Guide to the 2018 North American International Auto Show

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Guide to the 2018 North American International 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

The Gallery – Saturday, January 13th, 6:30 to 11 pm.
The official kick-off of the Auto Show. Guests will experience a nearly $10 million collection of the most acclaimed automobiles the world has to offer, including brands such as Aston Martin, Bentley, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche and Rolls Royce, to name just a few.
Tickets are $250 per person (21 and over only)


Industry Preview –  January 17/18th, 12 to 9pm
Connect and share insights with nearly 40,000 automotive professionals and analysts representing over 2,200 companies from around the world. This unique networking and professional development opportunity brings together the key individuals responsible for the cutting-edge products, technologies and services on display at NAIAS.
Tickets are $110 per person. Children under 12 years old are not admitted


Charity Preview – Friday, January 19th, 6pm to midnight
The annual Charity Preview is the premiere black-tie fundraising event in Detroit. Mix and mingle with the city’s mover and shakers and and dance the night a way to the Four Tops and Your Generation. Event proceeds support a range of children charities.
Tickets are $400 per person


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

AutoMobili-D (Cobo Center Atrium) 
January 20/21: 9am to 9pm
AutoMobili-D features 150,000 sq. ft. of dynamic display communities in the Cobo Center Atrium. Future Automotive Career Exposition (FACE) – Participating AutoMobili-D companies will have the opportunity to interact face-to-face with qualified candidates and fill needed positions across a wide array of disciplines.


American Red Cross Blood Drive (Room 250 ABC)
January 20: 10am to 4pm
January 22: 2pm to 8pm


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.

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 Restaurants:

  • Wright & Company –  Climb the stairs of the old Queen Ann for a meal you won’t soon forget.
  • Detroit Beer Company – Grab a beer and bar food on Broadway.
  • Cornerstone Barrel House – Order some comfort food and pair it with your favorite bourbon and whiskey specialty drink.
  • Vertical – Wind down after a long day with a glass of wine and a nice meal.


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, share a bowl and play some games.
  • Standby – Check out the Belt and one of the city’s most popular bars.
  • Central Kitchen + Bar – A short walk but if you’re downtown you have to experience Winter in Detroit and Central is the perfect place, they also operate the cozy Cadillac Lodge.
  • PARC – Be at the center of it all at the new Campus Martius restaurant.


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:

  • Joe Muer Seafood – Detroit’s premiere seafood restaurant that began in 1929.
  • Granite City Food & Brewery – Enjoy food sourced fresh from Eastern Market and beer brewed on-site.Mac ‘n Cheez!
  • Mac ‘n Cheez! – Try some comfort food from the courtyard at the Sweet Lorraine’s spin-off.


Want more dining ideas? Check out our list of the hottest restaurants in Detroit.

If you’re looking for the best place to get a drink here is a list of our favorite bars.


Photo credit: Facebook