It may look modest from the outside, but the Motown Museum in downtown Detroit—known as Hitsville, USA—created a tidal wave of a legacy in the music industry whose impact is still felt today. Visitors can step inside legendary Studio A, the spot where songs like the Supremes’ “Stop in the Name of Love” and other chart-toppers were recorded.
The home of Motown Records, which opened in this blue-trimmed 2-story house in 1959, began with founder Berry Gordy’s vision to give African-American singers a platform on a bigger stage. He started the company with an $800 family loan and went on to launch the careers of the Four Tops, Marvin Gaye, the Temptations, Stevie Wonder, the Jackson 5, and many more. Guided tours of the museum reveal original photographs and artifacts. You must prebook a guided tour before visiting, and tickets often sell out—especially for Saturdays—so book early.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Motown Museum is a must-see for music lovers.
- Photography, food, and drink are not allowed inside the Motown Museum.
- The museum is accessible to wheelchairs.
How to Get There
The Motown Museum is located on West Grand Boulevard in downtown Detroit, east of Rosa Parks Boulevard and west of Woodward Avenue and the John C. Lodge Freeway (M-10). City buses stop near the museum.
When to Get There
The Motown Museum is open from 10am to 6pm Tuesday through Saturday except holidays; in summer it opens on Sundays as well and closes at 8pm on Saturdays. You get a discount on tickets—and face fewer crowds—if you book your tour for a weekday rather than a weekend.
Marvin Gaye’s Football Aspirations
Motown singer Marvin Gaye had dreams of trying out for a spot on the Detroit Lions football team in 1970. In Marvin Gaye, My Brother, a book by Frankie Gaye, he was quoted as saying “I’d rather catch a pass and score a touchdown in Tiger Stadium than rack up another gold record.” Joe Schmidt, the Lions’ coach at the time and a fan of Gaye’s, gently turned him down.