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Scene In Detroit: Out-of-Towners’ Edition

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(Photo: Amelia Kanan) There is plenty for out-of-town visitors to experience in Detroit.

(Photo: Amelia Kanan) There is plenty for out-of-town visitors to experience in Detroit.

By Amelia Kanan, CBS Detroit Blogger

This weekend was a whirlwind for me. Not only did I have out-of-town guests, but I also had a photo project to work on that took my attention out of the city limits, leaving a couple of my guests to discover Detroit on their own (of course I gave them some tips and somewhat of a guide so they weren’t totally alone).

Although I was excited to show the truth of the city to these out-of-towers who had never been to the D, I was still nervous because they already had a slightly negative opinion of Detroit thanks to TIME magazine, Dateline coverage and other outside perspectives.

However, I am so pleased to report that both out-of-town parties, who ranged in age and came from two major cities from both sides of the country, were pleasantly surprised and a bit blown away over how amazing Detroit is in reality. Bonus-they all want to have plans to come back.

In case you have visitors coming or want to know what exactly made this such a great trip for my quests, here’s a list of their favorite things:

Food: Supino’s Pizza, RoastAvalon Breads, PegasusAstro Coffee, Sweetwater Tavern, Sugar House and Astoria were among the top tummy and taste pleasers.

Small Businesses: Places like City Bird, Goods and Mantra reflected the quaintness of the motor city plus provided unique souvenirs for my guests to take home.

The Architecture: My visitors seemed to be blown away not by the abandoned buildings but rather the structures that have been preserved. The images and knowledge of Detroit’s abandoned buildings have been mentally ingrained in our nation’s brain so when my friends came across huge, beautiful, restored buildings it was a bit shocking.

Museums: Whether you are an art historian or not, it’s difficult not to have a profound appreciation for the The MOCAD and The DIA.

The People: Everywhere my visitors went, one thing was sure, people here were “just so nice”. If my out-of-towners got lost or needed a little inside info, every stranger they came across was always happy to help. Not to mention, as soon as they mentioned they were visiting from out of town the servers, bartenders, hosts, store owners or other patrons became even more open and offered little extras to making my guests feel even more welcome. Southern hospitality has nothing on us.

Their Own Driving Tour: A lot of one couples’ enjoyment came from just zig-zagging around town, hitting up neighborhoods and places like Belle Isle, Indian Village, Hubbard Farms and Boston Edison. They felt as though they were able to gain a genuine visual of the diversity, art, history and progress that exists here.

So rest assured, no matter what Dateline says, Detroit is a place that can be appreciated, enjoyed and loved not just by its natives but from outsiders as well.

Amelia Kanan is freelance writer/photographer and a returning native of Detroit. A graduate of Columbia College in Chicago, she wrote for an Emmy nominated sketch comedy show and pursued her passion for documentary filmmaking in Los Angeles. An incomplete list of her loves: books, human rights, improv, the smell of new shoes, talking to strangers, libraries, France, yoga, furniture, music, sociology and pushing the limits.

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