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Michigonian

Moving to Detroit

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Hello, I'm moving to Detroit for grad school at WSU. I currently live in Oregon and I have some friends that are thinking about moving to a big city, Detroit or LA. My friends want to move to Detroit for the music scene. Where are some good affordable places to live around the University and close to the music scene? Detroit sounds like a fun place to live with all the music and sports, and everthing else. I appreciate any comments regarding life as a 20 something in Detroit. GO RED WINGS!

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Definitely a question, Michi here would be able to answer since he attends Wayne State.

I'm sure there are others around here with some good info though. :)

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I would say you want to go to the website detroitmidtown.com and take a look at the midtown housing section. detroit.com also has a very responsive community of city dwellers. You would probably want to live in the midtown area or in woodbridge, and depending on your budget there are lots of great new lofts and rennovated apartments. Midtown probably has the best selection of quality housing in the city as far as 20 something urban living is concerned.

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I would say you want to go to the website detroitmidtown.com and take a look at the midtown housing section. detroit.com also has a very responsive community of city dwellers. You would probably want to live in the midtown area or in woodbridge, and depending on your budget there are lots of great new lofts and rennovated apartments. Midtown probably has the best selection of quality housing in the city as far as 20 something urban living is concerned.

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Welcome, MichiGANDER! ;)

Kidding...you can call yourself whatever the heck you want if you are moving TO Michigan FROM somewhere else. Disclosure #1: the job market is increadibly tight, so come prepared to work a little extra hard if you need employment right away. Don't let that discourage you though, you could get a job right away.

RI listed the University Cultural Center Association as advertisement for housing. That's the same source I recommend as well:

http://detroitmidtown.com/05/midtown.php

Right now, I live at Cathedral Tower, just east of Wayne State University. It's not hip, but rather an old high rise with small units. You sound like you might be interested in some of the older housing in the area. Typically, there is a method to viewing where to live in Midtown if you're a student: You don't really want to go east of Woodward for the simple reason that there's not much over there other than the Detroit Medical Center. There is some housing, but it's more targeted toward med students and the like.

That pretty much directs your focus at the 4 north-south streets of Woodward-Cass-2nd Avenue-3rd Avenue. Warren Avenue is the main east-west corridor though WSU and most of the housing along the afforementioned corridors lies south of Warren. Some of these side streets are Hancock, Prentis, Canfield, Willis, Alexandrine, etc. A lot of the rental properties you will see on the UCCA website are located in this area.

WSU_Midtown.gif

All of Central Detroit is in transition and is a work in progress. As you're probably aware, we're the last city to really realize that "oh yah, urban is cool". This can both be good and bad. Good because you get to be a part of the very beginnings, but on the other hand, there's a wierd vibe of new optimism in the shadows of the way things once were during the city's worst times.

Everything is mixed together right now with little rhyme or reason:

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However, you will quickly discover that Midtown Detroit has the most potential of probably any other area in all of Southeast Michigan.

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3rd Avenue and Forest, looking north (WSU).

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Unless you find rental housing in a neighborhood called Woodbridge, you really don't want to go west of the Lodge Freeway. Woodbridge (histroic district) is in close proximity to WSU and is a popular destination for established students, faculty, and a very diverse population.

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Wayne State University is located at marker 4 (green) and Woodbridge marker 34 (yellow) in this map of Detroit:

http://www.cityscapedetroit.org/Detroit_neighborhoods.html

If Woodbridge interests you, try this website:

http://www.liveinwoodbridge.com/

Housing NORTH of Wayne State University, going into New Center is also limited at this time. There is housing up that way, just not to the abundance found south of the university.

Your central headquarters for the Detroit music scene (at least for Midtown's sake) is the Majectic Theater and Magic Stick, located on Woodward between Willis and Alexandrine. The clientelle here is as "Detroit" as they come. It offers a really neat mix of the general public, and your Bohemian/garage band/artsy type crowd.

http://www.majesticdetroit.com/stick.asp

Make friends at the College for Creative Studies. Located at John R. and Kirby Streets, some of the most talented young people in the country study art and design at this top-rated school, secretely tucked away behind the Detroit Institute of Arts.

http://www.ccscad.edu/

One of the coolest things about Detroit is that it is an "underground" city. Almost nothing comes main stream, so you sorta have to explore to find the treasures, such as stores, galleries, music venues, housing, etc. You can get involved with a large number of grass roots initiatives though that are widespread throughout the city. If you make a point to talk to the people who are passionate about the city, and there are PLENTY, you'll find yourself in the crowd that knows how to enjoy Detroit and tolerate its ups and downs. Getting involved in the community really adds a comfort factor in living here.

Check out, and sign up for the weekly newsletter (every Tuesday) ModelD to find out everything you need to know about what's going on around town. This week had an article about the Dorkwave music scene that is unique to Detroit. I have yet to go to one, but I do know some people who are a part of this:

http://www.modeldmedia.com/ (MAKE SURE TO SIGN UP!!)

