We all know Detroit is a great music city with a rich history of everything from rock ‘n’ roll to hip hop to techno and, of course, the iconic Motown sound. Every month of the year, you can catch big acts, popular musicals and emerging artists at great venues like the Fox Theatre, the Fillmore, St. Andrew’s and more. But what if you want to experience music in the D but don’t want to spend the dough for concert tickets or a Broadway musical?
Check out these five ways you can get a flavor of Detroit’s music history and today’s variety of music genres any given weekend without breaking the bank.
Now known as the Motown Museum, this little house on West Grand Boulevard was once home to some of the greatest musical artists in history. Friendly tour guides take you on a journey from room to room, showcasing the humble beginnings and explosive success of Berry Gordy’s empire. Gold records, glamorous costumes and even a hole in the ceiling where you can replicate that famous Motown sound on your own are just a few of the highlights you’ll enjoy. You may even run into a living legend: Martha Reeves pops in every now and then!
Located at 2648 West Grand Blvd., Motown Museum hours are 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday – Saturday (open until 8:00 p.m. on Saturdays in the summer), and closed on Sunday and Monday. Admission is $10 for adults and $8 for seniors and children ages 5–12. Group rates are also available. Please note that photography (even on your phone) is not allowed inside the museum. Visitors are allowed to take photos outside. For more information, visit MotownMuseum.org or call (313) 875-2264.
Take a trip to the Detroit Historical Society and visit the Kid Rock Music Lab. Supported by the Kid Rock Foundation, it’s an interactive space for all ages that highlights Detroit’s music history from gospel to Motown and everything in between. The Detroit Historical Museum is located at 5401 Woodward. Hours are 9:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday – Friday, and 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. It is closed on Monday. Parking is $5 in the adjacent lot on Kirby St. Learn more at DetroitHistorical.org or call (313) 833-4727.
After walking the museum, you’ll want to grab a bite to eat. Keep the rock theme going and visit the Hard Rock Café Detroit, where the walls are lined with memorabilia from some of the most successful singers and bands of all time. Check out the store and purchase a classic Hard Rock t-shirt, enjoy music videos or even see a live band depending on when you arrive. It’s located at 45 Monroe St. inside Compuware World Headquarters near Campus Martius. Open each day at 11:00 a.m., closing time is 11:00 p.m. Sunday – Thursday and 1:00 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. Call (313) 964-7625.
La Pista de Baile (The Dance Floor)
If you want a more active role in Detroit’s music scene, try hitting the Havana dance floor inside Vicente’s Cuban Cuisine. Every Friday and Saturday night from 10:00 p.m. until close, you can salsa the night away to today’s hottest Latin sounds. Don’t worry; instructors will show you basic moves so you can cut some rug with swagger. Don’t forget to order sangria and tapas to keep your energy up!
Vicente’s is located at 1250 Library St. and is open Monday – Thursday from 11:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m. and Sunday from 12:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Visit Vicente.us or call (313) 962-8800 for more information.
If you’re looking for luxury, look no further than the historic Hotel St. Regis in New Center. Dine and enjoy a glass of wine inside the relaxed atmosphere of restaurant La Musique. Unwind to the sounds of renowned jazz artist Alexander Zonjic and his award-winning band every Friday and Saturday night at 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. For reservations, call (313) 873-3000.
Why not stay the night? Hotel St. Regis is located at 3071 West Grand Blvd., and you can make reservations by visiting HotelStRegisDetroit.com or calling (313) 873-3000.
Beers and Bands
Meet some friends for an evening out with great tunes and craft stout. Whether you like jazz, rock or some acoustic guitar, here are just a few places where you can catch live bands and local artists:
Baker’s Keyboard Lounge: 20510 Livernois Ave., (313) 345-6300
Cliff Bell’s: 2030 Park Ave., (313) 961-2543
Corktown Tavern: 1716 Michigan Ave., (313) 964-5103
Nancy Whiskey: 2644 Harrison St., (313) 962-4247
Northern Lights Lounge: 660 W. Baltimore St., (313) 873-1739
Old Miami: 3930 Cass Ave., (313) 831-3830
PJ’s Lager House: 1254 Michigan Ave., (313) 961-4668
The Shelter (basement of St. Andrew’s): 431 East Congress St., (313) 961-6923
The Town Pump Tavern: 100 W. Montcalm St., (313) 961-1929
Bonus: If you haven’t heard, the Detroit Institute of Music Education (DIME) recently announced its launch in downtown Detroit. DIME is a music education college dedicated to teaching the next generation of modern musicians. Students can pursue a bachelor’s degree or diploma in creative music performance, or sign up for part-time music education programs. Where there are musicians, there are performances, so be sure to check out Dime-Detroit.com for the latest schedule at their current residence at 1520 Woodward, between John R and Witherell, or by calling (313) 223-1600.
How do you celebrate music in the D? Do you have any weekend recommendations?