Tag Archives: Detroit Blog

Iconic Detroit City Lights

Bright lights, big city!


Downtown Detroit is aglow with sparkling lights, LED displays and thematic colors that make the city beam. Now that it’s getting dark out earlier we have more time to appreciate Detroit’s twinkling lights and displays.


Detroit Skybridge


The pedestrian bridge linking the Guardian Building and One Woodward recently got a colorful makeover. The bridge has been outfitted with lights that shift in color making it look like a color bar hovering between the buildings. Head to the Spirit of Detroit Plaza to get a full view of the chameleon skybridge.


Ally Detroit Center



The second-tallest building in Detroit is well-known for its postmodern architectural design topped with gothic-inspired spires. The spires were designed specifically to blend in with the city’s historic skyline. Every night the building shines color-changing lights from each of its spires creating a hauntingly beautiful look.





In 2011, the Renaissance Center added colored LED lighting on top of its towers. The building also added a large illuminated LED display featuring General Motors’ various vehicle brands. The lights also change to support special events. As the tallest building in Detroit, the lights and displays can be seen from all areas of Detroit.


Cobo Center


The final piece of Cobo Center’s 2015 renovation was eye-catching – and still is. A giant video board spans Jefferson Avenue serves as the convention center’s marquee making it the largest signage display in Detroit. The video screen can broadcast promotional messages, public service messages and can even broadcast live events from inside Cobo. It’s sometimes so bright at night you might think you’re in Times Square, NYC.


Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Building



While the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Building may not have out-of-this-world light displays, they find other ways to mark holidays and certain Detroit events. The building arranges its office lights in certain patterns and uses color blocking to craft out unique shapes visible from the surrounding highways and Greektown. They’re known for displaying a Christmas tree before the December holiday, and a pink breast cancer awareness ribbon in October.


MotorCity Casino Hotel



The casino hotel is most notable for the sweeping roof design, a 304-foot-long stainless-steel ribbon that’s a nod to Detroit’s automotive history. Along the unique roof and on each floor of the hotel, the exterior features LED tube lights which form stunning visuals visible from downtown and the highway. It looks like no two color patterns are the same!


Ambassador Bridge



Well-known as the main connection linking Detroit and Windsor, the Ambassador Bridge can be seen day or night easily. The bridge features old-fashioned clear lightbulbs illuminating the journey from one country to another.


One Woodward


Not far from the Detroit Riverfront, One Woodward is a prominent building in Detroit’s skyline from the waterfront and Canada. The 28-story building features colored lighting throughout each floor, but its crown center at the top of the building dazzles each night. The building changes its colors throughout the night and often changes colors to participate in special community events.


What other displays light up Detroit’s downtown? Let us know in the comments!

NYE in Detroit: Your Guide to Ringing in 2019 in the Motor City

Looking to spend New Year’s Eve in Motown? Great idea! Detroit has tons of events for any fun-loving spirit on Dec. 31. We’ve created the perfect guide on how to ring in 2019 the best way possible. No matter how you like to celebrate, there’s something special going on in Detroit.


The Resolution Ball



This annual party inside Detroit’s historic Fillmore Theatre is one of the largest parties in Detroit. The Vegas-style Resolution Ball features acrobatic performers, live musicians and a confetti ball drop at midnight.


The Motor City Gala


Usher in the new year at Detroit’s Motor City Gala at the Atheneum Hotel in Greektown. Your ticket includes a champagne toast, party favors, balloon drop, a midnight snack buffet and a live feed of The Drop happening nearby!


Motor City NYE DROP



There isn’t a ballroom big enough for this celebration! Though the location has yet to be announced, more than 30,000 Detroiters are expected to come downtown for the annual Motor City NYE Drop to celebrate 2019. Prepare for top-level live entertainment, good cheer and of course, the countdown!


David Whitney Building Bash


Celebrate 2019 with music and dancing in the newly-transformed David Whitney Lounge. DJ Vince Patricola will be at the DJ booth all night and your ticket also includes a champagne toast and balloon drop in the stunning atrium of the David Whitney building. This party also has outdoor fires for you to enjoy!


Stay at the Detroit Marriott



The Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center is just steps away from any Detroit New Year’s Eve party. Ring in the new year with a stay at Detroit’s largest hotel, with gorgeous floor-to-ceiling views of the city, Detroit River and Canada. Stop by for a drink at Volt, while you’re in the lobby, too!


Several downtown parties organize shuttles to the Detroit Marriot, making going home easy at the end of the night.


What will you be doing in Detroit on New Year’s Eve? Let us know in the comments!

