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The Motor City. The birthplace of Motown. Detroit is a city with a rich history and a vibrant culture. It is diverse and welcoming, and would be a wonderful place to call home.
Diving into Detroit’s History
Detroit is a city with a long history – several hundred years long, in fact. Detroit was founded in 1701 when the French established a fort and settlement on the site. The name means "strait" in French, and is derived from the narrow river connecting Lake St. Clair with Lake Erie, in Michigan. The British eventually gained control of the area in 1760, and it was eventually ceded to the United States following the American Revolution. For much of the 1800s it was primarily a farming and agricultural city, but in the late 1800s, industry and manufacturing in Detroit began booming. A number of visionary entrepreneurs, Henry Ford being one, designed automobiles in Detroit, and eventually, Detroit became known as The Motor City. It has always been the home of America’s automobile manufacturing industry, but it is also the birthplace of Motown, and home to multiple professional sports teams, many cutting-edge industries, and many bustling businesses.
A Few Fun Facts About Detroit
Find more fun facts about Detroit here.
The LGBTQ Community in Detroit
Detroit has an active, thriving, and welcoming LGBTQ community, supported by a number of community and resource centers. Two of the most popular include:
For over two decades, LGBT Detroit has been serving the LGBTQ community in the city by offering support, advocacy, education, and events. Its mission is “To increase awareness of and support to Detroit’s dynamic LGBT culture through education and advocacy with integrity and pride.”
Located in a state of the art, multi-use facility in Ferndale, Affirmations is a LGBTQ community resource center that exists to provide a welcoming space where people of all orientations, gender identities, cultures, and expressions can feel supported and celebrated.
A Look at Detroit’s Weather
Detroit has what’s known as a humid continental climate. This means that residents will experience all four seasons, and can expect cold winters with moderate snowfall and hot, sunny summers, along with mild and pleasant spring and fall seasons. Detroit gets 33 inches of rain and 34 inches of snow, on average, per year. The average high temperature in Detroit each year is 83.5°, and the average low temperature is 18.5°.
Events in Detroit that You Don’t Want to Miss
Motor City Pride is Michigan’s largest pride celebration with over 40,000 participants each year. The festival began in June of 1972, when the first march was held in downtown Detroit to work toward recognition of LGBTQ rights and equality, and to protest homophobic laws. It continued to grow into the festival that it is today, with many events, celebrations, and opportunities to build and enrich Detroit’s LGBTQ community.
For 8 months running, Ferndale Pride has hosted a festive celebration including any number of activities including a dance stage, a parade, a rock-climbing wall, and even a Pride Prom for LGBTQ youth. You won’t want to miss it!
Detroit’s Best Neighborhoods
Detroit is fortunate to have several thriving LGBTQ neighborhoods. Here are a few of the most popular:
Ferndale is known as being the most LGBTQ-friendly neighborhood in the metro Detroit area. It has many LGBTQ businesses and organizations, and has a pleasant feel with many bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and parks. Located just north of Detroit, between 8 and 10 Mile roads along the Woodward corridor, Ferndale is easy to reach from major highways. The median price of homes currently listed in Ferndale is currently $220,000.
Palmer Park is a neighborhood located on the northern edge of Detroit, just north of 7 Mile Road, and approximately a mile on either side of Woodward Avenue. It is named for the 296-acre public park at the heart of the neighborhood. Palmer Park was once the heart of gay life in Detroit in the 1970s and 80s, and has many bars, restaurants, bookstores, and LGBTQ businesses. The neighborhood is a mixture of stately mansions initially built by titans of the auto industry in the early 20th century, as well as a beautiful apartment district. The median list price for homes in the Palmer Park area is currently $230,000.
The Detroit suburb of Royal Oak has long been a neighborhood friendly to the LGBTQ community. Known for its exciting and youthful vibe, Royal Oak offers plenty to see and do, with many boutiques, salons, and retail shops, as well as several movie theaters, live theater options, a comedy club, and more. The median price of homes currently listed in Royal Oak is $275,450.
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Arts and Entertainment
The Ringwald Theatre is Detroit’s LGBTQ theatre troupe. Located in the “Times Square” area of Ferndale, the Ringwald seeks produce work that will “blur the lines between race, income, religion, and sexuality.”
The Detroit Institute of Arts is the nation’s sixth largest fine arts museum. It has one of the largest and most significant art collections in the United States. It’s a must-see for any art lover!
Parks and Recreation
The MDFFL is a Metro Detroit-based flag football league that promotes recreation and the growth of the LGBTQ community and players through football. Players of all skill levels and abilities are welcome!
The Motor City Invitational Classic is an annual bowling tournament that draws thousands of LGBTQ bowlers to Detroit from all over the Midwest for a weekend of bowling fun each March. Throughout the year, MIC also helps to organize about half a dozen Michigan LGBTQ bowling leagues.
Innuendo is a Palmer Park hot spot offering entertainment and a wide variety of music, a busy dance stage, and food and drinks. A very popular Detroit nightspot, if you like dancing, Innuendo is the place for you!
Gigi’s Cabaret is the longest-running female impersonation revue in Michigan, and has been in business for nearly 45 years. It offers a big dance floor upstairs and the stage for the drag shows in the basement bar, where karaoke is also often performed.