Celebrate Michigan Car Culture at these 5 Awesome Auto Attractions

The North American International Auto Show will be at the Cobo Center in Detroit from January 18-26, 2014!  To gear up for this grand automotive event, celebrate Michigan car culture by taking a trip to a number of other awesome automotive attractions across the state.  Below are just a few of these attractions you won’t want to miss.

Photo courtesy of The Henry Ford

The Henry Ford Museum:

The Henry Ford boasts four one-of-a-kind attractions and 200 acres, including Greenfield Village and the Ford Rouge Factory Tour, that will bring you through the ages. Notable treasures such as John F. Kennedy’s Limousine, Rosa Parks bus, and Abraham Lincoln’s chair and experience such as Model T Rides and an assembly plant walking tour make your visit to The Henry Ford truly unique.

Ford Rouge Factory Tour: Within the Henry Ford Museum is the Ford Rouge Factory Tour – a self-guided five-part experience. Visitors can expect to take a 360-degree look at how automobiles are made, see five historic vehicles made at the Rouge or hop in a new F-150.

Greenfiled Village: Entering Greenfield Village takes you back to the sights, sounds and sensations of America’s past. Greenfield Village houses 83 authentic, historic structures including Noah Webster’s home – where he wrote the first American dictionary, Thomas Edison’s Menlo Park laboratory, and the courthouse where Abraham Lincoln practiced law. Visitors can ride in a genuine Model T, watch baseball from the 1860s and get an inside look at the experiences that shaped our country and our state.

Automotive Hall of Fame:

Located next door the The Henry Ford, The Automotive Hall of Fame is dedicated to preserving automotive history  by celebrating the men and women of the industry. Features includes honorees of the Automotive Hall of Fame, the Soichiro Honda Atrium with a 3-story glass pyramid ceiling, a 65-foot long mural painted depicting the impact of the automobile on the world, and galleries showcasing early days of the automobile, the rise of the auto industry, and how it has changed our daily lives.

Gilmore Car Museum:

Photo courtesy of The Gilmore Car Museum

The Gilmore Car Museum located near Kalamazoo is regarded as one of the top car museums in the nation. The museum features over 250 cars and motorcycles from across the decades.  The Gilmore Car Museum began in 1963 as the hobby of Donald S. Gilmore after his wife gave him an antique car for his birthday. Today, his hobby has grown to include historic barns, a re-created 1930s service station, a small town train station, muscle cars of the ‘60s and ‘70s, and nearly three miles of paved roads. Be sure to visit the restored 1941 Silk City Diner or stop in for a bite at the museum’s very own George & Sally’s Blue Moon Diner.

Motorsports Museum & Hall of Fame:

This unique museum located in Novi, MI showcases all forms of motor sports including race cars, trucks, snowmobiles, motorcycles, and boats. The Motorsport museum houses over 40 racing and high performance vehicles.  The collection is constantly changing showcasing photographs of racing personalities and manufacturers, racing videos, driving simulation, games, driver uniforms and memorabilia displays.

Edsel & Eleanor Ford House:

Photo courtesy of Edsel & Eleanor Ford House

Photo courtesy of Edsel & Eleanor Ford House

Take a step inside the home of one the American auto industry’s most well-known figures. The Edsel & Eleanor Ford House lets visitors experience the story of the Ford family in a historic mansion rich with art and antiques spanning the centuries. Located along Lake St. Clair, visitors can explore 87 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens and grounds and view Mr. and Mrs. Ford’s personal cars.

Car culture runs deep in Pure Michigan. These are just a few of Michigan’s car culture museums and attractions throughout the state. For more information on these attractions, NAIAS 2014 or other auto-related events, visit michigan.org/events. 

Have you visited any of these automotive attractions in Michigan? Tell us about your experience!

Pure Michigan January 2014 Events Roundup

It’s almost a new year in Pure Michigan! From winter festivals to the Detroit auto show, there are plenty of events happening across Michigan to help you welcome in 2014 with some fun. Below is a roundup of a few of the many events taking place around the state throughout the month. For a complete listing of events, visit michigan.org. 

