Checkout Belle Isle When You Visit Detroit

Visit Detroit. It is a classic city in eastern Michigan that is rich with history. There has been a multitude of people who have been influential that called Detroit home. The city is also deep with tradition through their sports team. The Pistons, Red Wings, and Tigers have won multiple championships. The Red Wings even refer to Detroit as “Hockeytown.” The Lions, with everything they have gone through, still have a large and loyal fan base.

What can I see when I visit Detroit

When you visit Detroit, there are many places to stop in and see and things to do! If you are a fan of history and automobiles, be sure to check out the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn. Detroit after all was/is the automobile capital of the world. You can check out the surrounding suburbs, take a day trip over to Canada, or enjoy the different types of food among other things.

One of the more unique places to check out when you visit Detroit is Belle Isle. It is located in the Detroit River. Although the Isle has seen better days, it is still a really cool and unique place to visit. It has the nation’s oldest aquarium having opened in 1904. Right next door is the Conservatory featuring a wide variety of plants and trees. At the other end of the island is the Livingstone Memorial Lighthouse. It is about a .5 mile walk to it, but you get to walk along the river and look into Canada!

There is plenty of space to hang out and have a picnic, go fishing or any number of other activities. One thing that is pretty unique and fun is that Belle Isle is also a race track! It isn’t every day that you can just drive on and/or walk around a race track. Unless it is race weekend, then there might be a problem if you did! Due to one-way roads and general setup, you can’t “drive” the race course.

Raceway at Belle Isle Park

Once you arrive at Belle Isle, you get to cross the MacArthur Bridge which was completed in 1923. Follow the road to the right is the gate to get in and immediately after is the start/finish line! This year’s race was run on June 12 and 13, two months later, the rubber from the racing groove was still visible! As you go around the road, it follows along turns 13 thru 11, see the inner section (turns 7 thru 11), and then the drive to turn 6! It was neat to see the rubber on the ground and picture the IndyCars racing through that exact spot!

Belle Isle Detroit Raceway turn 9
Belle Isle Turns 9 and 10 (cars moving left to right)

We did park by Turn 11 and walked by the fountain on the way to the pit lane. Unfortunately, the fountain was not running. It was still pretty cool that Pato O’Ward celebrated his victory in Race #2 by swimming in the fountain with his team. The ironic thing, however, signs are posted for no swimming or wading in the fountain! Congrats as well to Marcus Ericsson on his first career IndyCar victory in Race #1!

I visited a little over two months after the races. Even after that time, you could still see the rubber in the racing lines and on the pit road. Actually being able to stand in the racing line and not just seeing it on tv or from the grandstands, really brings it home. Although I was not able to attend either race this year, I am really looking forward to attending at least one if not both of the races next year!

Belle Isle Detroit Raceway Pit Lane
Belle Isle Pit Lane (standing near entrance)

iRacing Track Tour

My racing partner, D.J. Fluck took the Stadium Scene TV Dallara IR18 out on Belle Island Raceway in iRacing for a quick tour around the track. Check it out:

Check us out on Social Media

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  • Erik Richardson

    Erik is the co-founder of F-R Racing. He has been coaching swimming for the past 13 years and is currently an Assistant Coach at Olivet College. He lives with his wife in Lansing, MI.

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