There were quite a few places of interest to see today so I marked them off on a map, figured out a bit of a route and off I went. The Motown Museum was as good a place as any to start. I love Motown Music and was looking forward to seeing where some of the greatest artists of all time emerged from. Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, Diana Ross and the Supremes, Martha Reeves, the Four Tops and most probably all sorts of other legends that I’ve forgotten. You get a tour of the Hitsville USA house, the original location of the studios where Berry Gordy started it all. It’s just a normal-looking house (or two houses with the offices next door to the studio) where some of the finest music ever recorded happened to be made. After these studios were outgrown, Motown moved to a much larger setup in downtown Detroit and later to Los Angeles in the 1970s. Without wishing to be rude (which people usually say prior to being rude), the tour guide was frankly a bit of a pain in the arse. Or to be diplomatic, I wasn’t keen on her style of tour guiding. Throughout the whole thing she was shouting, yelping, hollering and any annoying verbs that seemed as though she was lacking in attention. We were there to listen to some amazing music, without her singing and dancing along! I must have been giving out unimpressed vibes as I was pretty much the only person in the group who she didn’t try and get to sing along with Smokey Robinson. Having said that, perhaps this sort of shouty style is encouraged as I could hear the tour guide from the group behind us who also had a heck of a gob on her!
I then walked from New Center area down the main street in central Detroit, Woodward Avenue. This was easier said than done as a light rail track is being laid there and a for a fair bit of the way I was clambering through a building site. The New Center was supposed to be what its name suggests and a couple of notable buildings were built, including the beautiful Fisher Building. However the Great Depression soon followed and the area never really took off. The next section of Woodward Avenue is Midtown, home of the new ice hockey arena. Before you arrive in downtown Detroit you pass through the area containing the newish Detroit Tigers baseball stadium and Detroit Lions NFL stadiums, as well as some grand looking theatres. The pick of these is the Fox Theatre which from the outside looks as impressive as its namesake in St Louis. After about three miles of walking from the New Center you’re in downtown. This sums up how Detroit is far too big for itself. You could fit all of this in half or less of the area. I took some photos of the impressive downtown architecture in, possibly the source of the Paris of the Midwest moniker.
The Tigers were playing tonight but I wasn’t sure exactly how I’d safely get home so decided to give it a miss. I’ve been lucky enough to have visited all the classic baseball stadiums and have no huge desire so see the new generic ones such as Comercia Park. On way back to hostel I had a look in the MGM Grand Casino. For a Friday afternoon I couldn’t believe how busy it was. It’s a huge casino, Vegas-size. Loads of people were playing the one-armed bandits and there were plenty of takers on the blackjack tables. From what I could see the minimum bet was $15 so suffice to say I didn’t partake!