Week of 1/1/2014- 1/6/2014

NHL Winter Classic
1/1/2014 - Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Football Stadium
Hockeytown and The Big House will come together this winter for what is expected to be a historic holiday extravaganza of hockey culminating with the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on New Year’s Day. The long-anticipated matchup between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings will take place on January 1, 2014, at The Big House (Michigan Stadium) on the campus of the University of Michigan. Detroit and Toronto have played 644 times since Jan. 4, 1927, when the Toronto St. Patricks defeated the Detroit Cougars 2-1. Detroit holds a slim edge in points gained in the all-time series, 646-645.

International Motorcycle Show
01/03/14 – 01/05/14 – Novi, Suburban Collection Showplace
International Motorcycle Show – the largest motorcycle show series in the world – features hundreds of new bikes, scooters and entertainment for the entire family. Admission fee. For more information call (800) 331-5706.

Tahquamenon Country Sled Dog Race
01/04/14 - Muskallonge Lake State Park
The Tahquamenon Country Sled Dog Race features over 60 teams from across the continent. Classes include 4-dog, 6-dog, 8-dog, and 12- dog. Races begin at 9:30am, with a new team taking off every few minutes. Come out to pet the dogs, meet the teams and cheer them on during this all-day event!

Grand Rapids Antiques Market
01/04/14 – 01/05/14 – Grand Rapids DeVos Place
Start the new year right! Featuring Michigan’s largest indoor antique show, Old House Expo, fashion show, and so much more! Show schedule, January 4 show hours 9am-7pm. Sunday, January 5 show hours 10am-4pm.  Meet Danielle Colby Cushman of American Pickers all weekend! More vendor information at the website link.

Guided Snowshoe Hike
 01/04/14 – Grayling  Hartwick Pines State Park
Hartwick Pines State Park will offer guided snowshoe hikes through the old growth forest on January 4 and 18, February 1, and March 1. These hikes will give visitors to Hartwick Pines a chance to try out snowshoes and hike through the Lower Peninsula’s largest stand of old-growth white pines. Guided by a park interpreter or historian, participants will learn about the forest in the winter and discover the importance of winter to Michigan’s logging industry in the 1800s, all while getting great exercise. This event is free of charge, although a Michigan State Parks Recreation Passport is required for park entry. Please call ahead for snow conditions. (989) 348-2537.

Michigan Monster Energy Winter Cup Series at Crystal Mountain
01/04/14 – Crystal Mountain
Crystal Mountain, Boyne Mountain, and Shanty Creek are the place for snowboarding/freeski competitions and after-party events this winter. Series begins Saturday, January 4 at Crystal Mountain (Thompsonville), and continues February 8 at Boyne Mountain (Boyne Falls), and the championship finale March 8 at Shanty Creek Resorts (Bellaire). For more event information, please visit the web link or call AGA Nation at (248) 660-2215.

Week of 1/7/2014- 1/13/2014

 Make/Do: Contemporary Artists Exhibit
01/09/14 – 02/14/14 – Kalamazoo, Richmond Center for Visual Arts
All events are free and open to the public. Gallery hours are M-Th 10am-6pm, F 10am-9pm, Sat. 12 pm-6pm, closed Sunday. This exhibition incorporates an expanded conception of craft outside traditional mediums to include painting, video, and performance. The works included in “MAKE/DO”are notable for their materials (shoddy and select) and quality of production (scrupulous and slapdash), which collapse the distinction between fine art and craft, and encourage us, as viewers, to participate in their re-production and reception, to their “making” and “doing.”

The Ultimate Fishing Show
01/09/14 - Novi, Suburban Collection Showplace
Michigan’s largest fishing show. This show is all about fishing tackle, fishing trips, fishing boats and features: Lake Ultimate, Trout Pond, seminar stages, fish fry and more. Tickets can be ordered online via our website. For more show information, please call the show managers at (616) 447-2860 or toll free at (800) 328-6550.

Moscow Festival Ballet: The Sleeping Beauty
01/09/14 – East Lansing, Wharton Center for Performing Arts 
For the first time since their 2012 tour, the legendary Moscow Festival Ballet and their company of 50 returns to Wharton Center on Thursday, January 9. Under the artistic direction of Sergei Radchenko, the Moscow Festival Ballet expertly blends the teachings of the Bolshoi and Kirov Ballet companies in their independent, Russian classic ballet styling.

