While getting into the USA wasn't very pleasant, actually being there was great, starting in Detroit. Now, once I reached California, the standard reply to "I just got here from Detroit" seemed to be "But why would you go there?" or, a little more subtle, "Oh, do you have family there?" - California residents seem very fond of their state, and at the same time, Detroit does not exactly have a splendid reputation.
People from the Detroit area seem to agree - both on the filght there, and on the flight back, and from most people I spoke to while in the area, I didn't hear anything good about Detroit itself.
I don't actually know anything about the city (beyond watching a baseball match and eating at a Greek restaurant) and spent most of my time in a lovely suburb where the world seemed peaceful and green. Still, the repeated shock at my choice of pre-California destination made me feel strangely defensive of Detroit, and so I would like to declare that there is in fact one cool thing in Detroit that no other city in the USA can offer (if Wikipedia is to be believed): Feather Bowling.
It is said to be from Belgian, but the two Belgians I asked about it had never heard from it, and so it is well possible even that the Cadieux Café in Detroit is now the only place in the world that lets people play this amusing mix between bowling and boules. Basically, you form two teams, and each one tries to roll some small cheese-shaped wooden wheels as close to a feather as possible. (Who came up with this? Was Belgian beer involved in the creation of the rules? Did they first use real cheese? Were any birds harmed in the process? Nobody knows.)
So, in case life takes you to Michigan, try it. And spread the word that there actually are good things in Detroit.