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Take The Scenic Route

A Driver's Guide To Motown

By Adrianne Reynolds

Some of the simplest pleasures are being able to drive, drive and drive. Maybe that’s why Detroit has sights that must not be missed. 
Being a native Detroiter, I have spent time driving for enjoyment. Personally, I believe that until you drive a standard shift car, you’ve never driven. If you are visiting Detroit for the first time or whether you are just looking for the uniqueness about Detroit allow me to suggest sites and scenery that make Detroit - A sight for sore eyes.

I have discovered a route around the city you should travel where urban meets country. Starting at the State Fair Grounds located on Woodward Aveune and East 8 Mile Road. There you will notice an overpass that takes you north directly to suburban Royal Oak, Michigan. This is ground zero.

Headed south on Woodward, your first site would be Woodlawn Cemetery were Sister Rosa Parks’s lay in peace. Directly behind the cemetery is Palmer Woods. The estates of some prominent people that are die hard Detroiters possessing an appreciation for fine French built homes. Build in an era when homeowners didn't want to be recognized as being wealthy or boastful. Some of the greatness of these homes are the wooden beamed ceilings and front porch positioned on the side of homes facing the driveway.

Across from there is where Tiger Woods played 18 holes at Palmer Woods Golf Club. Behind there is Sherwood Forest that offers more French and Romanesque style homes. There are homes within Sherwood Forest that actually share a golf course as their backyard.

Then, there's Palmer Park, a city park offering recreational facilities and is well know as Detroit’s Gay Community offering an array of buroke style apartments, complexes and duplex’s. Now, head over to the left hand turn lane and commence to make a Michigan U-turn towards East 7 Mile turn right, then you're in the heart of an Arabic Community.

Continue driving down East 7 Mile to John R (the original dividing line between the east and west sides) and make a right turn. Drive down John R until McNichols (6 Mile), turn right and keep ahead for about ¼ of a mile. Now, headed west, pass Woodward to Pontchartrain turn right; this area is a continuance of Sherwood Forest.

Further, on the west side of Pontchartrain beyond the park is a gated community where musicial icons and  influential people own property. Following Pontchartrain takes you through the park and leads to 7 Mile Road finalizing a complete circle, turn right onto 7 Mile Road then make a right onto Woodward getting another look at the northeast end.


Going on down Woodward, you see the four star eatery – The Whitney. This historical building has new property owners whose intentions include the continuance of gourmet, traditional American Cuisine and Live Jazz on Fridays, Saturdays and Bunch on Sundays.

Then, the newest trend in technology and socialization – a Cyber Café called Beans and Bytes. Now, you can’t forget about the classic Union Street Bistro and the Historical Majestic Theater.
And, for any party games, costumes, gimmicks or special events rental gear, you must visit the store that has been around for decades Zakoors.

Further is the Wayne State University and Civic Center Reception Hall. Look forward and then you see the Fine Arts Theater and at the corner of I-75 at Woodward, once stood the final Detroit headquarters of Motown’s Administrative Offices and Studios.


Proceeding south on Woodward past McNichols, under the via dock you enter a city within a city – “Highland Park”.  Further down Woodward about another mile or so you are in the mist of Historical homes located on the east and west side of Woodward.

On the east side of Woodward is Arden Park and the Westside of Woodward is Chicago within the Boston/Edison Area. Some of the great features about the structures of homes is the history, the elaborate, Romanesque and majestic influence that has been persevered and that demands your attention.

Prior to renovation, I had the pleasure of viewing an entire house that had a total of four fireplaces; two of which were located in the basement. The Boston/Edison Historical District rich history harbors homes of the worlds best Icons like Dianna Ross, Barry Gordy and the Cathedral of the Most High Sacrament Church, where Arch Bishop of Detroit – Adam Cardinal Meida, played host to Pope John Paul II on his historic visit to Detroit.

There exists immense regal history and awesome French architecture within this historical communities. All these properties remain maintained, manicured and a pleasurable tourist attraction.

Next is the historical Little Rock Baptist Church and Detroit – Northern High School. Further, is Cornerstone School, then, it’s the new multi-activity center for youth – “Youthville”. Sharing the same vicinity surrounding Woodard and Grand Blvd. is the New Center Area that embraces the Fisher Theatre, GM Bldg and the former Ritz Carlton Hotel renamed Hotel St. Regis (Grand Blvd was once the dividing line for North & South).

If you look closer on your right side of Woodward, just above a viaduct, there is a new Train Station bringing tradition and grace together, marvelously. Pushing forward is another historical site, the original home of Steinway Piano Company which is now the new home of Charfoos & Christen, P.C.

Approaching Wayne State University, performing as an opening act to the splendors within Wayne State University (WSU) Campus and Cultural Center is the Detroit Historical Museum, Detroit Main Library and Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA).

Just a minute away from there is the unprecedented Detroit Medical Center where you will find
Detroit Receiving Hospital & University Health Center, Hutzel Hospital, Children’s Hospital, Kresge Eye Institute and Karmanos Cancer Institute.

Directly, across the bridge is several properties owned by the renowned Illitch Family. On the right is Hockeytown and Fox Theatre. Across the street from there is the Home of the “Detroit Tigers” – Comerica Park.



Built next door to the Fox Theatre is the State Theatre, formerly known as the Palms Theatre. Then, the new home of the Detroit Lions; Ford Field adjacent to Comerica Park.

Downtown Detroit begins to present its very best, as new stores, eateries and structures reappear offering an atmosphere of old and new school. Southward you are placed in the new center of Downtown Detroit where stores, pubs and restaurants like the Hard Rock Café and Campus Martius Park for seasonal recreation is available.

Located in front of Hart Plaza in the heart of Downtown Detroit representing the strongest, most powerful and meaningful artwork in Detroit – “The Spirit of Detroit Statue and the Forearm and Fist sculpture of World Heavyweight Champion – Joe Louis.

Finally, engraved into stone is a creative display of written quotations spoken by Detroiters entitled the “Voices of the People”. You must see these sites!  
Drive and you will enjoy this route and Detroit.