You'll also become accustomed to Detroit's weekly alternative newspaper, the Metro Times:

http://www.metrotimes.com/default.asp

One neighborhood event that you MUST participate in is called Dally in the Alley. It's usually right around the time school starts in late August or September.

http://dallyinthealley.com/

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A dose of reality: if your property is vulnerable to be taken, it will be. Midtown's biggest downer without a doubt is theft. Our mascot should be shattered car window glass lining the curbs. Think of your property as everyone elses' and that they think they have a right to it. Obviously, you don't want them to have it, so if you become a little obsessive over your possessions, don't say I didn't warn you. Other than the little petty crimes, Greater downtown (Midtown/New Center) are safe.

Also another downer to prepare for is some of the most disgusting bashing attitudes you will ever encounter. People might think I'm stupid for saying this, but our culture here for so long has been the basis that you don't need a lot of education to make a lot of money. Detroit has always typified the American Dream, and sometimes when people open their mouths, intelligence does not accompany the words. Racism is also another factor that should come as no surprise. There is a LOADED conversation here about everything being black and white. As a white resident for the past 3 years, I've been harrassed by both races...all of it based on ignorance or arrogance, but from people who feel they need to express their observance of me living here. It's really quite strange, but something you may have to tolerate once or twice.

RE transportation. I live near WSU and work downtown near the river. I ride my bike to work, have walked a few times, but during February and some of March took the bus. If you stay relatively grounded to the Woodward corridor vacinity, you shouldn't have many problems getting around. I'd recommend having a bike, especially in the summer, you can tour the neighborhoods, get to Belle Isle quicker, access Eastern Market on Saturday, or even join a biking group who bikes all over the city. If you have a car, take precautions I mentioned above. If you have questions about recommendations, just ask.

If you rely heavily on the bus to get around the region, I'd say stay in Oregon. Having 2 bus authorities is a nightmare and DOES NOT WORK!

DDOT for in-city routes: http://www.detroitmi.gov/ddot/index.html

and SMART for suburban routes: www.smartbus.com

People that move to Detroit aren't typically viewd as normal. I don't know if you've been here before, Michigonian, but it is different. Some good advice is to expect anything. I hope you aren't coming with a lot of expectations, because Detroit has a lot to offer. If you invest and engage yourself as human capital, then the experience can be very rewarding. If you expect everyone and everything to be at your beckon call, Detroit is not your place. This is a city that attracts those of us who want a different spin on life, but at the same time lift up a city that's been to hell and back come back to a sense of normalcy. It's not like moving to any other big city, and I think the only way you can truely understand that the way I do is by experiencing it for yourself. Have fun with it and if there's anything else that I can help you with, just let me know. :)

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Wow man, thanks for all the great insight on Detroit! I think you just about covered it all! I totally understand your point of view on moving to Detroit... It's definatly not for everyone. I'm not comming there for economic prosperity or to raise a family, but rather for the learning experience in a culturally diverse, historic town with a great uniqueness for music and passion for sports - and have a good time!

I'm really excited about getting involved somehow in some grass-roots organizations if I can, so I'm glad you mentioned that. I hear that Detroit has a lot of urban farms? Sounds cool.

One thing that I'll miss most about Oregon is the beer. Do many bars in Detroit serve local micro-brews? That would be a plus!

Again, thanks for your help!

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In fact the Motor City Brewing Works Inc is locating on Canfield right in the heart of Midtown

www.motorcitybeer.com

There is also the Woodward Ave Brewers in inner right suburb of Ferndale at 9mile and woodward

The Detroit Beer Co is located downtown on Broadway next to Small Plates a fancy little eatery

Here is a pretty interest ModelD article regarding microbrewing in Detroit that I think you'll find quite interesting

http://www.modeldmedia.com/features/beer65.aspx

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Corktown (Irish) also has a bunch of beer. You know you're in Corktown when you see old Tiger Stadium on Michigan Avenue.

Also, check out the Michigan Beer Guide:

http://www.michiganbeerguide.com/beerguide.asp

If you like wine, Michigan produces a lot of it, and there are tastings periodically:

http://www.michiganwines.com/

I DON'T drink a lot of beer, but I would say the best place for local microbrews is the Detroit Beer Company on Broadway that RI pointed out. Another fun place downtown with gobbs of beer is the Old Shaleighly (or however you spell it) in Greektown. The upstairs drunk Irish band is a riot. Nearby on Beaubien Street in Bricktown is the Detroiter Bar, which is good too. Near the East Riverfront in the old Rivertown District is the Atwater Block Brewery, which is also very popular among locals.

http://www.atwaterbeer.com/

CHEERS! :)

*Edit*: Oh yah, almost forgot. If you're ever in the mood to just kick back and relax, have a beer or a Scotch while overlooking the city, Coach Insignia's bar on the top of the Ren Cen has evening hours and is one of my favorites to put your feet up, look out over the city, or watch "the game". There's really no dress code, just don't wear rags! If it's dinner you want from here, bring your casino winnings. ;)

http://www.mattprenticerg.com/urc/coach.asp

*Edit x 2*: Dude! How could I forget the Hamtramck Blowout? (MUSIC)

http://www.metromodemedia.com/videos/Blowout11.aspx

Hamtramck is a funky little enclave of Detroit. Very old school and very hot! I'm sure you'll find yourself there a lot.

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