bikes!
Also, many bicycle enthusiasts customize their bikes. Again, this is something I was not accustomed to seeing. The first customized bicycle I saw was in Detroit and I was absolutely amazed! Detroiters love biking so much that they even have bike meetups in the city. For instance, Slow Roll Detroit is a very popular bike meetup which meets on Mondays in the summertime.
14. 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 Memphis-based photographers on 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.
15. 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.
Travis 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. 🙂