Plymouth Winter Fest
01/10/14 – 01/12/14 – Plymouth, Downtown Plymouth
Formerly known as the Plymouth Ice Festival, the Plymouth Winter Fest will take place over three days and include ice carving competitions, food booths, and entertainment. Admission to the festival is free. Ice sculptures available for viewing 24-hours a day (weather permitting).

Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam
01/11/14 – Detroit, Ford Field – Home of the Detroit Lions
Detroit Monster Jam will feature 18 Monster Jam trucks, including the legendary Grave Digger® driven by Chad Tingler, Max-DSM (Maximum Destruction), driven by Morgan Kane, Northern NightmareSM driven by Cam McQueen and El Toro Loco® (Yellow) driven by Becky McDonough. For information call (800) 745-3000.

Ann Arbor Restaurant Week
01/12/14 – 01/17/14 – Ann Arbor
One price dining, one week, several options. Extraordinary three course dinner menus and fixed price fare lunch menus from Ann Arbor’s best restaurants. Experience cuisine that delights your palate and defines the art of dining in Ann Arbor. Now is your chance to discover new restaurants and enjoy favorites at a discounted price. Make reservations early at participating restaurants. Tables fill fast during this gastronomically great event, so make your reservations now. For more information, visit the website link or call (734) 668-7112 ext 22.

Week 1/14/2014- 1/20/2014

Colin Stetson – Concert
01/15/14 – 01/16/14 – Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Arthur Miller Theatre
Ann Arbor native Colin Stetson returns home to make his University Musical Society (UMS) debut performance, January 15-16, 2014, in Arthur Miller Theatre. Born and raised in Ann Arbor, saxophonist Colin Stetson has spent the 15 years since he graduated from the University of Michigan working with dozens of artists, including Tom Waits, Feist, Laurie Anderson, Lou Reed, David Byrne, LCD Soundsystem, and Angélique Kidjo, among others. He is a current member of the indie band Bon Iver yet has developed an utterly unique voice as a soloist (principally on saxophones and clarinets). His intense technical prowess is matched by his emotionally gripping skills as a songwriter. For concert information, visit the website link or call (734) 764-2538.

Great Skate Winterfest
01/18/14 – 01/19/14 – Grand Rapids, Rosa Parks Circle
Celebrate winter in the city and skate with Griffins players! Celebrate the 12th Annual Great Skate Winterfest at Rosa Parks Circle in downtown Grand Rapids! Enjoy a day full of winter-themed events, sport demonstrations and family activities, followed by a 24-hour skating marathon with Grand Rapids Griffins players. Events start at noon and marathon goes through Sunday till 10pm. Free admission. For event information, call (616) 774-4585 ext 3046.

Kalamazoo Reptile & Exotic Animal Show
01/18/14 – Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo County Expo Center & Fairground
Buy, sell, or trade a variety of reptiles, amphibians, small mammals and other exotic pets. Admission for adults is $4, children $2, children under six are free, Family Max – $15. Hours are 10am-3pm in Room A

North American International Auto Show 2014
01/18/14 – 01/26/14-Detroit, Cobo Center
Now in its 26th year as an international event, the NAIAS is among the most prestigious auto shows in the world, providing unparalleled access to the automotive products, people and ideas that matter most – up close and in one place.

Week of 1/21/2014-1/27/2014

Snowfest 2014
01/22/14 – 01/27/14 – Frankenmuth, Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth
Zehnder’s Snowfest has been host to one of the top snow sculpting events in North America for the past 22 years. Visitors have enjoyed larger-than-life snow sculptures and beautifully detailed ice carvings each year. Zehnder’s Snowfest 2014 will again dazzle and excite you with snow and ice sculptures created by professional ice and snow carvers from around the world. Zehnder’s Snowfest is also host to the National Collegiate Ice Carving Championship and the High School Snow Sculpting Competition. In addition, Zehnder’s Snowfest will have entertainment for the entire family in the warming tent, a fireworks display, petting zoo and children’s activities. Plan now to attend Zehnder’s Snowfest 2014.

