Month: August 2010

Bloomington, Minnesota

A- Overview:
Bloomington is best known as the home of the Mall of America and of Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport. A visitor could deplane at the airport, take a shuttle for 1.5 miles to the Mall of America, and literally spend an entire vacation just exploring and enjoying that enchanting place.

The country’s largest shopping complex and Number 1 visited attraction in the U.S. welcomes over 42 million guests each year. The Mall of America is an unprecedented mix of retail and entertainment, offering the chance to shop in your favorite stores, see a movie, ride a roller coaster, and build a LEGO castle. The Mall has over 525 specialty stores, 4 national department stores, over 60 restaurants from fast-food to fine dining, 7 nightclubs and 14 movie theaters. Because of the Mall, Bloomington has grown from a semi-rural village to its current status as Minnesota’s third largest city.

Inside the climate controlled mall are: the LEGO Imagination Center, a fantasy LEGO factory with more than 6,000 square feet of models and interactive activities; Jilian’s Hi Life Lanes, with more than 100 electronic games and a Bowling alley; the NASCAR Silicon Motor Speedway, with indoor simulated racing machines, and a 14 theater movie complex.

Camp Snoopy is another prime Mall of America attraction. This seven acre family theme park features more than 25 rides and attractions, including a traditional roller coaster, a 40 foot waterfall plunge, a Ferris wheel, entertainment by the Peanuts characters, and a spinning roller coaster called the Timberland Twister.

Another feature of the Mall is a walk-through aquarium containing more than 4,500 sea creatures including sharks and stingrays.

Outside the mall, no matter what the season, Bloomington has recreational opportunities to offer, such as golf, tennis, biking, hiking and skiing.

Named for its colorful, flowering fields, Bloomington is a city of picturesque lakes, ponds, and parks combined with an exciting and healthy business and hospitality industry. Permanent European settlers arrived in Bloomington in the 1840’s, moving into the area along the Minnesota River near Fort Snelling.

Bloomington gained recognition in the early 20th century as the home of racehorse Dan Patch, holder of the international pacing record. It was also the headquarters for many years for The Twins and the Vikings, Minnesota’s professional baseball and football teams. When both of the teams moved from Met Stadium in Bloomington to the Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis in 1982, the blow to the local economy in Bloomington was devastating. Tragedy turned to triumph in 1986, however, when the 78 strategically located acres of the former Met Stadium were slated for development by the group that was to build the Mall of America. The mega complex opened in 1992 and gave Bloomington a new lease on life.

There is so much to see and do in Bloomington! If local history is your interest, be sure to visit the Bloomington Historical Museum. This museum in the 1892 Town Hall takes the visitor back in time through the highlights of regional history. In June and August, a must see event is the annual Art in the Parks festival. Enjoy beautiful summer nights in a friendly park setting and hear music from swing to country to jazz to classic rock. Watch performances by dance, choral and theater companies.

Bloomington is fortunate in having four distinct seasons. Summer is very comfortable with high temperatures near 80 degrees. It is the perfect time to experience the outdoors; especially the city’s numerous parks. Winter is the time to enjoy ice skating, ice fishing and watching Nature at it’s finest as the snowflakes gently fall to earth forming thick blankets of snow for skiing, snowmobiling, and snowboarding. Spring brings rain and a profusion of plants and flowers. Fall is the perfect time to enjoy the colors of the season as the leaves turn and the cooler temperatures return.

Because of its proximity to Minneapolis-St. Paul, many visitors to Bloomington use it as a base to visit the numerous sites and attractions of these nearby cities. Minneapolis is the home of numerous professional sports teams, excellent theatre, fine orchestras, and a host of art museums and fine dining. St. Paul hosts the Winter Carnival in January and February and the Minnesota Horse Expo and Rodeo and the Festival of Nations in May.

If you visit in late August, be sure to take in the Minnesota State Fair, in St. Paul. This is Minnesota’s premier festival: a twelve day event that attracts over one million visitors annually. Featuring family fun, prestigious animal judging events, Grand Stand shows, a Mighty Midway and a large variety of food, has been dubbed the “Great Minnesota Get-Together”.

While in the vicinity of Bloomington and the Twin Cities, don’t miss the Grand Rounds, a 50-mile recreation area tour that can be followed on one huge trail maintained by the city of Minneapolis. This path, which was designated as a National Scenic Byway in 1998, is broken into seven districts. The tour offers many impressive views of the downtown skyline. The sites are green and lush and are lined with waterways. Attractions along the route include the historic Stone Arch Bridge, Minnehaha Falls, the Walker Arts Center’s Sculpture Garden, and the historic mill district. Overall, the Grand Rounds provides a natural, urban, historic journey and is the first natural scenic byway totally located in a major urban area. The speed limit on Grand Rounds parkways is 25 mph to encourage leisurely driving.

No matter what the season or what the occasion, Bloomington, is waiting to welcome you.

B- City Information:
Population: 85,172

Elevation: 848 feet

Area: 35.5 square miles

Location: Located just south of Minneapolis and the intersections of I-35W and I-494

Nearest Cities: Minneapolis (9.5 miles)

Time Zone: Bloomington is located in the Central Time Zone (when it’s noon in Bloomington, it’s 1:00pm in New York City and 10:00am in Los Angeles. Bloomington observes Daylight Savings Time from April – October.

Weather:

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Average temp. (°F)
12.8
19.8
31.9
46.6
59.2
68.3
72.8
70.3
60.9
48.7
32.3
18.4

High temperature (°F)
21.8
28.3
40.6
57.2
70.3
79.0
83.1
80.3
71.3
58.8
40.1
26.3

Low temperature (°F)
3.7
11.2
23.1
35.9
48.2
57.5
62.4
60.2
50.4
38.6
24.5
10.4

Precipitation (in)
1.0
0.8
1.9
2.4
3.4
4.4
4.1
4.2
2.9
2.2
2.0
1.0

Climate

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Days with precipitation.
9
7
10
10
11
12
10
10
10
8
8
9

Wind speed (mph)
10.5
10.4
11.3
12.2
11.1
10.4
9.4
9.2
10.0
10.6
11.0
10.4

Morning humidity (%)
76
76
76
74
75
78
81
84
84
80
80
78

Afternoon humidity (%)
69
67
64
55
55
58
59
61
63
61
68
71

Sunshine (%)
53
59
57
58
61
66
72
69
62
55
39
42

Days clear of clouds
8
8
7
7
7
7
10
10
10
10
5
6

Partly cloudy days
7
7
7
8
9
10
12
11
8
7
6
6

Cloudy days
15
14
17
15
15
12
9
10
12
14
18
18

Snowfall (in)
10.7
8.1
10.5
2.8
0.1
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.5
7.8
9.4

Local Seasons:

Bloomington is lucky to have four distinct seasons. The summer is very comfortable with high temperatures near 80 degrees. Winter is also a great time of year for those who enjoy snow-related activities. Spring has the most rain, nourishing the earth and the flowers. Fall is the perfect time to enjoy the colors of the season as the leaves turn and the cooler temperatures return. Whatever the season, Bloomington has something for every visitor to experience and enjoy.

How to Get There:

By Air

Minneapolis-St. Paul International (code MSP) is the closest airport to Bloomington. It is one of the busiest airports in the world, with more than a half million takeoffs and landings each year. MSP has been ranked among the top five airports worldwide for overall customer satisfaction. The airport is served my most of the major airlines, many regional carriers as well as a variety of charter operators. There are two main terminals at the airport.

By Car

Bloomington is easily accessible by car as it is conveniently located just south of Minneapolis at the intersections of I-35W and I-494

By Train

Amtrak does not serve Bloomington

By Bus

Greyhound Bus Lines serves Bloomington at the following location:
Great Bear Tire
9000 Lyndale Avenue Sourth
Bloomington MN 55420

952- 887-2116

How to Get Around:

Bloomington is serviced by Metro Transit

560 Sixth Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55411

612-349-7510

Call for schedules and additional information

National Holidays:

New Year’s Day Jan. 1

Martin Luther King, Jr., Day 3rd Mon. in Jan.

President’s Day 3rd Mon. in Feb.

Memorial Day last Mon. in May

Independence Day July 4

Labor Day 1st Mon. in Sept.

Thanksgiving Day 4th Thurs. in Nov.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Dec. 24 and 25

New Year’s Eve Dec. 31

C- Attractions/Things To Do:
Mall of America
60 E Broadway
Bloomington 55425
952-883-8800

Admission Free

Just minutes away from downtown Minneapolis in Bloomington, Mall of America has more than 520 stores, a seven-acre amusement park, a walk-through aquarium, an entire level of restaurants and bars, a 15-screen movie theater, and much more.

Other family attractions include Camp Snoopy, the nation’s largest fully enclosed theme park, spanning seven acres and featuring 28 rides and attractions and Underwater Adventures, a 1.2-million gallon walk-through aquarium – one of only three of its kind.

Mall of America is an unprecedented mix of retail and entertainment, offering visitors the chance to shop their favorite stores as well as see a movie, ride a roller coaster, meet their favorite celebrity or build a LEGO castle.

