Detroit A Top Destination City: Conde Nast Traveler

Detroit emerges as a beacon, drawing attention from a wanderlust of travelers far and wide. Condé Nast has placed Detroit on the map as a must-visit destination in 2024. But what exactly is it about Detroit that has captured the imagination of locals, travelers, and experts alike? At the heart of Detroit’s timeless allure is its story of resurgence and reinvention. Once synonymous with industrial decline, the Motor City has undergone a remarkable transformation in recent years. No longer just a hub for automobile manufacturing, Detroit has emerged as a cultural epicenter, a torch of innovation, and a testament to the power of urban renewal.

The Detroit Riverfront Fourth of July Ford Fireworks

From the illustrious pages of Condé Nast Traveler, renowned for its astute travel insights. The luxury and lifestyle magazine has elevated Detroit, Michigan to the top of its esteemed roster of “Best Places to Visit in 2024.” In this prestigious compilation, which showcases exceptional destinations on a global scale, Detroit’s narrative of transformation takes center stage, earning the city a well-deserved place of prominence.

Condé Nast Traveler meticulously searches destinations boasting awe-inspiring natural beauty, adventures, and cultural tableaus to curate their selection of “Best Places to Visit.” Among Detroit’s illuminating features are the unveiling of the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Centennial Park, the debut of new and renovated historic hotels like the AC Hotel with the Historic Bonstelle Theater and the Westin Book Cadillac, and the introduction of transformative and innovative projects such as the Hudson Site and Michigan Central Station. However, the highly anticipated NFL Draft casts the city in an even brighter spotlight, providing an unforgettable convergence of athletic sportsmanship and urban sophistication.

The Detroit Skyline

Claude Molinari, President and CEO of Visit Detroit, speaks proudly of the city’s ability to captivate visitors with its transformative narratives. He recognizes the pivotal role played by Condé Nast in introducing more travelers to the allure of Southeast Michigan.

Similarly, Dave Lorenz, Vice President of Travel Michigan, underscores the collective sense of pride among Michiganders in Detroit’s recognition by Condé Nast Traveler as a premier destination for 2024. Lorenz paints a vivid picture of Detroit’s multifaceted appeal, spanning from its architectural wonders to its storied automotive heritage and vibrant arts and culture scene. With the NFL Draft and an array of new enterprises and attractions on the horizon, Detroit stands poised to dazzle visitors in the coming year.

Detroit’s revitalization isn’t just about attracting tourists. It’s about tangible economic impact. In the past year alone, the city’s resurgence has contributed an impressive $9 billion to the regional economy. With over 16.5 million visitors flocking to Southeast Michigan, tourism has emerged as a driver of the region’s economic growth. Accolades from esteemed publications such as Condé Nast Traveler and TIME are compelling endorsements that serve to bolster Detroit’s status as a world-class destination.

The City of Detroit Featuring Ford Field

2024 NFL Draft: A Sporting Spectacle in Detroit

In the heart of Detroit, Michigan, from April 25th to April 27th, the stage was set for the much-anticipated 2024 NFL Draft. Against the backdrop of downtown Detroit, with Campus Martius Park and Hart Plaza as its focal points, attendees were primed for the NFL Draft Experience, an immersive football-themed spectacle open to all. While tickets for exclusive seating at the Draft Theater had been swiftly claimed, standing-room-only access ensured no one missed out on the excitement.

The 2024 NFL Draft held in Detroit went on to break the event’s all-time attendance record, with more than 775,000 fans spectating downtown over the three-day event. This surpassed the previous record of 600,000 set in Nashville in 2019. The first round on Thursday drew 275,000 fans, setting a new Day One record. Despite the massive crowds, the event was well-executed and without incident. Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer praised the city’s ability to host the record-breaking event, with Whitmer calling it “a historic week” that showed “what the Motor City is all about.”

