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12 Little-Known Facts You Should Learn Before Moving to Detroit

There are plenty of reasons for moving to Detroit. The city, which has seen its share of bad times, is finally rising from the ashes and emerging as a dynamic tech and arts hub with a still-affordable housing market. The average apartment rent in the Detroit metro area is a little over $1,000, while renting a storage unit in Detroit costs $110 per month, according to Yardi Matrix.

It’s no wonder that people are, once again, attracted to the Motor City. Are you trying to decide whether living in Detroit is right for you? Here are some pretty cool facts you probably didn’t know about the city that could help tip the scales one way or the other:

1. A record number of snow days

Detroit goes through pretty harsh weather every winter, which often leads to adverse traffic conditions and school closures. For example, in January 2019, schools in the Detroit metro area were closed for nearly as many days as they were open. So, if the prospect of cuddling with your kids during bitter-cold winter days sounds better than taking them to school, moving to Detroit is definitely a step in the right direction for you.

2. Plenty of beaches

People usually don’t associate Detroit with beaches, but there’s a lot of them in the area. Michigan features more coastline – 3,288 miles – than any state other than Alaska, and the longest freshwater coastline in the US. You have plenty to see and enjoy in the area, from sandy beaches to charming lighthouses, spectacular waterfalls, and even historic shipwrecks. Practice water sports – sailing, boating, fishing, and kayaking are the most popular – or simply sunbathe and swim.

Lighthouse Detroit Michigan
Lake Michigan lighthouse

3. The Eastern Market

Detroit’s renowned market opened in the 1850s, and it covers 43 acres, which makes it the largest public market district in the country. The market’s structures are a spectacle, with gorgeous, historical buildings designated as a Michigan State Historic Site in 1974. Hundreds of local farmers sell fresh produce and meats at the market daily, and it contains a host of cafes and restaurants, making it the hottest foodie area in Detroit.

4. The Heidelberg Project

It is an outdoor art project by artist Tyree Guyton, located in Detroit’s McDougall-Hunt area. Inspired by the deterioration of his childhood neighborhood, Guyton started working on the project in 1986, and he involved the children of the community in the project. What began with painting a series of houses with bright dots, evolved into an indoor and outdoor museum, art center, artists’ colony, community garden, and an amphitheater. The Heidelberg Project is an explosively colorful area that proves you can turn a derelict neighborhood into a world-famous artistic movement through creativity and by working with your community. There’s no better representation of the spirit of Detroit than this art project.

5. Detroit Industry Murals

Famous Mexican artist, Diego Rivera, painted the equally famous Detroit Industry Murals, which surround the Rivera Court in the Detroit Institute of Arts. The artwork, completed in 1932, consists of four walls and twenty-seven paintings. The Ford Motor Company commissioned the cycle of murals, which portray the history of Detroit from a human and technological point of view.

 6. City of firsts in transportation

The first mile of concrete highway in the US was built in 1909 at Woodward Avenue in Detroit. The city was also the first in the world to install yellow as one of the colors in traffic lights. And, the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel, completed in 1930, was the first tunnel to link two nations.

Woodward Avenue in Detroit
Woodward Avenue in Detroit

7. Feather Bowling

Interested in playing a new sport? Feather bowling apparently “immigrated” from Belgium to Detroit in the 1920s. Played in teams of two, participants roll a flattened, wooden ball down a 60-foot-long alley. The goal is for the ball to arrive as close as possible to a pigeon feather – hence the name of the sport – placed at the alley’s end. If it sounds like an exciting past-time to you, then move to Detroit, MI. It’s literally the only place in the United States where you can be part of a feather bowling team.

8. The world’s largest tire

It’s fitting that the world’s largest tire rests in the suburbs of the Motor City. The Uniroyal Giant Tire was created by the United States Rubber Company in 1964 and is displayed in Allen Park, along Interstate 94, just outside of Detroit. The structure is about 80 feet tall, weighs 11 metric tons, and the exterior tire tread is 6 inches deep.

9. Its own currency  

Detroit Community Scrip, also known as the Detroit Cheers, is a local currency backed by ordinary funds and is fully exchangeable for an equal amount of US dollars. The currency, available in the $3 denomination, was first issued in 2009. It’s backed by several Detroit companies that helped create it as a way of showing confidence in the local economy. So, if you want to pay for things with a crisp 3 Cheers bill, Detroit is the place to be!

10. Detroit-style pizza

It changes the pizza paradigm, coming in rectangles of thick, extra-crispy crust topped with pepperoni and mushrooms. The shape originates from being baked in square pans that were initially industrial trays used for holding small parts in factories. Once again, the city’s industrial history sets its mark on how people live.

Detroit style pizza

11. The Penguinarium

The Detroit Zoo opened the first vivarium for penguins in the United States in 1968, and so far it remains the largest and best in the country. The habitat at the Detroit Zoo ensures an ideal environment for penguins, with the air temperature set at 37 degrees Fahrenheit year-round and provides a unique experience for visitors. You get to see the penguins acting like they’re in their natural environment – diving, nesting, and rearing their young.

12. A cool motto

The city of Detroit has a very inspiring motto, and in Latin no less – “Speramus meliora; resurget cineribus,” which translates as “We hope for better things; it shall arise from the ashes.” Pretty suitable for Detroit, the motto was penned in the early 1800s by priest Gabriel Richard after a terrible fire reduced the city to ashes.

“Everything is going to be alright” is written in neon letters on the outer walls of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Detroit. That comforting statement is just what you need to start on the right foot in this thrilling city.

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About the author

Maria Gatea

Maria Gatea is a creative writer for RentCafe with a background in Journalism and Communication. After covering business and finance-related topics as a freelance writer for 15 years, she is now focusing on researching and writing about the real estate industry. You may contact Maria via email.

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