From Motown to Rap
The Motown Historical Museum, "Hitsville USA," is located in a pair of houses that contained the original studio and headquarters of Motown Record Corporation. From 1959 to 1972, Barry Gordy created a cultural revolution here, creating the Motown sound.
Exhibits include lots of rare photographs, gold records and Motown memorabilia-including Michael Jackson's famous sequined glove and the shimmering dresses once worn by the Supremes.
Motown put Detroit on the map musically, but the city's sound continues to evolve. Detroit has a strong jazz culture and is home to what's said to be the oldest continuously operating jazz club in the country, Baker's Keyboard Lounge. Aficionados hang out in old upholstered booths and sometimes jump onstage to join impromptu jam sessions.
Jazz may claim a long reign, but rap, hip-hop and techno now dominate the scene. Rapper Eminem grew up here and still calls Detroit home. He filmed his movie, 8 Mile, in various old haunts such as The Shelter at St. Andrews, an alternative club in an old church in Bricktown, next door to Greektown.
The African American Museum
The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History is the world's largest monument to the African American experience. The 120,000-square-foot facility houses seven exhibition galleries, a theatre, a cafe, and a gift store. The strikingly modern building of earth-toned stone topped with a glass dome is an architectural attraction in its own right.
The museum's thousand of exhibits and artifacts follow the African-American experience from the origins of African culture through modern-day struggles and triumphs. Much mostly forgotten history is remembered here: Africans were some of the very earliest discoverers and settlers in the new world-as well as pioneer inventors, social and political leaders, artists, and followers of other callings who contributed much to American progress and culture.
The artifacts and exhibits tell only part of the story. Passionate, articulate guides-scholars in various branches of history-relate the journey of a people.
The horrors of Nazi Germany and World War II concentration camps aren't left to the imagination at the Holocaust Memorial Center in Farmington Hills, a Detroit suburb. The mood is solemn, as visitors move through state-of-the-art exhibits. You'll hear survivors tell their own stories in heart-wrenching recordings, and watch old newsreels vividly capture the terror. A memorial flame honors the estimated six million who died.
On the same campus, the Museum of European Jewish Heritage educates visitors about the culture and way of life that were destroyed during the Holocaust and to bring about an awareness of the ethical, moral, spiritual, educational and cultural contributions of the Jewish people.
The International Institute of the Righteous presents a message of the best attributes of human nature and a vision of a better future. The museum pays tribute to the men and women who, throughout history, have rescued and supported their fellow human beings, even at great risk to themselves and their families. Exhibits include portraits and biographies together with governmental and organizational histories that highlight altruistic acts. The museum draws attention to even the quiet acts of valor.
If music is Motown's soul, sports are her heart. Elated hockey fans coined the nickname Hockeytown after back-to-back Stanley Cup triumphs in the 1990s. Then there are the Pistons-taking on the Lakers in 2004 and trouncing them in the NBA finals.
Comerica Park, the Tigers' character-rich new brick stadium that rose nearby in 2000 followed by Ford Field, the Lions' home next door, has given the city something it hasn't had in a long time-a destination, a gathering place replete with restaurants and pubs in Foxtown, where people hang out after games and shows. Fans pack the pubs and fill the sidewalks on game nights. If you're not a sports fan, you can take in a play at the Gem & Century Theatres, then join streams of fans headed for Hockeytown Cafe, with its collection of game memorabilia and a great rooftop deck.
Detroit's über browsing venue, the Eastern Market, is one of the nation's largest and oldest of its kind. Saturdays, the surrounding area fills with farmers and street vendors. The air smells like a mixture of spices and the earthy scent of plants and ripe fruits. Shoppers pull red wagons through pavilions brimming with crafts, herbs, gourmet products, fresh meats and vegetables, fish, jams and eggs.