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!

Sneak Peek at the 2013 North American International Auto Show

The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) is happening in Detroit next week! The show will officially be open to the public January 19 – 27, but we were able to snap some photos during media preview days to share. Check them out in the gallery below and learn more about the show at michigan.org.

Will you be attending NAIAS this year? If you’re looking for things to do in Detroit while in town, see suggestions here.

Things to do in Detroit during the 2013 Auto Show

With the 2013 North American International Auto Show just weeks away, we know many visitors will be making their way to Detroit in January. For those looking for things to do in Detroit outside of the show, we asked Dan Fuoco of Visit Detroit to share some ideas. Read his recommendations below and let us know if you’re checking out the Auto Show this year!

Detroit. The Motor City. The birthplace of the automotive industry and world headquarters to the Big Three – General Motors, Ford Motor Company, and Chrysler, LLC. We live and breathe cars. We know all about cars; two of our sports teams have car parts incorporated in their names and emblems – The Detroit Pistons and the Detroit Red Wings (winged-wheel). Hosting the most recognized car show in the world is an honor and duty for Detroit – something we don’t take lightly.

The Auto Show attracts visitors from all around the world and often showcases highly confidential concept cars, some of the most luxurious brands (including Lamborghini and Aston Martin), new technology including green initiatives and an all-around amazing automotive experience. So you’re in Detroit, you’ve experienced The Auto Show…now what?

Things to do while you’re in town for the Auto Show

Eat up. There are plenty of restaurants downtown in close proximity.  Detroit is expanding and more restaurants are joining the resurgence. Some eatery staples include the Hard Rock Cafe, located near metro Detroit’s most popular road, Woodward (famous for the Woodward Dream Cruise) and American Coney Island, part of a sibling rivalry with the neighboring restaurant, Lafayette Coney, featured on the Travel Channel show “Food Wars”.

“As history has it, the two restaurants formed after an argument between the Keros brothers, who founded American Coney Island first. One brother moved into the space next door and opened Lafayette Coney Island.” – Aaron Foley of MLive.

Within the last couple of years, other popular establishments have taken up residence in the city, including Buffalo Wild Wings, Olga’s Kitchen and Five Guys Burgers and Fries.

Perhaps one of the most widely-recognized Detroit bars has to be Slows Bar BQ, famous for both its Yardbird sandwich and mac-n-cheese dish recently featured in Food & Wine Magazine.

Speaking of burgers, Detroit has a list of some prime beef in the metro area–all of which are sure to please your palate. Burgers are great and quick, but you’ve been walking around looking at cars for 3 straight hours – it’s time to rest and experience the bar scene. We have you covered! Introducing: Detroit’s Top 20 Sports Bars… and More Scores.

For a dining experience 73 stories above ground level, visit the classy Coach Insignia, located atop Detroit’s iconic landmark building the Renaissance Center which also happens to be world headquarters to General Motors. Here, you can eat dinner while witnessing a breath-taking, bird’s-eye view of Detroit.

Picturesque views of the Detroit River can be found while dining at the Rattlesnake Club, one of Detroit’s premier riverfront restaurants. The Rattlesnake was built on the dream of reviving the Detroit dining scene through the use of local and seasonable ingredients.

Treat yourself. If after you’ve eaten half your weight in food and you’re full to the point where standing might require assistance, yet you somehow think there is room for dessert, you’ll want to read: 5 Sweet Treats for Your Sweet Tooth and find a way to visit these locations.

Please stay seated while in motion.  Who knows Detroit better than the people who showcase Detroit daily? Tour companies know the ins and outs of the city including the history of Detroit and the auto industry. If you’re interested in a walkable tour of The D, exploring monuments and building architecture then you’ll want to contact D:Hive. If you feel walking is overrated, you might consider a tour by van, in which Show Me Detroit is the route to go. Furthermore, Show Me Detroit partners with Motor City Tour Company to offer an exclusive Detroit Auto & Brewery History Bus Tour to take place on Jan. 19th and 26th. The tour includes beer and cheese sampling, early brewing history and tours of different auto factories.

