Back in 24: A new Detroit

This a new series. Back in 24 will feature trips you can take in a day. The only qualification is that the destination must be less than three hours away. Send me suggestions by making a comment!

This week: Detroit River Front

There was a time when the Detroit river was only good for viewing Canada. Today, that is no longer the case.

Dateline may be airing specials on how broken, apparently illiterate and desolate Detroit is, but there are a few things about the city that truly make it shine. Anyone who has spent a significant amount of time downtown knows a different side of the city than just the abandoned neighborhoods and blocks of churches and liquor stores, which are equally attended.

Downtown is what made me fall in love with the city. And although Chicago and Denver may have downtown beat, Detroit is on the rise. Officials are making the city’s center more attractive and businesses are starting to remember it as a tourist destination soon to emerge from the riots’ ashes.

So this week, take a trip to the River Front. It features a carousel, fountains, vendors, nearby shopping and a number of festivals still to come.

Eat! Riverwalk cafe opens later this month and features Detroit favorites: Faygo, Better Made chips, Stroll’s ice cream and salads, wraps, hot dogs, fries and more. Stop in to cool down as you walk along the water.

Bike it! The Motor City is   getting better, get healthy with it. Wheelhouse offers bike rentals and all of the helmets, pads and water bottles you will need to pedal the pavement. Plus the bikes come with little baskets so you can pick up gifts along the way. Check it out at

Rensen it! The Renaissance building is full of restaurants, little shops and gorgeous window views of the river. People watch, snack or explore the many levels of the former GM headquarters.

Ride it! The spring season begins with the spinning of the carousel. It’s a great place to take a date or the family. Just don’t eat too many hot dogs before you jump on board.

River it! The Detroit princess offers Motown Dinners and Moonlight cruises. This beautiful boat has lavish ballrooms and moves at a lovely pace. For schedules and pictures, visit

Move it! If you like to move it move it, check out the many festivals coming to the River Front. The Hoe Down   and Movement festivals are in May and River Days, featuring national acts, beer and food, begins in June. Check the River Front website (see below) for more details.

Of course Hart Plaza is right on the walk, and Belle Isle, featuring a marina, planetarium, nature center and golf course, is just a few miles down the road. If you wear your walking shoes, check out the Comerica Park, the Fox Theatre, Hockey Town Cafe and The Detroit Opera House.

Driving time: 2 1/2 hours each way
Day cost: $10 or more per person, depending on activities. Or pack a lunch and have a free day (not including gas).
More information:


Shawntai Brown was born with a silver pen. Not really, but her entire life centers around writing. She currently is a copy editor for Booth Newspapers, a playwright (support the eLLe series) and a blogger. Born in 1986, she is a second eldest of four children. She was raised in Detroit under the shelter and protective parenting of her mother (who died when Shawntai was young) and father on the west side. She attended Cass Tech High School and was a participant in City-wide Poets throughout high school. She also did acting. She graduated from Western Michigan University with a degree in creative writing and experience in journalism and Spanish. Having worked for the school paper, she was able to score an internship with the Kalamazoo Gazette right out of college, which then led her to the Grand Rapids Press. Her intern's wages and wonderful co-signer/grandfather afforded her the luxury of living in the plush accommodations of Paragon Properties. And thus the story of this young professional continues. ... 


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