Detroit’s rich history is significant as the city is older than Chicago, Toronto, Cleveland and every other Midwestern city. Detroit is actually 75 years older than the United States. Detroit was founded by the French, was briefly run by the British and then blossomed into a great American city.
If you look across the water, you will see Windsor, Canada.
Detroit is the only American city with another country just 15 minutes away by bridge or tunnel, and where Canada is actually considered “south” of the border.
The following information is made possible by the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy, a private not-for-profit organization founded in 2003 by a group of determined and dedicated civic, corporate, community and philanthropic leaders. They had the vision of what an accessible Riverfront could become – and a plan to make it happen – bridge to bridge, spanning 5.5 miles from Gabriel Richard Park at the MacArthur Bridge at Belle Isle, to the western-most portion at the Ambassador Bridge.
With a backdrop as one of the busiest waterways in the world, the goal is for Detroit to feature a vibrant, safe, green and accessible Riverfront that could be enjoyed by all.
Today, with newly developed public spaces and more to come, you will find a gathering place that welcomes over three million visitors a year. The East Riverfront is nearly completed – with 45 newly developed city blocks.
The Detroit Riverfront includes:
Rivard Plaza - a favorite Detroit destination and signature event site. The plaza is home to many Riverfront highlights, including the Cullen Family Carousel, an in-laid granite map of the Detroit River, a standing glass sculptured map of the St. Lawrence Seaway, fountains and gardens.
The Cullen Family Carousel – handcrafted and specially designed for Detroit, it features creatures native to the Detroit River, including sturgeon, egrets and walleye, along with the mythical River Mermaid and River Monster.
Riverwalk Café at Rivard Park – offers diverse menus to enable you to grab a quick bite to go or stay and watch the ships go by. More details on menus and café hours can be found at the café or at www.detroitriverfront.org.
Diamond Jack’s River Tours – provides boat tours on the sparkling waters of the Detroit River. Visit its dock at Rivard Plaza. Get more info at diamondjack.com.
Waterways Maps – are beautifully designed three-dimensional maps that highlight the importance of the Detroit River within the international waterways. An in-laid granite map at Rivard Plaza highlights the 32-mile long Detroit River and its surrounding communities. A standing sculptured glass map shows the entire St. Lawrence Seaway route.
Wheelhouse Detroit – experience the Motor City on two wheels! Open at Rivard Plaza, Wheelhouse Detroit offers bike rentals, tours and services, seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Two-hour, half-day, or full-day rental packages are available. Get more information at wheelhousedetroit.com.
Milliken State Park and Harbor – the first urban state park in Michigan featuring a renovated 52-slip harbor, a 63-foot replica of the Tawas Point lighthouse, covered picnic areas, fishing outlooks, wildlife observation trails, interpretative signage and a memorial to Detroit River advocate and philanthropist, Peter Stroh. For more information visit http://detroitriverfront.org/east/tricentennialpark/.
Dequindre Cut – part of the Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan’s Greenway initiative, the 1.5 mile-long paved pedestrian and biking greenway connects the Riverfront to neighborhoods including Eastern Market.
Butterfly Gardens and Labyrinth – At Gabriel Richard Park, visitors can stroll along paths through special gardens planted with flowers chosen for their appeal to butterflies or take a winding tour of an inlaid brick labyrinth, donated by the Adcraft Club of Detroit. These peaceful amenities invite visitors to take a breath and enjoy the serene setting.
Events & Festivals
DETROIT RIVER WATER FESTIVAL
THURSDAY, MAY 24 10:00 a.m. LOCATION: Rivard Plaza COST: FREE
The Detroit RiverFront Conservancy in collaboration with the Cranbrook Institute of Science will be presenting the Detroit River Water Festival—providing a unique opportunity to educate Detroit and Windsor area students about local water issues.