D:Hive and Show Me Detroit are just two of The D’s great tour companies. You can browse other tour companies in Detroit that also won’t disappoint.

Art of all ages. Where can you find more than 60,000 works of art and a gigantic Diego Rivera mural depicting workers and machinery at a Ford factory entitled “Detroit Industry”? The Detroit Institute of Arts! Founded in 1885, the museum covers 658,000 square feet that includes more than 100 galleries, an art reference library and a state-of-the-art conservation services laboratory. A hallmark of the DIA is the diversity of the collection. In addition to outstanding American, European, Modern and Contemporary, and Graphic art, the museum holds significant works of African, Asian, Native American, Oceanic, Islamic, and Ancient art. Come on Sundays to experience Family Sundays which include puppet performances and other family-friendly activities.

The Motor City is also recognized for the Motown Sound and a visit to Detroit wouldn’t be complete without a tour at the Motown Historical Museum. Stand in the exact spot where Motown greats such as Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross and the Supremes, the Temptations and Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, among others, recorded their hits.

Another prominent Detroit musician recently collaborated with the Detroit Historical Society to create an interactive laboratory experience for children and visitors within the Detroit Historical Museum. The Kid Rock Music Lab features an interactive gallery that covers more than 100 years of Detroit music, including jazz, blues, gospel, funk, rock, pop, techno and hip-hop. Visitors can get a glimpse into the music that defined the Motor City and spoke of cultural moments and struggles such as the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War.

Retail revival. Detroit’s shopping scene is diverse and plentiful, ranging from eclectic boutiques like the Peacock Room to Detroit-themed apparel from the Detroit Shoppe (located in Cobo Center, home of the Auto Show) and larger brand names like MooseJaw.

Even though the holidays just passed, it wouldn’t be right to arrive home empty-handed. The Detroit 10 is a list of 10 Detroit-related things that provide new information, tours, itineraries, suggestions or discoveries about Detroit. This list focuses on gifts.

Embrace a Michigan winter! There are plenty of ways to enjoy the outdoors. You’ll see a crowd gathered around the ice rink at Campus Martius Park located in the middle of a round-about. Test your physique with one of Michigan’s many indoor rock climbing locations or plan ahead and make a day of sledding or cross-country skiing at one of the regional metro parks. For more activities, see our Winter Activity Guide.

The night is young. You’ve spent the day drooling over the newest and finest in automotive advancements and now it’s time to party like it’s 1999.

Feeling lucky? Find your way to one of Detroit’s three iconic casino-hotels for some time at the Black Jack tables, near the slot machines, at a spa or in a luxury room suite.

Can you find some “Spare” Time for Bowling? Detroiters are passionate about their bowling. The Majectic’s Garden Bowl was voted best bowling venue by Metro Times because of its vibrant atmosphere, community appeal, glow-in-the-dark bowling, quality pizza and variety of live bands and DJs playing the hottest Detroit tunes.

Tossing a ball down a lane is always a great time, but have you ever experienced featherbowling? Featherbowling, according to the Cadieux Café, “Originally was a Belgian pastime akin to horseshoes and Bocci. These games have many similarities among them. Though little is known about the exact origin of the game, it is probable that the resemblance of the balls to wheels of cheese is no mistake.”

Cadieux Café honors the classic sport and Belgian culture with steamed mussels and a large selection of beers from Belgium. And like only Detroit can, this bar brings the old world and the new world together, mixing the classic, even eccentric sport with lively nightlife.

For more information on what to do, where to eat and places to stay during the Auto Show, go to www.visitdetroit.com or interact with us on social media via our Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Dan Fuoco is the Interactive Marketing Manager for the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau (VisitDetroit) and is responsible for building and engaging with VisitDetroit’s social media and blog communities.  You can find him geeking out over: social media infographics, muscle cars and Detroit. Follow him on Twitter (@DanFuoco), Facebook, Google+ and periodically on Pinterest.