Named one of the city's best cultural museums by CBS Detroit, the Holocaust Memorial Center is among America’s first Holocaust museums. For more than 25 years, the HMC has memorialized the senseless murder of millions, promoting tolerance while sending out a call to action to prevent future discrimination, hate crimes, bullying, and genocide by keeping alive the memory of the Holocaust and the lives it claimed.
Starting near the museum's lobby, an illustrated timeline tracing 4,000 years of Jewish history leads into The Museum of European Jewish Heritage, which highlights Judaism through artifacts and displays. From there, a ramp descending beyond a 22-foot window display of Nazi propaganda leads into an exhibit on The Final Solution. Here, displays and audiovisual installations usher visitors toward the Survivors' Theater, where live presentations by Detroit-area survivors illuminate the atrocities' personal costs. Daily tours are led by the museum's caring, expert educators, who guide guests through the exhibits while encouraging them to internalize the lessons for use in their own lives.
New to the museum is the Weisberg Gallery, where a Holocaust-era boxcar stands as a reminder of the scale of the period's atrocities. The museum also welcomes traveling exhibits such as Beyond Swastika and Jim Crow, a collection depicting the story of Jewish professors fleeing Nazism and finding teaching positions at historically black universities. The exhibit explores the encounter between these scholars and their students, the impact the relationships had on one another, and the effect on the Civil Rights Movement and American society.
Post-war exhibits cover the Nuremberg Trials, honor the righteous individuals who risked their lives to resist the Nazis or save Jewish lives during the war, and pay homage to those who perished with a memorial flame. The museum also houses a well-stocked library, where guests can research their genealogy with materials dedicated to European Jewish history. Beyond its core exhibits, the HMC hosts special exhibits encompassing photographs, art, and history, in addition to sending survivors to speaking engagements throughout the city and hosting the Kindertransport Memory Quilt, whose patches represent the experiences of Jewish youth rescued from Eastern Europe.
Fitness-minded visitors sweat their way through The Sports Club’s more than 100,000 square feet of equipment, group exercise classes, and workout-enhancing amenities. Patrons who thrive on camaraderie can get energized during group classes in one of five practice rooms, and lone wolves can try their hands, limbs, and cores at weight machines by Cybex, Hammer Strength, and Life Fitness. Seventy cardiovascular machines fill the rest of the floor space, each equipped with a personal television that can play any home-brought DVDs, CDs, or flip books. During the warmer seasons, staff members uncover 2 of the 3 pools and 5 of the 14 indoor tennis courts, creating open-air recreational opportunities that earned the facility Hour Detroit magazine's award for Best Outdoor Tennis Court in 2008 and 2009. Employees can keep an eye on guests' youngsters in the childcare room, which brims with age-appropriate activities for toddlers and stuffed-animal focus groups.
At Yoga Shelter, you won't hear esoteric chants echoing through the halls or meditation music reverberating from rock-shaped speakers. That's because founder Eric Paskel wants to make yoga accessible for all students, whether they're searching for inner peace or a more toned bod. Hip hop, dance, soul, chill, contemporary, and classic music accompanies all classes, ranging from Yoga Rocks, which focuses on sequenced postures, to Fusion, a blend of faster- and slower-moving classes. There is no hierarchy of classes; each 60- to 75-minute session is open to all skill levels. As Paskel himself puts it on his about page, “What's different about us is that we admit we have issues, we know we have work to do—if you can relate to that, you'll love this place.”
The tattoo artists at Chroma Tattoo know that tattoos last a lifetime and create a permanent connection between the client and the artist. With that much at stake, they leave nothing to chance. Before their needles and inks ever pierce skin, the artists walk clients through a long preparation process that involves designing the tattoo and determining the placement. They first work out the details of the design on paper, and then, they freehand the design onto the skin. This process gives clients the chance to make adjustments and give feedback.
While their friends are getting tattoos, guests can sink into two large leather sofas that huddle around a flat-screen TV. Here they can wile away the hours watching Netflix, playing Xbox 360, or contemplating which president had the most imposing beard.
Joined by her husband and close friends, founder Denise Mehl sought to create a space where parents could enjoy a good cup of coffee while watching their children play in a safe and soft environment. The result is Jungle Java, where tykes traipse through a well-padded multilevel maze of forest huts and treehouses. Toddlers can take time away from the fray in a separate safari area equipped with soft tunnels, slides, and age-appropriate cryptograms. As children romp, parents plunk themselves in the soft folds of a leather couch or power through some work on the free WiFi network. Jungle Java's café carries a menu of coffee drinks, smoothies, and snacks that include all-beef hot dogs and turkey and avocado sandwiches on eight-grain bread.
The talented dancers of the Michigan Classic Ballet Company bring The Nutcracker to life for the 22nd year with their elegant, well-trained limbs and precise artistry. Leaping through expressive choreography, the company transforms Tchaikovsky’s famous score into an enchanting escape into the Land of Snow, the Kingdom of Sweets, and the Municipality of Dentistry. The performers’ finesse and grace captivate eyes, while the sugar-powdered plotline piques imaginations young and old. Four special guest artists from the Grand Rapids Ballet lend their acumen to the classic Christmas tale. Quartets can seek refreshments, exchanging their tickets for coffee, pretzels, cookies, and other snacks that don't require the assistance of the ballet's titular appliance.