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Aerial view of Downtown Detroit.

16 Things to Know About Living in Detroit

Moving to Detroit? The 313 is one of the best places to live in Michigan and offers affordability, a robust sports culture, delicious local cuisine, and more. Check out these 16 things you need to know about living in Detroit!

Take Advantage of Affordable Living

If you’ve decided to move to Detroit, the biggest city in Michigan won’t break the bank! This Midwestern city is budget-friendly—its below-average costs in utilities and healthcare help make Detroit’s cost of living 16% lower than the national average. If you’ll be renting in Detroit, you’ll find rent prices 21% lower than the U.S. average at $754. But those planning to buy a home in Detroit can find several price points, with the median home price just $41,000—78% lower than the U.S. average.

Find Employment in Detroit

Detroit, Michigan is well-known for its place in automotive historyFord Motor Company, General Motors, and Chrysler Stellantis are three top car manufacturers headquartered in the Detroit area. But manufacturing careers aren’t all Detroit has to offer—you can find jobs in many other major Detroit industries! Join Henry Ford Hospital or Beaumont Hospital-Royal Oak, both important employers in Detroit’s healthcare industry. Find a range of employment opportunities with the City of Detroit, one of the largest employers in Motor City. Or consider joining the emerging startup ecosystem in Detroit, including up-and-coming Detroit startups like StockX, Signal Advisors, Our Next Energy, and EXO Freight.

Use Public Transportation in “The Automobile Capital of the World”

Most Motor City residents get around by car, but the area continues to work on improving Detroit public transportation. There are two different types of buses in Detroit—the DDOT bus operates within Detroit and the SMART bus will take you suburb-to-suburb or suburb-to-city. The QLine Detroit is a newer addition to Detroit public transit that will take you southbound toward Downtown or northbound toward New Center in 15 minutes or less. Easily get around with the Detroit People Mover, which takes a 3-mile loop around Detroit’s downtown area. MoGo Detroit also has over 600 bikes available to rent for convenient and quick traveling. Or if you need to travel outside of Detroit, choose Michigan’s largest airport, the Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport.

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Get Higher Education at Quality Schools

Prospective students have top-notch universities in Detroit to choose from. Attend the largest Catholic university in Michigan and pick from over 100 programs such as biochemistry, psychology, and nursing at the University of Detroit Mercy. Study health sciences at Wayne State University, a Carnegie Foundation-designated institution. Register for classes at Wayne County Community College, a great community college in Detroit that offers programs of study like criminal justice, business administration, and surgical technology. Hone your skills and work toward a master’s degree in motion design, art education, user experience design, and more at the College for Creative Studies. Or take a short commute to the University of Michigan-Dearborn where you can enroll in popular majors like political science, electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering.

Take Advantage of Great Weather

This Midwestern city gets all four seasons, so if you’re not used to hot and humid summers or snowy winters, be sure to prepare for the seasonal weather changes. But no matter what time of year it is, there are plenty of fun things to do in Detroit! Take a pleasant spring stroll from Rosa Parks Boulevard to the Belle Isle Bridge along the top riverwalk in the U.S., the Detroit RiverWalk. Lace up your ice skates and head to Campus Martius Park for some outdoor winter fun. See historic landmarks near the Detroit River while enjoying a family-friendly Diamond Jack’s River Tour. Or go leaf-peeping in Detroit while on a relaxing family bike ride on the Dequindre Cut.

Take Advantage of Island Hopping

Did you know you can island hop in Detroit? Jump over to Belle Isle and visit popular attractions like the James Scott Memorial Fountain—or enjoy exotic plants, seasonal flowers, and more at Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory. Cool off in the water or build sandcastles at Belle Isle Beach. Learn about aquatic organisms, ecosystems, and invasive plants and animals at exhibits in Belle Isle Aquarium. Head to the biggest island on the Detroit River, Grosse Ile, and enjoy fall activities like hayrides at Westcroft Gardens—or attend Islandfest in June for a carnival, live entertainment, and fireworks. Travel 35 minutes north of Detroit’s city center to enjoy the Apple Orchard Museum and annual Apple Island Tours at Apple Island, a 37-acre island in the middle of Orchard Lake. Or hike the Refuge Gateway trails, Orange Trail, or Green Trail while keeping an eye out for cormorants, blue herons, and bald eagles at the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge on Humbug Island.

