The District Detroit Heats Up

Anchored by a new arena, two of the city’s most bustling areas are more connected than ever.
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RS565 Woodward Avenue Conceptual Rendering

Temperatures have begun to fall, but the excitement in Detroit continues to heat up, as the city draws closer to completing one of its biggest development projects to date. The District Detroit, which includes a 50-block region that includes the city’s downtown and Midtown areas, is on track to become the premier entertainment destination in the Motor City.

The area already is home to six world-class theatres, countless bars and restaurants, and the homes of the Detroit Tigers, the Detroit Lions, and beginning in fall of 2017, it also will be home to the Detroit Red Wings. After nearly two years of construction and months of speculation surrounding the name, the Little Caesars Arena is set to open and launch a new era for a stretch of the city’s most notable street.

Named after the iconic Detroit-headquartered pizza chain, the arena is located on a large site between Cass Avenue and Woodward Avenue, Detroit’s “Main Street,” and will serve as an anchor for The District Detroit.

“Seeing the transformation that is taking place on this critical stretch of Woodward Avenue is exciting,” Steve Marquardt, vice president of Olympia Development, said in a release. “The District Detroit will be a connector for the great things that are happening in our city.”

Downtown Detroit During Winter Holidays
The District Detroit During Winter Holidays – (Photography) courtesy of Campus Martius Park

Downtown Detroit and The District offer plenty of opportunities to take in a piece of what Detroit has to offer this holiday season — and get a glimpse of what’s to come in the future.

When the weather outside is frightful, taking in one of the many shows happening at the iconic Fox Theater is a sure way to forget about any flurries. This year’s theatre series includes classics like “Annie and The Christmas Story,” as well as contemporary favorites “Cirque Dreams Holidaze” and the “Mannheim Steamroller Christmas.”

Hip-hop Nutcracker Snow
Hip-hop Nutcracker Snow – (Photography) courtesy of Olympia Entertainment

Live music fans can count on seeing a show at the legendary Cliff Bell’s jazz club, where there are nightly performances, or at the recently-opened Rusted Crow, a cocktail bar featuring its own Michigan-made spirits line and steampunk decor.

If you’re looking to get active, head to Campus Martius Park in the heart of downtown. During the holidays, a portion of the 2.5-acre public square is transformed into an ice rink and serves as a central gathering place for revelers wanting to skate or stare at the towering Christmas Tree, whose annual lighting draws thousands downtown.

Campus Martius Park Ice Skating Rink
Campus Martius Park Ice Rink – (Photography) Courtesy of Campus Martius Park

Midtown’s Noel Night offers a chance to connect to the city’s cultural institutions, and the walk uptown will be just enough to warm you up. This year marks the 44th annual Cultural Center-wide holiday open house, when institutions such as the Detroit Institute of Arts,

the Michigan Science Center,

the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History,

the Detroit Public Library and

the Detroit Symphony Orchestra open their doors to the public free of charge.

Ringing in the Holidaze Cirque Dreams
Ringing in the Holidaze with Cirque Dreams – (Photography) Courtesy of Olympia Entertainment

Nearby area retailers get decked out for the season, and visitors can hop from venue to venue via horse-drawn carriage, taking part in tons of holiday shopping, family activities and performances by over 200 area music, theatre, dance and other artists. This year’s festivities will be held Dec. 3.

— Alexandra Fluegel, Michigan BLUE Magazine

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