Mall of America has become the model for combining signature attractions with retail to create an outstanding entertainment venue and is now one of the most visited destinations in the United States.

Open daily, call for hours of operation

Basic Brown Bear Factory
154 N Garden
Mall of America
Bloomington 55425

952-883-0822

Admission Free

Open-Monday-Sunday from 10 am-5 pm.

Stuff and dress your own bear.

Camp Snoopy
Mall of America
Bloomington 55425

952-883-8500

Admission Charged

Welcome to Camp Snoopy, the largest indoor theme park in America! It’s seven acres of indoor excitement, with over 30 thrilling rides and attractions, plus unique shops, games to test your skills, fun-filled entertainment and many places to dine or simply grab a treat. It all adds up to a world of fun for the whole family!

Call for dates and hours of operation as they vary by season

Imation IMAX 3D Theatre
12000 Zoo Blvd
Apple Valley 55124

952-431-4629

Admission Charged

Thrill your senses with exciting and innovation IMAX 3D

Call for dates and hours of performances

NASCAR

Mall of America

952-854-7700

Admission Charged

If you’ve got a need for speed, satisfy it here! The roar of 700 horse power engines and 195 mile per hour speeds are all part of this electrifying, high tech indoor stock car racing competition. Slide into the cockpit of a professional stock car and speed off! This is stock car racing as real as it gets.

Call for hours of operation

Minnesota Children’s Museum
10 W 7th St
St. Paul 55102

651-225-6000

Admission Charged

Hours: Museum Hours
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Friday: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Monday (Memorial Day through Labor Day): 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Closed Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

Play to learn! Learn to play! Minnesota Children’s Museum creates experiences that spark children’s learning. The Museum is at the heart of where fun meets learning. It’s where kids can touch, climb, splash, crawl, push, pull, and press it all! Children ages 6 months through 10 years and their adult guests can explore seven galleries packed with extraordinary hands-on adventures. Burrow through a giant anthill, take the stage in a music studio, get nose-to-beak with a turtle, operate a big crane, climb a tree fort and more! Two galleries host new and delightful special exhibits throughout the year.

Underwater Adventures
120 East Broadway
Mall of America

888-DIVETIME
Admission Charged

Imagine traveling 14 feet underwater where sharks, stingrays and giant sea turtles swim so close, you’ll feel like you can reach out and touch them! With over 1.2 million gallons of water, this aquarium features a 300 foot-long curved tunnel, complete with a moving walkway that simulates a scuba diving adventure – but without getting wet!

Call for dates and hours of operation

Bloomington Historical Museum
10206 Penn Ave S
Bloomington 55431

952-948-8877

Admission Charged

Regional history displayed in 1892 town hall

Call for dates and hours of operation

Hyland Hills Ski & Snowboard Area
8800 Chalet Road
Bloomington 55438

952-835-4250

Admission Charged

Enjoy a day crisp day on the hill with the family

Open seasonally, call for dates and hours of operation

Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge
3815 E 80th St
Bloomington 55425

952-854-5900

Admission Charged

Call for dates and hours of operation

An outdoor experience as primitive and natural as any state or national park. The Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge is one of only four urban wildlife refuges in the nation, a place where wild coyotes, bald eagles, badger, and beavers live next door to three million people.

Normandale Japanese Gardens
9700 France Ave S
Bloomington 55431

952-832-6269

Admission Charged

Call for dates and hours of operation

Visitors are invited to enter and stroll the garden path of Normandale’s lovely Japanese Garden, finding at each turn a new view of this artfully created world.

D- Family Fun Attractions:
Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge
3815 E 80th St
Bloomington 55425

952-854-5900

Admission Charged

An outdoor experience as primitive and natural as any state or national park. The Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge is one of only four urban wildlife refuges in the nation, a place where wild coyotes, bald eagles, badger, and beavers live next door to three million people.

Call for dates and hours of operation.

Minnesota State Fair

1265 Snelling Avenue North

St. Paul, MN

651-6-3-6810

Admission Charged

Minnesota’s premier festival – a twelve day event ending on Labor Day attracts over one million visitors annually. Featuring family fun, prestigious animal barns, Grand Stand shows, a Mighty Midway and a large variety of food – on a stick too! It has been dubbed the “Great Minnesota Get-Together”. Fun for the family.

Mall of America
60 E Broadway
Bloomington 55425
952-883-8800

Admission Free

A great place to take the family for one day or everyday. There’s so much to do!. Mall of America is an unprecedented mix of retail and entertainment, offering visitors the chance to shop their favorite stores as well as see a movie, ride a roller coaster, meet their favorite celebrity or build a LEGO castle.

Open daily, call for hours of operation

Basic Brown Bear Factory
154 N Garden
Mall of America
Bloomington 55425

952-883-0822

Admission Free

Open-Monday-Sunday from 10 am-5 pm.

Camp Snoopy
Mall of America
Bloomington 55425

952-883-8500

Admission Charged

Welcome to Camp Snoopy, the largest indoor theme park in America! It’s seven acres of indoor excitement, with over 30 thrilling rides and attractions, plus unique shops, games to test your skills, fun-filled entertainment and many places to dine or simply grab a treat. It all adds up to a world of fun for the whole family!

Call for dates and hours of operation as they vary by season

NASCAR

Mall of America

952-854-7700
Admission Charged

If you’ve got a need for speed, satisfy it here! The roar of 700 horse power engines and 195 mile per hour speeds are all part of this electrifying, high tech indoor stock car racing competition. Slide into the cockpit of a professional stock car and speed off! This is stock car racing as real as it gets.

Call for hours of operation

Minnesota Children’s Museum
10 W 7th St
St. Paul 55102

651-225-6000

Admission Charged

Museum Hours
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Friday: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Monday (Memorial Day through Labor Day): 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Closed Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

Play to learn! Learn to play! Minnesota Children’s Museum creates experiences that spark children’s learning. The Museum is at the heart of where fun meets learning. It’s where kids can touch, climb, splash, crawl, push, pull, and press it all! Children ages 6 months through 10 years and their adult guests can explore seven galleries packed with extraordinary hands-on adventures. Burrow through a giant anthill, take the stage in a music studio, get nose-to-beak with a turtle, operate a big crane, climb a tree fort and more! Two galleries host new and delightful special exhibits throughout the year.

Underwater Adventures
120 East Broadway
Mall of America

888-DIVETIME
Admission Charged

Imagine traveling 14 feet underwater where sharks, stingrays and giant sea turtles swim so close, you’ll feel like you can reach out and touch them! With over 1.2 million gallons of water, this aquarium features a 300 foot-long curved tunnel, complete with a moving walkway that simulates a scuba diving adventure – but without getting wet!

Call for dates and hours of operation

Hyland Hills Ski & Snowboard Area
8800 Chalet Road
Bloomington 55438

952-835-4250

Admission Charged

Enjoy a day crisp day on the hill with the family

Open seasonally, call for dates and hours of operation

E- Events & Entertainment:
Theatres/Museums/Cultural Attractions

Bloomington Art Center
10206 Penn Ave S
Bloomington 55431

952-948-8746

Admission Charged

The Bloomington Art Center exists to stimulate creativity by making high quality arts programs accessible to people of all ages, skills and abilities.

Gallery Hours: Monday-Friday 8:00 am-10:00 pm, Saturday 9:00 am-5:00 pm, Sunday 1:00-5:00 pm

Events

Mid January

Winter Fete

952-563-8878

Admission varies by program

Winter Fete is a counterpart to the City’s annual Summer Fete event. It works to promote recreation and exercise during the winter months. The event is a host of programs being held all over the city, and being sponsored by a wide array of groups.

Call for complete list of programs, dates, and hours

February

Bloomington Loves Its Kids

952-563-8891

Admission Free

February is Bloomington Loves its Kids (BLIK) month. Each year Parks and Recreation teams with Bloomington public schools, Northwestern Health Sciences University and various community businesses, clubs and organizations to sponsor this month-long event. BLIK combines community and family fun with educational programs and recognition ceremonies.

Call for exact dates and hours

Summer

Art in the Parks

952-563-8877

Admission Free

Get out of the house and enjoy the beautiful summer nights in a friendly park setting. Bring a blanket or a lawn chair and enjoy music from swing to country to jazz to classic rock, as well as performances by dance, choral and theater companies. So shake off those summertime blues and join us in the park for shows that will keep your toe tappin’ all year long!

Arts in the Parks also provide a wide variety of children’s entertainment including theatre, puppetry, mime, magic, juggling, clowns, music, storytelling, and more! Programming is designed to provide participatory, educational experiences for children in a wholesome, outdoor park setting. Everyone is welcome to come to the free performances.

Scheduled from June through September.

Call for exact location, dates, and hours of operation.

May – October

Summer Flower Show

Cosmo Park Zoo & Conservatory

1225 Eastbrook Drive, St. Paul, MN

651-489-8200

A parade of annuals in the pinks, blues, yellows, and whites of the summer season.

