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Detroit's Rise, Fall & Renewal
- 2 hours
Total price tool tip
- *Approx package price
Detroit may have filed for bankruptcy but it's still a city rich in history, architecture and innovation. See which buildings have been restored and which await renewal on this Detroit tour led by a passionate and proud local.
* Visit the remarkably beautiful 1929 Guardian Building.
* See the Westin Book-Cadillac Hotel, a prime example of Detroit's rise, fall and renewal.
* Find out why the old 36-story Book Tower and other buildings are vacant.
* See how new stadiums, casinos and more have revitalized downtown Detroit in the past decade.
* Finish up (with a free locally brewed beer or a soft drink) at one of the popular new hangouts in the city.
What's included in this trip
Carbon Offset:Voucher exchange details
Please present your voucher to the local guide at the beginning of the trip.
Confirmation of booking
Please contact Detroit Urban Adventures to confirm your trip 24 hours prior to departure.
Dress casually and comfortably. Wear shoes that are good for a fair amount of walking. Depending on weather, you may want to have a jacket, hat or an umbrella.
Children must be between 6 and 11 years of age inclusive. Children below the age of 6 are not permitted on this day tour in the city.
If you are happy with the services provided by your local guides and drivers a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it is of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid Urban Adventures destinations. Please consider this when budgeting for your extra expenses on this tour
Start this Detroit city tour from a nice cafe at 1515 Broadway. You may want to get there early and purchase a coffee, tea, espresso, cold drink, or something to eat.
When we leave 1515 Broadway, you will see the 95-year-old Detroit Athletic Club, the renovated Opera House, the vacant Wurlitzer Building, and the fine new downtown YMCA.
Continuing on the half day tour in Detroit see the site where one of the biggest department stores in the US once stood -- Hudson's or JL Hudson's. When it closed in the 1980s is left a hole in the city that hasn't been filled. There are not many stores in the old retail district, but apartments and lofts have brought some new life to the area.
Next, the Compuware Building from 2002 is worth a visit, for its 15-story atrium and colorful fountain. And outside that building, you'll see a panorama that includes landmarks like the 47-story Penobscot Building from 1928, the Guardian Building from 1929 and the Renaissance Center from 1977 -- which has the tallest hotel in the entire Western Hemisphere (72 floors) as well as the headquarters of General Motors.
Then you'll see Campus Martius Park in the heart of downtown, which opened in 2004 and features an ice-skating rink in winter and activities year-round. It won a recent award as the nation's most transformative urban park.
A visit to the Guardian Building emphasizes the greatness of Detroit in the late 1920s. The lobby and banking room of this art-deco skyscraper are truly incredible.
Then we take a ride on the elevated People Mover, which has been moving people around downtown Detroit since 1987.
From the Michigan Avenue station, see the $800 Million MGM Grand casino and hotel that were completed in 2008, and the new Rosa Parks Transit Center (named for "the mother of the Civil Rights Movement") with its dramatic canopies.
If the weather is nice, we will walk to the Westin Book-Cadillac Hotel. It's a great example of Detroit's rise, fall and renewal. When it opened in 1924 it was the tallest hotel in the world and one of the fanciest. But it closed in the 1980s and stood vacant for more than 25 years on a prominent street corner. Detroiters were thrilled when it reopened after a $200 Million renovation as the wonderful Westin Book-Cadillac.
A block down from the renovated Westin Book-Cadillac is the stately old 36-story Book Tower from 1926, which is vacant. It is one of the world's tallest vacant buildings, and it awaits a new life, probably as apartments -- when the economy improves.
Next, we visit the area near Grand Circus Park, which is full of examples of Detroit's rise, fall and renewal. There is the vacant 34-story Broderick Tower and other vacant buildings. There is the Kales Building from 1914, which had been vacant for years before it came back to life as apartments in 2004. There is the fabulous Fox Theater which anchored the theater district starting in the late 1920s and was beautifully restored in the 1980s.
It was Comerica Park and Ford Field that really brought this part of downtown Detroit back to life. Comerica Park was completed in 2000. It is the home of the Detroit Tigers baseball team and the site of concerts by performers like Bruce Springsteen and Detroit's own Eminem and Kid Rock. Ford Field was completed in 2003 for $500 Million. It is the home of the Detroit Lions, and it brought events like Super Bowl XL and the NCAA Final Four to downtown Detroit. And all sorts of great bars and restaurants have opened in the area after the opening of Comerica Park and Ford Field.
After the Grand Circus Park area, we visit a local brewpub that opened in 2003, where you can enjoy a complimentary beer at the end of the tour (21 and over with proper ID) or a soft drink. The Detroit Beer Company brews some great beer, has a lot of great food, and has become a popular downtown hangout. They even have half-priced appetizers (but not on the weekends) if you order before 6 pm. So it's a great place to end our Detroit walking tour.