A Historical Drive Through Detroit

Everyone knows that the Model T was designed in Detroit—that’s why they call it Motor City, after all. Take a road trip down America’s memory lane, and explore the top historically significant sites in the city during your visit, from world-renowned art museums to public art installations and more.

Image credit (above): Eastern Market

eastern market

1.       Eastern Market

Feel the hustle and bustle of the city at the Eastern Market, one of the oldest and largest year-round markets in the country. Opened in the 1800s, the Eastern Market has been a cornerstone of the Detroit community, connecting residents to local businesses and farmers. This is not your average neighborhood farmers market with just a few stands—visitors can take advantage of cooking seminars and yoga classes, and shop not just for fresh food, but also peruse local artists selling jewelry, home goods, and more.

DIA- Quicken LoansImage via Quicken Loans

2. Detroit Institute of Arts

Art history buffs are in for a serious treat at the Detroit Institute of Arts. Visitors will get a chance to see everything from classic Picassos to modern African American paintings, to even the Italian mastermind Caravaggio’s hauntingly beautiful work. Acquaint yourself with Detroit’s unique story without ever opening a history book, as the museum’s centerpiece is Diego Rivera’s mural Detroit Industry, which fills an entire room with the city’s blue-collar American labor history. Be sure to arrive early, as there are over 100 galleries to wander through.

Motown Museum- TIME magazineImage via Time Magazine

3. Motown Historical Museum

Ever relaxed to the sweet sound of Stevie Wonder? How about felt the power behind the voice of Diana Ross, or danced all night long to the tune of Michael Jackson? What each of these genre-defining artists have in common is that their careers were launched by Motown Records, right here in Detroit. Visit the small Studio A to see where these artists and more recorded their very first hits which set a nation, and the world, on fire.

heidelberg project - Slate Mag Image via Slate

4. Heidelberg Project

Detroit’s art scene has been slowly building for decades, and street artist Tyree Guyton is at the forefront of that movement. Visit the Heidelberg Project and see polka-dotted streets, houses covered in a rainbow of colors, and sculptures scattered throughout the front lawns, a project that Guyton created to beautify his community over thirty years ago.

Ford piquette plant - metro timesImage via Metro Times

5. The Ford Piquette Avenue Plant

This is must-see for all car enthusiasts, as it’s the factory that Henry Ford created the very first Model T. You will get an up-close-and-personal look at vehicles dating all the back to 1904, and perhaps leave with a fresh perspective on a luxury that you likely take for granted nearly every day.

packard plant- cheryl howard Image via Cheryl Howard

6. Packard Auto Plant

It’s well-known that Detroit is in a state of renewal. While a painful reminder of what once was, the urban ruins in Detroit are also incredibly beautiful to see in person. Visit one of the more famous ruins in the city when you explore Packard Auto Plant. Formerly a factory designed by famous architect Albert Kahn in 1903, this uninhabited building has recently been bought with the promise of renovation—so visiting now ensures you a dramatic before and after photo. Located at E Grand Boulevard and Concord Street.


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