Call for exact dates

Late August – Early September

Minnesota State Fair

1265 Snelling Avenue North

St. Paul, MN

651-6-3-6810

Admission Charged

Minnesota’s premier festival – a twelve day event ending on Labor Day attracts over one million visitors annually. Featuring family fun, prestigious animal barns, Grand Stand shows, a Mighty Midway and a large variety of food – on a stick too! It has been dubbed the “Great Minnesota Get-Together”, come and see why.

Call for exact dates

Early September

Annual Scrapbooking Festival

Mall of America

800-879-3555

Admission Free

Join Mall of America and Archiver’s for the annual Scrapbook Festival! An event so large, only the nation’s largest Mall can hold it! Three full days are packed with creative make and take projects, demonstrations, inspiring classes, the newest products, and shopping.

Call for exact dates and hours of the Festival

Mid-September

School Days and Rendezvous Day

Parks and Recreation
952-563-8877

Admission Free

This wonderful festival is a chance to experience living history at the Pond-Dakota Misson Park in Bloomington, Minnesota. Its goal is to demonstrate the lifestyles of people living in Minnesota between 1830 and 1870 through story-telling and interactive, hands-on demonstration!

Public Rendezvous Day (no registration necessary). Come join us for River Rendezvous this year! It is a chance to experience life as the Native Americans, Fur Traders, and Settlers living along the Minnesota River Valley did in the 1800s. Call for exact dates and hours

Early November – Early March

Snow Slide

Minnesota Children’s Museum

10 West Street, St. Paul

651-225-6001

Admission Charged

Minnesota’s Children’s Museum is where children ages six months to 10 years can touch, climb, splash and explore their way through six galleries packed with extraordinary hands-on adventures.

Grand Rapids, Michigan

A- Overview:
Grand Rapids, Michigan’s second largest city is a center of commerce, culture and conventions. Grand Rapids combines the sophisticated convenience of a large urban center with the warmth and charm of a small town. A temperate climate assures mild winters and pleasantly warm summers. For hundreds of years people have flocked to this region for its beauty and natural resources.

Over 2,000 acres of parkland are located throughout the City, and are available for residents and visitors. Enjoy a family picnic, hike the trails, and take advantage of the many recreational activities. Many of the parks also host ethnic festivals, concerts, and public outdoor art, sculpture, and historical monuments. A new city park of 1500 acres that will provide water sports is scheduled to be completed by 2010. Grand Rapids already has so much; yet, it is always preparing for the future.

Grand Rapids was named for the rapids of the Grand River, the waterway that provided power and a means of transportation for the settlement from its earliest days. An abundance of wood from area forests made possible the growth of the furniture industry.

While many residents make their homes in the suburban communities and townships surrounding Grand Rapids, in recent years, people have begun to rediscover the advantages of downtown living. Luxury condominiums provide a high-rise view overlooking the Grand River. Heritage Hill, downtown’s closest neighborhood, offers tours of its historic homes. More than 60 architectural styles are reflected in the 1300 residences.

The recently opened 12,000 seat Van Andel Arena is home to the Grand Rapids Griffins professional hockey team. Besides hockey, the city also hosts the minor league Hoops basketball team and the Whitecaps, a Detroit Tigers baseball team affiliate. Canoeing, rock climbing, hiking and skiing are all popular in the area.

Families with children love Grand Rapids. The city offers numerous indoor activities, as well as outdoor fun. Many nature centers and the John Ball Zoo remain open even during the winter months, allowing visitors a unique and interesting view of the plants and animals. Summer-time brings out the wet and wild with popular wave pools and water slides. Those interested in a more quiet activity may wish to explore one of many interactive museums or art centers.

Whether you are relaxing in an Eames lounge chair, or touring a Frank Lloyd Wright house, you will notice that design matters. Grand Rapids has been known through the years as “The Paris of Furniture Design” and “The Furniture City.” In the Van Andel Museum Center, visitors can view an operational reconstruction of an early 20th century furniture factory and walk through an 1890s downtown street of shops, featuring the sights and sounds of the times.

If you spend one vacation in Grand Rapids, you will see why this beautiful city is a place to which many return year after year.

B- City Information:
Population: 185,437

Elevation: 612 feet

Location: Grand Rapids is located in Kent County (of which it is the county seat) north of Kalamazoo between Muskegon and Lansing along Interstate 96 on the banks the Grand River near Lake Michigan.

Time Zone Grand Rapids is in the eastern time zone. When it is noon in New York City; it is also noon in Grand Rapids.

Weather:

Grand Rapids has a temperate climate which offers mild winters and pleasant summers. Each season is unique and beauiful.

Average Temperatures:

Month
High
Low

January
30F
16F

February
32F
17F

March
42F
25F

April
57F
36F

May
69F
46F

June
79F
56F

July
83F
60F

August
82F
59F

September
73F
51F

October
61F
41F

November
46F
31F

December
34F
21F

When to Go

Summer offers traditional warm weather activities beginning in early June and lasting until early September. In Autumn, the days are warm; the nights are cool, and the leaves blaze with brilliant colors. In winter, February is the favored month to enjoy snow sports. November and April have some gray, cold days with rain and sleet. May brings a cascade of greenery followed by blossoms and plants and trees in full bloom. No matter what the season, there are interesting activities to enjoy.

Business Hours

Banks are usually open weekdays 9 to 3 and some Saturday mornings; the post office from 8 to 5 weekdays and often on Saturday mornings. Shops in urban and suburban areas, typically open at 9 or 10 daily and stay open until anywhere from 6 to 10 PM on weekdays and Saturdays, and until 5 or 6 on Sundays.

Holidays

New Year’s Day Jan. 1

Martin Luther King, Jr., Day 3rd Mon. in Jan.

President’s Day 3rd Mon. in Feb.

Memorial Day last Mon. in May;

Independence Day July 4

Labor Day 1st Mon. in Sept.

Veterans Day November 11

Thanksgiving Day 4th Thurs. in Nov.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Dec. 24 and 25

New Year’s Eve Dec. 31.

Customs & Duties

Arriving in the United States

Contact the U.S. Customs Service (inquiries, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20229, 202/354-1000

Electricity

The U.S. electrical standard is 110 volts/60 cycles AC. Visitors from other countries, traveling with dual-voltage appliances will not need a converter, but they will need a plug adapter. The standard U.S. electrical outlet takes a plug of two flat pins set parallel to one another.

Emergencies

Ambulance, Fire, Police (Phone: 911).

Taxes

The sales tax in Michigan is 6%.

Lodgings and meals are taxed in addition to this.

Tipping

At restaurants, a 15% tip is standard for waiters; up to 20% may be expected at more expensive establishments.

Telephones

The country code for the United States is 1. The area code for Grand Rapids is 616.

All U.S. telephone numbers consist of 10 digits – the three-digit area code, followed by a seven-digit local number. If you’re calling a number from another area-code region, dial “1” then all 10 digits. For calls within the same local calling area, just dial the seven-digit number.

Directory & Operator Information

For assistance from an operator, dial “0”. To get a local or national telephone number, dial 411; in a few places it is necessary to dial 555-1212.

International Calls

International calls can be direct-dialed from most phones; dial 011, followed by the country code and then the local number (the front pages of many local telephone directories include a list of overseas country codes). To have an operator assist you, dial “0” and ask for the overseas operator.

Getting There

By Plane

Gerald R. Ford International Airport

616-233-6000

Gerald R. Ford International Airport has recently gone through a $50 million renovation to give it a sleek new look. Its hassle-free service provides nonstop flights to 16 hub cities including Detroit, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Chicago, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Toronto and more!

Train

Amtrak’s Pere Marquette offers daily rail service between Grand Rapids and Chicago, providing fast and convenient rail connections to many destinations. (800) 872-7245

Bus

Intercity bus transportation arrives and departs from the Greyhound Bus Terminal located at Wealthy Street and Grandville Avenue. (616) 456-1709 or (800) 231-2222

Metro Transit

Grand Rapids and surrounding areas are served by Rapid buses of the Interurban Transit Partnership. Rapid buses run 7 days a week and include evening hours. Routes originate at the Downtown Transit Center on Ionia Avenue and Lyon Street. Buses stop at marked stops and shelters. (616) 776-1100

Trolley

Grand Rapids Trolley Co., LLC

332 Kingswood Dr. SE

Grand Rapids, MI

(616) 954-7000

Grand Rapids Trolley is bringing back the best of the past by providing West Michigan with a unique and elegant transportation service. It’s fun to ride the trolley.

By Car

Due to the interstate highway system, Grand Rapids is only a few hours drive from most major midwestern cities.

C- Attractions/Things To Do:
Frank Lloyd Wright designed over 70 buildings in Michigan. Almost all of Mr. Wright’s designs for Michigan were single-family homes (or planned developments of homes). Two of these homes are in Grand Rapids.

