Postcard from the Streets of Michigan

Street art in Detroit, Michigan

There were two aspects that surprised me about Michigan – the streets were incredibly clean and they were also incredibly colorful. City planning seemed to be spot on, at least for Grand Rapids, and the street art and architecture I found in both Detroit and Grand Rapids were something to note.

I wanted to share a few photos of the funky art and buildings I found in both cities to give you an idea of the wonderful streets I discovered during my recent trip to the state. I walked almost everywhere in both cities, and my walks were made that much more enjoyable because of the interesting finds that were scattered throughout the cities.

My first introduction to Michigan was Grand Rapids. In addition to its classic industrial feel in downtown, Grand Rapids also has an attractive part of the city called the Cherry Hill Historic District, with homes from anywhere between the 18th, 19th, and 20th century.

Cherry Hill Historic District in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Cherry Hill Historic District in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Cherry Hill Historic District in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Cherry Hill Historic District in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Cherry Hill Historic District in Grand Rapids, Michigan

I spent a good part of my visit simply walking down the different avenues in this area, trying to slyly take pictures of my favorite colorful homes and adorable treasures from centuries past.

Cherry Hill Historic District in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Cherry Hill Historic District in Grand Rapids, Michigan

In Grand Rapids, the street art was hidden around the most unlikely corners, almost waiting for you to stumble upon it randomly.

Street art in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Street art in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Street art in Grand Rapids, Michigan

In Detroit, the art on the city streets was much more in your face in the best ways possible. Detroit is a city that has gone through a lot in past decades, but is finally seeing huge strides of development and progress after all these years.

I’m actually really looking forward to writing up my time in Detroit – it was a city I found both challenging and interesting, with its soft spots and rougher edges. I’m still trying to figure out exactly what I thought about the city, but I do know that I enjoyed the time I had there.

Streets of Detroit, Michigan

Streets of Detroit, Michigan

Since I arrived on a Saturday, one of my first stops in Detroit was at the Eastern Market, which is both a neighborhood and a huge street market that takes up multiple city blocks on Saturdays. It’s also a hotbed for some of the coolest street art I’ve come across. The art was political, proud, bright, and sometimes just pretty for the sake of brightening up one of the many abandoned buildings.

Street art in Detroit, Michigan

Street art in Detroit, Michigan

Street art in Detroit, Michigan

Street art in Detroit, Michigan

You could still see the remnants of Detroit’s heyday in the art deco architecture around the city and some additional touches form the 1940s, 50s, and 60s. My Uber driver said it best when he dropped me off at the market, people may say a lot of things about Detroit, but one thing you can’t argue with is the fact that the city still has a great depth of soul.

Architecture in Detroit, Michigan

I first fell in love with seeing a city through street art and architecture when I moved to Melbourne, Australia and that love has continued ever since. I didn’t know what to expect with Michigan and the Midwest as a whole, but I cherished my time on the colorful streets of Grand Rapids & Detroit.

Do you enjoy checking out the local street art in a new city? How about architecture? What are your favorite aspects to discover in a new place? 

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Postcard from the Streets of Michigan, USA

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Mimi McFadden
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Mimi McFadden

Travel Writer/Blogger at The Atlas Heart
Mimi founded The Atlas Heart to create a community of travelers inspired to see the world. The Atlas Heart is a space where you'll find anecdotes on slow travel, craft beer, outdoor adventures, and all the eccentric bits in between that this world has to offer.
Mimi McFadden
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