Dive In to Detroit History

Detroit’s rich history is central to the city’s culture—so there are plenty of museums in Detroit to explore! Learn how the Detroit Underground Railroad, how Detroit became Motor City, the growth of Detroit music, and more at the Detroit Historical Museum. Tour exhibits like With Liberty and Justice for All, Driving America, Heroes of the Sky, and more at the Henry Ford Museum. See Arab American perspectives of immigration in galleries like Contributions from the Arab World, Coming to America, Living in America, and Making an Impact at the Arab American National Museum. Hear eyewitness accounts from survivors and view historic items, images, and films as you walk through the Holocaust Memorial Center. Learn how past Detroiters traveled the river, or visit Miss Pepsi, the first hydroplane to reach 100 miles per hour at the Dossin Great Lakes Museum. Or take the day to explore permanent and rotating exhibits about Black history in Detroit and the cultural impact of African Americans at the Charles Wright Museum.

Have Family Fun

Looking for fun things to do in Detroit with the family? Learn the history of space travel in the Space Gallery, try to make it up Math Mountain, or explore Jupiter in the Earth. Wind. Weather. exhibit at the Michigan Science Center. See 25 butterfly species at the Butterfly Garden, visit the Great Apes of Harambe to see chimpanzees and gorillas, and watch penguins explore in the Polk Penguin Conservation Center at the Detroit Zoo. Jump across lily pads in the Beaver Lodge Wetland, learn the history of Michigan forests in the Pine Forest and Trails, or view 154 fish species in the Underwater Michigan exhibit at the Outdoor Adventure Center. Head just outside the city to get up and personal with sea creatures in the Interactive Touchpool, or check out the Stingray Bay, Shoaling Ring, and Shipwreck exhibits at the SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium. Splash in the swimming pool, go down the water slides, or relax in the lazy river at the Turtle Cove Family Aquatic Center. Or find your way through the Corn Maze, climb Straw Mountain, or pet farm animals at the Petting Zoo at Westview Orchards & Winery.

Find Community & Initiative in Detroit

Detroit has a long history of activism, so it’s no surprise that there are plenty of ways to get involved in the community. The Detroit Justice Center collaborates with the Detroit community to advocate for Water Justice, Clean Slate legislation for people with criminal records, and Bail Reform. Volunteer in Detroit, serve with the local United Way, or advocate with the Homeless Action Network of Detroit. Contribute to the growth of Detroit by joining the over 100 members of the Community Development Advocates of Detroit (CDAD), who push for community engagement, organization, and activities. Help seniors with housing, transportation, health, and more by working with the Detroit Area Agency on Aging (DAAA). Or support fellow Detroit residents with Feedom Freedom, a non-profit dedicated to providing fresh food and community.

Be Loud & Proud in Detroit

Detroit boasts a strong LGBTQ community that includes gay-owned businesses, restaurants, and organizations. Find support at LGBT Detroit, which has many programs including a leadership academy for mentors, healing and support services, and even voter engagement events. LGBTQ youth in Detroit can also find programs on health and wellness, housing, skill-building workshops, and other safety-net services at the Ruth Ellis Center. Savor sweet treats like the Sweet Potato Pound Cake, Strawberry Crunch Cupcake, Lemon Gooey Butter Cake, and more at lesbian-owned bakery Good Cakes and Bakes. Wind down with a few drinks in a safe space at Gigi’s Gay Bar, the oldest gay bar in Detroit. Join Motor City Pride, a volunteer-run, two-day event with over 50,000 participants, 14 different vendors and food trucks, and a parade! Purchase tickets to the week-long celebration with concerts, food, art shows, and more at Hotter Than July, the world’s second-oldest Black LGBTQ Pride.

Support Local Detroit Sports Teams

As one of America’s most passionate sports cities, sports in Detroit will keep you busy! Whether you’re a hockey or basketball person, you can buy tickets to see 11-time Stanley Cup winners the Detroit Red Wings (NHL) slap the puck in goal, or watch the Detroit Pistons (NBA) score three-pointers at the Little Caesars Arena. Gear up in your blue and white and join fans at Ford Field in Downtown Detroit to cheer on the Detroit Lions (NFL). Or snack on peanuts and crackers while you watch the Detroit Tigers (MLB) hit a home run out of the ballpark on opening day at Comerica Park.

Explore Detroit Arts

Known for being the birthplace of Motown, it’s no surprise that this historical city has even more to offer when it comes to the arts! Visit the largest surviving movie palace to see traveling plays and performances like Bluey’s Big Play, Nutcracker! Magical Christmas Ballet, or Madagascar the Musical at the Fox Theatre. Enjoy an evening at the Detroit Opera House where you can listen to recitals and classic operas like Shen Yun, Ainadamar, and more. Experience an unforgettable ballet performance of Steel Magnolias, Game. Set. Match!, and shows by community playwrights through In the Works at Tipping Point Theatre. View works from famous artists like Vincent van Gogh, Pieter Bruegel, or even Kehinde Wiley at the Detroit Institute of Arts. Walk through rotating exhibits featuring Contemporary artists, musicians, and others at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit. And don’t forget to enjoy immersive tours about how Detroit produced the “Sound of Young America” at the Motown Museum.

