According to the travel guide, Lonely Planet, Detroit ranks second, only to Seville, Spain, in the best cities to visit in 2018. The travel publication, which boasts a Twitter following of 6.1 million and is the largest travel guide book publisher in the world, named Detroit second in the world of “Best in Travel 2018 Top Cities.” Detroit was the only city in America named on the list.
I repeat…second in the WORLD. I don’t even know if there are any Michiganders who believe that Detroit is the second most must-see city in the state, let alone the world. But this just further proves that the global perception of the Motor City is on the upswing.
Here’s the Lonely Planet description:
While those who are familiar with Detroit know that the city has quite a long ways to go before returning to prosperous times, this is major affirmation that the city is very close to regaining the global reach and influence felt during the Industrial Revolution.
Detroit has always been a city of innovators and creators cultivating the future of the world one step at a time. Once upon a time it was ol’ Henry Ford and the assembly plants changing the game from within city limits. Detroit is known for motors and Motown…and vacant buildings.
In any other city they tear vacant buildings down. But not in Detroit. Detroiters know that those buildings have character. They have grit. They are…
…eek. Maybe Lonely Planet missed this part of the city. Or maybe they didn’t because this is still the essence of Detroit. There were roughly 78,000 vacant buildings in the city in 2013, according to The Huffington Post. Since that time, Detroit has demolished over 10,000 vacant homes and Mayor Mike Duggan has plans to bring down 10,000 more over the next 2 years, per mLive.
To many, that is still the beauty that lies beneath the shadows. Photographers, adventurers, pot smokers, journalists, tourists and more all head to abandoned hallways and rooftops to check out the often untouched remnants of a broken down infrastructure. It’s eerie. It’s thought-provoking. It’s powerful. Powerful to imagine how quickly things can turn for a once-thriving city. Powerful to think of what was happening in that spot, at that time, 50-100 years ago and how the fortunes of Detroit changed on a dime. It was like one day, Detroit was just hit with the ‘Reverse’ card in ‘Uno.’ Then every time it comes back to their turn they get hit with a ‘Draw 4,’ ‘Skip,’ or another ‘Reverse.’ Simply infuriating just thinking about it (Uno that is).
But maybe that’s why Detroit ranks second on this list ahead of cities: Canberra, Australia; Hamburg, Germany; Kaohsiung, Taiwan; Antwerp, Belgium; Matera, Italy; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Guanajuato, Mexico; and Oslo, Norway. Detroit brings a level of history in the form of empty buildings and an unforgettable past that no other city can claim. Did anybody from Oslo start the streamlining of the automation industry thus changing the way the entire world does work, introducing the 9-5? Didn’t think so. And the people of Oslo eat whale pretty commonly which should have dropped them off the list completely, but that’s neither here nor there.
What sets Detroit apart from the rest of the world is also what is holding the city back. The old buildings bring personality. They don’t make buildings like these abandoned places anymore, says Lonely Planet.
“America’s most ambitious renovation project,” they said, and it’s true. The revitalization of Detroit is indeed ambitious and it’s unclear if Lonely Planet, centered in Melbourne, Australia, was fully aware of the situation in Detroit when they wrote this.
If we’re being honest, there are hundreds, maybe thousands, of cities that I would rather visit than Detroit. But there is no other place in the world I would have rather grown up around.
What goes up must come down, but what goes down doesn’t always find its way back up. Detroit is finding its way back up. It may have taken a long, long, long time, but it’s happening.
(While writing this, breaking news came across WDIV Channel 4 News of a vacant house fire, where a homeless man was reported to be sleeping, that was spreading to neighbors’ homes. Water pressure issues reportedly hindered Detroit Firefighters’ ability to extinguish the fire, thus highlighting the infrastructure issues Detroit still faces.)