Detroit is the largest city in the U.S. state of Michigan, and the seat of Wayne County. It is the major city among the primary cultural, financial, and transportation centers in the Metro Detroit area, a region of 5.2 million people, and serves as a major port on the Detroit River connecting the Great Lakes system to the Saint Lawrence Seaway. It was founded on July 24, 1701, by the French explorer, adventurer, and nobleman Antoine de la Mothe, sieur de Cadillac.
Many of the area's prominent museums are located in the historic cultural center neighborhood around Wayne State University and the College for Creative Studies. These museums include the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Detroit Historical Museum, Charles H. Wright Museum Of African American History, the Detroit Science Center, as well as the main branch of the Detroit Public Library. Other cultural highlights include Motown Historical Museum, the Pewabic Pottery studio and school, the Tuskegee Airmen Museum, Fort Wayne, the Dossin Great Lakes Museum, the Museum Of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD), the Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit (CAID), and the Belle Isle Conservatory. In 2010, the G.R. N'Namdi Gallery opened in a 16,000-square-foot (1,500 m2) complex in Midtown. Important history of America and the Detroit area are exhibited at The Henry Ford, the United States' largest indoor-outdoor museum complex. The Detroit Historical Society provides information about tours of area churches, skyscrapers, and mansions. Inside Detroit, meanwhile, hosts tours, educational programming, and a downtown welcome center. Other sites of interest are the Detroit Zoo in Royal Oak, the Cranbrook Art Museum in Bloomfield Hills, the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory on Belle Isle, and Walter P. Chrysler Museum in Auburn Hills.
The city's Greektown and three downtown casino resort hotels serve as part of an entertainment hub. The Eastern Market farmer's distribution center is the largest open-air flowerbed market in the United States and has more than 150 foods and specialty businesses. On Saturdays, about 45,000 people shop the city's historic Eastern Market. The Midtown and the New Center area are centered on Wayne State University and Henry Ford Hospital. Midtown has about 50,000 residents and attracts millions of visitors each year to its museums and cultural centers; for example, the Detroit Festival of the Arts in Midtown draws about 350,000 people.
Detroit and the surrounding region constitute a major center of commerce and global trade, most notably as home to America's 'Big Three' automobile companies, General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler. About 80,500 people work in downtown Detroit, comprising one-fifth of the city's employment base. Detroit's six county Metropolitan Statistical Area has a population of about 4.3 million and a workforce of about 2.1 million. In May 2012, the Department of Labor reported metropolitan Detroit's unemployment rate at 9.9%, with the city's unemployment rate for April 2012 at 15.8%. The Detroit MSA had a gross metropolitan product of $197.7 billion in 2010.
Annual summer events include the Electronic Music Festival, International Jazz Festival, the Woodward Dream Cruise, the African World Festival, the country music Hoedown, Noel Night, and Dally in the Alley. Within downtown, Campus Martius Park hosts large events, including the annual Motown Winter Blast. As the world's traditional automotive center, the city hosts the North American International Auto Show. Held since 1924, America's Thanksgiving Parade is one of the nation's largest. River Days, a five-day summer festival on the International Riverfront lead up to the Windsor-Detroit International Freedom Festival fireworks, which draw super sized-crowds ranging from hundreds of thousands to over three million people.
Firms in the region pursue emerging technologies including biotechnology, nanotechnology, information technology, and hydrogen fuel cell development. The city of Detroit has made efforts to lure the region's growth companies downtown with advantages such as a wireless Internet zone, business tax incentives, entertainment, an International Riverfront, and residential high rises. Compuware completed its world headquarters in downtown Detroit in 2003. OnStar, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and HP Enterprise Services have located at the Renaissance Center. PricewaterhouseCoopers Plaza offices are adjacent to Ford Field and Ernst & Young completed its office building at One Kennedy Square in 2006.
Detroit is home to several institutions of higher learning including Wayne State University, a national research university with medical and law schools in the Midtown area offering hundreds of academic degrees and programs. The University Of Detroit Mercy, located in Northwest Detroit in the University District, is a prominent Roman Catholic co-educational university affiliated with the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) and the Sisters of Mercy. The University of Detroit Mercy offers more than a hundred academic degrees and programs of study including business, dentistry, law, engineering, architecture, nursing and allied health professions. The University of Detroit Mercy School of Law is located Downtown across from the Renaissance Center. Other institutions in the city include the College for Creative Studies, Lewis College of Business, Marygrove College and Wayne County Community College. In June 2009, the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine which is based in East Lansing opened a satellite campus located at the Detroit Medical Center. The University Of Michigan was established in 1817 in Detroit and later moved to Ann Arbor in 1837. In 1959, University of Michigan–Dearborn was established in neighboring Dearborn.
