1. Brushing The Hate Off Because Their City Is Their Number One Love
Source: Down with Detroit via Facebook
Detroit may get a lot of bad press, but Detroiters don’t let the haters bring them down. This city is their number one true love and just like any love it does have its goods and bads. But they won’t hesitate to defend it while giving you a running list of all the ways Detroit is making a comeback.
2. Chucking An Octopus Onto The Ice During Red Wings Games
Source: Youtube user xvipx
The only thing that’s better than going to a Red Wings game is going to one during the playoffs with an octopus in tow. A tradition dating back to the ’52 play offs, it has even morphed into an unofficial mascot.
3. Shouting The Journey Line: “BORN AND RAISED IN SOUTH DETROIT”
Source: Youtube user jeepnut977
Detroiters love to sing the line “Born and raised in south Detroit” from Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing,” then quickly remind you that there is no technical South Detroit neighborhood but there is Down River. I guess Steve Perry just didn’t think Down River had as much lyrical pull. Either way, practically every Michigander lights up during this lyric.
4. Knowing They Do Coney Dogs Way Better Than Anyone In Flint Or Jackson
Source: Flickr user Steven Depolo
Coney Island Hot Dogs are a big thing in Southeast Michigan, but particularly in the Detroit and metro areas. A point proven by the amount of Coney Islands open 24/7. Though both Jackson and Flint have their own version, everyone knows Detroit does it better.
Not to be confused with a chilidog, these hot dogs are topped with chili, diced white onions, and mustard. Detroit one-ups everyone else with the addition of Hungarian spices in a creamy sauce.
5. Marche Du Nain Rouge
Source: Marche Du Nain Rouge Official Website
This tradition, over 300 years old, celebrates Detroit’s liberation from the Nain Rouge, which is the embodiment of all that holds us back. Meaning, it’s a Mardi Gras style, family friendly parade that’s full of inside jokes based around the city’s history.
With the all the rough things the city has been through, it’s no wonder a celebration of the good things while casting away the bad draws a large crowd.
6. Quizzing Visitors On Street Name Pronunciation
Source: Flickr user Thomas Hawk
A fun game for all involved, Detroiters like to test newcomers by pointing to a map or even the nearby street sign and asking them how they think it’s pronounced.
How would you say “Gratiot?” Grat-chit or gra-twa?
7. Being Home To One Of The Best Bookstores In The World
Recently recognized by Detroit Metro Times as The Best Indie Bookstore in Detroit and as One Of The Best Bookstores In The World, it’s easy to see why John K. King Used & Rare Books is a favorite amongst many.
This unique book store is Michigan’s largest used & rare bookstore, as well as one of the largest in the country. What’s so special? It’s located in a four story warehouse that was once a glove factory.
Four stories of used books? Book worms, I know you’re drooling.
8. Rooting For The Home Team, No Matter Which Sport
Source: Flickr user Keith Allison
Whether it’s the Pistons, the Red Wings, the Tigers or the Lions, there are no fair-weather fans here. Detroiters and Metro-Detroiters pack the stadiums to root on their teams. Especially on …
9. Opening Day Traditions
Source: Flickr user A Healthier Michigan
Though the Tiger’s play in Comerica Park, the celebration for opening day isn’t held only there. Businesses, particularly bars, have parties throughout the day in celebration and there are heated tent parties sprinkled throughout the city as well.
Opening day is practically a ritual and it floods downtown with people adorned in orange and navy ready to start off another great Tiger baseball season.
10. The Arts
Source: Wikimedia Commons
From the sculptures found throughout the city–think “The Spirit of Detroit” or “The Fist”–to the Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroiters celebrate and love the arts. This shouldn’t be surprising, as the city is seen as a mecca for young, entrepreneurial artists.
The DIA is the city’s crown jewel and one of the premier and largest art museums in the US, with over 60,000 collections. When it was announced the DIA would be have to sell its collections of art to pay off the city’s debt, Detroiters and surrounding areas where in an uproar. It’s not often people rally together to support a museum, so it just goes to show how much Detroiters care about their art.
11. Showing Off Their Hot Rods During The Woodward Dream Cruise
Source: Flickr user *Ann Gordon
It’s no surprise the Motor City would have the world’s largest one-day automotive event centered around classic cars cruising America’s first highway.
It’s not just Detroiters that love to watch the beautifully restored classics cruise Woodward; this event draws in over 1 million visitors. Technically, it takes place in the metro area but Detroiters don’t hold that against it.
12. That The Eastern Market Has Everything They Could Possibly Ever Want
Source: Flickr user Dig Downtown Detroit
When a place has been around since 1891, you know it’s a favorite. Every Saturday the market opens to feed the beautiful people of Detroit.
Maybe it’s the 250 independent vendors, maybe it’s the fact that it’s a six-block public market or maybe it’s because you can practically find anything here. The reason doesn’t matter–what does matter is that this place is awesome (and nothing else like it can be found in larger Midwest cities…)
13. Noshing On Gyros In Greektown
Source: Flickr user swbmarshall
Every neighborhood is loved by its residents, but Greektown is just a little different. As historical is it is entertaining, Greektown is located just northeast of the heart of downtown Detroit. Full of Greek-themed restaurants, hotels and, of course, the Greektown Casino, this neighborhood is a destination for a good time. It’s also home to another Detroiter favorite…
14. The People Mover
Source: Flickr user memories_by_mike
The Detroit People Mover, commonly called the People Mover, encircles downtown and is completely driverless. Though it may not be used frequently by locals, it’s still a favorite…even if it’s the butt of jokes.
