Top 10 Reasons to Meet and Play in Detroit

Friday, May 19, 2022 0


Detroit is aptly called the Motor City, and not just because it’s the home of Ford and Chrysler. It is a destination always on the move. Our businesses, community, and leaders never stop seeking new ways for visitors to better experience the city. Each day is an opportunity for innovation, inspiration, and exploration. No matter when you last visited Detroit, there is something new here now.


That drive for constant improvement is something meeting planners can appreciate. For the three days your group is in Detroit, attendees will come together in a way that can only happen here. We know this isn’t just a meeting for you and your organization—this is an experience.


Trust us, we have plenty of experience building unique journeys for groups that call us home for their most important gatherings. There are meeting venues that conjure new perspectives needed to develop solutions. Teambuilding opportunities are seemingly at every corner. The dining scene is a cut above the rest, filled with diverse and delicious options for any occasion.


All our hard work and stick-to-itiveness are paying off. The team at Visit Detroit and our local hospitality industry are operating in high gear. Visiting groups, companies and organizations get big business done here, but it doesn’t feel like work. Likewise, playtime has a purpose.


Attendees walk out of Detroit buzzing with excitement for what the future holds and what they just experienced. Conversations will circle back to your meeting or event here for years to come. It will be a turning point, when the combination of innovation, cohesion, and pure joy accelerated your team’s readiness to meet and surpass objectives.


Read on to learn why Detroit is the right place to meet and play.


Detroit skyline


1. Always Something New


Detroit has loads of history. It didn’t become one of the country’s most iconic destinations by staying stuck in neutral. These days, new offerings are coming so fast that it’s hard to keep track. Among the latest highlights:


  • Ford Mobility Innovation District. Want to see how far Detroit has come? A legendary automobile company is developing a walkable addition to Corktown. Built around the famed Michigan Central Station, this 30-acre creation is a testament to forward-thinking. The revitalized Albert Kahn-designed Book Depository will be transformed into a mixed-use maker space offering flexible workspaces, hands-on labs, and innovation studios to spur collaboration—an inspiration for any visiting group. Sustainability measures will abound, as will plentiful green space, trails for biking, scooters, and shuttle transportation to get guests to cafes and shopping options. This is definitely not your father’s Detroit.
  • Joe Louis Greenway. This future 27.5-mile trailhead for biking, hiking, and running will be a true connector of the city. It is a symbol of the sort of great transformation many companies seek. We made it a reality by dreaming big. Attendees, already attuned to the benefits of the outdoors, will appreciate this opportunity to break from the meeting room and get a new view of a city they thought they knew.
  • Cambria and Godfrey Hotels. These two urban-chic properties put attendees near Huntington Place while offering the amenities any corporate group desires. The Godfrey will include a rooftop bar when it opens in 2023. Both have upscale meeting spaces and fine dining. Cambria debuts this year.
  • Hudson’s Site: Bedrock, which has helped attract more than 200 businesses to Detroit, is currently at work on developing a 685-foot tower on the old Hudson’s Department Store site. The new building will feature office space, destination retail, event spaces, public rooftop amenities, and an activated public plaza. Construction is set to be completed in 2023.


2. First-Class Meeting Spaces


Huntington Place (formerly TFC Center) is one of the top convention centers for conventions, trade shows, and citywide and sporting events. Among the major events coming soon is Connect Marketplace in August. Its location downtown on the Detroit River is a beauty to behold, but the inside has the goods. The three-story glass atrium adds a natural spotlight to this LEED Gold-certified facility. There are 723,000 square feet of exhibit hall space and 200,000 square feet of flexible event space, as well as four ballrooms and 100 breakout rooms. Planners have no shortage of options, aided by top-of-the-line Wi-Fi, audiovisual equipment, and catering services.


Suburban Collection Showplace is the largest privately-owned exposition, conference, and banquet center in Michigan. With 305,000 square feet of exhibit space, associations, corporations, and other organizations all make this a regular home. Hyatt Place Detroit/Novi is conveniently attached to the facility, which includes four ballrooms for private functions and 41 breakout rooms.


Huntington Place


3. Out-of-the-Box Teambuilding


From CSR opportunities to escape rooms, Detroit is built to bring people together. Take advantage of some offerings beyond the norm with teambuilding activities you won’t find in other destinations.


