What Would You Tell A Detroit-Bound Student? See Advice From Reddit

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It may seem rash to read too much into one online comment thread, but a conversation that began Monday morning shows a particularly kind, nice side of Detroit.

An East Coast student wonders what to expect when he or she comes here for four years at the College for Creative Studies, and the replies at Reddit's Detroit forum are virtually all serious, snark-free and warmly welcoming. "I am glad you are coming to our city," says one.

That online comment forum can be a free-fire zone at times, same as anywhere people use screen names. This time, Redditors are helpful, friendly, courteous, kind and trustworthy -- five tenets of Boy Scout Law.

Here's what the freshman, posting as "mparkc," asks:

I'm about to start school in Detroit starting this December. I am coming from a suburb in CT and know nothing about the city I am about to be living in for four years. Any advice you guys could give me or things I should know?

The few wisecracks are good-natured, as in: "Don't give your dope money to anyone until you have the bag in hand."

These are among three dozen replies in the first six hours, excluding tips about Eastern Market, Slow's, Plaka Cafe, Mexican Village, Cliff Bell's, Sugar House, Xochimilco and Greektown Casino.

  • "The city is awesome:" I am assuming that you will be around the Midtown area, which is pretty safe and is very fun. Until you are comfortable with the area try traveling with a group of people. . . . Detroit has beautiful architecture. . . . Prepare to be amazed at how cheap it is compared to the East Coast. I am from the suburbs of Kansas City, Missouri, and I am very thankful for my native friends. . . .
    The city is awesome, and completely different than most big cities. With that being said, Detroit is not an area to have an "I am invincible" attitude. . . .  Don't be an idiot and you won't end up on the news.  
  • Ride a bike: Be observant at first. Detroit is a controversial city -- from the politics, to the development, to the crime, to the management, etc. People want it to be better and they all have their reasons and way of doing it. . . . Get a bicycle! I am not downtown anymore, but Detroit riding is awesome.
  • "Glad you are coming:" I know plenty of folks who went to CCS and really enjoyed it. I am sure you'll feel the same. . . . I am glad you are coming to our city.
  • "Stayed for 7 years:" I lived over by CCS when I attended WSU. I also came from a different state (Ohio) and knew very little of the city. I eventually stayed for 7 years, all in the Midtown area, and enjoyed every minute of it. . . . You can truly have a ton of fun in Detroit.
  • "Beat paradise:" You will encounter some seriously interesting people in the city. Don't be afraid of every sketchy character, because a lot of people look ragged, but are just passing by. . . . If you like electronic music, welcome to beat paradise.
  • Coneys: There are two famous coney islands, Lafayette and American, located right next to each other. The rivalry and loyalty among Detroiters is pretty intense. You have decide via the Holy Coney Challenge! You must choose!
  • Cross the border: Come visit us in Windsor, Ontario!
  • Become a hockey fan: if you say "soda," fix that before you move. . . . When looking for a place to stay, consider the surroundings a few blocks each way and also check out the area where the closet grocery store is, etc. Learn the rules of hockey if you don't know them because in December, that's where the heart of Michigan is and it'll help you meet people!
  • "Get your bearings:" I suggest come & visit for a week. . . . Get your bearings for your personal comfort. I've been here for the better part of 35 years & don't have inhibitions here that I don't have other places (lock my doors, park where well-lit, check my tags coming back to my car). . . For the most part, if you aren't a dick to a stranger on the street, they most likely won't be either.
  • Hole-in-the-wall bars: I've been going out in Detroit since I was 19. Most of the hole-in-the-wall bars don't care to check IDs. Or they don't look to hard at fakes. Just an insider tip ;)
  • Safety: I feel just as safe in Detroit as I did in Washington, DC, when I lived there.
  • Volunteer: There are tons of volunteer groups in Detroit. If you want to meet some people, learn more about the city and help out, join one!
Read more:  Reddit Detroit
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