J. H. Amberg House

Grand Rapids, Michigan 1909

This home is located very near to the Meyer May house, in the historic Heritage Hill neighborhood. The design was started by Frank Lloyd Wright and finished by Marion Mahony.

Meyer May House

450 Madison SE

A Frank Lloyd Wright designed prairie style house built in 1908 for the founder of May’s of Michigan clothing store It was restored by the Steelcase Corporation from 1985-1987.

Open free to the public on Tues and Thurs 10 – 2; Sundays 1 – 5.

Voigt House

115 College Avenue SE

Grand Rapids, Michigan

(616) 456-4600

Regular open house tours are conducted for the public every Tuesday, 11 – 3 and the second and fourth Sunday of the month from 1 – 3.

Admission charged

Built in 1895 for Carl Voigt, this French Chateau is perfectly preserved with original furnishings. Visit Voigt House and discover fascinating details of everyday life from the turn-of-the-century. This 19th century home is preserved with the original furnishings and personal possessions of Carl G. A. Voigt and his family. Tour the opulent home, carriage house and historically landscaped grounds.

Seasonal programs on life in Grand Rapids during the Victorian era. Open Tuesdays and 2nd and 4th Sundays. Admission charged.

Heritage Hill Historic District

126 College Ave. SE, Five blocks east of downtown

Grand Rapids, MI

(616) 459-8950

A national historic district embracing over 60 different architectural styles. Self-guided walking tour brochure is available.. Annual Home Tour the first weekend of October.

Amway Corporation

7575 E. Fulton Road

676-6701

Introduction to Michigan at work. Tour extensive Amway World headquarters and learn all about the growth, products and markets of one of the world’s largest direct-selling companies.

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

1000 East Beltline Ave. NE

Grand Rapids, MI

(616) 957-1580

(888) 957-1580

Admission charged. Children (4 and under): Free

Mon-Sat 9:00 -5:00; Sun noon -5:00. Thurs 9:00 -9:00 June – August.

The 125-acre Gardens and Sculpture Park features the monumental Leonardo da Vinci’s Horse, indoor and outdoor gardens; Michigan’s largest tropical conservatory; nature trails; sculpture galleries; and over 100 world-class sculptures.

Homestead Acres

6720 Ainsworth Road

Ionia, MI 48846.00

(616) 527-5910

Farm tour for Adults: $3.00, Children: $2.00

Open May-October. Saturday 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Closed Sunday. Weekdays by appointment.

A working farm with rare and exotic animals, farm tours and retail store with fiber, yarns and sweaters. Please call ahead to schedule tours.

Meyer May House

450 Madison Ave. SE

Grand Rapids, MI

(616) 246-4821

Call for hours. Admission free.

Tuesday and Thursday 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Sunday 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. The last tour each day begins one hour prior to closing. Closed Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and all major holidays.

This 1908 masterpiece of the prairie-style design is one of the most complete restorations of a Frank Lloyd Wright house in existence.

Paul Collins Fine Art

220 Lyon St. NW, Suite 101

Grand Rapids, MI

(616) 742-2000

Tuesday-Friday 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. or by appointment. Closed Sunday and Monday.

This gallery looks at the world through the eyes of artist Paul Collins whose subjects are the people of Senegal, Kenya, America, Israel, Japan, the Sioux Nation and Black American heroes.

The Grand Lady Riverboat

4243 Indian Mounds Dr. SW

Grandville, MI

(616) 457-4837

Fax: (616) 457-2231

Open May-October. Call for reservations.

Varies, call for information.

Call for dining reservations and a full schedule of cruises.

The Grand Lady is a 150-passenger stern wheel riverboat that offers sightseeing cruises, and meals featuring live entertainment.

Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts

41 Sheldon Blvd. SE

Grand Rapids, MI

(616) 454-7000

Monday-Thursday and Saturday 11:00 – 4:00 ; Friday 11- 8:30

Gallery admission free.

A multi-disciplinary contemporary arts center programming in the visual arts, performance art, music, dance, film and literature. Artist’s services are provided..

Gerald R. Ford Museum

303 Pearl Street NW, Grand Rapids, MI -5353

Telephone: (616) 451-9263

Open daily from 9:00 am – 4:45 pm. (Closed New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day).

Experience America’s most entertaining presidential museum. Attend a White House State Dinner, step inside the Oval Office and see the original Watergate burglar tools.

The permanent exhibits are the core of the Museum’s program. They allow visitors to participate in history, not just view it, while learning the highlights of the lives of President and Mrs. Ford. In addition to the permanent exhibits, a succession of temporary exhibits draw upon the rich holdings of the entire Presidential libraries system, the Smithsonian Institution, the National Archives, and others.

Gerald R. Ford Library

The Ford Library (in Ann Arbor, Michigan) and Museum (in Grand Rapids, Michigan) promote popular interest and scholarly research in U.S. history during the post-World War II era, especially the Ford presidency (1974-77).The Library collects and preserves the archival record, and aids public access. The Museum presents an ambitious program of exhibits and special events. Both are part of the presidential library system administered by National Archives and Records Administration.

Van Andel Museum Center

From I-196 East, use Lake Michigan Drive Exit (75) east to downtown.

9:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Saturday

Noon to 5:00 pm on Sundays

Closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Years Day and Easter.

Admission charged.

Children under age 3 admitted free.

Three floors of permanent and traveling exhibitions exploring regional history, City history, natural history, Native American Culture, and the decorative arts. A spectacular

Many visitors find it advantageous to start on the 3rd floor and work their way down to the first floor

Van Andel Arena

call Sky Dome Information Line at 616-456-3663 for current show topics.

No one is seated after the beginning of a performance. Visitors leaving during a performance may not be readmitted. No flash photography during a program.

Shows daily and extra shows on Saturdays and Sundays.

Grand Rapids Griffins

130 W. Fulton St.

Grand Rapids, MI

(616) 774-4585

This IHL team offers the coolest game in town. The Griffins, the primary affiliate of the Ottawa Senators, play in the beautiful Van Andel Arena. Call (616) 222-4000 or (800) 585-3737 for ticket information.

Grand Rapids Hoops

2500 Turner Ave. NW

Grand Rapids, MI

This CBA Basketball franchise is loaded with shooting stars. See tomorrow’s NBA players today! Non-stop action and fun November through April at the DeltaPlex. Call (616) 559-7936 for more information.

Grand Rapids Rampage

130 W. Fulton St.

Grand Rapids, MI

(616) 559-1871

The ArenaBowl XV World Champions play at Van Andel Arena with action packed football May through August. Call (616) 222-4000 or (800) 585-3737 for individual tickets or (616) 559-1871 for group tickets.

West Michigan Whitecaps Baseball

4500 West River Dr. NE

Comstock Park, MI

(616) 784-4131

(800) CAPS WIN

Class A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers. The Whitecaps play April through September at Old Kent Park. For ticket information, call (616) 784-4131.

Curiosity Shop

Open 7 days a week 361 days a year from 10:30 – 5:00 Mon – Sat. Noon- 5:00 on Sundays.

Teachers receive a 20% discount for classroom purchases.

The antique restored operating carousel is open 9-5 Mon-Sat and Noon – 5 on Sunday. The Curiosity Shop is a treasure trove of educational, interesting, and fun merchandise, representing all aspects of the Museum’s Collections: Furniture, Astronomy and the Stars, Victorian Life, Carousels, Nature, Natural Habitats, Native American Culture, Grand Rapids and Michigan History. A section is available for children, adults, grandparents and collectors.

Grand Rapids Art Museum

155 N. Division Ave. at Pearl St., downtown

Grand Rapids, MI

(616) 831-1001

Admission charged.

Members and Children under 6: Free.

Fri. 5:00pm- close: free.

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday 11:00 – 6:00 Fri. 11- 9:00.

GRAM presents exhibitions of national caliber and regional distinction. Its collection spans from Renaissance to modern art. Call for information on exhibitions and programs

Common Gentry Carriage Co.

Sand Lake, MI

(616) 636-4398

Charge per hour. Seats up to six people per carriage.

Call for prices and hours.

Serves downtown Grand Rapids Friday and Saturday evenings 7:00 p.m. to midnight

Horsedrawn carriage tours of 30 and 60 minutes through downtown Grand Rapids and Heritage Hill Historic District. They include a historical tour and descriptions of Victorian homes.

Coopersville & Marne Railway

Interstate 96, exit 16 or 19

Coopersville, MI

(616) 837-7000

Admission varies.

Seasonal. Call for hours of operation.

Experience a wonderful and leisurely mode of travel on the Coopersville & Marne Railway, an old-fashioned passenger train. Specialty theme trains include Murder Mystery Dinner Train.

La Grande Vitesse Sculpture

Calder Plaza, Ottawa Ave. between Michigan and Lyon NW

Grand Rapids, MI

La Grande Vitesse means “the great swiftness,” or “the grand rapids.” Internationally known sculptor, Alexander Calder, designed this piece specifically for this site. It was installed in 1969.

