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Take advantage of Detroit’s transformed riverfront with a stroll along the new RiverWalk (pictured above), three miles of which are currently completed (and easily accessed by several of the stops on the People Mover). Feeling more energetic? Turn inland along the Dequindre Cut Greenway (below), which deposits bikers, skaters, joggers, and walkers at Eastern Market, 1.35 miles away. From the riverfront, you can access this new urban greenway between Orleans and St. Aubin Streets. Burn off that corned beef sandwich before you even eat it!
The best thing about biking in Detroit? Very little crowds. Both the RiverWalk and the Dequindre Cut Greenway are ideal biking paths, as is leafy Belle Isle Park (map), the country’s largest city-owned island park. That’s right: The park, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted (of Central Park fame) in 1883, is a 983-acre island in the Detroit River, literally a stone’s throw from Canada and easily accessed by bridge from downtown. Cycling around the island is about five miles, but there are interior paths as well, in addition to nature trails, sports fields, a nature zoo, driving range, public swimming beach, and even a waterslide. Bike rentals are available at Wheelhouse Detroit (1340 E. Atwater St., map; two hours for $15; four hours for $25; full day for $35) along the river; go on a Tues or Thurs for a special half-off two-hour cruiser rental.
You won’t burn a ton of calories with these, but a few of our other favorite things to do in Detroit include:
Detroit Institute of Arts (5200 Woodward Ave., map): A gorgeous museum with an excellent, diverse collection, a highlight being Diego Rivera’s sublime Detroit Industry fresco cycle—perhaps the finest example of Mexican mural art in the U.S., and an absolute must-see. ($8 adult admission)
Heidelberg Project (3600 Heidelberg St., map): Awe-inspiring street art at the other, grittier end of the Detroit art spectrum—and just as much of a must when in town—that turns dilapidated houses into whimsical creations using colorful found objects (pictured above); the project's mission is to improve the lives of people and the neighorbood through art, via community development initiatives and art/education classes for children and residents. Created by artist Tyree Guyton in 1986, this outdoor community-art project has survived numerous attempts by the city to destroy it, and more recently a string of arson fires, so be sure to go and show some support while you're here.
Pewabic Pottery (10125 E. Jefferson Ave., map): A great souvenir stop, this nonprofit ceramic art education center (and National Historic Landmark) is known for its signature glazed tile and pottery, which have been created here since 1903. You can score small tiles for about $14.
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