The Detroit Insitute of Arts

Cultural Arts: Detroit’s Creative Flourish

The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA), established in 1885, remains a premier art museum in 2024, having been named the “Best Art Museum” in the country by USA Today’s “10 Best Readers’ Choice Awards” for the second consecutive year. Housed in a Beaux-Arts building, the DIA maintains a collection of over 65,000 works of art, ranking among one of the largest and most comprehensive in the United States. Visitors can explore over 100 galleries, including the esteemed Center for African American Art, and enjoy a diverse tapestry of human creativity from across the globe. Additionally, the DIA will once again host films as part of the 11th Freep Film Festival, further reaffirming its position as a leading cultural institution.

The Travelin Man Exhibit Detroit Historical Museum

Elsewhere, the Detroit Historical Museum, established in 1928, has been a cornerstone institution, meticulously documenting the vibrant history of the Detroit region. Through its diverse exhibits, spanning from cobblestone streets to an auto assembly line, the museum provides a vivid portrayal of Detroit’s evolution into an industrial powerhouse and cultural icon. In 2024, this narrative extends to the realm of music as the museum honors the legendary Detroit musician Bob Seger with the Travelin’ Man exhibition by Tom Weschler Photography. Seamlessly blending intimate photographs with curated artifacts and audio tracks, the exhibition not only offers a nostalgic journey through rock and roll history but also serves as a testament to further enriching the museum’s comprehensive depiction of Detroit’s past to present cultural and musical icons.

Motown Museum of The Future

Meanwhile, the Motown Museum, affectionately known as “Hitsville U.S.A.,” stands as a living testament to the iconic legacy of Motown Records and its founder, Berry Gordy. Housed within the original headquarters of Motown, the museum invites visitors to step into the halls of Studio A, where music legends such as The Temptations, Supremes, Four Tops, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, Gladys Knight, Smokey Robinson, and othes crafted timeless hits that defined an era. With guided tours, immersive exhibits, and a $50 million dollar expansion project underway, the museum continues to celebrate the enduring influence of Motown music that defined an era.

The New Hudson Site Renderings

Landmarks: Icons Reimagined

The Hudson’s Site, a transformative $1.4 billion development in downtown Detroit, is poised to breathe new life into the former site of the historic 1911 J.L. Hudson’s department store. Anchored by a 685-foot skyscraper tower and a 14-story mid-rise building, Hudson’s Site complex will feature the General Motors Company and a luxurious five-star hotel, heralding a new era of hospitality and urban sophistication in the heart of the city. Led by Bedrock Detroit and designed by acclaimed architects Shop Architects and Hamilton Anderson Associates, it is seen as a major catalyst for the ongoing revitalization of downtown Detroit, bringing new economic growth and civic pride.

Halls of The Renovated Michigan Central Station

Meanwhile, the Michigan Central Station, built in 1913, is a Beaux-Arts masterpiece and symbol of Detroit’s industrial heyday, embarking on a transformative journey of its own, courtesy of Ford Motor Company’s ambitious $740 million renovation project. Scheduled to reopen to the public on June 6, 2024, the restored Michigan Central Station will serve as the cornerstone of a new 30-acre mobility innovation district in the Corktown neighborhood, offering locally-inspired dining experiences, public art installations, and community gathering spaces. With its grand reopening on the horizon, the Michigan Central Station stands poised to reclaim its rightful place as a must-visit destination in Detroit, paying homage to the city’s rich history while embracing its future as a hub of innovation and creativity.

The New AC Hotel and Historic Bonstelle Theater Renderings

Hospitality: Where History Meets Luxury

The Marriott International AC Hotel in Detroit’s vibrant Midtown is set to debut in late 2024. This 10-story gem, integrating the historic Bonstelle Theatre, honors the city’s heritage while redefining its skyline. Rooted in 1903 and graced by designers Albert Kahn and C. Howard Crane’s vision is that the hotel blends past and present seamlessly. A striking 4,000-square-foot glass conservatory serves as a luxurious hub, connecting the hotel’s modern allure with the theater’s timeless elegance. Crafted by the Roxbury Group and Peachtree Group, the AC Hotel Detroit at the Bonstelle heralds Marriott’s European-inspired brand to southeast Michigan, promising a new era of refined hospitality in Detroit’s cultural hub.

