Known for housing Detroit's metropolitan airport and a distinctly suburban atmosphere, Romulus actually lies far enough outside the city center to qualify as its own city rather than a suburb of Detroit. It takes just under 30 minutes to reach the Detroit city center by car, which lies roughly 22 miles northeast of Romulus. The neighborhood's range of useful businesses, safe streets and lower prices appeal to younger families and couples, as well as a growing number of retirees. Romulus draws residents with large tracts of open land — a feature quite unique for a neighborhood this close to Detroit.
Restaurants & Nightlife
The constant stream of travelers moving through the Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport and the numerous full-time residents inspire a booming restaurant industry throughout Romulus. These dining options include traditional local establishments and a large number of ethnic eateries.
Romulus House is low cost, but authentic dining. Though this establishment serves burgers and other dinner entrées, it built its reputation on stellar breakfast food. Patrons particularly recommend the omelettes and hash browns. Expect to pay less than $10 for a full, fresh meal.
The Detroit Metropolitan Airport caters to flights from across the world, many of which pause in the city to refuel. Numerous ethnic restaurants exist within airport grounds and just outside the to cater to travelers, including the beloved Beruit Restaurant. Locals dig into the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes, but the it's better known for its authentic Lebanese food. The hummus, falafel sandwiches, and complimentary pita bread all put it on the map. Furthermore, the hard-working, friendly family that runs this establishment epitomize the kind of self-sufficient, industrious people that make Romulus flourish.
Though nightlife in Romulus faces stiff competition with Detroit's nearby downtown hot spots, the region does feature numerous bars. Wild Willy's Bar and Grill has been known to attract crowds, especially on the nights featuring live music. Since opening in 1970, Wild Willy's has experienced four name changes and several management changes — its newest owners committed themselves to improving the bar's service and food offerings.
History & Culture
In 1976, the General Motors plant Romulus Engines opened near the airport. Like much of the rest of the Detroit, Romulus soon relied heavily upon the automotive industries. During this time, working-class and a smattering of middle-class residents made up most of Romulus' population. Toward the end of the 20th century, Detroit saw a heavy economic downtown. Fortunately, the location of the airport in Romulus lessened the impacts of the bigger city's economic downfall. Today, Romulus stands as one of Detroit's more desirable suburban cities, and increasing numbers of young families and members of the middle class call Romulus home. This has begun the development of a small arts and music scene, from which indie rock legend Sufjan Stevens graduated. The Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum in Romulus pays tribute to the area's history in automobile manufacturing.
In Romulus, driving definitely takes priority over other forms of transportation, and free and cheap parking exists throughout the area. Several interstates pass through Romulus, including Interstates 275, 75, and 94. In the residential sections, walking and biking remain popular in the summer months, though the frigid temperatures and snow in winter makes these modes of transportation unpleasant for much of the year. Because of this, biking lanes do not exist in much of Romulus, though pedaling on the shoulder remains safe. Uber and several other ride-share services cater to the area. Additionally, taxis regularly patrol the streets looking for fares, especially near the airport.
One of Romulus' weak points is a lack of public transportation options. The Detroit bus system rarely caters to Romulus, save for expensive and lengthy routes from Dwayne County Airport to the city center.
The low cost of living in Romulus has played a critical role in establishing the area as a suburban hot spot. Though transportation to the city center can cost as high as $15, cost of living within Romulus itself typically hovers at just under the city average. A pint of beer at a local pub costs approximately $3, while an average apartment rental for a one-bedroom residence stands at about $600. Gas prices in Romulus rank around 2 percent lower than Detroit's city average and 7 percent lower than the national average.
Several major shopping areas exist within Romulus, featuring national chains and locally owned boutiques. Southland Shopping Center, which stands close to the airport, draws crowds from across the city with a wide assortment of upscale shops.
In terms of local boutiques, Harry's Army Surplus stands out in the Romulus area. Stocking uniforms, army paraphernalia and survival gear, Harry's Army Surplus deals in an entirely different type of stock than anywhere else in town. Moreover, the store prides itself on friendly service and low prices, which keeps locals returning time and again.
Though Romulus experiences some of the harshest winters in the nation, One of a Kind Creation Florist seeks to brighten up the city's bleak winters. This establishment caters to weddings, graduations, birthdays, bar mitzvahs, and any other special occasion that calls for a splash of color.
Several grocery stores, including Kroger, the Palace Supermarket and Westland Food Store, fulfill Romulus' grocery needs. The Romulus Town Hall hosts a weekly farmers market on Wednesday nights in an effort to provide residents with fresh produce.
The economic troubles of Detroit and Romulus forced the city board to close many of Romulus' parks. Mary Ann Banks Park is the only one that remains open. The kid-friendly facilities and openness to pets have allowed the park to flourish. Expect to find playgrounds, walking trails and even the occasional public art installation. The park hosts private events from time to time, but little to no publicly held events happen on a regular basis.