Groove to Music in Detroit Rock City

With a history of famous musicians—including Smokey Robinson, Alice Cooper, Aretha Franklin, and more—calling Detroit home, there are plenty of local music festivals and live music venues in Motown. Attend one of the longest-running dance music events in the world for two days of music, food, and dancing at Movement Detroit. Enjoy local music, art, food, and lots of beer at Dally in the Alley, Detroit’s longest-running block party. Listen to blues music in Detroit free of charge at Detroit Music Weekend, where you will find both up-and-coming artists and music legends. During Labor Day weekend, enjoy over 60 performances by local musicians at the Detroit Jazz Festival. Enter the Cass Corridor to find live music, cabaret, and more at Willis Show Bar. Or catch a live music event like Kassa Overall, Yes, and Sampled Memorial Weekend at The Marble Bar.

Feast on Detroit Favorites

With all the delicious cuisine available at Detroit restaurants, you won’t leave Motown on an empty stomach. Looking for a great breakfast in Detroit? Start your morning with a Santa Fe Omelette, Duck Bop Hash, or Brioche French Toast at Dime Store. Grab a corner of freshly made Detroit-style pizza at the original location of Buddy’s Pizza. Dig into dishes using fresh, locally-sourced ingredients—like Celery Root Agnolotti, Beef Tartare, or Smoked Lamb Ribs at Selden Standard. Fill your belly with award-winning barbeque like St. Louis Cut Ribs, Beef Brisket, or Pulled Pork at Slows Bar BQ. Make a reservation to enjoy the Poached Pear Salad, Truffle Farro Risotto, Vintage Ribeye, and more at the Apparatus Room. Find amazing vegan comfort food like Pepper Steak with Brown Rice, the Oyster Mushroom Po Boy, and Catfish Tofu at Detroit Vegan Soul. Or if you’re on the hunt for the best Detroit coney dog, be sure to stop by local favorite Lafayette Coney Island.

Sip Detroit Brews

Detroit breweries have a hoppin’ long history of beer brewing! Try unique wild beers like Bambiere, La Roja, Biere de Mars, or Calabaza Blanca at Jolly Pumpkin. Sit down and enjoy a pint of Elephant Juice, Raspberry Gose, Wunderboi, or Umbrella Weather at Eastern Market Brewing. Find seasonal and year-round craft beers such as Cloud 19, Yumtown, Cornerman Red Ale, and Cold Brew Detroit at Brew Detroit. Enjoy delicious Detroit craft beer flavors like Purple Gang Pilsner, Detroit City Juice, Atwater Lager, and Vanilla Java Porter at Atwater Brewery. Check out the selection of beer flavors like Honey Porter, The Notorious D.R.I.P.A., Double Dark Red, or Gigawatt at one of the oldest breweries in Detroit, Motor City Brewing Works. Or savor an ice-cold Atomic Boombox, Peaches in Regalia, Rude Boy Bitter, Persephone Days, or Swellegant beer at Batch Brewing in Corktown, Detroit.

Enjoy Detroit Nightlife like a Local

The Paris of the Midwest has a vibrant nightlife filled with hidden gems and trendy hot spots. Enter the pink oasis hidden in the back of the Siren Hotel and sip on cocktails like Eve’s Orchard, Morning Glory, or Rivera’s Muse at Candy Bar Detroit. Catch local comedic talent and famous headliners like Hans Kim, Sasheer Zamata, and Ali Siddiq at the Detroit House of Comedy. Keep the laughs going when you attend the ALL-STAR Showdown and other comedy shows at the Go Comedy! Improv Theatre. Take a short drive out of the Detroit Metro to the Ford Drive-In Theatre, where you can watch blockbuster movies in the front row. And if you’re looking for a slow-paced evening, enjoy jazz and soul music with a drink of your choice at the legendary Detroit speakeasyCafé d’Mongo’s.


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About Mike Beutler

Mike Beutler is a writer and digital content specialist who transitioned to self storage in 2020 after several years in the airline industry. His travels cultivated a passion for exploring cities across the U.S. and abroad and inspired him to learn more about practical insights for urban living. With 14 moves under his belt, both locally and cross-country, he also has a passion for minimalism and organization, and sharing tips to help others make any space feel like home while staying organized.