Primary and secondary schools:
Public schools and charter schools:
With about 66,000 public school students (2011–12), the Detroit Public Schools (DPS) district is the largest school district in Michigan. Detroit has an additional 56,000 charter school students for a combined enrollment of about 122,000 students. In the mid-to-late 1990s, the Michigan Legislature removed the locally elected board of education amid allegations of mismanagement and replaced it with a reform board appointed by the mayor and governor. The elected board of education was re-established following a city referendum in 2005. The first election of the new 11-member board of education occurred on November 8, 2005. Due to growing Detroit Charter Schools enrollment, the city planned to close many public schools. State officials report a 68% graduation rate for Detroit's public schools adjusted for those who change schools. Public and charter school students in the city have had mixed results on standardized tests.
With its proximity to Canada and its facilities, ports, major highways, rail connections and international airports, Detroit is an important transportation hub. The city has three international border crossings, the Ambassador Bridge, Detroit-Windsor Tunnel and Michigan Central Railway Tunnel, linking Detroit to Windsor, Ontario. The Ambassador Bridge is the single busiest border crossing in North America, carrying 27% of the total trade between the U.S. and Canada.
Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW), the area's principal airport, is located in nearby Romulus and is a primary hub for Delta Air Lines and a secondary hub for Spirit Airlines. Bishop International Airport (FNT) in Flint, Michigan is the second busiest commercial airport in the region. Coleman A. Young International Airport (DET), previously called Detroit City Airport, is on Detroit's northeast side. Although Southwest Airlines once flew from the airport, the airport now maintains only charter service and general aviation. Willow Run Airport, in far-western Wayne County near Ypsilanti, is a general aviation and cargo airport.
Mass transit in the region is provided by bus services. The Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT) provides service to the outer edges of the city. From there, the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART) provides service to the suburbs. Cross border service between the downtown areas of Windsor and Detroit is provided by Transit Windsor via the Tunnel Bus. It is also possible for those who cross to Detroit on the tunnel bus to use a Transit Windsor transfer for transfers onto Detroit Smart buses, allowing for travel around Metro Detroit from a single fare.
An elevated rail system known as the People Mover, completed in 1987, provides daily service around a 2.9 miles (4.7 km) loop downtown. A proposed bus rapid transit may serve as a link between the Detroit People Mover and SEMCOG Commuter Rail which extends from Detroit's New Center area to The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Detroit Metropolitan Airport, Ypsilanti, and Ann Arbor. Amtrak provides service to Detroit, operating its Wolverine service between Chicago and Pontiac. Baggage cannot be checked at this location; however, up to two suitcases in addition to any "personal items" such as briefcases, purses, laptop bags, and infant equipment are allowed on board as carry-ons. The Amtrak station is located in the New Center area north of downtown. The J.W. Westcott II, which delivers mail to lake freighters on the Detroit River, is the world's only floating post office.
Metro Detroit has an extensive toll-free network of freeways administered by the Michigan Department of Transportation. Four major Interstate Highways surround the city. Detroit is connected via Interstate 75 (I-75) and I-96 to Kings Highway 401 and to major Southern Ontario cities such as London, Ontario and the Greater Toronto Area. I-75 (Chrysler and Fisher freeways) is the region's main north–south route, serving Flint, Pontiac, Troy, and Detroit, before continuing south (as the Detroit–Toledo and Seaway Freeways) to serve many of the communities along the shore of Lake Erie.
I-94 (Edsel Ford Freeway) runs east–west through Detroit and serves Ann Arbor to the west (where it continues to Chicago) and Port Huron to the northeast. The stretch of the current I-94 freeway from Ypsilanti to Detroit was one of America's earlier limited-access highways. Henry Ford built it to link the factories at Willow Run and Dearborn during World War II. A portion was known as the Willow Run Expressway. I-96 runs northwest–southeast through Livingston, Oakland and Wayne counties and (as the Jeffries Freeway through Wayne County) has its eastern terminus in downtown Detroit. I-275 runs north–south from I-75 in the south to the junction of I-96 and I-696 in the north, providing a bypass through the western suburbs of Detroit. I-375 is a short spur route in downtown Detroit, an extension of the Chrysler Freeway. I-696 (Reuther Freeway) runs east–west from the junction of I-96 and I-275, providing a route through the northern suburbs of Detroit. Taken together, I-275 and I-696 form a semicircle around Detroit. Michigan state highways designated with the letter M serve to connect major freeways