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From Motown Music to the Henry Ford Museum, Discover Detroit's History

A city famous for its cars and music, Detroit has plenty to offer tourists. A high crime rate and plummeting population have plagued the Motor City in recent years, but Detroit still enjoys vibrant energy and a cultural panache unlike any other city in the country. It has had its ups and down since it was founded in 1701, but with beautiful architecture, scenic parks and a thriving music scene, it certainly seems that Detroit is on the rise again. Here are three great places to start exploring the city. Henry Ford MuseumA museum dedicated to the man that earned the Motor City its name, the Henry Ford Museum is one of the true gems of Detroit’s cultural attractions. The main focus of the museum is on cars – a subject that it celebrates with staggering passion. The huge, 40-foot hanger-like building houses one of the most impressive collections of historic cars in the world, including the limo John F. Kennedy was traveling in when he was shot and the city’s trademark Model-T. The museum also traces the history of America with fascinating artifacts like Edgar Allen Poe’s writing desk and the chair in which President Lincoln was shot. It usually showcases a diverse range of traveling exhibits alongside its static ones. Detroit Zoo The Detroit Zoo is one of the finest in the entire country. It was the first zoo in the U.S. to use simulated natural environments rather than bars to enclose the animals. Since its foundation in 1928, the zoo has amassed an impressive collection of animals, including bears, elephants, hippos, rhinos, big cats and all manner of reptiles. The centerpiece of the zoo is undoubtedly The Arctic Ring of Life, where you can get a magnificent up-close view of polar bears and seals from within an underwater glass tube. Other highlights such as Ape Island, the National Amphibian Conservation Center/Amphibiville (NACC), and the Australian Outback Adventure are sure to provide plenty of entertainment for the whole family. Motown Historical MuseumThe Motown Historical Museum will take you back to a golden era for the city. Between 1959 and 1972, Detroit’s Motown Record Corporation produced so many successful artists that founder Berry Gordy Jr.’s house earned the nickname “Hitsville U.S.A.” Today that house is home to one of Detroit’s most popular tourist attractions. The Motown Historical Museum documents the meteoric rise of the Motown sound with artifacts from superstars like the Supremes, the Temptations, Stevie Wonder and the Jackson 5. Visitors can take a step back in time to view Berry Gordy’s apartment and the famous “Studio A,” both restored to look just like they did in the 1960s. The museum also contains a main gallery featuring photos that document key moments in the history of Motown. The entire experience takes just over an hour and is well worth a visit.