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.

Car-Centric Exhibit at Detroit Historical Museum

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.

Driving America Exhibit at The Henry Ford

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.

The Edsel and Eleanor Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores

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.

Celebrate Detroit at the 2014 Auto Show Shuffle

The Michigan Fitness Foundation is gearing up for the North American International Auto Show this January with the 2014 Auto Show Shuffle! Guest blogger Tom Sleva gives us the details on what to expect and how to get involved. 

Forget the naysayers, Detroit is Pure Michigan. The Michigan Fitness Foundation is challenging Detroiters and Auto Show attendees to get off of their warm couches and rev up their engines for the 2014 Auto Show Shuffle in a celebration of Pure Detroit with a winter 5K along the beautiful Detroit Riverfront. The race is January 18 at the Detroit Port Authority at 8:00 a.m.

Photo Courtesy of the Michigan Fitness Foundation

The Auto Show Shuffle celebrates Detroit’s rich automotive history and physical activity opportunities along an international waterfront and greenways. The race will finish just before the start of the Public Days portion of the North American International Auto Show. The race is unlike any other. Participants will witness a stunning sunrise over the Canadian and U.S. border and experience Detroit’s industrial glitz and natural beauty through the Dequindre Cut, a revitalized greenway connected to the riverfront. The combination of technology and grit and the city’s natural beauty provides a 100% Pure Detroit experience.

Photo Courtesy of the Michigan Fitness Foundation

Over the past 40 years, the riverfront has gone from factories and shipping to housing, retail and recreation. Its Detroit’s best kept secret. And it’s all thanks to the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy. Runners will have an opportunity to see the good work they continue to execute for Detroit and its visitors thanks to tremendous funding from General Motors and the Kresge Foundation. Amenities implemented on the riverfront such as a café, butterfly garden, bike shop and carousels are also along the course to see.

Registering for the Auto Show Shuffle means you believe in Detroit and that it is Pure Michigan. Participants will receive a commemorative tech-shirt, discount admission to the Auto Show and a special Auto Show Shuffle medal. Proceeds from the Shuffle will fund physical activity, nutrition and health programs throughout the state through the Michigan Fitness Foundation.

To register, visit www.autoshowshuffle.com. For more information on Michigan Fitness Foundation’s programs, or to find more events like the Auto Show Shuffle, visit www.michiganfitness.org. Any questions about the Auto Show Shuffle or the Michigan Fitness Foundation can be directed to Nathan Ohle at nohle@michiganfitness.org.

Tom Sleva is a Marketing and Events Intern at the Michigan Fitness Foundation

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!