Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Santa and the Ren Cen -Tour the Best of Detroit

Since it is that most wonderful time of the year, it means it is time for my son to visit Santa. So I decided to make it a real fun day by visiting with Santa at the GM Ren Cen, taking the free GM Ren Cen tour, and riding the People Mover.

When we entered the Ren Cen, we went straight to the GM car exhibit where Santa's Winter Toy Land was setup. Photos with Santa are FREE at the Ren Cen and each child gets their photo in a frame with a candy cane. We decided to do something a little different this year (as you can see from the photo above) and take our picture with Santa wearing cool shades. Santa was all for it, asking me why I did not bring him some shades to wear too! My son started rolling off his Christmas list which included a Wii and Wii games. As he started to continue with his list, Santa cut him off to say that the Wii and games would be enough due to the cost. I love Santa!

After Santa, we went over to the Ren Cen Wintergarden to start our free tour. The Renaissance Center became the tallest building in Detroit when it opened in 1977. The Ren Cen is larger than Rockerfeller Center in New York - bet you did not know that. GM bought the building in 2004 and put 500 million dollars in renovations into the building including the Wintergarden, the 50,000 lbs Borealis Glass Art Sculptures in the front lobby, and the floating glass walkways that you see in the photos above.

The highlight of our tour was riding the private glass elevator 72 stories to the top of the Ren Cen to the elegant Coach Insignia Restaurant. Unless you are having dinner at the restaurant, the tour is the only way to ride the glass elevator. The views of Canada, Belle Isle, Downriver, and downtown Detroit were wonderful. We could also see the Detroit Princess boat which I found out is still doing dinner cruises even in the Winter.

After our Ren Cen tour, we went to the Ren Cen People Mover Station to catch the train. The People Mover opened in 1987 and runs on a 3 mile elevated track with stops at the Ren Cen, Grand Circus Park, Broadway, Cadillac, Greektown, the Millender Center, the Financial District, Joe Louis Arena, Cobo Center, Fort/Cass, and Michigan Ave. Each People Mover Station has custom artwork that reflects the area where the station is located. Since it was a clear day, we had great views of Downtown Detroit, Canada and the Detroit River from our train car.

We had a wonderful time today and it was great to be a tourist in my own city. I highly recommend that you try it for yourself. Ho Ho Ho and Happy Holidays....

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