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Detroit skyline in the evening

Situated in the north west of the United States of America, where the Canadian border creeps south and cuts through Lake Erie, Detroit is well located for adventures in the surrounding areas. But don't dismiss this gritty and energised city, which offers much to see and do.

Revered for its car-making heritage, and well known for the decline that followed when the industry took a nose-dive, you might not expect the city of Detroit to offer much in the way of attractions to the average tourist. But the Motor City and home of the Motown record label has a raw energy and lively music and arts scene that give this Michigan metropolis a real edge over some other destinations in the American mid-west. And with the natural majesty of the Great Lakes and Canada on Detroit's doorstep, there's no reason you shouldn't combine a city break with a trip to the great outdoors. Skyscraper in Detroit

From attractions with an historic theme, such as the Henry Ford Museum and musical journeys into Motown, to more modern pursuits, such as gambling in the riverside casinos and baseball at the home of the Detroit Tigers, you'll never be stuck for ways to spend your time.

Most big-brand hotels in Detroit are located in the Downtown district, at the heart of the city. Rejuvenated historic buildings are the home of some luxury hotels, while five-star hotels are generally located in modern buildings. Getting about in Downtown is easy thanks to the looped track of the People Mover system, which connects the main attractions.

Detroit hotels are also in abundance around the city's airport, though it's a 30-minute journey to Downtown. The nearby city of Dearborn, which is well stocked with conference facilities, is popular with business travellers too, and there is a great range of mid-range accommodation in this area.

There are exclusive and affluent small cities in greater Detroit, known as Metro Detroit, and these could be the places to consider if you prefer to stay in local neighbourhoods and away from the city hubbub. Have a look at hotels in Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills, Rochester and Royal Oak.

As in all US cities you will find the major brand names with hotels on offer. Ramada, Hilton, Holiday Inn, Staybridge, Comfort Inn, Hampton Inn, Days Inn, La Quinta, Fairfield, Super 8, Red Roof, Embassy Suites, Sheraton and Radisson.

Top five attractions

The Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village

This actually encompasses a vast area and incorporates the museum, village, an IMAX theatre and a variety of leisure activities, including shops and eateries. You should allow more than one day to explore it all. The museum exhibits a huge range of pieces from American history, as well as exploring the automotive heritage.

Detroit International Riverfront

Five and a half miles of docks, parks, shops, restaurants, casinos and a marina make up this attraction. Hop on the RiverWalk for the best views.

Motown History Museum

Take a musical journey back in time and visit Hitsville USA, now a fascinating museum packed with monuments to one of the world's favourite musical movements.

Dossin Great Lakes Museum

Explore Detroit's maritime history in this museum, which is located on Belle Isle Park.

Detroit Institute of Arts

A significant collection of arts and one of the biggest in America, the institute is also held in high esteem with lovers of fine architecture.

Events

North American International Auto Show; January: As this is one of the top motor shows on the global calendar, expect hotels to be in big demand in January.

Ann Arbor Street Art Fair; July: Less than an hour from Detroit is the city of Ann Arbor, where half a million flock to browse and buy art from street stalls.

Great Lakes State Fair; July-August: The usual state fair ingredients of rural shows - exhibits, fun fairs, food, shopping, music and family activities - are all on offer in Novi, half an hour from Downtown Detroit.