Detroit Artist: Jason Clemens

For Detroit photographer Jason Clemens, he just loves to be outside. If he’s got a camera in his hand, that’s a bonus.


Jason has a certain passion for the outdoors, especially for Michigan’s beautiful seasons. He even calls his photography “hunting with a camera” since he’s always searching for the perfect outdoor shot.


Seasons of Change



Jason began seriously taking photos after he was gifted a Canon in 2012. He’s since elevated his hobby to a passion project, capturing everything in nature that he could.


He loves shooting images of birds and animals and exploring the same place in different seasons. The seasons give the same locations a different perspective, he says. Find him out at sunrise or sunset, seeking out what others don’t see in nature.


In Detroit, he especially loves photographing the marina and Detroit River when he’s downtown. The skyline and cityscape has changed so much in recent years, evolving the Detroit Riverfront as it changes, and that’s what he enjoys conveying through his images.


Sharing Detroit



Jason started becoming a Detroit influencer when he created an Instagram account for his photography portfolio. Immediately it was a way to connect with other passionate artists and share what they and experience through their camera.


The hashtag #ShareDetroit is full of Jason’s images, and he regularly interacts with the users of that hashtag. His Instagram handle is also @Share_Detroit.


A Familial Connection


Jason plays catch with his son at Comerica Park.


Jason not only loves pursuing photography because it’s a way to take his mind off his full-time job, but because his father was also an active photographer, and loving telling stories through photos.


“My dad passed away before I turned three years old, but he still managed to instill so much of his personality and passions in me in that short time,” said Jason.


Photography is a beautiful connection between Jason and his dad, and one that is only growing as Jason gets older.


Follow along as Jason shares his favorite Detroit outdoors photos on the GMRENCEN’s Instagram over the next two weeks.


Jason Clemens lives in Farmington Hills. See more of his work on Instagram @Share_Detroit.

What’s in the GMRENCEN?

Welcome to the GMRENCEN! Whether you’re visiting our building for the first time, new to Detroit or simply want to learn more about GM’s global headquarters, this guide will help you understand what’s available to you during your visit.


From dining options to banking and shopping, the GMRENCEN is truly a city within the city.




With more than 25+ dining options, there’s something to eat for everyone. We offer a vast array of casual and fine dining options throughout the building. Some of our most popular restaurants include Andiamo, Highlands Detroit and Joe Muer.


Our Cafe can be found on Level A. For a full list of our dining options, visit gmrencen.com/dining.


GM World



Our newly redesigned GM World space showcases our latest vehicles and provides a year-round auto show experience for visitors. Throughout the year, you can see different displays make its way into the space.


Additionally, you can find GM World product specialists available throughout the space to provide information and history of each vehicle.


If you have any questions about the building, you can visit the GM World information desk for general building information—including building tours, hours and directions.


To learn more about GM World, visit gmrencen.com/gm-world.




Need to make a withdrawal? We offer several banking services within the building:

  • Chase Bank can be found in Tower 100, Level 2
  • Comerica Bank can be found in Tower 300, Level 1
  • PNC Bank ATM can be found in the Millender Center, Level 2




Need to get a quick snack or buy some groceries for your hotel room? We offer several food market options throughout the building:




Need to mail a package? We have a U.S. Post Office and FedEx kiosks throughout the GMRENCEN.

  • FedEx kiosks can be found on Level 1 of Towers 100, 400 and 500/600
  • U.S. Post Office can be found in Tower 100, Level 2




From clothing to jewelry to gifts, we have everything you need to make your shopping experience easy. We also have our very own GM company store, which can be found in Tower 300, Level 1.


For a full list of shopping options, visit gmrencen.com/shop


Other Resources:



In the event of an emergency, or if you have any safety-related questions, contact our security office directly at 313-667-1111.


Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram and let us know about your experience.

Artist Spotlight: MaRia Popi

Where in the world is MaRia Popi?


The answer lies on top of some of Detroit’s most famous skyscrapers.


“I love shooting Detroit from the rooftop of buildings. I have been on the rooftop of every skyscraper in the city. That’s what drives my photography. I’m a sky chaser,” MaRia said.


Starting at the Top



MaRia began shooting the 313 five years ago. Since then she has been to most downtown skyscrapers’ rooftops and inside most of the iconic buildings, however the Penobscot building reigns supreme in her opinion.


“I believe the Penobscot building has one of the best views in the heart of the city. It is surrounded by the beautiful architecture of Detroit and the view is different at night and day. That is what makes it so exciting for me!” said MaRia Popi.


She often returns to her favorite places to highlight the differences in the foreground and background, exploring different seasons and times of day. She knows no sunrise, sunset or cloud pattern is the same. Using long exposure techniques, especially at night, is her favorite style of photography.


