Living in Detroit has plenty of perks, but it also comes with a whole slew of stereotypes and misconceptions. When you announce that you’re from Detroit, you’re almost guaranteed to get a few judgmental looks. But there’s much that should be learned and understood about Detroit before making a judgement — so we’ve compiled a list of eleven things that every non-Detroiter should know.
1. Detroit is probably responsible for some of your favorite music.
Nashville is home to country music, jazz hails from New Orleans, and rock ’n roll comes from all over — but when it comes to that unbeatable Motown sound, Detroit is the ultimate. Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, even 90s superstars like Aaliyah: they’re all products of the Detroit music scene!
2. When it comes to sports, we’re the only ones allowed to ridicule our teams.
Yes, we know that the Lions aren't necessarily the best team in the NFL. We also know that that’s a massive understatement. But leave the fun-poking to us, please. Despite the frustration we often feel during football season, we’ll still defend our players to the death!
3. Our art scene is pretty darn incredible.
Detroit might not be the first city that comes to mind when you imagine great art, but we’re actually home to all sorts of amazing creative expression. One visit to the DIA will reveal everything from a one-of-a-kind Diego Rivera fresco to fascinating modern art exhibits. As if that weren’t enough, we’ve also got a vibrant public art scene (check out the Dequindre Cut for evidence) and a few iconic statues scattered throughout the city. The Joe Louis fist, anyone?
4. Don’t believe everything you see about Detroit on TV.
There are plenty of stereotypes about Detroit, and they’re only reinforced by the negative skew that’s sometimes presented in the media. Yes, it’s true that our city has plenty of issues to address. But we urge you to learn more about our history and background so that you can truly understand how we’re working toward a better Detroit.
5. Putting ketchup on a coney dog should be considered a crime.
If you go into one of the Motor City’s iconic coney dog joints and ask for ketchup on your coney, we can’t guarantee that you won’t be thrown out immediately. At the very least, you’ll get a few stares. We have nothing against ketchup, but some things just don't belong together!
6. Yes, we really ARE that close to Canada.
Yes, some of us really CAN see another country from our apartments or workplaces. Canada is just a quick jaunt away via the Ambassador Bridge, and we like to think of ourselves as honorary Canadians. Only when it’s convenient, of course. Tip: check out Windsor for great views of the Detroit skyline!
7. There’s no such thing as "South Detroit."
You’ve probably heard the line in Journey’s "Don’t Stop Believing" that asserts its protagonist was "born and raised in South Detroit." We don’t mean to shatter your karaoke-fueled dreams, but… bad news: there’s no part of the city known as "South Detroit." Please don’t let that stop you from belting out the rest of the song, though.
8. Diversity is one of our points of pride.
From our large African-American population to the vibrant atmosphere of Mexicantown to an entire neighborhood centered around Greek culture, our city is home to people from all over. One of the best things about Detroit is its diversity, and we’re proud to house residents from throughout the country and across the globe.
9. We’ve got a beautiful state park right within the city.
Did you know that you can check out one of Michigan’s most unique state parks without leaving the city limits of Detroit? That’s right: Milliken State Park is tucked away along the Detroit Riverfront, and you’ll be completely enamored by its atmosphere. Explore the marina, take a walk along the water, or catch pretty views of the Renaissance Center — this state park is like no other.
10. We don’t let our past difficulties destroy our hope for the future.
We’ve had some hard times here in the Motor City. There’s no denying it. From boosted crime rates to economic woes, we’ve faced our fair share of tough times over the past couple of decades. But the beauty of Detroit is its resilience, and we won’t let anyone doubt that Detroit is headed for a brighter tomorrow.
11. We’re moving onward and upward, and we’d love to show you around.
Detroit is a fascinating, beautiful city filled with equally fascinating and beautiful people. While the road to reach our goals is long, we’ll never let our past problems completely dictate our future. Instead, we’ll continue to learn, adjust, and organize — and we’d be honored to have you join us.
Alright, Detroiters: now it’s your turn. Is there anything else you’d like the rest of the country to understand about our amazing city? Let us know in the comment section below!