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.
AFTERNOON: 12 Noon-6 p.m.
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.
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.
Mentioned Attractions And Venues
Motown Museum2648 W. Grand Blvd.
Detroit, Michigan 48208