In the Motor City



MaRia was born in Bulgaria and moved to Michigan in 2003. She always loved traveling and had a camera in hand while growing up. Her passion for photography and love of architecture and design led her to the Motor City, and now she’s proud to call it home.


“I consider myself an explorer who keeps learning. Art is a big part of my daily life. I grow as an artist while exploring other artists’ work – while using new photography techniques and working with creative people from different backgrounds,” she said.


Some of MaRia’s portrait photography work can be seen inside the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in the “Oh You Fancy!” exhibit currently on display.



Follow along as MaRia shares her love of rooftop photography on the GMRENCEN’s Instagram over the next two weeks. She is also a previous winter of the GMRENCEN’s Your Photo Here Contest, and you can see her art inside the GMRENCEN.


MaRia Popi lives in Livonia. See more of her work on her Instagram @_mariapopi_ or her online portfolio at mariapopi.com.

Artist Spotlight: James Gates

We’ve all been there – when your phone battery dies because you’ve been using it to take photos. That happened to Detroit photographer James Gates so often, that he decided to finally put down his iPhone and pick up a DSLR camera.


Washington, D.C.



James traveled to Washington D.C. in 2014 and brought his new camera along with him. He loved taking photos of the statues, historical buildings and moments that the area had to offer. He showed the trip images to a coworker, who is a professional photographer, after he returned from the trip and the coworker was quite impressed. This coworker recommended James start taking photos professionally, and James took that to heart – he’s loved it ever since.


His Perfect Shot



For the past four years James has spent his free time walking the Detroit Riverfront and downtown metropolis searching for the perfect shot.


He especially loves shooting around sunset, and the time just after sunset, affectionately called “the blue hour.” He loves everything about it – the light, how the city glows, capturing how the clouds streak the sky.


James has also been playing around with long exposures recently, capturing hundreds of photos and merging them into one photo in time. He likes these photos best, and works only a bit on his computer to enhance each photograph afterward.


An Escape



Although James would love to make photography his day to day work, he uses it as an escape more than anything.


“There’s something about exploring the city and always finding something new. It’s so relaxing to me, it’s a great way to decompress and have fun. There’s really nothing like capturing a great shot and seeing things in a way you’ve never seen them before,” James said.



James is also a previous winner of our Your Photo Here Contest, and you can find his artwork on Level 2, Tower 200, inside the GMRENCEN.


Follow the GMRENCEN on Instagram to see James highlight his favorite downtown locations.


James Gates lives in Detroit and is a legally blind photographer. See his work on his Instagram at @james.m.gates or check out his online portfolio at jgatesphotography.com.  

Artist Spotlight: Alanna St. Laurent

It’s a bird, it’s a plane…it’s a drone! If you happen to see a drone camera around downtown Detroit, there’s a good chance it belongs to local photographer Alanna St. Laurent.


The Detroit artist is always trying out innovative and new ways to take photographs, and drone photography has recently captured her passion.


Up in the Air



Alanna’s GMRENCEN Instagram takeover will focus on her drone photography, highlighting different parts of the Detroit skyline – a medium she’s started exploring since it was invented. She’s looking for different vantage points to find new detail in her images as her camera hovers hundreds of feet above street level.


She learned the trade from friends, but that’s not to say it’s an easy skill to pick up. Like with anything, there’s a learning curve when it comes to drone photography.


“It’s a whole different playing field up there. You can take pictures straight down from where the drone is, an entire 90 percent angle, or you can focus the camera up 30 degrees for the shot you want. It’s taken a bit of time but I’m enjoying exploring the skyline with the drone. There are so many possibilities with it,” Alanna said.


She particularly loves flying the drones near the tops of tall skyscrapers – especially Detroit towers that were built in the 1920s. With her drone, she can zoom in on technical, architectural and artistic features at the crown of each building – a scene that would be nigh impossible without a drone.


Professional Career



Alanna started taking photography classes when she was an advisor at the College for Creative Studies in 2007 and fell in love with the medium. That passion has never left her, and she regularly explores Detroit, and the country, searching for new ways to “see” a scene, skyline or setting.


She now sells print copies of her photographs on her website and features her images at rotating art fairs in and around Metro Detroit.


Alanna thinks of abandoned buildings as “the Wild West” because no building is ever the same, and she never knows what she’s going to find. She now leads photography workshops in and around Detroit. The forward-thinking photographer’s sessions are designed for newly burgeoning photographers as they learn the trade and focus with architectural and cityscape photography. The workshops also bring local photographers together to capture some of Detroit’s most photographic events.


