8 Detroit Attractions to Add to Your Auto Show Itinerary

The North American International Auto Show (Jan. 11-24) feels like the Academy Awards of the auto industry: the excitement, the lights, the jazzed-up displays. If you attend the Charity Preview on Jan. 15, you’ll see crowds in tailored designer getups, too. But the real stars are the cars, and being from the Motor City, we all know Detroit is filled with tons of automotive culture worth exploring.

Whether this is your first time at NAIAS or you’re a seasoned veteran, guest blogger Danielle Schmidt of Visit Detroit shares some can’t-miss sights and things to do in the Motor City. 

First-Timer Tips

If you’re a newbie to NAIAS, don’t sweat it; we’ve got a few tips to hand over so you can focus on finding your new dream ride.

While you’re in town, hit up some of The D’s other auto attractions:

Detroit Historical Museum (Downtown Detroit)
This place knows Detroit history. Its car-centric exhibit, America’s Motor City, shows and tells why Detroit got its nickname and how cars are built here.

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Photo Courtesy of Visit Detroit

Ford Piquette Avenue Plant (Downtown Detroit)
This is the actual space where the Model T was dreamt up and built in 1908. It’s a symbol of Detroit’s inventive spirit and its impact on all things automotive. You’ll even see a true recreation of Henry Ford’s office.

GM Showroom (Downtown Detroit)
Inside General Motors’ world headquarters is a 40,000-square-foot display of GM’s latest models and initiatives. Take a complimentary tour of the Renaissance Center, which gathers twice daily, Monday-Friday at noon and 2 p.m.

The Henry Ford (Dearborn)
With iconic artifacts including the Rosa Parks bus and the Kennedy Presidential Limousine, THF is an American gem. Driving America walks you through the evolution of the automobile. Catch a film at the IMAX Theatre before taking a shuttle to the Ford Rouge Factory Tour, a real-working Ford F-150 factory.

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Photo Courtesy of Visit Detroit

Automotive Hall of Fame (Dearborn)
It’s a space of honor that celebrates the great accomplishments of men and women in the automotive industry. You can get up close and personal to examine exhibits of early automobiles.

Walter P. Chrysler Museum (Auburn Hills)
This 55,000-square-foot, three-floor space hosts a collection covering more than a century, with 65 antique, custom and concept cars. Learn the history of Chrysler’s journey through interactive displays and historical exhibits.

Meadow Brook Hall (Rochester Hills)
Just outside Detroit, get a glimpse of how automotive royalty lived. This was the home of John F. Dodge’s wife, Matilda Dodge Wilson. A 1920s Tudor mansion with 110 rooms, its impressive walls tell the family’s stories of the Dodge and Wilson families.

Edsel and Eleanor Ford House (Grosse Pointe Shores)
This was the home of Henry and Clara Ford. The 1926 mansion designed by famous Detroit architect Albert Kahn sits on 87 acres of land.

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Photo Courtesy of Visit Detroit

Where to Eat

There are many great restaurants near Cobo Center. Here are a few lists to get you started:

9 Restaurants Near Cobo Center
Detroit’s Newest Restaurants
Downtown Detroit Dining Search

If you’re not wanting to venture out, try Cobo’s Made In Detroit Food Court; Go Natural, a healthy concession area; or Cork and Grind, a new coffee and wine bar.

Where to Stay

Extend your trip to explore more of America’s great comeback city. Find a hotel. 

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Danielle Schmidt is the Marketing Specialist (aka storyteller) for the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau. She writes and edits for the Visit Detroit Blog, Visit Detroit magazine and materials that promote The D and its comeback, while taking way too many pictures for Visit Detroit’s Instagram account.

A Distinguishing Winter Ritual – Celebrating 26 Years of Marquette’s UP 200 Sled Dog Race

The UP 200 is one of America’s premier 12-dog, mid-distance sled dog races. Mushers say this is one of their favorite races, not only because of the challenging race, but because of the cheering crowds and warm welcome they receive in the Upper Peninsula.

up200finishHappening February 11th-15th, The UP 200 trail covers 240 miles of challenging terrain through the areas of Marquette, Grand Marais, Wetmore, and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and finishes at Mattson Lower Harbor Park in Marquette. Today, Barry Winslow from Travel Marquette tells us how you can make the UP 200 a winter ritual of your own.

Crowds gather along the race track which is comprised of the pure snow hauled into Marquette’s downtown streets. Spectators clutch Irish coffee and hot cocoa. Voices and laughter mingle with the excited yipping of the dogs. It’s time for the race to begin. It’s time for the UP 200.

For twenty-six years, mushers and their teams have endured the UP 200 and its scenic trail that runs along the frozen shore of Lake Superior, from Marquette to Grand Marais and back. For the mushers, it’s a chance to test their dogs in the Iditarod qualifying race. For the spectators, it’s a time to enjoy the wintry weather and local culture of this Upper Peninsula city.

A Communal Gathering
For the spectator, the UP 200 is more than an incredible and unique sporting event to watch from a distance. The event is a social catalyst that sparks the forging of a special relationship between the area and its people. Winter is a season that Marquetter’s take very seriously, and the apex of that seasonal appreciation is achieved at the UP 200 every February. This special relationship between the area and its people is replicated by that of the mushers and their relationship with their sled dogs. It is this outstanding appreciation for nature and a tightly-knitted community that makes Marquette County the perfect location for the UP 200.

