At the end of October, the Detroit Free Press announced that Lonely Planet – one of the largest travel book publishers in the world – was set to name Detroit the second-best city in the world to visit in 2018.
Eclipsed only by Seville, Spain, The Motor City immediately outranks Canberra, Australia and Hamburg, Germany – and has the distinction as the only destination in the continental United States to make the cut in the top ten of Lonely Planet’s coveted list.
It might be hard to fathom a city haunted by a reputation of blight and bankruptcy to emerge as a top tourist destination. But anyone who has been there recently – particularly within the past year – will describe a downtown area that defies assumptions of urban decay thanks to an emerging and bustling metropolis that is fresh, eclectic and splashed with creativity.
And by anyone, of course I mean me.
Before my visit to Detroit this past spring, my main frames of reference were the mayoral scandal of Kwame Kilpatrick, their historic 2013 bankruptcy filing, and most detrimentally that it was the city that produced my college boyfriend. I appreciated Detroit for the Motown legacy, the Isaiah Thomas era of the Pistons and for providing the set up for the storyline in “Beverly Hills Cop.” But that was about it.
However, a junket organized by Pure Michigan that promised a snapshot of the arts and culture scene left a lasting impression, to say the least. After my stay, I found myself singing the city’s praises for their work to restore the metropolis’ identity. Based on what I experienced, a new and improved Detroit has risen from its obstacles. The new development combined with the cultural staples will more than likely inspire a migration of tourists and transplants. In two short, but jam-packed days of connecting with Detroit, I developed such an affinity that I still…