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Hart Plaza, Detroit

#19 of 28 in Sightseeing in Detroit
Landmark Tourist Spot
Philip A. Hart Plaza in downtown Detroit, is a city plaza along the Detroit River. It is located more or less on the site at which Antoine Laumet de La Mothe, sieur de Cadillac landed in 1701 when he founded Fort Pontchartrain du Détroit, the settlement that became Detroit. In 2011, the Detroit-Wayne County Port Authority opened its new cruise ship passenger terminal and dock at Hart Plaza, adjacent to the Renaissance Center, which receives major cruise ships such as the MS Hamburg and the Yorktown.The 14acre plaza, which is named for the late U.S. Senator Philip Hart, opened in 1975 and has a capacity for about 40,000 people. At the center of the plaza is the Horace E. Dodge and Son Memorial Fountain, designed by Isamu Noguchi and Walter Budd in 1978.HistoryThe area where Hart Plaza stands today is believed to be where Antoine Laumet de La Mothe, sieur de Cadillac landed in 1701. The waterfront area became the main source of communication and transportation to the outside world until the inventions of the railroad and telegraph. By the mid 19th century this area was covered by docks, warehouses, and other industry, as was most of Detroit's waterfront of the time.It wasn't until 1890 that Hazen S. Pingree, Detroit's mayor at that time, suggested the location would be ideal for the creation of a waterfront center for city functions. However, the project was not carried through.
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
115 reviews
  • We're just strolling around the lower portion of the city near the Riverfront and found Hart Plaza. Hart Plaza is a multi-use are near/on the Detroit Riverfront area. The plaza plays an integral roll ...  more »
  • Independence Day weekend and 80 degrees but no fountain, poorly kept green spaces, and lots of temporary fencing. I am sure there are times this is beautiful but it was a bad look for a holiday weeken...  more »
  • Here you have a very good view Detroit skyline and the River across to Canada (Windsor).
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  • We all know Detroit is going through a transformation. That said the city could spend some $$$ to renovate this slightly for a big payoff. There is so much history here and could be utilized better. That said it was nice to visit and within walking distance of the hotel. Made for great pictures and memorable moment. A must visit.
  • Traditional tourist spot. Very close to the Detroit river. It's literally just a fountain so unless there is an event going on, all you can do is sit around and take pictures. There are no souvenirs around if you're looking. That being said it is very close to a lot of other tourist spots. So if you're planning a scavenger hunt or something Downtown it is a nice stop.
  • I visited Hart Plaza for the movement Music Festival weekend in 2017. I was blown away by the setup and the ease of access. The venue has great views of the water as well as underground stages and it just feels very spacious and not overly crowded. What a great place to host a festival! Can't wait to go back next year
  • Heart Plaza needs some serious renovations. The brick pathways are missing some bricks, the place starts looking dirty, and over all needs some serious beautifying efforts to match everything else that is going Downtown and on the Riverfront. I think the city of Detroit should spend some surplus budget money on this prime entertaining spot.
  • If you have the time to soak it in it's a nice plaza. Historic site signs sporadically placed. Most notable is French Canadian, Cadillac himself -- said to have basically founded Detroit. There's also the Legacy of Labor / Transcendence sculpture. It does a good job getting at the heart of Detroit and what its people fought for. The fountain was off while I was there, but the pictures of it running looked nice. And of course, the plaza is used for nightlife, concerts, etc. Overall, solid place for people to spend some time and soak in the city next to the Ren Center.

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