River Mountain Golf

5301 Northland Drive NE

Grand Rapids, MI

(616) 365-0606

Come experience the thrills and excitement of rugged terrain, mountains, and cascading falls all as you play a challenging round of adventure golf that’s fun for the whole family!

Berlin Raceway

2008 Berlin Fair Dr.

Marne, MI 49435

(616) 677-5000

Half-mile asphalt short track features Saturday night racing in the Late Model, Sportsman and Super Stock divisions. Specialty races include ASA, ARCA, ISMA, Super Sprints. Season runs April – September.

US 131 Motorsports Park

1249 12th St.

Martin, MI 49070

(616) 672-7800

(888) 702-1399

A 1/4-mile dragstrip featuring weekly bracket races, Super Chevy and IHRA special events. August 2002, all new 1/2-mile paved oval with seating for 11,000.

D- Family Fun Attractions:
Blandford Nature Center

1715 Hillburn Ave. NW

Grand Rapids, MI

(616) 453-6192

Free

Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.

Trails are open dawn to dusk. Closed major holidays. Woods, ponds and streams preserved within the city. Animal exhibits and trails open every day, free. Admission charged for seasonal programs on maple syrup production, pioneer history and crafts.

Grand Rapids Children’s Museum

11 Sheldon Avenue

235-4726

With carefully planned true-to-life displays, Grand Rapids Children’s Museum invites children to “please touch” interactive exhibits. Contact the museum for a schedule of traveling exhibits and programs.

Council of Performing Arts for Children

454-9221

This theatrical group provides nationally known professional theater groups for children of all ages. The productions are offered at the lowest possible cost to encourage appreciation of and enjoyment of theater arts. Call for dates and places.

Grand Rapids Art Museum

155 North Division Street

459-4677

The museum offers a Children’s Gallery where children are encouraged to become involved in art and color experiments.

Gypsum Mine Tour

1200 Judd SW

241-1619

Tour deep into the mine, and hear about the history and geology of gypsum mining. Spend time exploring for rocks.

John Ball Park Summer Theater

1300 West Fulton

456-6656

Directly adjacent to the zoo is the Circle Theater. Three children’s shows run twice daily, Tuesday through Saturday, from June through August. Five main stage shows are also performed regularly during the season.

John Ball Zoological Garden

1300 West Fulton

776-2590

Over 500 species of animals from all over the world make this zoo their home including Siberian Tigers, eagles, penguins, wart hogs, and snow leopards. The zoo offers a fresh water aquarium, snake house, and a display of tropical plants. On the grounds are barbecue grills, a baseball diamond, and play areas to ensure fun for everyone.

Public Museum of Grand Rapids

272 Pearl Street NW

456-3200

This museum and planetarium have many fascinating things for families to see: 1928 Spillman carousel, 1890s Gaslight Village-a turn-of-the-century-street, Michigan mammals, Indian artifacts, prehistoric exhibits, and sky shows for youngsters.

Maze Craze

2845 Thornhills

957-4242

An enormous indoor maze. There are two levels of six-foot-wide twists and turns. Maze changes weekly and is handicapped accessible.

Public Museum of Grand Rapids Van Andel Museum Center

272 Pearl St. NW

Grand Rapids, MI

(616) 456-3977

Admission charged. Children 2 & under: Free.

Fee charged for special exhibits, planetarium and carousel rides.

Monday-Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Sunday noon to 5:00 p.m. Closed Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, Easter Sunday and Thanksgiving Day.

World-class exhibitions about history, nature, science, regional cultural heritage, Native Americans, 19th-century Grand Rapids cityscape and more. Ride a 1928 carousel; visit an early 20th century furniture factory; walk through a 19th century street of shops and hear the sounds from over 100 years ago.

Roger B. Chaffee Planetarium at Van Andel Museum Center

272 Pearl St. NW

Grand Rapids, MI

(616) 456-DOME (3663)

Admission is charged.

Call for schedule.

Spectacular educational sky shows for all ages. Laser light shows set to popular music. State-of-the-art Digistar theater. Shows change several times a year.

Grand Rapids Children’s Museum

11 Sheldon Ave. NE

Grand Rapids, MI

(616) 235-4726

Admission charged. Children under 2: Free. Thursday evening is Family Night, admission is only $1.00 from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Tues, Wed, Fri and Sat 9:30 – 5:00 ., Thurs 9:30 -8:00. and Sun. noon – 5:00.

The Grand Rapids Children’s Museum celebrates childhood and the joy of learning by providing hands-on exhibits that inspire learning and encourage self-directed exploration.

IMAX® Theatre at Celebration! Village

2121 Celebration NE

Grand Rapids, MI

(616) 530 SHOW

Admission charged.

Located on the corner of Knapp St. and East Beltline. The IMAX® large format film presentation is the most intense cinematic experience in West Michigan. (May be too loud and intense for very young children.)

AJ’s Family Fun Center

4400 Ball Park Dr. NE

Comstock Park, MI .00

(616) 785-0077

Call for information.

Seasonal. Call for hours of operation.

AJ’s is your one stop for total family excitement! They offer go-karts, mini-golf, batting cages, bumper boats, arcade, food and prizes. Group rates and professional catering available.

Celebration! Cinema

2121 Celebration NE

Grand Rapids, MI

Call for admission.

Located on the corner of Knapp St. and East Beltline. Seventeen-screen theatre featuring state-of-the-art projection and digital sound.

Coopersville Farm Museum

375 Main St.

PO Box 64

Coopersville, MI

(616) 997-8555

Admission charged.

Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday 10:00 am – 4:00 pm, Sunday 1:00 – 5:00 pm

A regional museum focusing on rural, agriculture and farm life. The museum presents regularly changing exhibits, displays, demonstrations and performances. A retail store is on site.

NASCAR Silicon Motor Speedway

3700 Rivertown Parkway

(616) 724-2277

E- Events & Entertainment:
Arts and Entertainment

UICA has three galleries, named in honor of the organization’s past locations, and each has a different focus. The Front Street Gallery presents the work of emerging local artists; the Race Street Gallery offers the avant-garde works of regional, national and international artists, and the Monroe Avenue Gallery showcases community collaborations, traveling exhibits and special shows.

Actors’ at Spectrum Theatre

160 Fountain St. NE

Grand Rapids, MI

(616) 234-3998

Fax: (616) 234-4092

This state-of-the-art downtown facility offers five main stage productions year round. Box office (616) 234-3946.

Broadway Theatre Guild

Office: 161 Ottawa Ave. NW

Suite 603

Grand Rapids, MI -2721

(616) 235-6285

Fax: (616) 235-6282

The Guild presents Broadway touring productions at DeVos Hall. Admission varies with each show .

Community Circle Theatre

Office: 161 Ottawa Ave. NW

Suite 408

Grand Rapids, MI

(616) 456-5535

Fax: (616) 456-8540

Community Circle Theatre presents five main stage and two children’s shows from May through September at John Ball Park. A school and family series is presented September through May.

Grand Rapids Ballet Company

Office: 341 Ellsworth Ave. SW

Grand Rapids, MI

(616) 454-4771

Fax: (616) 454-0672

This professional ballet company offers classical ballet performances at DeVos Hall with symphony orchestra accompaniment and additional diversified repertory. December brings the annual holiday favorite The Nutcracker.

Grand Rapids Civic Theatre

30 N. Division Ave.

Grand Rapids, MI

(616) 222-6650

Fax: (616) 222-6660

Enjoy live theatre in a historic landmark. The second largest community theatre in the US provides eight main stage productions annually. Musicals, comedies, dramas and children’s theatre.

Grand Rapids Symphony

169 Louis Campau Promenade NW

Suite 1

Grand Rapids, MI

(616) 454-9451

Fax: (616) 454-7477

Grand Rapids Symphony presents classical, casual classics, pops, family series, and lollipop concerts September-May. In the summer the orchestra presents outdoor Bank One Picnic Pops concerts at Cannonsburg Ski Area.

Jewish Theater Grand Rapids

Performances held at Spectrum Theatre

160 Fountain St. NE

Grand Rapids, MI

(616) 234-3946.

Jewish Theater Grand Rapids presents, thought-provoking and entertaining theatrical productions with Jewish themes that are relevant to people of all cultural backgrounds.

Master Arts Theatre

75 Vee St. SW

Grand Rapids, MI 49548

(616) 455-1212

Fax: (616) 667-9913

The Theatre offers a four main stage production season, touring performances, educational classes, Youth Summer Stock and Arts Day Camp. Master Arts is guided by a Christian world view.

Opera Grand Rapids

Office: 161 Ottawa Ave. NW

Suite 204

Grand Rapids, MI

(616) 451-2741

Fax: (616) 451-4587

Opera Grand Rapids, West Michigan’s only professional opera company, features rising national and international artists in three fully staged productions at DeVos Hall each season, which runs from October through May.

Events

January

1sst week in January : annual Victorian Dinner fundraiser. The elegant Voigt House dining room will be the scene of this one-of-a-kind event, where each evening ten guests enjoy an eight course Victorian-style dinner served by costumed maids and butlers. The table will be resplendent with the original Voigt china, silver and crystal. The proceeds from the purchase of the dinners benefit the programming at Voigt House Victorian Museum.

