Livonia is part of the Detroit metropolitan area and is located approximately 22 miles northwest of downtown Detroit. As of the 2006 census, the city had a total population of 96,736. First settled by pioneers from New England and New York, an act by the legislature of the Territory of Michigan established the borders of Livonia Township on March 17, 1835. The city was named after the Livonia region in present day Latvia. It is likely that the township was named after this region due to Latvian immigrants who settled in the area. Livonia was incorporated into a city on May 23, 1950 by vote of the citizens of the township.
Livonia has many restaurants that offers a variety of ethnic and hometown cuisine. The most famous of these is Bates Burgers, located on the corner of 5 Mile and Farmington Road. It is a 50s-styled corner diner that is fondly remembered by many former Livonia residents and often revisited upon their return. Their menu mainly consists of chili fries, shakes, and burgers known as "sliders." Another food attraction unique to the area is the Han-D-Dip Dairy Barn, an ice cream stand that has been in operation for generations and a staple of summertime life in Livonia; so much so, that the first day of the year it is open is considered by most residents to be the official start of summer. Rounding out the choices is the ever popular Senate Coney Island, with one of four of its metro Detroit locations on the corner of Plymouth Road and Stark Road.
Festivals and community gatherings in the area include St. Andrew's Society of Detroit Highland Games at the Greenmead Historic Village, the Livonia Spree, and Music under the Stars, which is held at various locations in Livonia throughout the summer. The city is home to Madonna University and Schoolcraft Community College. Major employers in the area are Ford Motor Company, General Motors, United Parcel Service, Quicken Loans, Valassis, and St. Mary Mercy Hospital. Livonia boasts a vibrant retail economy led by the Laurel Park and Livonia malls.