Sesame Street Live
01/23/14 – 02/17/14 – Detroit, Fox Theatre
Join the chorus of ‘Can’t Stop Singing’ for this toe tapping, finger snapping musical event! All you need is a song when Elmo, Abby Cadabby, Murray and all of your favorite Sesame Street friends bring the magic of music to life on stages big and small – and right into the audience! For event times and additional information call (800) 745-3000.

Grand Rapids Camper, Travel & RV Show
1/23/2014 – 1/26/2014 - DeVos Place
A dozen West Michigan RV dealers representing more than 100 RV lines combined with 200,000+ square feet results in the biggest RV show in the state. Along with new RVs, we have a remarkable selection of RV accessories, campgrounds and travel destinations! Admission fee.

Mozart Birthday Bash: Cosi Fan Tutte
01/25/14 – Ann Arbor, Michigan Theater
Beautiful arias sung by great singers, and a message that makes “Thus do all women” an enduring work. Your A2SO become actors in this narrated, semi-staged opera. Performance at 8pm.

Orchid Show
01/25/14 – 01/26/14 – Grand Rapids, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
Enjoy hundreds of exquisite orchids featured in lush displays in the Grand Room. Members from Grand Valley Orchid Society will answer your questions and point out some of the most unique orchids. Orchid vendors from across the Midwest will be selling a variety of orchids and supplies. Bring the kids for an “orchid hunt” (12-4 pm both days). Attend free talks presented by Orchid Society members.

Middle Earth Skier/Boardercross Competition
01/26/14 – Boyne Falls, Boyne Mountain
The Middle Earth traveling circus is making a stop at Boyne Mountain for their skier/boardercross competition. Find out who can make it from start to finish the fastest on a course featuring jumps, rollers, banked turns, and more. This event is open to skiers and snowboarder spectators of all ages. All competitors must be USASA members. For complete event details, visit the website link or call (800) 462-6963.

Week of 1/28/2014-1/31/2014

Ferndale Blues and Music Festival
01/28/14 – 02/06/14 – Ferndale, Ferndale DDA
Get your Blues on! The Ferndale Metro Blues Festival has been a hugely popular and wildly successful event. In fact, it was an official sanctioned event of Super Bowl XL in 2006. The Ferndale Metro Blues Festival averages more than 60 concerts held over nine days at two dozen locations in the region. For information call (248) 330-2328.

Ann Arbor Folk Festival
01/31/14 – 02/01/14 – Ann Arbor, Hill Auditorium- University of Michigan
A two-night celebration of roots music takes place at Hill Auditorium. The Folk Festival will celebrate with a selection of the world’s finest traditional and contemporary performers. Advance ticket seating.

These are just a few of the many events happening next month in Pure Michigan. Please visit michigan.org for a complete listing. 

Will you be at any of these events in January? Let us know! 

5 Tips for Surviving the 2013 Detroit Auto Show (Plus a Giveaway!)

Cosmin Ghiurau, a native Metro-Detroiter who began his career at General Motors, returned to his roots this week to get a first look at what’s happening at the 2013 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). Below he fills us in on his experience and shares tips for navigating the show floor.

Will you be attending NAIAS this year? See the bottom of this post for your chance to win free tickets to the show!

The beginning of the year marks a magical time for Michigan and the Motor City of Detroit. It is a crowning time where a diverse set of people come together to converge on an emotional and aspirational product, the automobile. A moment where auto manufacturers, suppliers, press, both domestic and international coalesce with the true customer, you and I, to share with us their finest product, technology and dreams to come.

As someone that has lived almost their entire life in the Metro-Detroit area and for the past few years have relocated to the Dallas area, it is always refreshing to get an opportunity to come back to my home State of Michigan and especially the Metro-Detroit area. It is amazing to see the revitalization of the Detroit area during the past couple of years and how the automotive industry is seeing great signs of a tremendous comeback. The 2013 North American International Auto Show is evidence of this turnaround as it is laden with amazing new products with a clear focus on electrification of cars and a great deal of emphasis on smaller cars that fit the lifestyle of families.

