Founded in 1701 as "la Ville d'Etroit"—the City at the Straits—Detroit is one of the Midwest's oldest cities. Originally a strategic Native American and French trading post, by the mid-19th century the city was compared to Paris because of its scenic parks and beautiful architecture. The 20th century saw Detroit's evolution into the modern Motor City, the city that put the world on wheels.
With the growth of the auto industry, Detroit and its suburbs spread out across an ever larger geographical area, eventually making it one of the country's largest metropolitan areas. Though primarily known for Motown and motors, Detroit is also one of the world's busiest inland ports and a major steel producer. The Detroit River is linked by steamship to more than 40 countries; vessels ranging from ocean-going freighters to private yachts dock in the city's protected harbor.
Metro Detroit is also notable for its ethnic diversity—visit Hamtramck for its excellent Polish bakeries, Dearborn for its thriving Middle Eastern community, or Mexicantown for its numerous restaurants. The city offers extensive opportunities for shopping, nightlife, and dining. First-time visitors are pleasantly surprised by Detroit's world-class museums, theaters, art galleries, downtown eateries and clubs, well-run parks, and enthusiastic sports-fan culture. Talk with the locals, and you'll get an earful on why Detroit is such a great city. Spend a little time here, and you're likely to agree.