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Entertainment & Nightlife in Detroit

Every kind of after-dark entertainment can be found in Detroit. In fact, the city is fast becoming known as the dance-music capital of the world: People flock there each May to hear local DJs spin and scratch at the Movement Festival. The rest of the year, however, the action tends to be spread out, so you may have to do some significant driving across the metro area to find what you're after. But there's a range of music (jazz, blues, rock and folk) as well as dance clubs, comedy clubs and casinos.

Alcohol can't be sold after 2 am in Michigan nightspots. Most of them close at that time, although a few remain open until 4 am on weekends.

Places to Unwind

Theatres & Cinemas

With the advent of a genuine if rudimentary theatre district and the blossoming of Greektown into a centre of nightlife, at least part of downtown has become an entertainment mecca. The magnificent, restored Fox Theatre is at the centre of the action, and it’s worth visiting just to see the building, no matter what’s on stage. The smaller, exquisitely decorated Gem Theatre is also a must-see. The nearby Fillmore Detroit is operating again after years of being shut down.

The Cass Corridor and Wayne State University have spawned a vital and varied nightlife scene, so choices are plentiful. Wayne State’s Hilberry and Bonstelle theatres are first-class venues with uniformly good productions of student-staffed plays.

The Detroit Film Theatre attracts big crowds every weekend for non-mainstream movies in its auditorium at the rear of the Detroit Institute of Arts. In the New Center Area, the sedate, elegant Fisher Theatre hosts touring Broadway shows. It is worth the trip just to see the building’s spectacular golden lobby and the ornate theatre.

Music & Performing Arts

Nearby, the Detroit Opera House boasts a huge orchestra pit and excellent acoustics. The Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts is one of the nation’s premier venues for dance, drama and jazz.

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra performs in the acoustically near-perfect, wonderfully restored Orchestra Hall between downtown and the Medical Center. The huge, ornate Masonic Temple – the largest in the world – often hosts concerts. The Union Street Saloon is usually jammed with drinkers and diners. Across the street from it, the Majestic Theatre, the site of magician Harry Houdini’s last performance, is a venue for alternative rock shows and poetry readings.

Bars & Clubs

For over 70 years, the locals have whiled away their evenings at Baker's Keyboard Lounge, 20510 Livernois ( Billing themselves as the "world's oldest jazz club", Baker's treats guests to the city's coolest live jazz and drinks every night of the week but Monday. Downtown, the Majestic Theatre is home to two favourite music venues: Garden Bowl, a 16-lane glow-in-the-dark bowling alley accompanied by Detroit's hottest DJs; and The Magic Stick upstairs, a bar and billiards establishment widely known as the city's finest live music venue.

It comes as no surprise that a sports-crazed town like Detroit is home to several great sports bars. Nemo's, 1384 Michigan Avenue, is fun, friendly, and full of Detroit sports fans. Likewise, the Post Bar, 408 West Congress (, is the place to be after Tigers and Red Wings games. No less fun is Hockeytown Café, 2301 Woodward Avenue ( An ice-rink bar keeps drinks cold while Red Wings fans talk about the game; Red Wings paraphernalia covers the walls.

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