Having an opportunity to be part of the Preview Week for the first time, it was great to get up close and personal with many of the new products, designers, engineers, and stories behind many vehicles. No matter what brand your loyalty is, this Auto Show will not disappoint. With an Auto Show so impressive, there were a few things along the way that I learned which helped me navigate and absorb as much as possible from every exhibit. Hopefully the following tips will help you and everyone that attends this Auto Show to fully experience the products that are on display.

To start things off, one thing is clear. Make sure to dedicate at least 6-8 hours at the Auto Show. Depending on your pace, this is a safe time to ensure you are able to take advantage of all that the Auto Show has to offer.

Tip 1 – Clothing

Before heading out to Cobo Hall, depending on the weather make sure you are prepared to leave behind some clothes at the coat check or in your car. With the combination of the cold January days in Michigan together with the long walk through the show floor, some people fail to realize is that it really requires lighter clothing.

As mentioned earlier, if you will be there for 6-8 hours, comfortable shoes are an absolute must. Most exhibits and walkways have carpeting to ease the feet; however nothing will replace comfortable shoes. While you are there, a trend is to bring your wearable technology such as the Nike Fuel band or FitBit products. This way you can measure your effort as well.

Tip 2 – The route

Once you enter the Auto Show make sure you grab a map of the floor space. Many people will first go to their favorite brand or the exotic cars that are there. Whatever the first stop is, make sure to map out the exhibits you plan to attend. If you don’t have a map, you will realize that you are going in circles really fast. One thing I noticed about this year’s Auto Show is that the brands are consolidated and the walk ways are well placed to go on a circle route and end up in the middle with the exotic and performance cars.

Tip 3 – The Food

If you will be there for most of the day, water is important to have with you at all times. There should be water vending machines throughout Cobo Hall and at concession stands. The food is adequate for this type of event, so be planned to have an appetite after all of the walking. Once again, water is extremely important so make sure to come prepared to buy enough.

Tip 4 – Your Tech

Auto Shows are a perfect opportunity to bring out your camera and video camera to capture memories. Make sure you are courteous to others as they take photos and more than likely you will get many requests to take a photo for someone. You will see DSLR Cameras, point and shoot cameras, and more and more people just using their smart phone camera.

One element I cannot stress enough is to make sure that you have a portable battery charger. Outlets are few and far in between, so I wouldn’t rely on them. For smart phones a portable battery charger is critical. These chargers can charge a smart phone battery to full capacity multiple times over. So make sure prior to arriving at the Auto Show you stop by a local electronic retailer to pick one up. Taking all of the photos and videos, will be a drain on your smart phone. As in most show floors carrier reception is spotty so this will add additional drain on the battery. A perfect companion is the portable battery charger. It is worth every penny.

Tip 5 – Pace yourself

As a final tip, make sure to pace yourself. If you are like me and want to spend a little extra time in the exhibit of your favorite brand or talking to representatives and inquiring about availability and price, pace yourself. Stop and rest. Before you know it you are walking for a few hours and you become exhausted to the point of missing out on a lot of great vehicles. Follow your route that you planned. Stay hydrated. Take time with the products.

To wrap things up, the 2013 North American Auto Show is a tradition for many in the Detroit Metro area and the entire region. It is a place where parents and kids can experience their dream cars. This Auto Show will not disappoint. Especially if you can survive it with these helpful tips and create memories for yourself and family. It truly is a unique Michigan experience that is open to all.

Mr. Ghiurau has a unique background in Business, Marketing and Technology with a Creative acumen. He is a native Metro-Detroiter who began his career in the Styling Studios at General Motors in Warren after finishing at College for Creative Studies in Detroit. He founded a Troy, Michigan based business, and has led digital and social media marketing for agencies and Fortune 500 brands. Learn more at cosguru.com or follow him on Twitter at @cosguru.

Do you want to score free tickets to NAIAS in Detroit? Simply tell us in the comments section below why you want to go to the Auto Show and which 3 people you would take with you. We’ll then select one lucky winner at random to win four tickets to the show. To be eligible, simply submit your comments (along with your email address) by this Thursday, January 17th at 11:59 p.m. EST. We’ll contact the winner Friday morning using the email address provided (we won’t share it or sell it to anybody). UPDATE: This contest has ended. The winner has been selected and contacted via email with their prize. Thank you everyone for the comments!