Downtown Detroit’s Vibrant Core

Content brought to you by Ford Motor Company Fund

he central business district is the heart of any big city. But Detroit's central business district, its downtown area, is more than just the city's core.

"Downtown is the epicenter, business, (and) entertainment center for not just the city of Detroit but the entire metropolitan region," says Jeanette Pierce, director of community relations at D:hive, a Detroit-based group that helps inform and connect people looking to visit Detroit or live and work in the city.

Millions visit downtown each year to experience the city's theaters, stadiums and events. With about 150 bars and restaurants in the one-square-mile area, everything from jazz performances to Cuban cuisine is within walking distance, Pierce says.

"The best part about downtown is that you have all of these big-stream amenities," but also "the sense of community," she adds, noting this is unique for a big city. Many of downtown's businesses are locally owned and operated, she adds.


And while there are "always new things" to experience downtown, there are also some great shops "that have been around a long time" people sometimes don't think to visit, Pierce says. For those who think they know the area, "there's always more to know," she says.

Downtown has plenty of public spaces to enjoy, too, including the city's point of origin, Campus Martius Park, complete with a fountain, free summer concerts every week day and even outdoor games like cornhole.

"It's something for everyone," she says. "That's really what downtown is."

The downtown area has grown dramatically in the last 10 years. The city's core is at 97 percent capacity with about 6,000 residents. In the last two years, there are over 10,000 new employees working downtown, with companies like Quicken Loans and Blue Cross Blue Shield moving to the area.

"It's only the beginning," Pierce says. The ground breaking for the M-1 Rail project is slated for the summer, and businesses are continuing to move to the city.

When asked "Why Detroit?" Pierce answers, "because it's big enough to matter in the world but small enough where you can matter in it."

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