Meeting Destination: Detroit

The Great Lakes State’s largest city mixes the old with the new.

A Chrysler commercial that debuted in 2011 featuring rapper and Detroit native Eminem got viewers to rethink “The D.” Here’s what the Motor City has going on now:

$300 million Cobo Center renovation. The overhaul, scheduled for completion by December 2014, will update the look of the convention center and reconfigure meeting space. Significant changes include rebuilding center as a 40,000-square-foot ballroom, installing a three-story atrium to link the exhibit hall with meeting space that overlooks the Detroit River, and adding a digital billboard to the building’s east side. Exterior walls will be replaced with glass to showcase the center’s riverside location.

Event spaces with history. The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, located a mile from downtown, has eight meeting rooms, a 317-seat state-of-the-art theater, and a rotunda that holds 500. The entire museum can be rented out to accommodate up to 2,500 guests. Other venues with a historical element include Second Baptist Church, which served as a stop on the Underground Railroad, and the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Neighborhood resurgence. After Tigers Stadium closed in 1999, many feared the worst for Corktown, Detroit’s oldest neighborhood. But now the area offers a mix of restaurants, bars, and music venues. Sports fans shouldn’t miss Nemo’s, a bar dedicated to Detroit’s sports history, and those looking for live music should check out popular dive bar Lager House. Also on the not-to-miss list: Slows Bar B Q.

(Photo courtesy of

Samantha Whitehorne

By Samantha Whitehorne

Samantha Whitehorne is editor-in-chief of Associations Now. MORE

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