On November 19, 1928, the Detroit Historical Society opened the Detroit Historical Museum in a one-room suite on the 23rd floor of the Barlum Tower, earning it the nickname of highest museum in the world. These days, Detroit’s Cultural Center accommodates the museum in an 80,000-square-foot space, where interactive exhibits preserve more than 300 years of city history. Frontiers to Factories traces Detroit's transformation from French-frontier outpost to industrial city, while America's Motor City celebrates its automotive dominance with a changing display of classic vehicles and a 1903 Model T that guests can sit in. Streets of Old Detroit brings the 19th century to life with recreated cobblestone streets that wind past stores of the era such as a five-and-dime, a soda shop, and a barbershop for powdered wigs.
Thanks to recent renovations, the society has expanded its chronicle of Detroit with three new permanent exhibitions. Detroit: The Arsenal of Democracy covers the ways the city's industrial infrastructure adapted to demands of World War II, and The Gallery of Innovation includes videos about renown innovators and hands-on activities of trial-and-error. As The Allesee Gallery of Culture examines the city's cultural history, its Kid Rock Music Lab lets visitors create and share their own music using interactive displays. Outside, the Detroit Legends Plaza honors the city's sports, entertainment, and media legends with cemented handprints and signatures from stars such as Lily Tomlin and Martha Reeves.
Nestled within the historic Hitsville USA quarters of Motown Record Corporation, the Motown Museum dazzles the optic nerves of audiophiles with retina-regaling displays that flash back to the golden age of music. Foray into the historic duplex that enshrines the restored apartment of Berry Gordy Jr. before tiptoeing through Studio A to reverberate ripened rumors fresh from a grapevine within its iconic echo chamber. As they follow the trajectory of rhythm-and-blues history, visiting duos can pore over a comprehensive collection of photographs, memorabilia, and invisible air molecules once inhaled by famous recording artists. Bask in the soulful warmth of the Marvin Gaye exhibition or burst into synchronized moonwalks while ogling Michael Jackson’s signature glove-and-hat ensemble.
The Burton Theatre is a new independent cinema in the Heart of Detroit that features classic art house, independent, LGBT, foreign and cult films. Responding to the shortage of art house venues in the city, the Burton Theatre aims to help Detroit rival Chicago and New York as a center for independent film.
Regal Lanes has been meticulously maintained by the same family since 1960. Its vast hall offers ample space for recreational players as well as leagues, with 40 glossy bowling avenues lined with the same hardwood used to pave the road to termite Oz. While bowlers wait in the wings, they can relax at the alley's grill and sports bar, home to flat-screen televisions and daily happy hours.
At Universal Lanes, digital scoreboards keep track of points as players strive for strikes in regular or glow-in-the-dark lighting. Between games, bowlers can meander over to the lounge and rack up pool balls or order pretzels, soft-serve ice cream, or pizza from the grill. They can also perch at the stone bar to sip beer while telling a tall tale about bowling a 300 with a very ripe cantaloupe.
As planes come and go from nearby Windsor International Airport, grounded racers engage in their own form of high-speed action at Warp Drive Race Park. Strapped safely into one of four different 9-horsepower Honda-engine go-karts, helmet-clad passengers grab their steering wheels, don their racing nose plugs, and put their feet to pedals as they test the limits of speed. Up to 20 karts can take to the large 1,800-foot concrete track, currently organized into several straightaways, curves, and hairpins that drivers can take at up to 45 km/h. Little racers aged 4–10 can jump into child-sized single-pedal cars and roam around a smaller oval track, or parents and children together can strap into two-passenger cars capable of reaching 40 km/h. After the racing is over—or for quick breaks between speedy bouts—passengers can retire to one of the picnic area's 10 tables, partaking in sustenance or tall tales about close finishes.