Originally intended to go further and not just loop, it was scaled back to what it is today. Other cities may poke fun, but the Motor City loves the great city view provided by the People Mover.
15. Chilling Out At The Penguinarium
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Just north of the city limits lies the Detroit Zoo on 125 acres full of exhibits and natural habitats for a over 3,000 animals. One of those exhibits is the Penguinarium–a three sided habitat surrounded by a continuous pool. Meaning, penguins fly through the water like they would in the wild. It’s beautiful.
16. American Made Cars
Source: Flickr user Paul bica
This one’s sort of a no-brainer, right? Of course the Motor City loves and prefers American made cars… especially the big three–General Motors, Ford and Chrysler.
17. Hating On Metro-Detroiters
Ask any Metro-Detroiter where they’re from and chances are they’ll say “Detroit.” That is, of course, unless you’re already in the metro area. It’s not really a hatred based on bad blood, it’s just a bit of poking fun.
18. Sipping On A Motor City Brew
Source: Motor City Brewing Works Facebook
Motor City Brewery Works has been brewing top notch quality beers since ’94. Throw in some delicious pizza, a weekly rotating art show and a great atmosphere and you have sucked in the college market.
Source: Flickr user esynchronicity
DEMF has been held in Detroit since 2000. Bringing people, especially youth, and artists to Detroiters’ favorite place (I’m talking about Detroit, in case you missed #1), is an added bonus to this festival that celebrates techno music, which–fun fact–Detroit is the birthplace of.
20. …But Also Hating On DEMF-Goers
Source: Flickr user Robert Emperley
Techno music festivals tend to bring out the weird in people (or maybe the weird people), especially in terms of their fashion choices. So it’s only natural that a city based on blue-collared roots would find a little joy in playfully hating on the oddities this festival brings to town.
21. Celebrating Their 19th In Canada
Source: Flickr user finalgirl
Though it’s not Russia, you can see Windsor from Detroit’s back yard. With two ways of getting there–the bridge or the tunnel, Detroit’s youth flock to Windsor to celebrate their 19th birthday. It’s practically a rite of passage.
22. The Masonic Temple
The world’s largest Masonic Temple serves many purposes. Three theaters, three ballrooms and all sorts of recreational facilities are just a few of what’s offered here. This is definitely the most beautiful place to catch a concert in the city.
23. Summer On Belle Isle
Source: Flickr user cactuspinecone
This beautiful state park is rich in history and things to do. From the beach to the conservatory to museum, Belle Island is a hopping summer destination. It’s basically a city-cation. You know, a vacation that’s within the city.
24. Scoping Out The Latest Makes And Models At The Detroit Auto Show
Source: Flickr user Global Reactions
Spoiler: the Detroit Auto Show is always a hit in the Motor City.
New vehicles are introduced at every show and over $990 million has been raised and provided to Detroit-area charities. Until 1989, the show was strictly regional. Now it is international and draws a crowd from all other.
25. Watching Up-And-Coming Bands In Absolutely Stunning Venues
Source: Flickr user Dan Cox
Detroiters are lucky enough to have the Masonic Temple to catch shows, but that’s not all. Two other popular venues are The Shelter, located in the basement of Saint Andrew’s Hall, and the Magic Stick.
The Shelter and Saint Andrews Hall are rich in history, both being home to breakthrough acts like Nirvana (Saint Andrews Hall) and, of course, Eminem (The Shelter).
Critics hail the Magic Stick as the city’s best place for catching a show. Maybe it’s the roof top patio or maybe it’s the fact that they consistently book good shows, but whatever it is, Detroiters agree.
26. Dilly Dallying In The Alley
Source: Dally in the Alley Facebook
Dally In The Alley isn’t just fun to say–it’s a blast to attend. The city’s largest annual community festival delivers performances, visual arts, live music, food and, naturally, beer. With four stages, vendors and art this is truly a place to be in the summer.
This decade-long tradition is completely put on by volunteers in the area and delivers a flavor of Detroit that many love.
27. The Heidelberg Project
Source: Flickr user paula soler-moya
On Detroit’s East Side you’ll find a community focused on harnessing the power of creativity to transform lives. Houses in the community have been decorated with art and found objects salvaged from the streets of Detroit, like stuffed animals.
There’s also a program dedicated to engaging young adults in the area as well as a program to supplement the lack of art education in public schools.
28. ‘Eat ‘Em Up Tigers’ James and Dreadlock Mike
Source: Facebook fan page for “Eat ‘Em Up Tigers” James
These two gentlemen were beloved in the city. Well known for standing outside of Comerica Park, fans often enjoyed talking and taking pictures with them. Unfortunately, the two passed away in a hit-and-run accident in July 2013, but they live on in the hearts of Detroiters and Tiger fans alike.
29. Watching The Best Of The Best Boat Racers
Source: Flickr user daggerquill
Hydroplane boat racing--it may not sound that exciting, but have you ever watched it from the (literal) shorelines? The Detroit Gold Cup has been around since 1915 with no plans on stopping anytime soon. It’s like the Kentucky Derby, but with boats.
30. Getting Funky
The last Friday of every month, Detroiters gather to get funky at the Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit. A local DJ spins rare 45’s, funk and soul all night long and everyone gets down.