Detroit, Michigan


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What's it like to live in Detroit?

What is it like to live in Detroit, MI?

I rang in my 25th year in this city. I was born and raised in this city. I attended university nearby. I am referring to the metro area, not the city center. Essentially, the standard of living is very high in Detroit. But the usual complaints about Detroit are the lack of amenities that other vibrant urban centers have. Such as public transportation, big entertainment, more arts, more education funding, etc. The worst about Detroit is that it can be dull and boring. Also the only major industry driving the economy is automotive. But there are many plus points, too. It is extremely clean. It is few hours away from Chicago and Toronto. If you love roller coasters, there’s Cedar Point and Michigan Adventures. Michigan is full of natural recreation. You can see all 4 seasons. Real Estate is high quality and affordable. There are diverse and talented residents.

After having lived here my whole life, and seeing other cities in this world, life in Detroit is not for me. But if you are a white collar worker making 6 figures looking for a quiet, unrushed suburban life, then Detroit is the place for you.

Don't expect a huge party here, but it is an affordable enough place where you can build the kind of home and life you wish. Plus, it's a great situation if you enjoy suburban living more, but wanna get away to Chicago every now and then to party harder. Don't have to pay city taxes.

Agriculture is really great in Detroit, especially when you plant your own vegetable garden or fruit trees. It is pretty idyllic.

Don't confuse the term Detroit, referring to a dilapidated American city in ruins to the surrounding metro area where most middle class and above well-to-do residents live. By the way, the downtown has gone through tremendous revival in the recent decade. I was even a part of a public transport advocacy group here locally.

What is it like to live in Detroit, MI?

Detroit has been bashed since the riots half a century ago! Imagine healing from that and White flight taking a huge tax base away? We are a tough and creative lot and it was my dream to move to Indian Village, a historic neighborhood here, since college. I did and later bought a house for a really great price. It’s now worth six times what I paid. The neighborhood is mixed races, there are monthly parties, a newsletter, reasonable dues cover various maintenance and sidewalk plowing in winter. Neighborhoods like mine have expanded, old buildings are being repurposed, new neighborhoods and townhouses built, empty lots are gardens… the worry is of course gentrification. Great restaurants, parks, events, museums, cool work spaces, lots of entrepreneurs (Shinola’s owner is a neighbor.) I took some European friends around and they loved it and Motown has always been popular overseas. Lot’s of tourists now.

Invest while it’s still hot!

Is detroit a good place to live?

Can't say I've lived in any other big cities - but genuinely love Detroit. The people here are great, and neighbors (in communities in the city limits) look out for one another.

Night life is pretty okay in downtown, but nowhere near as big as a place like NYC. There's a big mix of cultures especially in places like SouthWest Detroit and Hamtramck, and great food can be found if you know where to look. A good amount of 20 somethings live in downtown and midtown due to Wayne State college being there, and tech related jobs. The further outside downtown you get, generally the older the crowd gets.

As others have said, you'll need a car to get around. Expect to pay obscene rates, Detroit has the highest auto insurance rates in the nation (I pay around $1800/yr for an 8 year old VW Golf at age 24 with a perfect record). Public transport sucks around here, the best thing you'll get are the buses. The city is very bikeable, and being such a small city, you can get around quick on 2 wheels. The 5-6 months of cold weather won't be great for that, obviously.

Like any other big city, Detroit has crime, and it's mostly in communities outside the downtown area. The "east side" is notorious for blocks with 1-2 houses standing, and theres a good amount of small crimes like breaking car windows, theft etc. Drug use is common in places like SouthWest, so crimes related to that are prevalent there. Obviously murders still happen, but it's much less common than it used to be, and the odds of something bad happening to you in a "safe" community are pretty low. Keep your head on a swivel tho.

It might be a good idea to get an AirBNB in the area you're thinking about living in for a few days/week, and see how you feel about the are and the city in general. When it comes to communities outside downtown, places that coke to mind are Boston Edison, West Village, Corktown, Brush Park, and maybe Rivertown. With COVID you can't visit a lot of our amazing museums and art centers right now, but like you said you'll probably do this once COVID is "over" and things are opened.

Of course, living outside the city is always an option. Ferndale, Royal Oak, Birmingham, and Berkley are nice places with good amounts of their own night life, while being close enough to the city to Uber to/from. The median crowd is much younger in most of those places too.

Is detroit a good place to live?

The phrase "ghost town" as another user used is not accurate. It has activity most days and you see people out walking, biking, hanging out, but it's small and tends to clear out late in the evening. It won't be hopping at 1 am, but if you're out at 9 pm there's stuff going on all around the Greater Downtown area of roughly 7 square miles. Part of the problem is a lack of density, and the other part is suburban destinations as well. Rather than everyone going to the city, you'll also see activity in places like Royal Oak, Birmingham, and Ferndale until late in the evening.

I moved here a few years back and it's a big city with big city amenities, but in its own way it isn't.

Detroit is going to be more like Los Angeles, but smaller, and with areas that don't function anymore. The core of the city is fine, most of the suburbs are fine, and a lot of the stable neighborhoods are as well, but there are areas that just… don't really have much going on anymore - and those will be ghost towns, but you won't spend time there much either.

Segregation here is surprising - you can often guess a person's race, income level, and political leanings by their zipcode. Life is really inexpensive. I afford a lot off one full-time income with a family, and I'm not highly paid. Your typical salary just goes farther here and most things are less expensive. You need a car - price out insurance, but there's a major change to insurance rates coming in July that should make things not so horrifying. Estimates are people will see ~30% drops in rates. Personally I've not had trouble making friends since moving here (I moved here in my late-20s), but my partner is a major extrovert, so that helps. I don't know - anything specific?

You Won't Believe This Is Detroit! 🇺🇸