Visiting Friends in Detroit, MI

Detroit: “The Big D”. Detroit has a gotten a pretty bad rep in the past decade. Once having over 2 million people in the city during its heyday now has a mere 650,000 and rising. While it’s not the booming, bustling motor city many remember from the 60’s, Detroit is making a comeback and it’s not waiting for the rest of America to catch on. I admit, the rumors are true, there are still hundreds of vacant, blighted, and deteriorating homes sprinkled up and down Detroit’s city streets and at first glance you would assume the city is riddled with crime. While it looks tough on it’s outer shell, it’s a lot safer, more lively, and thriving than anyone media outlet lets on to be. Take a look at our experience there and see why you shouldn’t be scared to visit if your on an RV or traveling through Michigan!

One of our favorite outings while in Detroit was visiting the “DIA” The Detroit Institute for Art. The DIA is most commonly know for the Diego Rivera Detroit Industry Murals but boasts a myriad of other famous painters such as Picasso, Matisse, and Warhol to name a few. We spent four hours at the museum and wish we could have spent longer. The highlight during out visit was the series of murals that Diego Rivera painted collected in one massive room. He originally painted them in “fresco style” as 27 individual panels, starting in 1932, completing the task in 1933. The size of the murals, detail, and craftsmanship is beyond impressive. The painting’s goal was to capture and illustrate Detroit’s industry, which has heavy themes in the automobile industry. It was clear in his paintings the internal struggle Diego fought knowing the benefits of modern science as well as the potential harm it was causing or could eventually cause.

There was a temporary exhibit, The Art of Rebellion: Black Art of the Civil Rights Movement we were lucky enough to see during our visit. To say the exhibit was moving would be an understatement. So rarely is a collection of work by African Americans showcased to create one voice, one movement. The artists work dates back to the early 50’s all the way to 2010. The art work so clearly let their thoughts, passions, goals, aspirations, and feelings be heard through their medium. What I loved the most about this collection was that it told a story. A story of oppression, loss, anger, hope, but most of all pride. If you’re in Detroit before October 22nd, 2017 I highly suggest visiting even if it’s just for this exhibit!

The rest of the museum was enjoyable. There was a variety of pieces from every period you can dream of. Dennis really enjoyed being able to see the self portrait of Pablo Picasso. He remembered being in art school and seeing this painting on his pastel boxes and thinking how incredible of an artist you have to become to have your painting on every art supply box and store imaginable. So to see it in real life was pretty cool.

There were also lots of great restaurants in Detroit. Since the 2008-2010 crash and the downtown of Detroit, property values decreased, but opportunity for growth increased. You could now start a hip new restaurant for a fraction of the cost as any other competing big city with more creativity and opportunity for success. Our friends we were staying with are actually a part of a MeetUp that meets once a week or at least twice a month and enjoys a new restaurant on Detroit’s never ending list of great places to eat. Honestly, picking a place that isn’t good is a challenge. We went to Johnny Noddle King for Ramen which was DELICIOUS. We just love ramen. This place was throw your tie over your shoulder type of good!

We also enjoyed a lovely meal with our friends Meet Up Group at little Italian place, Bucci, in Grosse Point, which is one of the five points surrounding Detroit. Can I also just add, I love the idea of a dinner group that tries awesome new restaurants. When we get a “home base” again we will definitely be starting one of those! Now get out there and visit Detroit!