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Best Historic Venues in Detroit

By: Cityseeker
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Detroit Opera House

Restored to its former splendor, the Detroit Opera House is a downtown landmark that finds itself right in the middle of the action, bordered by the Theatre District, Comerica Park and Greektown. The superb acoustics in the hall provide a prime venue for the Michigan Opera Theatre and for a variety of other performing arts productions, including plays, concerts and dance performances. In days gone by, it was a theater, concert and movie house, the fifth-largest in the world when it opened in 1922. The frescoes, marble stairways, draperies and chandeliers from its glory days have been restored. The Opera House reopened in 1996 with a performance by Luciano Pavarotti.

Detroit, MI, United States
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Fox Theatre

The preservation of this theater is one of Detroit's proudest achievements. The 5048-seat palace of the arts, arguably the most opulent in the nation when it opened in 1928, was designated a national landmark in 1989 after a USD11,000,000 refurbishment by new owner Mike Ilitch. The oldest, continually operating theater in the United States features a 10-storey marquee, a six-storey lobby with a two-ton chandelier and 300,000 glass jewels in its interior. The exotic presentation of lions, gold fixtures and jaw-dropping grandeur harkens back to the flamboyant era of movie houses. The Fox is now busy with concerts, family-oriented shows and a wide variety of other offerings. It's the anchor of the Theatre District and perhaps Detroit's greatest civic treasure.

Detroit, MI, United States
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The Masonic Temple

The largest Masonic Temple in the world, this ornate building opened in 1926. For decades its 5000-seat, acoustically rich and intimate auditorium served as Detroit's choicest venue for concerts, opera and plays. The impressive building has 1037 rooms, including ten decorative period lodge rooms; a Scottish Rite Cathedral that seats around 1500 people and has rich ceiling carvings and colors, and a huge drill hall with a floating floor laid atop felt cushions. It is truly a Detroit landmark.

Detroit, MI, United States
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Jack White Theater at the Masonic

The Jack White Theater, located in The Masonic, is a beautiful historic theater. Step through the Masonic Temple gorgeous lobby and you will find this large theater right in the center of the entire complex. With a seating capacity of 1586, it also has beautiful carvings and a gorgeous color scheme. It has four manual organs and a modern stage and is also used for plays, lectures, concerts and more.

Detroit, MI, United States
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Detroit Film Theatre

One of Detroit's unique cultural attractions is this popular historic theater at the Detroit Institute of Arts. A citywide chain of art house cinemas had all but closed in 1973 when film buff Elliot Wilhelm persuaded the DIA to let him screen foreign, offbeat and classic films. It's now one of the oldest and most respected film repertory series in the United States. Wilhelm, curator of film at the Institute of Arts since 1984, is still pleasing audiences with unusual, important and distinguished films. And there are still no competitors anywhere near downtown Detroit showing this type of fare.

Detroit, MI, United States
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Fisher Theatre

Located inside the golden-domed Fisher Building in Detroit's New Center, the Fisher Theatre has long been Detroit's venue for touring productions of Broadway plays and musicals. These and other national theatrical productions usually fill the seats at this meticulously renovated historic gem. The lobby of the Fisher Building is spectacularly ornate and the theater itself is grand. Over the years, it has been Detroit's stable window on the world of theater and one of the most elegant destinations in the city. All the seats, even in the balcony, are good ones.

Detroit, MI, United States
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Royal Oak Music Theatre

From being a vaudevillian theater in 1928 to being one of the sought after entertainment venues now, the Royal Oak Music Theatre has seen many reformations in its more than 80 years of existence. This art-Deco venue has been host to a variety of performers from the fields of music, theater and comedy acts. Some of the past performances are The White Stripes, Billy Crystal and The Ten Tenors. The theater can also be used for any private event or corporate parties.

Royal Oak, MI, United States
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Redford Theatre

Established in 1928, the lavish, 1571-seat Redford Theatre has been delighting audiences ever since. Every evening at 8p, there are screenings of classic movies too. The film is preceded by an organ concert from the original organ that was put in to accompany the silent films shown when the theater was first opened. A classic Warner Brothers cartoon is also often shown before the main feature.

Detroit, MI, United States
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