February

Jump Start

This UICA fundraiser began in 1986 as a small gathering of artists who wanted to purchase one another’s art. The event is now held on the Saturday closest to Valentines Day and has grown into a highly anticipated auction of unique artwork.

April

2nd week Walk Michigan Lincoln Park

mid-month: YWCA Take Back the Night Walk Downtown

3rd week: Pietro’s Run Fasta Eat Pasta 5K Run Southeast Grand Rapids

May

1st weekend: Daffodil Parade Black Hills North of Hall, West of Godfrey

Mid-month: Walk Michigan Plaster Creek Trail

3rd week: John Ball Arts and Crafts Fair John Ball County Park

Last weekend: Grand Macker Calder Plaza and Downtown Streets

Memorial Day weekend: Ceremonies and Parade Downtown Streets

June

1st weekend: Annual Festival Downtown

1st weekend: Front Runners 5K Run Riverside Park

mid-month: Antique Car Show Riverside Park

mid-month: Walk Michigan Huff Park Nature Walk

3rd weekend: Lesbian/Gay Life Celebration Riverside Park

Last weekend: Fishing Derby Richmond Park

July

4th of July Celebration Ah-Nab-Awen Park

1st weekend: Hollyhock Lane Parade Calvin/Giddings Area

mid-month: Kids Park Party Lincoln Park

mid-month: Band Concert in the Park Riverside Park at Guild Street

mid-month: Walk Michigan Riverside Park

3rd week Richmond Park Festival Richmond Park

3rd week American Legion Parade Downtown Streets

end of month German Fest Calder Plaza

end of month Peacefest Garfield Park

end of month Band Concert in the Park Riverside Park at Guild Street

August

3-5 Soul of the City Calder Plaza

7 National Night Out Kick-Off Martin Luther King Park

mid-month: Festa Italiana Calder Plaza

mid-month: Celebration in the Park Aberdeen Park

mid-month: Walk Michigan Garfield Park

mid-month: Riverside Arts and Craft Fair Riverside Park at Guild Street

end of month Polish Festival Calder Plaza

September

Labor Day Parade and Rally City Streets and John Ball County Park

first week Celebration on the Grand Downtown Fireworks: Friday Parade: Saturday

first week Hispanic Festival Calder Plaza

mid-month: Mexican Independence Day Festival Calder Plaza

mid-month: Cottage Bar Chili Cook-Off LaGrave at Fulton

October

Pulaski Day Parade Bridge/Stocking/Walker Streets

November

Veterans Day Parade Downtown & Veteran’s Memorial Park

mid-month: Jaycee’s Santa Claus Parade Downtown

End of month: Brew-ICA

UICA’s ever-popular annual beer-tasting .Celebrate the art of beer with over 80 microbrews from Michigan and around the world. Beer, h’ors d’oeuvres as well as the bluegrass

December

Children’s Christmas Parade S.E. Grand Rapids Streets

Holiday Artists’ Market

UICA’s Holiday Artists’ Market features the original works of over 40 artists from throughout the Midwest. Original art includes paintings, jewelry, pottery, textiles, glass, photography and sculpture. Free admission.

Early in the month

Annual Holiday Artists Market, featuring gift items by over 40 West Michigan artists, holiday music and munchies. Friday : 5-9 pm; Saturday, 10 am – 5 pm. Admission Free.

Detroit/Romulus, Michigan

A- Overview:
Detroit is still the fascinating city of all things automotive, but it is also a city transformed. Have you visited Detroit lately?

Arrival at Detroit’s Metro Airport sets the stage for the new Detroit. The Northwest Airlines World Gateway Terminal provides nearly 100 gates, an elevated tram, spacious walkways, unique Detroit-themed shops and restaurants. A second terminal is under construction. Detroit’s largest convention hotel recently renovated its rooms and its over 100,000 square feet of meeting space.

The Wintergarden, a new five story glass atrium overlooking the Detroit River has opened with a wide selection of boutiques and shops. Other hotels have upgraded and enhanced their facilities; early 20th century office buildings have been restored and converted to trendy condos in a remarkable revitalization effort throughout the whole city of Detroit.

New side-by-side stadiums for the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Lions anchor Detroit’s entertainment district. The world’s largest Polar Bear exhibit, The Arctic Ring of Life, is now open at the Detroit Zoo. The state-of-the-art, interactive facility encompasses over four acres and features a 70-foot underwater glass tunnel for easy viewing.

Campus Martius, in the heart of the business district, includes Compuware’s world headquarters. This software and technology giant anchors the 10-block area. Its 15-story office building will overlook a new city park with an ice-skating rink, band shells and outdoor cafes. Fountains and public benches are plentiful. Up to 150 special events a year are scheduled for Detroit’s newest public green space.

A $500 million development project is underway along the Detroit River. Tri-Centennial Park (the state’s first urban state park to be opened in more than 100 years) will be the first phase completed. Two other parks will be connected with a network of bike and jogging trails. In addition to the “greening” of the riverfront, a new harbor for cruise ships and pleasure boats will open near GM World Headquarters. This phase will complete a 3-mile network of parks that stretch from Belle Isle’s MacArthur Bridge to Joe Louis Arena.

Greenfield Village re-opened in June 2003 after extensive renovations and improvements. Visitors can experience 300 years of American history through 83 historic structures, including the actual Wright Brothers Cycle Shop from Dayton Ohio, where Orville and Wilbur built their first airplane or explore Thomas Edison’s Menlo Park Laboratories from New Jersey, where Edison invented the light bulb and phonograph. Celebrate the 100th anniversary of flight with a special 40,000-square-foot permanent exhibit,‘Heroes of the Sky’, featuring the stories and airplanes from the first 40 years of aviation.

MotorCity Casino and MGM Grand Detroit Casino are each in the process of enlarging their gaming space to 100,000 square feet. Convention space and hotels are being added.

It’s a great time to visit Detroit!

B- City Information:
Population: 925,051

Elevation: 600 feet

County: Wayne

Land area: 138.8 square miles

Average Temperatures and Precipitation

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Average temp. (°F)
24.8
27.4
36.7
48.0
59.7
69.0
73.6
72.0
64.5
52.5
41.3
30.3

High temperature (°F)
32.5
35.8
46.0
58.7
71.4
80.4
84.8
82.9
75.6
63.0
49.6
37.6

Low temperature (°F)
17.0
19.0
27.4
37.3
48.0
57.6
62.4
61.1
53.3
41.9
33.0
22.9

Precipitation (in)
1.9
1.9
2.6
3.2
2.9
3.5
3.2
3.1
3.4
2.5
2.8
2.5

Local Seasons

Summer is the most popular time to visit Detroit and the Great Lakes area. Prices in most places peak in July and August. Daily temperatures average in the 70s in Michigan. July and August heat waves can push them into the high 80s. Depending on the weather, the leaves usually begin to turn in mid-September and reach their most colorful by mid-October. In winter, Michigan has the only significant downhill skiing in the region. Sudden snowstorms can make winter driving unpredictable and treacherous. Spring is damp and can be chilly, with unpredictable weather and temperatures ranging from the 30s to the low 60s.

Major national holidays in the United States

New Year’s Day (Jan. 1)

Martin Luther King, Jr., Day (3rd Mon. in Jan.)

President’s Day (3rd Mon. in Feb.)

Memorial Day (last Mon. in May)

Independence Day (July 4); Labor Day (1st Mon. in Sept.)

Thanksgiving Day (4th Thurs. in Nov.)

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (Dec. 24 and 25)

New Year’s Eve (Dec. 31)

Canadian national holidays (in neighboring Windsor, ON)

New Year’s Day,

Good Friday, Easter Monday, (date varies)

Victoria Day (May 22), Canada Day (July 1),

Ontario celebrates a Civic Holiday (August 7).

Labour Day (first Monday in September),

Thanksgiving (second Monday in October), Remembrance Day (November 11),

Christmas, and Boxing Day (December 26).,

Telephones: The country code for the United States is 1. The area codes for Detroit are 313 and 248. To reach Canada, dial 1 + area code + number. The area code for Windsor, Ontario, is 519.

Getting There

By Plane:

Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW) 1 Rogell Dr., 734/247-7265) is in Romulus, about 26 miles west of downtown Detroit. It is served by most major airlines, with nearly 1,000 arrivals and departures daily. Some sample flying times to Detroit are from New York (2 hours) and London (10 hours)

By Train: Amtrak (tel. 800/USA-RAIL) provides daily service from Chicago (trip time: 6 1/2 hr.) and Ann Arbor (1 hr.) to its station at 11 W. Baltimore St. at Woodward Avenue. Trains also stop at Amtrak stations in Dearborn, 16121 Michigan Ave.; Royal Oak, 201 S. Sherman Dr.; Birmingham, 449 S. Eaton St.; and Pontiac, 1600 Wide Track Dr.

