Go for a walk on Belle Isle

Belle Isle Detroit

Detroit on a Budget/Go for a walk on Belle Isle
A Dose of Detroit
Written By A Dose of Detroit

Trui Moerkerke is a Belgian journalist who moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan with her family in the Summer of 2016. She decided to make the most of the waiting-for-the work-permit-time. She is fascinated with Detroit and studied to become a tour guide. There is so much to see, so much to tell. As a journalist and former editor, Trui knows a thing or two about storytelling. Trui is still writing for Belgian magazines and newspapers and she founded A Dose of Detroit. She's ready to take you on a guided tour in this amazing city (in Dutch, French and English).

The official name is Belle Isle Park, but everyone calls it Belle Isle. Detroit's great park shares the famous landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted with New York's Central Park. Olmsted made designs for both parks. Located on an island in the Detroit River, Belle Isle offers views of downtown Detroit on one side and Windsor, Ontario on the other. Belle Isle is city-owned but managed as a State Park. To enter the park by car, you'll need a Michigan Recreation Pass, but you can buy a day pass for 9 dollars, and that's worth the price. Note that you don't have to pay if you walk or bike to Belle Isle.

The impressive McArthur Bridge is the access to the park. Drive up to Sunset Point for the best views (and pictures) of the Detroit skyline.Belle Isle is an excellent place for jogging, hiking, biking and you can rent a kayak or peddle boat (at the Riverside Kayak Connection).

But if you visit Belle Isle, you absolutely have to visit the aquarium and the conservatory (free admission!). In 1904 The Belle Isle Aquarium and the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory opened, two buildings by Albert Kahn, considered the architect of Detroit. The aquarium is one of the oldest in North America, and the interior is stunning. The vaulted ceiling has green glass tiles by Pewabic Pottery. The Conservatory houses an exotic collection of plants from all over the world.

Soon, Belle Isle will have a new public garden created by the Dutch public landscape designer Piet Oudolf (yes, the man who created Newyork's High Line and the Lurie Garden in Chicago).

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