Detroit Institute of the Arts

#1 in Best Things To Do in Detroit
Detroit Institute of the Arts picture
Courtesy the Detroit Institute of Arts

Key Info

5200 Woodward Avenue

Details

Museums Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
4.7scorecard
  • 4.5Value
  • 4.0Facilities
  • 4.5Atmosphere

Arguably one of the city's foremost cultural destinations, the Detroit Institute of Arts dates back to 1885, but the beaux-arts building (referred to as the "temple of art")  that it now resides in opened in 1927. The institute is huge, comprising more than 100 galleries, a 1,150-seat auditorium and a 380-seat lecture hall. And its permanent collection is extensive: On its walls are Diego Rivera's "Detroit Industry" fresco and Vincent Van Gogh's "Self Portrait" painting, among other works. The institute also hosts events like Friday Night Live! concerts and Art + Authors book discussions.

For many visitors, a visit to the DIA was a highlight of their Detroit trip, with some calling it a "national gem." Though many were initially drawn because of the museum's Diego Rivera collection, reviewers said they were satisfied with every part of the DIA, especially the temporary exhibits. Visitors also praised the staff, which they said were friendly and helpful.

This Midtown museum is on Woodward Avenue and neighbors the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays; from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Fridays. Free guided tours are available Tuesday through Friday at 1 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday at 1 and 3 p.m.; tours meet in the Farnsworth Lobby. Admission costs $12.50 for adults and $6 for kids between the age of 6 and 17. But keep in mind that you'll also need to pay for parking (it costs $7 per vehicle in the museum lot). In addition to the art, you'll also find two cafes on-site. For more information on purchasing tickets, visit the website

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Time to Spend
#2 Motown Museum

An entire genre  or at least sound  was born in the space of this small Detroit home. A blue and white sign, reading "Hitsville U.S.A," hangs above the similarly painted building. And with gold records by the Supremes, the Temptations and the Jackson 5, this former Motown recording studio became a hit-making machine from 1959 to 1972. The interior has been left much the same from those magic music-making days, but there are also instruments, costumes and more on display.

Although the museum looks small and admittedly unimpressive from the outside, many visitors say the wealth of experience and information that you receive once inside is worth every minute of your time and every penny of your money. Reviewers particularly praised the tour guides, which they said helped to transport museumgoers back in time to the age of Motown.

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