Maybe it’s because the gray skies and white winters are some of the most predominant features of Detroit or maybe it’s because so much of the city seemed to be in ruins for years, but Detroit is hitting its stride again and rebounding to become one of the most colorful cities in America. From the moment you step off your plane at Detroit Metro and walk through the Light Tunnel, the vibrant walls melt away any doubts of a city in peril.
For an authentic Detroit experience (and for some truly remarkable photographs), a visit to Detroit just isn’t complete with a trip to one of these bright spots in the city.
A building in technicolor
When completed in 1929, the orange colored brick of the Guardian Building downtown was one of the largest masonry efforts in the world. Primarily used as an office complex, it wasn’t until 2003 that the building was officially opened to the public for viewing. Now free for anyone to see on weekdays, the vibrant blue, red, and yellow architecture provides an amazing backdrop for photos and a look into one of the most astounding pieces of architecture in the city. Grab a coffee from one of the cafes around the lobby and spend a few hours admiring the Michigan mural painted by Ezra Winter, the Tiffany glass clock and spectacular rare marbles throughout the lobby.
A colorful lunch with a purpose
True to its name, COLORS-Detroit offers seasonal lunch plates bursting with color made from pure Michigan produce. COLORS is more than just a lunch place downtown; it’s a place where eating a meal supports the community. Socially enterprising, all the wait and kitchen staff is enrolled in the restaurant’s 10-week course for on the job training, and upon completion, students are primed for employment in the hospitality and food industry throughout the city.
A neighborhood with a mission
Rather than watch buildings turn to shambles, a group of local artists led by Tyree Guyton got together and transformed an entire East Side neighborhood into one stunning and extremely colorful open-air art installment. Adorning abandoned homes with stuffed animals, polka dots, and other recycled goods, local artists and aspiring activists got together to create the whimsical two-block stretch that has become one of Detroit’s most unique attractions. Perfect for a springtime visit, a trip to the Heidelberg Project will give you a new perspective on social issues and that “pile of junk” in your city.
New York may get all the love during Christmas time, but Woodward Avenue of the Campus Martius district can easily be a contender for one of the best Christmas light displays in the country. In the spring and summer, a visit to one of the many local farmers’ markets in and around Detroit is a must, if only for the Michigan corn. The real seasonal winner is Detroit in autumn, though. Perfect for hiking or canoeing, Detroit’s metro parks burst with activity and wildlife with every color of the rainbow.