By Car: Major routes into Detroit are I-75 from the south (Toledo) and north (Flint), I-94 from the west (Chicago), and Route 401 from the east (Toronto).

Transfers Between the Airport and Town

By Bus

Commuter Express runs buses from the metropolitan airport to major downtown hotels from 6:45 AM to midnight;

By Taxi

Taxis to and from the airport take about 45 minutes.

By Car

I-75 enters Detroit from the north and south, U.S. 10 from the north. Approaching from the west and northeast is I-94; from the west, I-96 and I-696. From the east, Canadian Route 401 becomes Route 3 upon entering Detroit from Windsor via the Ambassador Bridge and Route 3B upon entering via the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel.

By Bus

Greyhound 1001 Howard St.,: 800/231-2222

Getting Around the City

The People Mover 313/224-2160 is an elevated, automated monorail that makes a 14-minute, 3-mile circuit of 13 downtown stations. Trains run about every three minutes; the fare is 50¢ (tokens are sold at each station).

C- Attractions/Things To Do:
Belle Isle Park
Jefferson Ave. and Grand Blvd.
Deroit, 48215
313-852-4078
This famous floating park in the middle of the Detroit River was designed by the same architect who created Central Park in New York City. Visiting the park’s freshwater aquarium, Belle Isle Zoo, and Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory, your family can spend a whole day just in this park.

Cranbrook Institute of Science
1221 N. Woodward Ave.
Bloomfield Hills, 48304
800-GO-CRANBrook
Parents and children alike can try hands-on experiments to learn about physics, the laws of motion, and how life works. If dinosaurs excite your family, come face to face with the only Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton in Michigan. Call before you visit to learn what exhibits will be offered that day.

The Detroit Historical Museum
5401 Woodward Ave.
Detroit, MI 48202
313-833-1805
All of the history of Detroit is all presented here. Come and see what made Detroit famous. The exhibit on The Motor City allows you to travel from the assembly line to current graphic design technology.

The Detroit Institute of Arts- DIA
5200 Woodward Ave.
Detroit, MI 48202
313-833-7900
This fifth largest art museum in the country holds collections including American Art, Ancient Art, and European Art, to name just a few. Especially for the kids, the museum holds specials activities on the weekends including storytelling, making your own puppets, and much more.

Detroit Science Center
5020 John R. St.
Detroit 48202
313-577-8400
Small children with a lot of interesting things to do — what could be more perfect? With more than 50 hands-on displays for them, your children can’t complain that they are bored. Take in several experiments, and then watch a movie in the IMAX Theatre about Egypt or the Rainforest. Just have fun!

Detroit Zoo
8450 W. 10 Miles Road
Royal Oak 48067
248-398-0900
Debuting in 1928 as the first zoo with roam-free areas, the Detroit Zoo is still going strong. The Arctic Ring of Life is a favorite. Some other exhibits include domestic farm animals, the Rackham Memorial Fountain, and the Elephant House. If you become a little tired from all the walking, there is a miniature railroad that can take your family from one part of the zoo to another for a nominal fee.

Hart Plaza
Jefferson Ave at Woodward Ave
Detroit
313-877-8077
Named after the late Senator from Michigan Philip A. Hart, Hart Plaza is a wonderful place to take to your family for a break on your busy vacation. Sit back, relax and watch the water from the fountain — you can’t miss it — it’s the centerpiece of the plaza known as Isamu Noguchi. If you are lucky enough to visit Detroit on Labor Day weekend, take in the world’s largest jazz festival, Ford Montreux Detroit Jazz. Other outdoor events at the plaza include the African World Festival and the Budweiser Downtown Hoedown.

Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village
20900 Oakwood Blvd.
Detroit 48121
313-271-1620
There are two separate parts to this museum, the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village. On display in the Henry Ford Museum are kitchens from past, jewelry, things made in America from the 18th to the 20th century and, of course, automobiles in America (and these are just a few of the displays). Greenfield Village offers the family glimpses of different lifestyles from around the country. You can stop in the Phoenixville Post Office, or visit Henry Ford’s birthplace. It’s a great history lesson for the whole family.

Motor Sports Hall of Fame
Novi Expo Center
43700 Expo Center Drive
Novi, MI 48050
810-349-7223
Car lovers, this place is for you! Designed for all ages, from newcomers to the sport to veterans, the Sports Hall includes everything from Indy cars to open-wheelers, from driving simulations to mind-boggling automotive displays.

Motown Museum
2648 West Grand Blvd.
Detroit, MI 48208
313-875-2264
Take a tour of the original place where Motown music was born back in the 1960’s. See the recording studio where The Supremes and many other Motown superstars recorded. Find out why this is called “Hitsville, USA”!

Museum of African American History
315 E. Warren Ave.
Detroit, MI 48201
313-494-5800
Of particular interest is the exhibit entitled Of the People: The African American People. Feel the history and culture of the African American experience come alive.

Pewabic Pottery
10125 East Jefferson Ave.
Detroit, MI 48214
313-822-0954
This National Historic Landmark is home to one of the last operating Arts and Crafts potteries. Some samples of the work completed are on display in the gallery. They also offer one-day workshops that your family might want to attend, but call ahead to confirm dates and times.

Spirit of Ford
1151 Village Road
Dearborn, MI 48124
313-317-7474
Located just outside Detroit. Here, visitors will discover the Spirit of Ford. At the Spirit of Ford, learning and fun come together. The hands-on exhibits allow you to build a car, make a commercial, learn about recycling in car manufacture, and much more. The museum was designed to foster the knowledge of how cars are designed, tested, engineered and manufactured.

University of Michigan is a great resource for the entire family.
Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum
219 E. Hurron St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
734-995-5439
Not far from Detroit, on the University of Michigan’s campus in Ann Arbor, is the newly expanded Hands-On Museum. On the four floors of the building, there are 250 hands-on exhibits ranging including watching optical illusions, making the Bernoulli Ball stay afloat, and creating your own laser show. Part of the expansion includes a section solely for preschoolers, the Kids at Work Preschool Gallery.

Henry Ford Estate Fair Lane
4901 Evergreen Road
Dearborn 48128
313-593-5590
A few miles outside of Detroit rests the home of Henry Ford and his wife Clara. This 56-room mansion on 72 acres is a National Historic Landmark. The hydropower powerhouse, built in 1915 with the help of Thomas Edison, currently supplies electricity throughout the mansion. Public tours show the many fascinating features of the mansion including Ford Discovery Trail, vegetable garden, pony barn, skating house and much more. This is an attraction that the whole family will find is definitely worth seeing.

Matthaei Botanical Gardens
1800 N. Dixboro Road
Ann Arbor
734-998-7067
Discover natural wonders from around the world across the 350 acres of the Matthaei Botanical Gardens. Well-marked signs along the five-mile trails will educate you and your family about the thousands of plants at the Garden.

University of Michigan Exhibit Museum of Natural History
1109 Geddes Avenue
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109
734-764-0478
Throughout the many floors of the museum there are numerous displays including evolution, the fossils and skeletons of dinosaurs, the environment of Michigan and the Great Lakes, anthropology, biology, and of course the planetarium. To keep the children busy and happy, go on a family scavenger hunt and then take in the planetarium to see the stars.

D- Family Fun Attractions:
Belle Isle Park
Jefferson Ave. and Grand Blvd.
Deroit, 48215
313-852-4078
This famous floating park in the middle of the Detroit River was designed by the same architect who created Central Park in New York City. Visiting the park’s freshwater aquarium, Belle Isle Zoo, and Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory, your family can spend a whole day just in this park.

Cranbrook Institute of Science
1221 N. Woodward Ave.
Bloomfield Hills, 48304
800-GO-CRANBrook
Parents and children alike can try hands-on experiments to learn about physics, the laws of motion, and how life works. If dinosaurs excite your family, come face to face with the only Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton in Michigan. Call before you visit to learn what exhibits will be offered that day.

The Detroit Historical Museum
5401 Woodward Ave.
Detroit, MI 48202
313-833-1805
All of the history of Detroit is all presented here. Come and see what made Detroit famous. The exhibit on The Motor City allows you to travel from the assembly line to current graphic design technology.

The Detroit Institute of Arts- DIA
5200 Woodward Ave.
Detroit, MI 48202
313-833-7900
This fifth largest art museum in the country holds collections including American Art, Ancient Art, and European Art, to name just a few. Especially for the kids, the museum holds specials activities on the weekends including storytelling, making your own puppets, and much more.

Detroit Science Center
5020 John R. St.
Detroit 48202
313-577-8400
Small children with a lot of interesting things to do — what could be more perfect? With more than 50 hands-on displays for them, your children can’t complain that they are bored. Take in several experiments, and then watch a movie in the IMAX Theatre about Egypt or the Rainforest. Just have fun!

Detroit Zoo
8450 W. 10 Miles Road
Royal Oak 48067
248-398-0900
Debuting in 1928 as the first zoo with roam-free areas, the Detroit Zoo is still going strong. The Arctic Ring of Life is a favorite. Some other exhibits include domestic farm animals, the Rackham Memorial Fountain, and the Elephant House. If you become a little tired from all the walking, there is a miniature railroad that can take your family from one part of the zoo to another for a nominal fee.

