Metro Detroit

From Academic Kids

Metro Detroit is the American metropolitan area consisting of nine counties including the cities of Detroit, Flint, Ann Arbor, Pontiac, and other outlying cities, villages, and townships in the U.S. state of Michigan. The Detroit-Ann Arbor-Flint Combined Metropolitan Statistical Area has about 5,516,124 inhabitants and is the eighth largest metropolitan area in the United States. (Note: this does not include population figures for Windsor, Ontario or other nearby Canadian cities.)

Though this metropolitan area officially encompasses most of Southeast Michigan, residents of outlying communities (such as Flint, Port Huron and Monroe) may not consider where they live to be part of the "Detroit area." Michiganders have traditionally defined "Metro Detroit" as the three counties containing or bordering the city of Detroit--Wayne, Oakland and Macomb.

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The Detroit CMSA is colored in yellow. Anchor cities are identified and highlighted in red. Note that this map shows only the Lower Peninsula of Michigan.


Anchor cities


Windsor, Ontario, Canada lies across the Detroit River from Detroit. Because of its close proximity, it is usually included in the population of the Metro Detroit region for international lists. With a total population of about 5,800,000, the Detroit-Windsor metropolitan area is the 46th largest metropolitan area in the world. If the metropolitan area is extended farther (to create a geographic similarity) to include Chatham-Kent and Lambton County which lie across from areas included in the CMSA, the population increases to about 6,100,000 and would jump to the 43rd largest.

Major airports

Major highways

The Metro Detroit area is criss-crossed by several major interstate highways and freeways.

  • I-75 (Chrysler and Fisher Freeways) is the region's main north-south route, serving Flint, Pontiac, Troy, and Detroit, before continuing south (as the Fisher Freeway) to serve many of the communities along the shore of Lake Erie.
  • I-94 (Ford Freeway) runs east-west through Detroit and serves Ann Arbor to the west (where it continues to Chicago) and Port Huron to the northeast. The stretch of the current I-94 freeway from Ypsilanti to Detroit was one of the first American limited-access freeways, originally built to link the factories at Willow Run and Dearborn during World War II and was then known as the Detroit Industrial Freeway.
  • I-96 runs northwest-southeast through Livingston County and (as the Jeffries Freeway) has its eastern terminus in downtown Detroit.
  • I-275 runs north-south from I-75 in the south to the junction of I-96 and I-696 in the north, providing a bypass through the western suburbs of Detroit.
  • I-696 (Walter Reuther Freeway) runs east-west from the junction of I-96 and I-275, providing a route through the northern suburbs of Detroit. Taken together, I-275 and I-696 form a semi-circle around Detroit.
  • I-375 is a short spur route in downtown Detroit, an extension of the Chrysler Freeway.
  • I-475 runs north-south through downtown Flint for several miles before rejoining I-75.
  • I-69, although a north-south route for most of its length, runs east-west across St. Claire, Lapeer, and Genesee counties, serving Flint, Lapeer, and Port Huron.
  • M-10 (Lodge Freeway)
  • M-39 (Southfield Freeway)
  • M-59 (Veterans Memorial Freeway from Utica to Pontiac), continues east as Hall Road to Clinton Township and west as various surface roads to I-96 near Howell
  • M-8 (Davison Freeway), the first modern limited-access urban freeway in America, opened in 1944.

Traditionally, Detroiters referred to their freeways by name rather than route number. Today, the Davison, Lodge and Southfield Freeways are almost always referred to by name rather than route number. This was also once true for the Chrysler, Fisher and Ford Freeways (and to a lesser extent the Jeffries and Reuther Freeways) before the Department of Transportation mandated deemphasization of the use of proper names on guide signs for Interstates. Other freeways are referred to only by number (I-275, M-59, I-69 and I-475) and their name, if any, was never in common everyday usage.

Other major roads

  • 8 Mile Road, known by many due to the film 8 Mile, forms the dividing line between Detroit and the suburbs of Macomb and Oakland Counties. Also known as Baseline Road outside of Detroit, because it coincides with the baseline used in surveying Michigan, that baseline is also the boundary for a number of Michigan counties as well as the boundary for Illinois and Wisconsin. Designated as M-102 for much of its length in Wayne County.
  • Gratiot Avenue (M-3) is a major road that runs from Port Huron to Downtown Detroit
  • Jefferson Avenue is a scenic highway that runs parallel to the shore of the Detroit River and Lake St. Clair. It is also the principal thoroughfare for the Grosse Pointes, where it is called Lake Shore Drive.
  • Michigan Avenue (U.S. 12) runs from downtown Detroit through the western suburbs toward Ypsilanti, passes south of Ann Arbor, and eventually reaches Chicago, Illinois.
  • Woodward Avenue (M-1) is considered the Detroit area's main thoroughfare. It is the dividing line between the East Side and the West Side. Woodward stretches from downtown Pontiac to the Detroit River near Hart Plaza. In Downtown Detroit, the Fox Theater and Detroit Institute of Arts are located on Woodward as well as the Detroit Zoo just outside of the city. The Woodward Dream Cruise, a classic car cruise from Pontiac to Ferndale is held in August and is the largest single day classic car cruise in America.
  • Telegraph Road is a major north-south road extending from Downriver through western Wayne and Oakland Counties to Pontiac. It has gained notoriety in a song (Telegraph Road) by the group Dire Straits.

Shopping malls and other major marketplaces

Metro Detroit has numerous shopping malls.

  • Briarwood; In Ann Arbor.
  • Birchwood; In Port Huron.
  • Eastland Center – In Harper Woods.
  • Fairlane Town Center – In Dearborn just off of the Southfield Freeway.
  • Gibraltar Trade Center – Largest indoor flea market in the United States.
  • Great Lakes Crossing – Metro Detroit's largest mall in terms of stores (200). Located in Auburn Hills off of I-75.
  • Lakeside Mall – On M-59 in Sterling Heights, it is the largest mall in Metro Detroit by square footage. About 180 stores.
  • Livonia Mall – At Middlebelt Rd. and 7 Mile Rd.
  • Northland Mall – At Northwestern Highway in Southfield, this mall, built in 1954, is said to be the first suburban shopping mall built in the United States. About 140 stores.
  • Macomb Mall – In Roseville. About 100 stores.
  • Oakland Mall – In Troy off I-75, near the 14 Mile exit.
  • The Somerset Collection – A luxury shopping center in Troy approximately two miles east of I-75, straddling both sides of Big Beaver Road (16 Mile). Considered by many to be the region's (if not the entire state's) most upscale shopping complex.
  • Summit Place Mall – In Waterford
  • Tel Twelve Mall – In Southfield at the intersection of Telegraph and Twelve Mile Roads.
  • Twelve Oaks Mall – In Novi.
  • Universal Mall – In Warren
  • Westland Mall – In Westland.

Colleges, Universities, and Trade Schools

Area codes

Metro Detroit is served by six telephone area codes. The 313 area code serves principally Detroit and some inner suburbs. 313 has assumed something of a cult status (reinforced by the film 8 Mile) as many Detroiters say that they are from "the 3-1-3" to assert that they are "truly" from Detroit. The 248 area code serves most of Oakland County, along with the newer 947, which largely covers cellular phones. Macomb County is largely served by 586. St. Clair and Genessee counties are covered by 810. Washtenaw, Monroe, and Western Wayne counties are in the 734 area.

All cities, villages, townships, and communities within those counties

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