The Renovated Westin Book Cadillac Hotel

The Westin Book Cadillac, a historic hotel in downtown Detroit, emerges from a $23 million renovation project with renewed splendor and sophistication. Led by Oxford Capital Group and Taconic Capital Advisors, the comprehensive renovation breathes new life into the hotel’s 453 guest rooms, meeting spaces, and public areas, infusing each space with contemporary elegance and timeless charm. From refreshed furnishings and lighting fixtures to redesigned lobby executive club lounges and restaurants, the Westin Book Cadillac invites guests to embark on a journey of unparalleled luxury and hospitality, celebrating its storied legacy while embracing the modern comforts of today. The renovations were timed to coincide with the Westin Book Cadillac’s 100th anniversary since its original opening in 1924.

Scenic Detroit Riverwalk

Parks and Public Squares: A Symphony of Urban Vitality

The Detroit Riverwalk has been named the best riverwalk in the United States for three consecutive years by the USA Today’s “10 Best Readers’ Choice Awards.” The Detroit Riverwalk features over 3.5 miles of parks and greenways along the Detroit River and attracts over 3 million visitors annually. The Riverwalk offers an array of recreational opportunities, from walking and biking to fishing and leisurely strolls, inviting locals and visitors alike to explore the city’s scenic waterfront in all its splendor. The Detroit Riverfront Conservancy has invested over $200 million in revitalizing the riverfront, which has generated more than $2 billion in public and private investment.

Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Centennial Park Renderings

Likewise, the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Centennial Park—a visionary $40 million redevelopment project—transforms 22 acres of urban landscape into a verdant oasis along the Detroit Riverfront. With amenities such as a Sports House, Park House, and Cove/Beach area, the park promises to provide a dynamic interface between the city and the river, offering flexible spaces for community gatherings, events, and outdoor activities. Spearheaded by the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, the project embodies the spirit of collaboration and community engagement, reflecting Detroit’s commitment to creating inclusive and accessible public spaces for all to enjoy.

A large crowd of people in a city Description automatically generated

Campus Martius Park Christmas Tree Lighting

Further, Campus Martius Park in downtown Detroit was named the Top Public Square in the country by USA Today’s “10 Best Reader’s Choice Awards in 2024.” This iconic park, which welcomes over 4.5 million annual visitors, has won numerous awards for its exceptional public space design, management, operations, placemaking, and programming. Located at the heart of Detroit, Campus Martius Park serves as a central gathering place for locals and visitors alike, offering a variety of attractions and events throughout the year, including the popular Rink at Campus Martius, the Beach at Campus Martius, and the annual Detroit Tree Lighting. The park’s recognition as the best public square in the U.S. reinforces Detroit’s status as a celebrated and important destination, showcasing the city’s history, culture, talent, and leadership.

The Spirit of Detroit

In 2024, Detroit has emerged as a steadfast beacon, captivating both its inhabitants and explorers alike. Evolving beyond its automotive legacy, the city now stands as a vibrant cultural and economic hub, a living testament to the power of urban renewal.

I leave with the Spirit of Detroit, a profound testament to the City’s enduring resilience. This 26-foot, 9-ton bronze statue, located at the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center in Detroit, Michigan, was created by sculptor Marshall Fredericks and dedicated in 1958. It represents hope, progress, and the “spirit of man,” depicting a kneeling figure with outstretched arms, holding a family group in its right hand and a gilded bronze sphere emanating rays in its left hand, symbolizing divinity and God. The inscription on the wall behind the statue, from 2 Corinthians 3:17, reads: “Now the Lord is that Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”

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Andrea Houle
Andrea Houle
Andrea Houle is an accomplished Cultural Arts Consultant from Grosse Pointe, Michigan, with a passion for fine and performance arts. Andrea has devoted her career to showcasing the allure and urban sophistication of her beloved Detroit. Her enthusiasm for the city's rich heritage and resurgence serves as a beacon, guiding her work in celebrating its cultural renaissance. Her dedication has earned admiration from artists, enthusiasts, and leaders alike.

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