She’s grown her industry reputation over the years and now is a full-time photographer, and leads her own business, which was always a goal of hers.


Follow Alanna over the next two weeks on our Instagram as she shows us Detroit from the sky.


Alanna St. Laurent lives in Ferndale. Follow her on Instagram at @alannastlaurentphoto or visit her online portfolio at alannastlaurent.com to see Detroit through her lens.

Your Guide to Parking and Transportation at the GMRENCEN

Welcome to the GMRENCEN! Before you begin to explore the building and Detroit, use this guide to better understand your parking and transportation options at and around the GMRENCEN.




There is plenty of parking available at the GMRENCEN. Check out our parking options and choose what’s best for you:


Public Parking


The GMRENCEN has four designated areas for public parking, all which can be viewed on this map. (Note: The GM lot is not available to the general public.)


Pictured: Location of Millender Center Parking


Millender Center Parking (331 Larned St., Detroit, MI 48226)


  • Hours of Operation:
    • Monday – Friday: 6 p.m. – 12 a.m.
    • Saturday and Sunday: 24 hours
  • Daily Rates: $8 per hour / Maximum daily rate of $20
  • Phone: (313) 568-5676


Pictured: Location of Center Garage
Center Garage (414 Renaissance Dr. W, Detroit, MI 48207)


  • Hours of Operation: 24 hours
  • Daily Rates:
    • 1 hour: $6
    • 3 hours: $12
    • 4 hours: $18
    • 8 hours: $20
    • 24 hours: $26
  • Phone: (313) 259-2186


Pictured: Location of Port Atwater Parking


Port Atwater Parking (200 Beaubien St., Detroit, MI 48226)


  • Hours of Operation: 24 hours
  • Rates:
    • Monday – Friday: $2 per 20 minutes / Maximum daily rate of $20
    • Saturday and Sunday: $2 per 20 minutes / Maximum daily rate of $10
  • Phone: (313) 259-3595


Pictured: Location of Beaubien Place Parking


Beaubien Place Parking (3831 Beaubien St., Detroit, MI 48201)


  • Hours of Operation: 5:30 a.m. – 11 p.m.
  • Rates:
    • Monday – Friday: $2 per 30 minutes / Maximum daily rate of $20
    • Saturday and Sunday: $3 per hour / Maximum daily rate of $15
  • Phone: (313) 745-8040
  • Parking validation is available with Beaubien Place Parking with proof of purchase of $20 or more at participating GMRENCEN retail stores. Learn more at gmrencenwp.wpengine.com/parking-and-valet.


Valet Parking


Valet parking is also available at these three GMRENCEN locations:


Marriott Hotel Entrance on Renaissance Drive West


  • Hours of Operation: 24 hours
  • Daily Rates (subject to change at any time):
    • 0 – 8 hours: $25
    • 8 – 24 hours: $35


GM Wintergarden Entrance on Atwater St. (along the Detroit River)


  • Hours of Operation:
    • Monday – Thursday: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
    • Friday: 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.
    • Saturday: 3 p.m. – 11 p.m.
    • Sunday: 2 p.m. – 9 p.m.
  • Daily Rates (subject to change at any time):
    • 0 – 8 hours: $25
    • 8 – 24 hours: $35


Joe Muer Seafood Restaurant Entrance (along Renaissance Drive West)


  • Hours of Operation:
    • Monday – Thursday: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
    • Friday: 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.
    • Saturday: 4 p.m. – 11 p.m.
    • Sunday: 4 p.m. – 9 p.m.
  • Daily Rates (subject to change at any time):
    • 0 – 8 hours: $25
    • 8 – 24 hours: $35
  • Special parking validation is available for Joe Muer customers. Learn more at gmrencenwp.wpengine.com/parking-and-valet.




Now that your parking is all set, let’s explore your transportation options:


Pictured: Detroit People Mover in front of the GMRENCEN


Detroit People Mover


The Detroit People Mover is Detroit’s most iconic form of transportation. Only $0.75 a ride, the automated light rail system hits 14 locations within Downtown Detroit during its rotation.


  • Hours of Operation:
    • Monday – Thursday: 6:30 a.m. – Midnight
    • Friday: 6:30 a.m. – 2 a.m.
    • Saturday: 9 a.m. – 2 a.m.
    • Sunday: Noon – Midnight


Pictured: Image of QLINE street car




Detroit’s QLINE is a 6.6-mile circulating streetcar loop serving 12 locations on Woodward Ave. from Downtown Detroit through Midtown, New Center and the North End.