VISIT: Cranbrook Institute of Science www.cranbrook.edu
THE MOVEMENT ELECTRONIC FESTIVAL MAY 26 –28 LOCATION: Hart Plaza COST: Visit event website One of the country’s largest electronic music festivals returns to Hart Plaza May 26-28. The event features five outdoor stages, more than 100 artists, an interactive technology center and art displays. VISIT: Paxahau Event Productions www.movement.us
COMMUNITY FESTIVALS AT HART PLAZA THROUGHOUT THE SUMMER LOCATION: Hart Plaza COST: Visit event website An exciting line up of community and ethnic festivals are set to return to Hart Plaza this summer including the Arab & Chaldean Festival, Ribs and Soul R& B Jazz Festival, Fresh Detroit festival and the Motor City Pride festival VISIT: The Detroit RiverFront Conservancy’s website for dates and times
EXPLORE DETROIT ON TWO WHEELS
BIKE TOURS THROUGHOUT THE SEASON LOCATION: Wheelhouse Detroit COST:
CRUISE YOUR RIVERFRONT
PUBLIC & PRIVATE TOURS THROUGHOUT THE SEASON LOCATION: Detroit Riverfront COST: Visit website
The Detroit Riverfront provides a number of opportunities to explore the river via a unique offering of public & private tours aboard the Diamond Jack Riverboat, Detroit Princess Riverboat or the Infinity & Ovation Yacht Tours.
SHIP WATCHING ON THE RIVERFRONT
THROUGHOUT THE SEASON LOCATION: Port Authority/Detroit Riverfront COST: FREE
The Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority is the region’s new port of call to view cruise ships, ferries, naval frigates, tall ships, excursion boats and other vessels of interest scheduled to dock at the Port this season.
VISIT: Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority www.portdetroit.com
FRIENDS OF BELLE ISLE CLEAN UP
Saturday, April 28
LOCATION: Belle Isle Casino MORE INFORMATION: www.detroitmi.gov
DETROIT RESTAURANT WEEK
April 20—April 29
LOCATION: Various MORE INFORMATION: www.detroitrestaurantweek.com2012 Weekly Riverfront Summertime Programs
TAI CHI ON THE RIVERFRONT WEDNESDAYS, 10:00 A.M. MAY 2 - AUGUST 29 LOCATION: Rivard Plaza COST: FREE
Join the Urban Wellness Group for a complimentary afternoon of Tai Chi along the beautiful Detroit Riverfront. The ancient art of Tai Chi infuses gentle flowing movements of Martial Arts with focused breath-work and flexibility. Tai Chi helps to reduce stress, improve balance and coordination. All levels welcome. No previous experience is required.
RIVERFRONT CANINE CLUB
SUNDAYS 10:30 A.M. MAY 6 - SEPTEMBER 30 LOCATION: Rivard Plaza COST: FREE
Come walk the water’s edge with your dog! Fetch your favorite pooch and join the Riverfront Canine club for a tail-wagging good time. The Riverfront Canine Club is a guided dog-walking group led by Canine to Five. The group meets at Rivard Plaza for lively walks along the Riverfront and Dequindre Cut. Open to all-whether you have a dog or just love dogs!
MONDAYS , 9:00 a.m. MAY 5-AUGUST 25 LOCATION: Rivard Plaza COST: FREE
Join the Urban Wellness Group for this action-packed program that brings together the entire family. Each session is designed to lead families through a fun workout that burns calories, increases cardiovascular health, and improves balance, agility, speed and strength.
YOGA ON THE RIVERFRONT
FRIDAYS, 10:00 a.m. MAY 4 –AUGUST 31 LOCATION: Rivard Plaza COST: FREE
Join the Urban Wellness group for a complimentary program designed to invigorate the body and calm the mind. Set amidst the tranquil backdrop of the Detroit River, this gentle practice will introduce students to breath-work, slow flow sequences and asanas (poses) that will help improve flexibility, balance and strength. All levels welcome. No previous experience required.
HERBAL WALK & TALK
MONDAYS , 6:00 p.m. APRIL 2 - AUGUST 27 LOCATION: Rivard Plaza COST: FREE
Join us for this informational walk and talk where you can find out more about the healing plants found along your riverfront. Herbal Extract Specialist, Ravin Regina, leads this weekly workshop focused on sharing the history and modern-day use of native riverfront plants while engaging participants in a lively stroll through beautiful William G. Milliken State Park & Harbor and beyond.
MOTOWN IN MOTION
WEDNESDAYS, 9:30 a.m. & 6:00 p.m. MAY 2 - SEPT 26 LOCATION: Rivard Plaza COST: FREE
Motown in Motion is a fitness and support network for those raising children. To best serve parents and others raising children, the group meets on Wednesdays at two times (morning and evening) for a sociable walk along the riverfront to share ideas, stories, resources and advice. The group is coordinated by the Detroit Chapter of the Mocha Moms in partnership with the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy.
HAPPY HOUR @ THE RATTLESNAKE
THURSDAYS AND FRIDAYS– 4:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.
LOCATION: The Rattlesnake Club MORE INFORMATION: www.rattlesnakeclub.com