Family Guide to the Detroit Auto Show Family Guide to the Detroit Auto Show skip to Main Content

Family Guide to the Detroit Auto Show

The North American International Auto Show is a Detroit tradition.

Each year thousands flock to the Motor City to see the latest in automobile innovation and preview for what’s to come. The Auto Show begins at Cobo Center on January 13th with special programming through the 19th. The public show runs Saturday, January 20 to Sunday, January 28.


The Schedule

Auto Show 5k – Saturday, January 20, 8:30am to 9:30am
The Auto Show 5k starts and ends at the DNR Outdoor Adventure Center along the Riverwalk.
Registration is $32


Public Show – Saturday, January 20 through Sunday, January 28, 9am to 10pm (final day 7pm)
Experience the next generation of transportation and see more than 750 vehicles on display representing the most innovative designs in the world.
Tickets are $14 per person for adults, $7 for seniors (65 and older), $7 for children (7-12 years old), and free for 6 and under with a parent or guardian.


Special events

Cars on Parade (Main Show Floor)
January 20 – 28: 3:30 pm to 7pm twice on the main show floor.
Each parade will feature a host of luxury and performance automobiles, local personalities from television, radio and sports, and even some clowns and special props from The Parade Company.


2018 NAIAS Photo Contest (Hall C)
Photos must be submitted by Monday, January 29 at 9 a.m.
Pick a category and submit your pictures from the NAIAS. The photo with the most votes in each category will win $150 Bose SoundSport wireless headphones. Voting ends Monday, February 5 at 9 a.m.


The Detroit Tigers Winter Caravan
Friday, January 26: 2:45 pm
Fans of the Detroit Tigers will have the chance to see some of the their favorite players and even Tigers mascot PAWS when the team stops by the Chevrolet Display.


WXYZ Family Day (Cobo Center Atrium)
Friday, January 26: 11 am to 7 pm
Have fun with a lineup of celebrity and family activities planned by Channel 7


Sensory Friendly Day
Sunday, January 28: 8am – 11am
Exhibitors will greatly reduce flashing lights in their areas and volume will be turned to very low levels for audiences who could not handle the regular dynamic features on the show floors.


Where to Park + Eat

With tens of thousands of attendees expected, finding parking at Cobo (467 W Congress St, Detroit, MI 48226) might be tough. If the Cobo rooftop parking garage is full there are a number of surface lots and structures to go to nearby. You can avoid the chill and take the Detroit People Mover to Cobo Center, the elevated transit system cost 75 cents per ride and has a station inside the center. There are multiple points of entry throughout downtown, click here for a map. If you need help finding a place to park and a place to eat, here are a few suggestions.


Z Lot ($20) // 1234 Library St, Detroit, MI 48226
The Z Lot is open 24hrs and located across the street from the Cadillac Center People Mover Station.

Nearby Restaurants:

  • Punch Bowl Social – Grab a bite and play some games.
  • 7 Greens – Be healthy and creative, make your own salad.
  • Cadillac Lodge – A short walk but if you’re downtown you have to experience Winter in Detroit. Cadillac Lodge is a large heated tent with comfy couches, family games and eakid-friendly food options.


Greektown ($10-$30) // 555 E Lafayette St, Detroit, MI 48226

Greektown Casino parking lot is open 24hrs and a People Mover Station is located inside the casino, those under 21 can enter from the indoor gallery.

Nearby Restaurants:

  • Pegasus Tavernas – Opa! You can’t go to Greektown and not enjoy a Greek meal
  • Santorini Estiatorio – Experience Greek culture and cuisine at Santorini.
  • PizzaPapalis – Prepare for a food coma after devouring a deep-dish Chicago-styled pizza.
  • Walhburgers – Throw back with burgers and spiked milkshakes at the NKOTB hangout.


Renaissance Center ($15-$20) // 521 Atwater St, Detroit, MI 48226
Start your trip to the Auto Show at the GM World Headquarters. The iconic building is a wonder to see, it also has great places to eat and a People Mover Station.

Nearby Restaurants:

  • Mac ‘n Cheez! – Try some comfort food from the courtyard at the Sweet Lorraine’s spin-off.
  • Panera + Potbelly Tried and true favorites you know the kids will love.
  • Starbucks – When they need a pouch and you need a pick me up.


Opera House ( $8) // 311 E Grand River Ave, Detroit, MI 48226
The Opera House parking lot is 24hrs and located across the street from the Broadway People Mover Station.

Nearby Restaurant:


Want more dining ideas? Check out our guide for dining with kids in Detroit.


Photo credit: Facebook


About Carrie Budzinski

Carrie Budzinski is the Vice President of LittleGuide Detroit. She grew up in Livonia and Detroit and continues to live life in both cities. Carrie loves exploring the city and finding hidden gems in the suburbs..

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