Opportunity Detroit began as a breakthrough Kid Rock-narrated and Quicken Loans-produced television spot that aired during the 2012 World Series. Since then it has grown into a movement underscoring the unparalleled opportunities available in Detroit today. What does opportunity look like? It looks like Detroit. The vision of Opportunity Detroit is to transform downtown Detroit into a great urban neighborhood that has a unique point of view, where people will choose to live, work, shop and play while enjoying the benefit of a highly valued public realm that has a super-regional – if not national – draw. The plan includes street activation, housing renovations and additions, parking additions and enhancements and way finding opportunities throughout the major downtown districts. Developments are scheduled to be complete as soon as this summer.
Nearly 50 percent of the $300 million expansion and renovation of Cobo Convention Center is complete. Currently in its third and final phase, construction includes the new 30,000 square foot Atrium. Adaptive re-use of the former Cobo Arena as a 40,000-square foot Grand Ballroom is also underway, with pre-function areas, new central kitchen, food court and additional meeting rooms. The new Atrium and Grand Ballroom will come on line this summer, with events being booked for late August and September. Redevelopment of the south side of building along the Detroit River includes new pre-function and meeting areas and two new junior ballrooms. Cobo Center operations will continue to remain open during the entire renovation process, which will be complete by the end of 2014.
The historic Pontchartrain Hotel, and most recently Detroit Riverside Hotel, will reopen this summer as the Crowne Plaza Detroit Downtown Convention Center. Located in downtown Detroit, just across the street from Cobo Center, the upscale property will be a 25-story, 371-room hotel that caters to business travelers and the meetings and conventions market. Hotel amenities include concierge service, on-site restaurant and bar, a state-of-the-art fitness center, an indoor pool, free Wi-Fi Internet, a 24-hour Business Center and valet parking available 24/7 with in and out privileges.
Construction is underway on the new Hyatt Place Detroit/Novi. The 124 room hotel will be attached to the Suburban Collection Showplace and is expected to open in October 2013. The hotel will feature a 24-hour StayFit Hyatt fitness center, 24/7 Guest Kitchen, complimentary Wi-Fi, an interior pool and an upscale exterior courtyard that will provide first-class ambiance to accommodate weddings and other elite social events. The Suburban Collection Showplace is a 215,000 square foot exposition center. Its Diamond Convention Center has 30 meeting rooms including two ballrooms; the Diamond Ballroom can accommodate up to 2,200 people and the Platinum Ballroom accommodates up to 450 people. The meeting/banquet space also has 25,000 square feet of pre-function area for registrations, cocktail receptions and networking events.
Michigan’s first Aloft Hotel is coming to Detroit in July 2014. Located in the David Whitney building downtown on Woodward Avenue in Grand Circus Park, Aloft Detroit will offer 136 rooms, banquet and meeting space, the WXYZ bar, re:mix lounge, a second restaurant and one and two bedroom residential apartments. It will also connect to the Detroit People Mover.
Detroit’s newest museum opened its doors to the public this April and features artifacts, family treasures and historical documents highlighting the history of the Greek community. The Hellenic Museum of Michigan chronicles the struggles, triumphs and contributions of a vibrant Greek immigrant community’s journey to Michigan. Their legacy will be recorded and preserved through artifacts, oral histories, documents and photographs. Current exhibits include a photographic history of Greektown and the Immigration Story.
After a major renovation, the Detroit Historical Museum is now open with new and expanded exhibits, technology upgrades, educational offerings and enhancements, with a total of 7,500 square feet updated or added to the museum. Visitors will notice three new permanent exhibits: the Gallery of Innovation, the Allesee Gallery of Culture and Detroit: the Arsenal of Democracy; an expanded Doorway to Freedom: Detroit and the Underground Railroad exhibit and updates to the Streets of Old Detroit and Motor City exhibits. The upgrades and improvements mark the first major renovations of this scale since the museum was expanded to its current size in the 1960s. In addition to the interior museum improvements, the plaza outside of the museum has been transformed into Detroit Legends Plaza, an outdoor destination meant to honor Detroit’s stars of sports, entertainment and media. Stop by and see handprints of Detroit’s living legends, such as Martha Reeves, Barry Sanders and Elmore Leonard.
The Michigan Science Center is now open in Detroit’s cultural center. Formerly the Detroit Science Center, the new Michigan Science Center’s mission is to inspire children and their families to discover, explore and appreciate science, technology and engineering in a dynamic, fun, learning environment. A new exhibit will open this summer and will be announced soon. The center currently features the exhibits Bodies Human: Anatomy in Motion and Diabetes: A Deeper Look (both through the end of May 2013). What’s Up? Your Guide to the Night Sky, The Secret of I and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Solar System are showing at the Dassault Systemes Planetarium. Also showing in the Chrysler IMAX Dome Theatre are The Human Body, Animalopolis, Dolphins and Mysteries of the Great Lakes.
Detroit’s Whole Foods Market is on schedule to open June 5. Whole Foods Market is a full-service, natural and organic grocery store, offering a wide variety of fresh-baked artisan breads, vegan and vegetarian specialties, hearty local produce, hand-cut cheeses, whole grains, seeds and nuts, natural and organic health and beauty products and the highest quality meats and seafood available. The store will also feature Detroit-centric touches, such as the tabletops in the café made from old car hoods, a timeline of Detroit events will be proudly displayed above the dairy section and the numbers at the cash registers will be made from old Motown 45s.
Upcoming Festivals, Events, Exhibits and more
Downtown Detroit will transform into a hockey winter wonderland this December in preparation for the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® that will take place Jan. 1 at Michigan Stadium on the University of Michigan campus in nearby Ann Arbor. As members of the NHL’s Original Six™ and longtime rivals, the game between the Detroit Red Wings® and Toronto Maple Leafs® is sure to be an exciting matchup. In weeks prior to the game, Detroit will host the SiriusXM Hockeytown Winter Festival™, an outdoor celebration of hockey at Comerica Park beginning in mid-December. The festival is expected to attract more than 250,000 to the city and feature an outdoor rink placed on the infield of the ballpark that will host games between teams representing every level of hockey and opportunities for open skating for the public. The showcase events at the Festival promise to be the two games featuring notable alumni of the Red Wings and Maple Leafs – the 2014 Red Wings vs. Maple Leafs Alumni Showdown™ – on New Year’s Eve, Tuesday, Dec. 31.
See why millions of Americans traveled to world’s fairs in the 1930s for a glimpse of the future at the newest exhibit at the Henry Ford Museum, Designing Tomorrow: America’s World’s Fairs of the 1930s. The exhibit brings together nearly 150 artifacts including building models, architectural remnants, furniture, ephemera, period film footage, and Elektro the Moto-Man robot.
This year dozens of museums, organizations and communities are celebrating Henry Ford’s life on the anniversary of his 150th birthday. Discover Henry Ford’s story through presentations, dinners, exhibitions, displays and other special celebrations throughout the year. Coming Together: A Celebration of Henry Ford at the Henry Ford Estate on Saturday, July 27 will bring Henry Ford to life, featuring many of his little known interests. Enjoy a BBQ picnic cooked with charcoal briquettes – an innovation of Mr. Ford, an avid outdoorsman. Experience the highlights of his beloved home, currently closed to the public for extensive restoration and reinvention, and learn intriguing facts of Mr. Ford’s life.
More than 40,000 people flock to Detroit’s Eastern Market on Saturday mornings to check out the great selection of produce, from fruits and veggies to meat and other wares. Eastern Market is also open on Tuesdays, July 9 through October 29, from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Detroit has a music festival in the coming weeks for just about every ear. Electronic music fans will fill Hart Plaza this Memorial Day weekend to see more than 100 artists on five technologically-rich outdoor stages at Movement Electronic Music Festival (www.movement.us). Country lovers will take over the grounds surrounding Comerica Park for the WYCD Downtown Hoedown May 31-June 2. Belle Isle will be rocking June 8-9 for the new Orion Music and More Festival, featuring Metallica and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
The Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix returns to the Motor City May 31-June 2, 2013, featuring the cars of the IZOD IndyCar Series, the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series and the Pirelli World Challenge Championship Series. New this year is the IndyCar doubleheader Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit presented by Quicken Loans.There are plenty of off-track activities too, including a concert from popular Poison lead singer Bret Michaels, Dwele and the Plain White T’s. Friday, May 31 is Free Prix Day where visitors can enjoy free admission to watch the day’s on-track activities, including practice and qualifying. Fans can also visit the paddock and garage areas and enjoy live entertainment.
Detroit celebrates all-things auto, all year long, and the coming months are filled with car cruises, races and shows that are sure to fill up your schedule. Here in metro Detroit we’ve coined the term Autopalooza to promote these auto-focused events. From one day, to full-weekend celebrations, you’ll have to make a couple Motor City pit stops so you don’t miss any Autopalooza action.
Celebrate Detroit’s maritime, ecological and culinary culture at the Detroit River Days Festival June 21-23. Interactive exhibits, large-scale sand sculptures, strolling entertainers, eco-friendly kids’ zones, carnival rides, and live concerts with performances featuring more than 50 local, national and international music acts will be back this year, along with some yet-to-be-announced enhancements and new components as well. This year also marks the 10th anniversary of the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy, so event organizers are expecting this year’s festival to be the best yet.
The Ford Fireworks presented by Target will light up the sky, Monday, June 24, at 10:06 p.m., with views of the Detroit River in downtown Detroit. Created and produced by The Parade Company, the event – celebrating 55 years – attracts hundreds of thousands of spectators from Detroit and Windsor for one of the most anticipated summer nights in Detroit. The show will feature more than 10,000 pyrotechnic effects.
Maker Faire at The Henry Ford celebrates creativity and discovery through interactive, family-friendly activities. Taking the do-it-yourself mindset to a new level, this event on July 27-28, presents more than 300 exhibiting makers, demonstrations and hands-on workshops in robotics, electronics, rockets, food and fashion.
The Concours d’Elegance of America returns to the Inn at St. John’s this summer on Sunday, July 28. The show exhibits prestigious collector cars and offers an automotive art exhibition, a vintage car auction, Mode du Concours and social events.
Join the more than one million visitors and over 50,000 muscle cars, street rods, custom, collector and special interest vehicles for the world’s largest one-day celebration of car culture. The 19th annual Woodward Dream Cruise takes place Saturday, August 17, 2013 and will have many great events throughout the day including entertainment and kids’ activities.
Rejoice, relive and reconnect at this year’s African World Festival. This free 3-day family friendly festival will take place August 16-18 at the Wright Museum. In its 31st year, the festival features performances, poetry, arts and crafts, African drumming and dance, hundreds of vendors, ethnic foods, and events for all ages, including an expanded Watoto Village for the younger festival-goers.
Sword swallowing, jousting tournaments, wizards and pirates are all a part of the Michigan Renaissance Festival in Holly. With more than a month of interactive, outdoor activities (weekends & Labor Day August 17-Sept. 29), including several themed weekends, this festival will take you back to a fantasy village during the days of Queen Elizabeth I.
The St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival makes its North American debut at Meadow Brook Music Festival on Sept. 14. The boutique indie festival, renowned for its forward-thinking, adventurous line-ups and inspired metropolitan locations, now spans three countries and seven cities (Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth in Australia; Auckland NZ, and Singapore).
Labor Day weekend in The D is jam packed with festivals and events all weekend long.
Now in its 34th year, the Detroit Jazz Festival features five stages and 100 acts over four days, among several Detroit city blocks from Hart Plaza to Campus Martius Park. The festival also offers educational activities for adults and children, fireworks, late-night jam sessions and rare opportunities to meet the artists. World-renowned musicians, including artist in residence Grammy award winner Danilo Pérez, will come together for this free festival, August 30-Sept 2.
Celebrate art, music, cuisine and humanity at this year’s Arts, Beats & Eats Festival, August 30-Sept 2 in downtown Royal Oak. With more than 200 performances on ten stages, a highly ranked Juried Fine Arts Show, local restaurants with some of the finest cuisine in metro Detroit and international, regional and local attractions, it’s going to be a fun weekend for all ages.
The Michigan Peach Festival of Romeo is a weekend of parades, sports, carnival rides, craft show, food and fun for the whole family over five days around Labor Day weekend, August 29- Sept. 2, in downtown Romeo.
The Michigan State Fair has found a new home at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi. The new Fifth Third Bank Michigan State Fair will feature the world famous agriculture, tourism and livestock products of the great state of Michigan this Labor Day weekend. In addition to the home arts and livestock exhibits, the fair will also feature the Detroit Shrine Circus, with the world’s largest circus tent. Fairgoers will also enjoy an expanded midway, live entertainment, a Michigan beer garden and an abundance of favorite tasty carnival treats.
Visitors looking to get their caffeine fix won’t have to look far with all the new coffee shops that have opened up downtown.
One of the latest coffee shops to open in downtown Detroit is the Urban Bean Co., which is a great place for a quick cup of Joe. The shop serves Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Co. coffee and offers products from local Detroit-area vendors including Dutch Girl Donuts, Beignets and Pinwheel Bakery in Ferndale. There is seating for 15 people with free Wi-Fi, and the second floor of the building has a DJ booth.
The Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Company located in midtown Detroit is centered on a sense of community. The café serves its own Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Company coffees, roasted locally every day, and also works with like-minded breweries, wine importers, bakeries, and other purveyors. Also look for Great Lakes Coffee on Saturday mornings at Detroit’s Eastern Market. Other coffee bars are located in Bloomfield and Lake Orion and its roastery is located in Bloomfield Hills.
Chez Zara,the first espresso bar concept in Detroit, offers coffee the way it was meant to be experienced – traditionally, affordably, and passionately. The coffee shop serves espresso drinks, including the popular Nutella Latte, organic teas and pastries from Detroit’s Avalon bakery. Chez Zara originally opened in 2009 in a storefront along Woodward Ave., but moved to its new location in the M@dison Building in August 2012.
The New York based Roasting Plant coffee shop recently opened in Detroit in the First National Building at Campus Martius Park. This is the company’s first location outside of New York City and the co-owner is a native Detroiter. The Roasting Plant offers 11 daily choices of coffee from around the world, brewed by an on-the-spot Javabot system that ensures the freshest cup of coffee possible.
Along with all these coffee shops that have opened up downtown, there are also many new restaurants now open or opening soon.
Stay connected with what’s going on in The D
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