In January, when the New York Times published its list of 52 places to go in 2017, Detroit, Michigan was #9. I wasn’t surprised. Even though I’ve visited Detroit a few times, this past fall I had more of a taste of what makes Detroit a stand out destination. One of the best ways to take in this fascinating city in the midst of its comeback tale is on a bicycle. The pace is leisurely and there’s much to notice along the way.
Thanks to Wheelhouse Detroit and the Detroit CVB, my sight-seeing was part of a small group tour that included Riverwalk, Lafayette Park and Eastern Market, each of historical and cultural significance. Wheelhouse Detroit is a bike shop and rental company in three locations: Detroit Riverfront, Eastern Market and Hamtrack.
The Detroit Riverfront, where our tour started, is one example of Detroit’s hip vibrancy and transformation from urban blight to urban splendor. The 3 1/2 miles of riverfront that’s been completed is perfect for a bike ride that winds past parks and historic landmarks like the Milliken State Park Lighthouse.
From the Riverwalk, we headed to the Eastern Market passing by Elmwood Cemetery with is leafy trees and impressive grave stones, the oldest dating back more than 150 years. The Eastern Market, opened in 1891 consists of several buildings, sheds and stalls with vendors that sell everything from fresh fruits and vegetables to flowers, meats and baked goods. Food trucks are part of the scene. One can spend hours here taking in the vibrant colors and flavors. One of the downsides of traveling on a bicycle is figuring out how much can fit in the bicycle’s basket. Saturday is the day when the market is open year round. The street market (vendors outside the main buildings) is on Tuesday and Sunday from June to September.
The area around Eastern Market is known for its murals that are still being created on building walls. With every turn of a corner, there seems to be another mural to discover. Professional artists and community members have been part of the painting action.
Other murals are part of the scene along The Dequindre Cut, a 2 mile stretch of park that once was the Grand Trunk Railroad line, is another example of an urban redevelopment success story. When we passed through we came across a festival just starting up and several people of all ages enjoying the outdoors.
Wheelhouse Detroit offers a variety of tours that take in Detroit’s art, history, architecture and food scene. Price per person is about $30 a tour and includes, bicycle rental and helmet. Along the way, the tour guide will give you details about what you are seeing. Bicycle rentals without the tour are also available.
Post and photos courtesy of Jamie Rhein, member of Midwest Travel Journalist Association. My tour was hosted by the Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau while attending the Midwest Travel Journalist’s fall meeting.