Detroit’s Revitalization Sparks Praise as a Must-See for Travelers
Detroit is earning recognition for its holistic economic development efforts, making prominent must-see travel lists for national and international travelers alike.
Detroit’s revitalization efforts are paying off, and the global recognition is rolling in as the city is named to the Best Place to Go in North America & the Caribbean in 2024 by Condé Nast Traveler and Where to Go in 2024 by AFAR.
Condé Nast Traveler searched for the continent’s most vibrant, pristine and restorative destinations. AFAR looked to correspondents around the world for the ultimate travel places. Detroit made both lists thanks to years-long efforts to lift its thriving neighborhoods, embrace its rich culture and support its business community.
The locally driven revitalization building the foundation for Detroit’s success is made possible by its residents, entrepreneurs, regional supporters and technical assistance and funding from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and the Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF).
“This recognition of Detroit is a testament to Detroiters and their hospitality that reveals to visitors and locals alike a sense of the possible, all done with a smile or knowing head nod. Detroit’s recognition is a source of pride for all Michiganders and highlights the collective efforts of the state’s vibrant communities, innovative entrepreneurs and dedicated workforce that make our state a remarkable place to live and visit,” said Quentin L. Messer, Jr., CEO of the MEDC. “As we celebrate this honor, trust and believe, we know that we must continue to invest in the city to sustain the momentum that this recognition underscores.”
Building Places People Want to Visit
Detroit will continue its economic development momentum in the coming year with new hotels, activated spaces and attractions for residents and visitors. Things kick off in a big way, with the NFL Draft coming to town in April. The traveling spectacle takes place in cities across the country that can support and entertain the crowds – potentially hundreds of thousands – that travel to experience Detroit for this annual event.
“The 2024 NFL Draft will highlight all that makes Detroit and Southeast Michigan a great place to live, work, invest and visit,” said Claude Molinari, president and CEO of Visit Detroit, an organization dedicated to drawing attractions, filling hotel rooms and driving economic impact for the region. “Visit Detroit is proud to partner with Detroit Metropolitan Airport, local hotels, restaurants and shops to create a best-in-class hospitality experience for visitors from touchdown to takeoff.”
Stylish Stays for Visitors
The number of hotel rooms available throughout the city has been a limiting factor for bringing in large events and conventions in the past, according to Molinari. The Condé Nast Traveler article indicates that the trend is changing in an impressive way, naming several stylish hotels within Detroit’s blueprint for renewal.
One such call-out is the former site of Hudson’s department store, which will become home to one of the city’s tallest towers and 1.5 million square feet of office, residential, event and entertainment space, capped with activated open spaces, parking and an upcoming 5-star hotel. The site was one of four included in a $618 million Transformational Brownfield Plan approved by the Michigan Strategic Fund, which includes new construction and mixed-use redevelopment covering six acres downtown.
Condé Nast Traveler also calls attention to Corktown, Detroit’s oldest neighborhood and home to Godfrey Detroit, a once-blighted property that is now an exciting new hotel. The project removed a vacant commercial building to construct the seven-story, 227-room hotel with a ground-floor lobby, bar and full-service restaurant, ballroom and rooftop café. The project also covered infrastructure improvements for sidewalks, brick walkways, curbs, paving and landscaping. The Michigan Strategic Fund approved nearly $1.9 million in state tax capture to help the developer address the site’s brownfield conditions.
Opening Auto Innovation to the Public
Without leaving Corktown, visitors can find Michigan Central. The tech center was born from the historic Michigan Central Train Station through a partnership between the State of Michigan, Detroit and founding partners Ford Motor Company and Google. The former transportation hub is now a globally recognized center for talent, mobility innovation and community engagement – a true demonstration of what it means to take a holistic approach to investing in economic development. Michigan Central focuses on funding and supporting mobility startups, developing local businesses and welcoming the community with public art displays and restaurants.
The State of Michigan’s commitments to industry innovation and community vitality through this project are further underscored by the coordination involved by several agencies, including:
- The MEDC’s Office of Future Mobility Electrification supports programs that create high-skill jobs, support startups and bring innovations to market.
- The Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity promotes world-class education in the district to prepare local workers for high-tech jobs in mobility.
- The Michigan State Housing and Development Authority works to tie industry growth to housing and community development.
- The Michigan Department of Transportation makes roadways in the area more accessible and usable by all modes of transportation that fall under the mobility umbrella.
A Fresh Look at Detroit’s Classic Music
Outside Corktown, AFAR highlighted the Motown Historical Museum, which helps visitors learn about the label that brought the world musical greats like Smokey Robinson, the Temptations and Stevie Wonder. The museum is undergoing expansion to include performance space, interactive exhibits and a music education center. The MSF approved a $1 million grant to help the museum with the upcoming 50,000-square-foot expansion that will have a positive effect on the city’s youth, entrepreneurs, performing artists, academics and economy.
A Strong Case for International Acclaim
These large-scale, long-term projects all build the bedrock that allows Detroit to continually become a more exciting and welcoming place to live, work and visit. Add in the nation’s best riverwalk, international events like the Detroit Grand Prix, the city’s eight 2023 James Beard Award restaurant and chef semifinalists and the Detroit Institute of Arts, and there’s an unbeatable case for any must-see list.
Detroit’s impressive growth and acclaim is one example of many that demonstrate how years of investing in economic development led to more vibrant, attractive and prosperous communities throughout the state of Michigan: Read more about how the MEDC supports Michigan’s communities to increase prosperity, including how Calumet is using the state’s Make It in Michigan strategy to build its vibrant community while boosting global semiconductor relevance. You can also read how Cassopolis is undertaking holistic economic development to transform its places and open spaces while attracting large business investments.
Watch: One Day in Detroit
See how Detroit is constantly reinventing itself with great places to eat, drink and explore: