Known as ‘The Motor City’ for its long and established history with car manufacturing, Detroit fell into an economic and cultural decline as the industry moved away. However, an influx of young, affluent creatives has led to a mass regeneration in the city in recent years. Boutiques, micro-breweries and quirky cafes are popping up on every corner and there is now a vibrant and innovative art culture. Endless glass skyscrapers, an expanse of green space and a historical and thriving jazz scene all make Detroit one of the most exciting cities in the USA to discover.
The city also boasts a friendly, inclusive and passionate gay community and scene to match. The main gay district in Detroit is the Ferndale area, a quaint and walkable part of the city that is home to a range of LGBT+ organizations as well as numerous gay bars, clubs and cafes. Detroit has held pride parades since 1986 that attract tens of thousands annually.
The recently regenerated, three-mile-long East Riverfront area is one of the most popular spots in Detroit for locals and visitors alike, who flock to the airy promenade area to walk, socialize and cycle. The Riverfront is a bustling hive of activity with multiple plazas, parks, green spaces, shops and restaurants spread along its length. The most beautiful feature of the area is the Riverwalk, a stretching and open walkway that offers panoramic views across the river.
Hart Plaza is one of the Riverfront’s many public spaces and is frequently host to major city events. Featuring huge contemporary sculptures and bordered by some of Detroit’s tallest skyscrapers, every year the plaza welcomes The Motor City Pride – a three-day celebration of the city’s LGBT+ community.
Detroit’s gay nightlife scene is generally focused around the Ferndale and Palmer Park areas of the city, and the small scale of these neighborhoods means you can easily hop from venue to venue, sampling the best of the city’s gay bars and clubs.
Fans of drag and cabaret should look no further than Gigi’s, one of Detroit’s most popular gay bars and the best venue in the city for themed nights and events. Spread over two floors, the upstairs offers a loud clubbing experience, with a large dancefloor and multiple bars. However, the downstairs of the club features a performance area that frequently plays host to some of the world’s most famous drag queens, including multiple RuPaul’s Drag Race alumni.
The city has a broad and varied range of gay bars and club that cater to a range of interests and tastes. Some of the best gay venues in Detroit include Hayloft Saloon, The Liberty Bar, Briggs and Inuendo.
GM Renaissance Center
Not many cities have a downtown area comprised of a complex of seven interconnected
Skyscrapers. Commissioned by Henry Ford and completed in 1973, the complex is the most central location in Detroit and features the city’s tallest building. A hub of shopping, dining and entertaining, the Renaissance Center is a hive of activity and home to many of Detroit’s designer stores and even a Michelin star restaurant.
The focal point of the GM Renaissance Center is the Wintergarden, an indoor plaza which is surrounded by a plethora of shops and restaurants. The area is one of Detroit’s busiest, with crowds of locals and tourists packing out its walkways. Also home to a cinema and jazz club, the Wintergarden is a hub of culture in Detroit.
Detroit Institute of Art
The city’s most significant cultural location is the Detroit Institute of Art, opened in 1927 and a world-class art museum. An expansive building, the institute is comprised of over 100 galleries, a 1,150 seat auditorium and a 380 seat lecture hall. The institute’s permanent collection includes thousands of pieces including multiple works by Diego Rivera and Vicent Van Gogh.
The collection of works by Diego Rivera is one of the most extensive in the world, and details the artists complex life, including his marriage to the iconic Freida Kahlo. The exhibition includes the Detroit Industry fresco cycle, which Rivera considered his most successful work.
Regardless of whether you’re a baseball fan or not, you’re guaranteed to enjoy the thrilling Comerica Park. The home of the Detroit Tigers and one of the country’s most significant baseball parks, Comercia park has a seating capacity of over 40,000 and is home to a range of other attractions. Baseball games can be caught throughout the week at the park and offer an authentic and traditional Detroit sports experience, complete with hotdogs, nachos and beer.
If baseball isn’t your thing, don’t worry, Comercia Park is home to a number of rides and attractions that are sure to excite any visitor. From the carousel and 50-foot Ferris wheel to the expansive food and beer halls, there is something for every gay traveler to enjoy at Comerica Park.
by George Pizani | On: Gay Detroit