Detroit Riverwalk voted tops in the nation, according to USA Today poll

The Detroit Riverwalk was recently crowned as Best Riverwalk in the 2021 USA TODAY 10Best Readers' Choice Awards contest, the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy announced.


“The Detroit Riverfront is a very special place for our city and we are honored by this recognition,” said Matt Cullen, board chairman of the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, in a news release. “We have a tremendous year ahead and will continue to set the bar even higher as we finish up the East Riverfront and move to the west.”


In recent years, the riverfront has undergone a dramatic transformation, with the redevelopment of the former Globe Building for the Michigan DNR Outdoor Adventure Center (OAC), improvements to spaces like Milliken State Park, and the opening of Robert C. Valade Park. More than 3 million people frequent the riverfront each year, according to the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy. The nonprofit group is continuing to work to bring the vision of a RiverWalk with plazas, pavilions, and green spaces.


“Every great city has a place where the entire community comes together,” said Mark Wallace, president and CEO of the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, in a statement. “Detroiters love their riverfront, and we are incredibly proud to be recognized and celebrated on a national level.”


10Best editors along with a panel of urban planning experts selected the nominees for USA TODAY 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards. There were 20 riverwalks across the country in the competition. Among the riverwalks making the top 10 list were the Chicago Riverwalk, Charles River Esplanade (Boston), San Antonio River Walk, Wilmington Riverwalk, and Smale Riverfront Park (Cincinnati) and others.


The Detroit Riverfront has remained open every day during the coronavirus pandemic. Since March, use of the Detroit Riverwalk has increased 20% and Dequindre Cut usage has increased by 40%, according to the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy. The nonprofit has invested more than $200 million in the revitalization of the Detroit Riverfront, which in turn has generated more than $2 billion in public and private investment.