500 Temple Avenue Detroit, MI 48201 +1 313 832 7100
The largest Masonic Temple in the world, this ornate 14-story building opened in 1926. For decades its 5000-seat, acoustically rich and intimate auditorium served as Detroit's choicest venue for concerts, opera and plays. Now that it has plenty of competition, the auditorium hosts only sporadic events. The impressive building has 1037 rooms, including ten decorative period lodge rooms; a Scottish Rite Cathedral that seats 1600 people and has rich ceiling carvings and colors; and a 17,500-square-foot drill hall with a floating floor laid atop felt cushions. It's a Detroit landmark.
5020 John R Street Detroit, MI 48202 +1 313 577 8400
Formerly the Detroit Science Center, this spot is always a favorite destination for school groups. There are lots of educational hands-on exhibits that are great for kids and adults alike. The center includes a state-of-the-art IMAX Dome Theatre which shows a range of entertaining and interactive films. The Dassault Systemes Planetarium shows off its virtual universe with star shows and laser displays. A recent expansion made this science center one of the largest in the nation.
4120-4140 Woodward Avenue Detroit, MI 48201 +1 313 833 9700
One of Detroit's most unusual landmarks, the restored Majestic Theatre building houses a Middle Eastern restaurant, an upstairs bowling alley and a concert venue. Though everything, from poetry readings to political rallies can be found here, the most common fare is alternative rock music, performed by local or touring national acts. Adding to the bizarre attraction of the place is its history. The legendary magician Harry Houdini gave his last performance on stage here, on Halloween night 1926. He died a few days later of peritonitis at Detroit's old Grace Hospital. Today, expect a loud, youthful crowd at most events.
5200 Woodward Avenue Detroit Institute of Arts Detroit, MI 48202 +1 313 833 7900
One of Detroit's unique cultural attractions is this popular historic theater at the Detroit Institute of Arts. A citywide chain of art house cinemas had all but closed in 1973 when film buff Elliot Wilhelm persuaded the DIA to let him screen foreign, offbeat and classic films. It's now one of the oldest and most respected film repertory series in the United States. Wilhelm, curator of film at the Institute of Arts since 1984, is still pleasing audiences with unusual, important and distinguished films. And there are still no competitors anywhere near downtown Detroit showing this type of fare.
3434 Woodward Avenue Wayne State University Detroit, MI 48202 +1 313 577 2960
The Bonstelle Theatre has long awaited, in vain, the fruition of the many plans to revitalize the area between downtown and the Cultural Center. This bulky, aging, but still splendid edifice has hung on despite the blight surrounding it, because of Wayne State University's commitment to its undergraduate theater program. Plays here are generally classics or revivals of Broadway musicals, with many budding stars seeking spots in the university's prestigious graduate theater program. This is a bargain for adventurous theater-goers.
4841 Cass Avenue Suite 3225, Wayne State University Detroit, MI 48202 +1 313 577 2972
The Hilberry is the main venue for Wayne State University's acclaimed graduate theater program, the only such program in the nation. Located in an elegant old building on the southern fringe of the main campus, it features a strong lineup of plays, usually from October through April. Many have matinée performances for school children. The productions are of uniformly good quality. Also in the same building is the small Studio Theatre, where more experimental fare is presented as part of a student workshop program.
3711 Woodward Avenue Max M. Fisher Music Center Detroit, MI 48201 +1 313 576 5111
One of Detroit's few treasures saved from the wrecking ball by ardent preservationists, Orchestra Hall, the beautifully restored home of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, boasts top-notch acoustics and a fascinating history. It opened in 1919 and was the home of the symphony until World War II. The symphony could not afford to stay here, so, from 1941 to 1951, it was called the Paradise Theatre and was an acclaimed venue for such jazz greats as Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday and Count Basie. By 1960, it was abandoned. Benefits and marches saved the hall from destruction, and it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. It took 19 years of painstaking renovations, plagued by funding problems, before the hall reopened in 1989. It's a real historical gem.
Founded in 1914, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra is one of the United States' most prestigious and accessible orchestras. In 2003, it launched the Max M. Fisher Music Center, a performing arts complex, which has become a popular venue for musical concerts of various genres, including some of the most popular jazz concerts in town. The Max houses the famous Orchestra Hall, the Music Box, Atrium and Allesee Hall. Excellent acoustics and state-of-the-art facilities make every performance memorable. The Max also has facilities to host conferences, private concerts, banquets and weddings. Check website for more details on current and upcoming events.
Located close to Wayne State University, The Bronx Bar is a favorite place for both students and locals. The atmosphere here is laid back and the service is very friendly. This bar is well-known locally for their bloody marys and Long Island iced teas, as well as their ample beer selection. Traditional bar food is also available - be sure to try the burger and fried okra!
4421 Woodward Avenue The Whitney Detroit, MI 48201 +1 313 832 5700
Ghost Bar, located on the third floor of The Whitney, exudes a charming ambiance that somehow manages to be hip and old-fashioned at the same time. Outfitted like the rest of The Whitney, the dimly-lit Ghost Bar features antiques, leather chairs and old-timey wood paneling. The cocktail list is excellent, and you can order food here as well. In addition to offering great happy hours, Ghost Bar also features live entertainment - most nights you'll find a piano player tickling the ivories. Please check the website for additional information and a list of upcoming events.