The Motown Museum is one of the coolest tourist attractions in Detroit. Also known as Hitsville USA, the museum is a must-see for any music fan.
The Motown Museum is an unassuming house in a decent-but-not-great neighborhood. It’s the actual former house of Motown founder Berry Gordy. Back in the ’60s, it was one of the epicenters of musical creativity in America.
All the big Motown singers recorded here. Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5, the Supremes, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson… the history in this small house is remarkable.
The Motown Museum Tour
You can stop by and tour the building where it all went down. The tour lasts just 15 minutes. Admission costs $10 for adults, which is reasonable. Seniors and kids get $2 off. The museum is closed on Sundays (and also on Mondays during the school year.)
You head upstairs to begin the tour and move past artifacts and photos from the early years. Eventually you’re taken downstairs into the carefully-preserved studio, standing in the very spot that all these legendary singers recorded some of the most famous songs in history.
Review of the Motown Museum
People in Detroit gush about the Motown Museum, which makes me think they’ve never been to Sun Studio in Memphis, which is far better. The Sun Studio tour is much longer, is led by people with intimate knowledge of rock & roll (not just kids off the street), and most importantly, you’re allowed to touch things and take pictures at Sun Studio. Motown does not allow photos inside the museum. Boo!
Now, it’s been a couple of years since I visited, so maybe things have changed. But based on the Yelp reviews, I don’t think that’s the case.
Don’t let me dissuade you – if you’re a music fan, you should visit the Motown Museum, if only to stand in the house and studio where so much musical history was made. That experience alone is worth the price of admission.