Detroit's Music Legacy

A Day in The D

Motown Museum Studio A Control Room courtesy of Motown Museum
Madonna, Eminem, Bob Seger, Aretha Franklin, Kid Rock, The White Stripes. Their common thread? A connection to the 313. Explore Detroit’s music legacy.
1 Day
24 Hours
Features

Art & Culture

Destinations

Downtown Detroit, Macomb

1
Morning
9 a.m.-12 Noon

Get your day humming by opening the doors at the Motown Museum. Learn how Berry Gordy Jr. turned an $800 loan from his family into a music empire with global impact. Walk the halls where Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and the Jackson 5 cut their chops. Before you leave, you better shop around (sing it, Smokey) for a Motown record magnet or mug at Shop Around, the museum gift store.

Before there was Motown, there was United Sound Systems Recording Studios, less than two miles away in Midtown. United was the first independent and full-service major recording studio in the nation, with the likes of Charlie Parker, Anita Baker and Miles Davis putting tunes to tape here. United reopened in 2014 as a museum and working production facility. Call ahead for tour availability.

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2
Afternoon
12 Noon-6 p.m.

What’s a music-themed tour without lunch at Hard Rock Cafe-Detroit? Guitars from hardcore rockers Ted Nugent and Alice Cooper are among the artifacts on display. Opt for a table on the patio.

After Hard Rock, it’s time for Kid Rock. The Kid Rock Music Lab at the Detroit Historical Museum is an interactive exhibit that pays homage to The D’s influence on rock, pop, gospel, blues, hip-hop and techno. Admission is free. Detroit MoTours is another afternoon possibility. Buses do drive-bys of homes and burial sites of some of Detroit’s past and present artists.

Spend the late afternoon adding to your vinyl collection — or just browsing — at the rarest of breeds, the local record store. Hello Records in Corktown stocks blues, jazz and funk. People’s Records is a mixed bag of Motown, punk, electronic, jazz and blues. Try Detroit Threads in Hamtramck for a serving of Detroit techno with a side of vintage clothing.

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3
Night
6 p.m.-Midnight

For the grand finale of your musical tour: One option is to head north to Macomb, where The Mall at Partridge Creek’s Sounds of Summer outdoor concert series runs every day from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Rather stick to downtown? The Detroit Institute of Arts stays open Friday nights for live music, art-making workshops and tours. And in the spirit of a life lived with no regrets, consider spending the late night at The Old Miami for a pulse on Detroit’s underground music scene.

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Mentioned Attractions And Venues
  1. Motown Museum
    2648 W. Grand Blvd., Detroit, MI 48208313-875-2264 Highlight on map | More Details
  2. United Sound Systems Recording Studios
    5840 2nd Ave, Detroit, MI 48202313-833-1833 Highlight on map | More Details
  3. Detroit Historical Museum
    5401 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48202313-833-1805 Highlight on map | More Details
  4. Detroit MoTours
  5. The Mall at Partridge Creek
    17420 Hall Road, Clinton Twp., MI 48038586-226-0330 Highlight on map | More Details
  6. The Detroit Institute of Arts
    5200 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48202313-833-7900 Highlight on map | More Details
  7. The Old Miami
    3930 Cass Ave., Detroit, MI 48201313-831-3830 Highlight on map | More Details