Hart Plaza
Jefferson Ave at Woodward Ave
Detroit
313-877-8077
Named after the late Senator from Michigan Philip A. Hart, Hart Plaza is a wonderful place to take to your family for a break on your busy vacation. Sit back, relax and watch the water from the fountain — you can’t miss it — it’s the centerpiece of the plaza known as Isamu Noguchi. If you are lucky enough to visit Detroit on Labor Day weekend, take in the world’s largest jazz festival, Ford Montreux Detroit Jazz. Other outdoor events at the plaza include the African World Festival and the Budweiser Downtown Hoedown.

Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village
20900 Oakwood Blvd.
Detroit 48121
313-271-1620
There are two separate parts to this museum, the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village. On display in the Henry Ford Museum are kitchens from past, jewelry, things made in America from the 18th to the 20th century and, of course, automobiles in America (and these are just a few of the displays). Greenfield Village offers the family glimpses of different lifestyles from around the country. You can stop in the Phoenixville Post Office, or visit Henry Ford’s birthplace. It’s a great history lesson for the whole family.

Motor Sports Hall of Fame
Novi Expo Center
43700 Expo Center Drive
Novi, MI 48050
810-349-7223
Car lovers, this place is for you! Designed for all ages, from newcomers to the sport to veterans, the Sports Hall includes everything from Indy cars to open-wheelers, from driving simulations to mind-boggling automotive displays.

Motown Museum
2648 West Grand Blvd.
Detroit, MI 48208
313-875-2264
Take a tour of the original place where Motown music was born back in the 1960’s. See the recording studio where The Supremes and many other Motown superstars recorded. Find out why this is called “Hitsville, USA”!

Museum of African American History
315 E. Warren Ave.
Detroit, MI 48201
313-494-5800
Of particular interest is the exhibit entitled Of the People: The African American People. Feel the history and culture of the African American experience come alive.

Pewabic Pottery
10125 East Jefferson Ave.
Detroit, MI 48214
313-822-0954
This National Historic Landmark is home to one of the last operating Arts and Crafts potteries. Some samples of the work completed are on display in the gallery. They also offer one-day workshops that your family might want to attend, but call ahead to confirm dates and times.

Spirit of Ford
1151 Village Road
Dearborn, MI 48124
313-317-7474
Located just outside Detroit. Here, visitors will discover the Spirit of Ford. At the Spirit of Ford, learning and fun come together. The hands-on exhibits allow you to build a car, make a commercial, learn about recycling in car manufacture, and much more. The museum was designed to foster the knowledge of how cars are designed, tested, engineered and manufactured.

University of Michigan is a great resource for the entire family.
Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum
219 E. Hurron St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
734-995-5439
Not far from Detroit, on the University of Michigan’s campus in Ann Arbor, is the newly expanded Hands-On Museum. On the four floors of the building, there are 250 hands-on exhibits ranging including watching optical illusions, making the Bernoulli Ball stay afloat, and creating your own laser show. Part of the expansion includes a section solely for preschoolers, the Kids at Work Preschool Gallery.

Henry Ford Estate Fair Lane
4901 Evergreen Road
Dearborn 48128
313-593-5590
A few miles outside of Detroit rests the home of Henry Ford and his wife Clara. This 56-room mansion on 72 acres is a National Historic Landmark. The hydropower powerhouse, built in 1915 with the help of Thomas Edison, currently supplies electricity throughout the mansion. Public tours show the many fascinating features of the mansion including Ford Discovery Trail, vegetable garden, pony barn, skating house and much more. This is an attraction that the whole family will find is definitely worth seeing.

Matthaei Botanical Gardens
1800 N. Dixboro Road
Ann Arbor
734-998-7067
Discover natural wonders from around the world across the 350 acres of the Matthaei Botanical Gardens. Well-marked signs along the five-mile trails will educate you and your family about the thousands of plants at the Garden.

University of Michigan Exhibit Museum of Natural History
1109 Geddes Avenue
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109
734-764-0478
Throughout the many floors of the museum there are numerous displays including evolution, the fossils and skeletons of dinosaurs, the environment of Michigan and the Great Lakes, anthropology, biology, and of course the planetarium. To keep the children busy and happy, go on a family scavenger hunt and then take in the planetarium to see the stars.

E- Events & Entertainment:
Events

January

Mid-January for a week

Detroit Auto Show: An annual event since 1907. Held at the COBO Convention Center:

1 Washington Blvd.
Detroit, MI 48226
313-877-8777

January

Late January

Motown Winter Blast

Snow Maze, ice skating, music stages, food, warming tents, and more. (313) 833-7900.

March

Early March

Detroit Autorama

Held at the COBO Convention Center: A premier auto show.

1 Washington Blvd.
Detroit, MI 48226
313-877-8777

May

Annual Movement Festival

313-567-0080

Held at Hart Plaza

The annual Detroit Electronic Music Festival has changed names and stewardship with techno pioneer Derrick May. In the past, the fest has drawn an impressive 1.5 million fans who adore the blips and bass of electronic music. The biggest attractions perform in Hart Plaza, and the stage is brought down off the top of the amphitheatre to bring the DJs and bands closer to the people.

Late May

Budweiser Detroit Downtown Hoedown

Annual country music fest includes established & new artists and is considered by many to be the largest Country Music show of its kind in the world.

June

Mid-June

Detroit Festival of the Arts

Set in a 20-block area of Midtown Detroit’s University Cultural District, The Detroit Festival of the Arts continues to present outstanding visual and performing artists from around the world, while showcasing the city’s premier arts and cultural institutions Since it began in 1987, the Detroit Festival of the Arts has delighted more than 4 million visitors from all over Southeastern Michigan.

Late June

Cruisin Downriver

Annual car cruise starting in southeast metro Detroit attracts hundreds of thousands of ardent auto fans.

July

Windsor-Detroit International Freedom Festival

The weeklong event celebrates Canada Day (July 1) and American Independence Day, ending with fireworks over the Ambassador Bridge.

Early July

Coamerica Taste Fest

An annual celebration that combines some of the area’s most popular restaurants with local and national musicians, artists and other entertainers, this event truly speaks to what a summer festival ought to be. More than 40 restaurateurs will participate in this year’s festival, offering samplings of their specialties to the throngs of visitors. Meanwhile bands of every flavor perform on four stages positioned throughout the New Center area. 313-872-0188

Mid-July:

Annual Gold Cup Race

Unlimited hydroplane racing on the Detroit River.

Mid-August

African World Festival

features music, art, food, and cultural programs.

Mid-August

Michigan State Fair

Held in Detroit since 1905 at Michigan State Fairgrounds & Exposition Center
1120 W. State Fair Avenue
Detroit, MI 48203

Mid-August- Late September

Michigan Renaissance Festival

In nearby Holly, Michigan

The Holly fairgrounds are redesigned as a late 16th century English village. Elizabethan costumes, Shakespearean drama and heart-pounding jousts on horseback. Each weekend has a theme, so get ready to experience “High Seas Adventure,” “Highland Fling” and “Wonders of the World,” to name a few. Guides are Shakespeare-quoting thespians who work year-round in Metro Detroit theaters. 800-601-4848

September

Early September

Ford Detroit International Jazz Festival

Held on the Riverfront. North America’s largest free jazz event

November

America’s Thanksgiving Parade

America’s Thanksgiving Parade has been sailing down Woodward for nearly 80 years, and is a popular event.

December

Motor City Bowl

NCAA Football

248-645-6666

The annual Motor City Bowl has featured some spirited contests in recent memory. The Fox Town area has undergone a dramatic rebirth in recent years, with nightclubs, upscale eateries and pubs springing up in the shadow of Ford Field and Comerica Park. Detroit’s newest cultural and sports entertainment district, also home to the Fox Theatre, State Theatre and the Second City, will be booming as college football fans converge on the favorite pre- and post-game haunts of Lions, Tigers and Red Wings fans.

Arts and Entertainment

Detroit Symphony Orchestra Hall
3663 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI, USA
313/576-5100

Detroit Symphony Orchestra Hall hosts the Chamber Music Society of Detroit and the Detroit Symphony. A $60 million expansion of Orchestra Hall has created the Max M. Fisher Music Center with new meeting facilities and educational space.

Detroit Repertory Theater
13103 Woodrow Wilson Ave., Detroit, MI, USA
313/868-1347

The Detroit Repertory Theater is one of the city’s oldest resident theater companies.

Fisher Theater
3011 W. Grand Blvd., Detroit, MI, USA
313/872-1000

Touring Broadway shows and nationally known entertainers appear at the Fisher Theater

Gem Theatre
333 Madison Ave., Detroit, MI, USA
Phone: 313/963-9800

Across the street is the relocated Gem Theatre, which used to stand across from the Fox but was moved to a new site near the Opera House to make way for the new Detroit Tigers ball park.