  • Hours of Operation:
    • Monday – Thursday: 6 a.m. – Midnight
    • Friday: 6 a.m. – 2 a.m.
    • Saturday: 8 a.m. – 2 a.m.
    • Sunday: 8 a.m. – 11 p.m.
  • Rates:
    • Single Pass: $1.50
    • Day Pass: $3
    • Monthly Pass: $30
    • Annual Pass: $285


Uber/Lyft and Taxis


Taxi services are readily available to pick you up at the GMRENCEN to take you to your next destination. The best location to retrieve your ride is in front of the Jefferson Lobby off of Jefferson St.


Pictured: Promo image of MoGo bike in Detroit


MoGo Bikes


Pick up a bike at any of Detroit’s 43 MoGo stations and take as many short rides as you want while your pass is active. Passes include unlimited trips under 30 minutes.


  • Rates:
    • Daily Pass: $8
    • Monthly Pass: $18
    • Annual Pass: $80


If you have any questions regarding parking and transportation at the GMRENCEN, let us know on social media. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Artist Spotlight: Lou Peeples

When you think of Detroit, what comes to mind? Undoubtedly, it’s different for everyone – every person experiences the city differently.


Do you have happy memories celebrating the Detroit Tigers win at Comerica Park? Biting into a Lafayette Coney Island Coney dog? Or perhaps you think of watching the Thanksgiving Parade roll down Woodward Ave on Thanksgiving Day.


When Lou Peeples imagines Detroit, all he sees is “my city.” The city that he loves to photograph and tell stories about through his images. He explores his city through his camera lens, often in the early morning hours of the day, because no one else is awake at that time. There are no cars or people walking the city at 5 or 6 a.m., and he captures a city paused in time.


Half Artist, Half Tech Fan



A self-described “technology geek,” Lou loves photography because it satisfies his technology interests just as much as his artistic side.


“I really enjoy using different equipment and trying different lenses for certain shots. I’ve been playing with long exposures where the camera can capture a photo for up to 20 or 30 seconds. Taking those kinds of shots at night are some of my favorite to play around with.”


Along with enjoying advancing technical elements of his camera, he’s along learned to love editing in post. Finding ways to enhance certain elements of his photographs are better ways of telling their story.


Evolution as a Photographer



While he loves capturing the city devoid of people, cars and signs of everyday life, Lou also is expanding his portfolio by capturing “street photography” images. These photos are shot while he walks the city throughout the day, capturing people in a moment in time, a snippet of their life.


Lou also describes himself as an eclectic photographer, going to a certain area in the city and shooting whatever strikes him in the moment – inspiration can hit any time.


Lou Peeples lives in Grosse Pointe. Follow him on Instagram at @loupeeples_photography or see his online portfolio at Pointe Photography.

Artist Spotlight: Christopher Hollis

When Christopher Hollis was gifted his first professional camera in 2009, he didn’t know how much it would impact his life for years to come.


Eight years later, he now owns and operates his own photography business, VIII/VIII Photography, and is making a name for himself in the Detroit photography scene.


Up and Coming


Pictured: Christopher Hollis.

Although he was always more-than-adept with a handheld camera, Chris was gifted his first professional-grade camera when he moved to California in 2009. He took advantage of Northern California’s outdoor-centric lifestyle and spent time capturing the Bay Area’s vast array of mountains, waterways and greenery.


With a move back to Detroit, Chris still focuses on the landscapes and cityscapes that he’s prized since the beginning of his career. But his photography has matured as he has; Chris’ photos now focus on composition and framing, and he has a particular interest in symmetry within architecture.


“I love when people see a photo of something they know well or maybe see every day but then see something new in the photograph. The details, and uncovering those secrets, are what is so intriguing to me,” said Chris.


Capturing a Moment


Image by Christpher Hollis.

Chris especially loves capturing snapshots in time without the focus of the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Spot him in the early morning hours around Eastern Market, taking photos of the well-known murals, with only his headphones and camera. He typically goes out with a vague outline of what he wants to capture, like the sunrise, or sunset, but doesn’t limit himself in the subject matter – inspiration often strikes him in the moment.


Instagram Takeover


Image by Christopher Hollis.

Chris has graciously been the first photographer taking over the GMRENCEN’s Instagram. Luckily, he’s extremely familiar with the building – as a native Detroiter he’s partial to the Detroit skyline, but he’s also worked inside the GMRENCEN for the last five years.


He’s decided to focus on the interior architecture and symmetry of the building throughout his takeover. Follow the GMRENCEN on Instagram for Chris’ take on the building’s intricate network of walkways and windows.


Chris Hollis lives in Detroit. Follow him on Instagram at @vii_vii_photography or Facebook at @VII/VII Photography to see Detroit through his lens.