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Detroit’s Greatest Hits: Live Music Featurette

Hitsville, USA

Image Credit: Hitsville USA, hk000079, E. Azalia Hackley Collection of African Americans in the Performing Arts, Detroit Public Library.

Detroit is nicknamed Motown for a reason! In this edition of Detroit’s Greatest Hits, we’re excited to share some of our favorite musical haunts. While you’re here, check out the programming at Willis Show Bar and Tin Roof Detroit to see what they’re up to during your visit. You might enjoy a show right along the Detroit River at the Aretha Amphitheatre. After that, grab a nightcap or meal at Atwater Brewery or Rattlesnake Club. Highlighted in this post are just a few of our fine establishments for live music and a great night out:

Cliff Bell’s

For a throwback classic jazz club, Cliff Bell’s is a world class option for dinner and a show. Noah Jackson & Full Circle has two shows scheduled on May 17th. There will definitely be more scheduled closer to our conference, so be sure to check their events calendar during your stay!

From the Renaissance Center, you can hop on the Detroit People Mover to Grand Circus Park and take a short walk to Cliff Bell’s. For a fun night out, you might also swing by Park Bar and Town Pump Tavern.

Aretha’s Jazz Cafe


Image Credit: Aretha Franklin, hk000872, E. Azalia Hackley Collection of African Americans in the Performing Arts, Detroit Public Library.

Another downtown hotspot for dinner and a show is Aretha’s Jazz Cafe. Tucked inside Detroit’s Theater District, the cafe has regular Friday and Saturday 8pm showtimes and on Sundays, there is always Aretha’s Jazz Jam at 7pm. Check their event page here for listings closer to the conference.

Aretha’s Jazz Cafe is about a mile away from the Renaissance Center. Visitors can take the Detroit People Mover and get off at the Broadway exit.

Baker’s Keyboard Lounge

Baker’s Keyboard Lounge is always a blast for an excellent dinner and a lively show. At present, it has the Ralphe Armstrong Trio booked every Friday and Saturday. To check their events closer to the conference, click here! Baker’s is a bit farther from downtown at 12 miles away, but is well worth the journey! If you decide to head out to Baker’s, you’ll be in Detroit’s Avenue of Fashion! Here is the website that highlights some of the unique small businesses.

Detroit Symphony Orchestra

On both Friday, May 19th and Saturday, May 20th, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra is hosting Leila Josefowicz  and playing Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 3. There is also a family friendly event happening Saturday morning at 10am, Earth Day is Every Day, which will feature singing and dancing to songs about the environment for kids! Constructed in 1919 and recently renovated, the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center is one of the most spectacular interiors in Detroit.

Bleu Detroit

World class nightclub and bar since 2001, featuring live music and DJs spinning electronic and hip-hop. From the Renaissance Center, you can take the Detroit People Mover to Grand Circus Park to Bleu Detroit. For more information, check out what Visit Detroit has to say about Bleu!

Bert’s Warehouse Theatre

A long time Eastern Market haunt, Bert’s always has something going on. Whether comedy, live music, or karaoke, Bert’s boasts live entertainment every night of the week. Check out the Eastern Market website for special events that may be happening at our largest open air market during your visit.

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