Photo courtesy of Travel Marquette

Photo courtesy of Travel Marquette

Pristine Cuisine!
From Das Steinhaus to Lagniappe Cajun Creole Eatery to the Wild Rover, race fans eat their fill and get their thrills as they watch the teams of dogs both start and finish the UP 200 from the packed sidewalks and downtown storefronts in Marquette. Marquette, the largest city in both Marquette County and the Upper Peninsula, is home to some of the most delicious local restaurant options in the state of Michigan. A wide array of cuisine choices include authentic German food, delicious Cajun dishes, home-cooked Irish plates, delectable Italian pasta’s, slow-cooked barbecue, fine American dining and so much more.

Marquette takes great pride in their local restaurants, which stems as a direct result of its people, the “small-city” size of Marquette, and the passion for the area that its residents and visitors have. But, with great food there must be great beverages to go along. Marquette County is home to some of the greatest beer in not only the state of Michigan, but all of the country.

Peruse Some Brews!
The UP 200 draws a generous crowd to the five microbreweries in Marquette County. One of the favorites has to be the Ore Dock Brewing Company. Built in an old brick building in downtown Marquette that once functioned as a car garage and dealership, the Ore Dock has re-stylized itself as one of the trendiest venues in the state to grab a beer and dance to some live music. Specializing in Belgians, Saisons and Ales, the Ore Dock delivers a delicious beer menu to go along with the friendly atmosphere.

Photo courtesy of Travel Marquette

Photo courtesy of Travel Marquette

Another UP 200 spectator favorite is Blackrocks Brewery. Located just up the hill from downtown on north Third Street, Blackrocks started up their microbrewery operation in an old two story house in 2010. What started as an “open ‘til empty” policy with their original brewing equipment and smaller capacity is now a full-fledged brewing business with a weekly rotating menu and additional canning facility. Stop in and grab a mug of the good stuff. You never know what’s going to be on tap!

There’s even more beer in the area. The Vierling serves up some delicious varieties from their downtown Marquette location and has been doing so since 1995, making them one of Michigan’s first brew pubs. Ask for their “blueberry beer” and you’ll be in for a treat! Even in the small suburb of Harvey, Chocolay River Brewery recently hit the scene and doubles with the Bayou Restaurant to deliver excellent food and beer at even better prices.

A Progressive Northern City
Beyond the downtown nightlife, breweries, local restaurants, storefronts and boutiques, there is something even more special about Marquette. The shining gem of this incredible place is the comforting aura it gives off and the unwavering attitude of its people. It is a passion for place that drives the people of Marquette County to host such incredible events as the UP 200.

Do yourself a favor and make the trip north to Marquette County this winter. The sled dogs and mushers are ready…are you?

Six Pure Michigan Ways to End the New Year in Style

The New Year is coming fast and we’re looking forward to another great year in Pure Michigan! If you’re looking for a great New Year’s Eve celebration to end 2015 in style, check out these six events happening around the Great Lakes state. For a complete list of events, visit michigan.org/events

New Years Eve Celebration, Mackinac Island
Ring in the New Year on Mackinac Island with countless opportunities for outdoor recreation. With cars banned, walk or snowshoe through a peaceful downtown Mackinac Island to one of the six accommodations, two restaurants and America’s Family Owned Oldest Grocery Store, Doud’s Market. Several shops also open their doors for guests. Join downtown at midnight for the Great Turtle Ball Drop before heading back inside to warm up and celebrate the New Year with live music. 

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Jackson’s Eve on the Ave, Jackson 
Ring in the New Year with the Jackson Downtown Development Authority. Check out Jackson’s only New York-style celebration with a ball drop from the top of City Hall and a magical fireworks display at the stroke of midnight.

New Year’s Eve CherryT Ball Drop, Traverse City
Ring in the New Year in downtown Traverse City as the massive illuminated cherry is lowered to signify the coming year! Celebration will take place at the intersection of Front Street and Park Street.

A Gatsby New Year’s Eve, Ypsilanti
Looking for something a little more luxurious? Bring in the New Year in luxurious Great Gatsby-style! The evening will begin with a limited, exclusive VIP table service experience including choice seating for the evening’s entertainment. There will be live music by The Appleseed Collective and specialty 1920s-inspired Beers. Dress in your best Roaring Twenties attire!

Treetops New Year’s Eve Bash, Gaylordtreetops
For a family-friendly event, check out the Treetops New Year’s Eve Bash in Gaylord. Kick off the evening with a special dinner in Hunter’s Grille and family dining in Legends in the Hill. This year, they added a Family Party with a DJ, snacks, photo booth and more. For a more grown-up time, choose the Dance Party with live music and cash bar. If you have little ones, the state-licensed Children’s Center has a “Blast into the Future” themed party, just for kids. All guests will enjoy the annual fireworks show at midnight. Plan your family ski trip over the New Year to celebrate this year.

New Year’s Eve and Weekend, St. Ignace
A weekend of fun is planned in St. Ignace for the New Year! Their activities range from a Murder Mystery, fireworks at midnight on New Year’s Eve, pub crawl to Mackinac Island (weather permitting), bus trip to Tahquamenon Falls, plus other fun things to do. There’s even a free shuttle for the whole period to and from the Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Bureau businesses.

 How are you planning to celebrate the new year?