Feet On The Street Tours: 7 Things I Learned About Detroit's Riverfront

10:36 PM

Wading in Big Shoes - Feet On The Street Tours: 7 Things I Learned About Detroit's Riverfront
A couple of weeks ago, my blogger friend, Amanda, invited me to join our local Travel Massive chapter for a tour of the Detroit Riverfront. It took me about two seconds to say yes, and before I knew it, I'd signed up for a membership and an evening of exploration with other local adventurers.

On tour day, our group met up with Linda Yellin, founder of Detroit-based Feet On The Street Tours. A Detroit resident and wealth of knowledge on all things Motor City, Linda started Feet On The Street in 2007 as a way to get tourists and locals excited about the history, present, and future of Detroit. Tour themes range from art and architecture to food and music, and can be customized for private outings (including business trips, birthday parties, family gatherings, and more).

 Wading in Big Shoes - Feet On The Street Tours: 7 Things I Learned About Detroit's Riverfront
Above, Left: Playing on the Riverfront (thanks to Amanda for standing in as my Instagram Husband!)
Above, Right: The GM Renaissance Center always looks incredible, but is especially magnificent at sunset.

We began at Rivard Plaza, where Linda gave us an overview of the Detroit Riverwalk and the surrounding area. Next, we took our time strolling along the Riverwalk to take in the sights, learning more about the Riverfront and its history. Some fun things I learned:

1. The Detroit Riverwalk Is Actually A Work In Progress

Wading in Big Shoes - Feet On The Street Tours: 7 Things I Learned About Detroit's Riverfront
This might be common knowledge to most Detroiters, but when I arrived in Michigan five years ago, a big part of the Riverwalk (which runs along the riverfront) was already here and I assumed it had been for a while. Updates are made regularly along the riverfront as amenities such as restrooms, food kiosks, benches, and other businesses continue to be added.

2. Atwater Street Is Aptly Named For Its Location

"At the water" is the more literal interpretation for this street, which runs parallel to the Detroit river. This is the line where the water used to reach, and just so happens to coincide with the street's other namesake, Reuben Attwater (Secretary of Michigan Territory during the 1800s).

3. Riverfront Development Is Made Possible Largely By Donations

Wading in Big Shoes - Feet On The Street Tours: 7 Things I Learned About Detroit's Riverfront
One of those donors is General Motors (of course, they have a vested interest with the proximity of the Renaissance Center).

4. The Detroit Riverfront Used To Be Populated With Farms

These family farms were often a large part of local industry and commerce. Consequently, several of the roads throughout Detroit are named for the families who owned these farms.

5. The Port Of Detroit Was Designed With BIG Ships In Mind

Wading in Big Shoes - Feet On The Street Tours: 7 Things I Learned About Detroit's RiverfrontSituated right on the riverfront, this terminal can accommodate cruise ships, naval ships, ferries, and more. It's also spacious enough for visitor processing and special events.

6. Detroit's Alias On The Underground Railroad Was "Midnight"

Wading in Big Shoes - Feet On The Street Tours: 7 Things I Learned About Detroit's Riverfront
Also of particular interest: the International Underground Railroad Memorial at Detroit's Hart Plaza has a companion statue, located across the river in Windsor. The statue in Detroit features a group of slaves and a conductor looking toward Canada as their destination for freedom, while the Canadian monument features a "freedom tower" and a group of people celebrating their new start.

7. There's A Lot More Going On Than You Might Think

Wading in Big Shoes - Feet On The Street Tours: 7 Things I Learned About Detroit's Riverfront
During our stroll along the Riverfront, the area bustled with groups of runners, couples, families, and lots of people on bikes (several bikes were tricked out with lights and boom boxes!). The weather was gorgeous and the views of the river and the city were amazing. If you've never seen a sunset reflect off of the RenCen or fade into a haze on the water, you're missing out!

Wading in Big Shoes - Feet On The Street Tours: 7 Things I Learned About Detroit's Riverfront

Want to book a Feet On The Street Tour of your own? Click here for more information on exploring the Detroit Riverfront (or another popular Detroit spot) for your next group outing!

What part of Detroit have you always wanted to explore and learn more about? Let me know in the comments below!


*Special thanks to Vinal for organizing this Travel Massive event!*


Feet On The Street Tours: 7 Things I Learned About Detroit's Riverfront (via Wading in Big Shoes) // Feet On The Street Tours Detroit offers an up-close look at the Motor City that's fun for tourists and locals alike! Click to learn more about the tours and what you'll see on a customized outing along the Detroit Riverfront and Riverwalk.

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