  • Detroit Flyhouse Circus School offers just what you think. Attendees will have a blast learning to trapeze and perform other aerial maneuvers involved in the circus arts. But this is not clowning around. Skills learned here to offer a boost in confidence, trust, and interactivity. The school offers group lessons for up to 25 people.
  • Detroit HandleBar Pub Tour will really get things moving with scavenger hunts, historic tours, and the ever-popular bar hopping. The company has ten pedal pub bikes, each up to 16 passengers.
  • Art in Motion is a great metaphor for how dedication and concentration are rewarded with incredible final results. Groups can create ceramics or enjoy a painting class here.



4. Hotels Galore


Planners can count on all the major hotel brands for intimate and large-scale events here. With 5,000 rooms in downtown Detroit, there is a good fit for each group regardless of the city district most appealing to your program.


A boutique boom allows for innovative and memorable gatherings. Historic buildings are finding new life as properties that will add a splash of color to any stay. Consider the rise of Shinola Hotel, The Siren Hotel, Aloft Detroit, and Detroit Foundation Hotel as symbols of what is possible when reconsidering company resources—plus they are great to stay in and near many of the venues you’ll direct attendees to.


Lobby of the Siren Hotel

The Siren Hotel, Photo courtesy Christian Harder


5. Buzzing Nightlife


Casinos, jazz cafes, and theaters fill the city’s soul. As the home of Motown and the birthplace of techno, Detroit is ready for any music lover’s taste. Our theater district is one of the largest outside Broadway. The Pistons, Red Wings, Lions, and Tigers provide plenty of options year-round for sports enthusiasts too.


Little Caesars Arena, Photo courtesy of Rob Kohn


6. The Eat Is On


No destination’s cuisine is cooking quite as hot as Detroit’s these days. Soul food and pizza will always be on the menu here, but how about East African at the acclaimed Baobab Fare (among the city’s amazing establishments owned by Black women) or authentic Argentinian and Latin American cuisine and cocktails at Barda, one of the city’s restaurants recognized by the James Beard Foundation? Memorable and unique meals aside, this food renaissance speaks to our destination’s diversity and inclusion of the many cultures that make Detroit and this country so great.


The Detroit Brew Trail will be a popular excursion for visitors eager to get a sampling of craft beers, pubs, and microbreweries.


Eastern Market Brewery


7. Staying Fit


Burn off those newly gained calories by taking advantage of many health and fitness opportunities. There is no shortage of outdoor spaces for a relaxing yoga session. A velodrome will intrigue cyclists, and Pilates and fitness centers are nearby any location. Find several intriguing possibilities, including ice skating, here.


Campus Martius, Photo courtesy of Bill Bowen


8. Rich in Culture


Having played a significant role in the country’s automobile industry, sports scene, the arts community, and more, Detroit’s story is rich and one worth exploring. Give attendees a sense of place by moving receptions and other elements of your event off-site. Our city’s museums celebrate our vibrancy across many different paths.


  • The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History has for over half a century been a leading institution dedicated to the African American experience. Groups that meet before Aug. 22 have a chance to see the impressive King Tutankhamun exhibit. Several rooms and spaces are available for private rental.
  • The Detroit Institute of Arts includes more than 100 galleries, making it one of the country’s premier venues to experience renowned works. It can accommodate 500 attendees for a reception or 350 for a banquet and has 11 meeting rooms to break into small groups.

Detroit Institute of Arts


9. Buildings to Behold


Looking for an interactive experience that will build social media buzz? Create an architecture scavenger hunt. From the Mason Temple to the historic Fox Theatre, Detroit has a collection of buildings well worth visiting. An Instagram-based contest would not only create engagement but also serve as an educational component to your event, complete with a lesson on building long-lasting foundations within your organization.


A band on stage is part of the Fox Theatre schedule

Fox Theatre


10. Location and Transportation


In the heart of America’s heartland, Detroit is one of the country’s most accessible destinations, regardless of where your attendees are coming from. As a Delta hub, Detroit Metro Airport has 140 direct flights each day and is only 20 minutes from downtown. Once in town, you don’t need a car. Consider these options:


  • The Detroit People Mover is an elevated trail that offers easy transportation downtown.
  • The Qline streetcar system travels Woodward Avenue from downtown to Midtown.
  • If you’re looking to see the city from ground level, you can rent a bike or scooter.
Detroit People Mover by the Renaissance Center

Detroit People Mover, Photo courtesy of Vito Palmisano

Learn more about Visit Detroit


Nicole Garcia

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