9 Tips For A Stress-Free Detroit Auto Show Experience

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9 Tips For A Stress-Free Detroit Auto Show Experience // Thinking of visiting the Detroit Auto Show (North American International Auto Show/NAIAS) but aren't sure where to start? Check out these 9 tips that will help you plan an amazing visit! (via Wading in Big Shoes)
As I wrap up my sixth consecutive year of visiting the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), I can't help but marvel at the number of people I've met across metro Detroit who have never set aside the time to see it for themselves! The reasons are usually pretty similar: lack of planning, concerns about parking, and in general, not knowing enough about the auto show or the area to feel comfortable making the trip downtown. Well, friends--it's time to stop making excuses, because the auto show is something everyone should experience when given the chance! To help you out, I've put together some tried-and-true tips to eliminate any confusion and help you plan an amazing Detroit auto show visit!

[Disclosure: This post is brought to you as a collaboration with SheBuysCars. My attendance at the 2017 North American International Auto Show was made possible by Steel Market Development Institute, Genesis, and Hyundai.]

1.  Purchase Tickets At YOUR Convenience

9 Tips For A Stress-Free Detroit Auto Show Experience // Thinking of visiting the Detroit Auto Show (North American International Auto Show/NAIAS) but aren't sure where to start? Check out these 9 tips that will help you plan an amazing visit! (via Wading in Big Shoes)
One of the first questions people usually ask about the Detroit Auto Show is how to go about getting tickets. Good news: there are no major hoops to jump through—in fact, there are a few different ways to scoop some up (so you can choose which method works best for you)! Purchase ticket vouchers online ahead of time, buy tickets at the door (cash at the ticket booth, credit cards at ticket kiosks—this is my favorite method), or contact the ticket office for more information. Yes, there will be a lot of people in attendance, but the Cobo Center’s a big place—so you don’t need to worry about it selling out.

[Click here for more information on 2017 auto show tickets.]

2.  Be Strategic About Parking

9 Tips For A Stress-Free Detroit Auto Show Experience // Thinking of visiting the Detroit Auto Show (North American International Auto Show/NAIAS) but aren't sure where to start? Check out these 9 tips that will help you plan an amazing visit! (via Wading in Big Shoes)
Parking might take a little more planning, but don’t let that discourage you. While parking lots and garages closest to the Cobo Center will fill up quickly, there are plenty of options within walking distance (bring cash--private lots usually run between $15 and $30). If you’re not able to walk very far or want to stay out of the cold (Michigan in January can get chilly!), consider parking in a lot near a People Mover stop (I tried this for the first time this year and loved it), and ride the People Mover to Cobo Center for just 75 cents (fee is one-way, per person; make sure to bring plenty of quarters).

If you end up parking a little further from the People Mover, try booking a ride with Uber or Lyft—there are tons of drivers in the area, and a lot of people from our group this year really enjoyed the convenience of being dropped off directly at the show (be sure to keep your eyes out for discounts like this one to save some money on your ride)!

3.  Plan To Eat Before You Get To The Auto Show

9 Tips For A Stress-Free Detroit Auto Show Experience // Thinking of visiting the Detroit Auto Show (North American International Auto Show/NAIAS) but aren't sure where to start? Check out these 9 tips that will help you plan an amazing visit! (via Wading in Big Shoes)
Above: Carnivores and Carb Lovers Unite at Slow's BBQ

Breakfast, brunch, lunch, whatever your fancy—make sure you eat a decent meal before you arrive at the NAIAS. Few things can ruin your day quite like a case of “hangry,” and once you get to the auto show, you’ll want to spend a block of uninterrupted time drooling over cars, not grumping about your growling stomach. Yes, there are snacks available (fudge, cinnamon almonds, etc.) and a food court at Cobo, but with all the great restaurants in and around downtown, you won’t want to miss an opportunity to try some local Detroit favorites.

Suggestions: Green Dot Stables, Hudson Café, Slow’s, Slow’s To Go (midtown – good place to avoid a wait), Gold Cash Gold, American Coney Island (quick service/usually no wait), Wahlburgers, Pizza Papalis, Rusted Crow

4.  Regulate Your Temperature

I typically run cold . . . like, “I always wear sweaters and turn the heat up when no one’s looking” kind of cold. Every time I’ve visited the NAIAS, however, I always feel like I need a portable air conditioner stat. Whether it’s all the people, the lights, or carrying my winter gear around with me, I’ve learned that I will get overheated if I don’t take a few preventative steps. My best advice: dress in lightweight layers that won’t weigh you down (think light sweaters and jackets you can tuck in a bag or tie around your waist), and spring for the coat check. Yes, I know it’s a few dollars extra. Yes, I know it takes like 30 extra seconds. But you’ll have less to tote around, and you won’t feel like you’re wearing a blanket as you window shop for your next dream vehicle.

5.  Do Not Wear Your New Fancy Shoes. I Repeat: DO NOT Wear Your New Fancy Shoes.

It’s the North. American. International. Auto Show. All of these things sound big and important, and I know you want to dress like the rock star you are for some great selfies with all the sparkly sports cars and blah blah blah. HOWEVER. This place is big, and there will be a lot of walking. If you think a killer pair of shoes will be worth the pain, far be it from me to tell you otherwise (I'm sure your photos will probably look way better than mine). But you know what? A photo of you sitting inside a car . . . where your feet can’t be seen . . . will look super awesome, too.

6.  Pack Light, But Bring Essentials

Like most events, the NAIAS is best enjoyed when you bring everything you need, but nothing more. To reduce fatigue and the likelihood that you’ll lose personal belongings, try sticking with the basics: cash, ID, phone, and the bare minimum of keys and credit cards you need to function for one day. If you’re used to carrying a large purse or bag, try a smaller bag, a lightweight fabric option, or consider carrying just what will fit in your pockets. I typically pare down the contents of my purse before I leave home (get rid of all those stray receipts and everything you’re not using) and add a few items that are essential to me: hand sanitizer, lip balm, hair ties (can also be worn around your wrist), and a few ibuprofen tablets in case of a headache (I put these in a small sandwich bag to cut out weight and bulk). I also bring a bottle of water with me since I get dehydrated very easily (and water goes for around $3.50 a bottle at the show), but keep in mind that this is something that can weigh you down quickly. What you choose to bring is up to you, just make sure it’s something you can’t deal without and are willing to carry around all day!

7.  Explore New Brands (And Ask A Lot Of Questions)

9 Tips For A Stress-Free Detroit Auto Show Experience // Thinking of visiting the Detroit Auto Show (North American International Auto Show/NAIAS) but aren't sure where to start? Check out these 9 tips that will help you plan an amazing visit! (via Wading in Big Shoes)
The Genesis G90 was a surprise superstar for me this year! Reclining back seats with overhead vanity mirrors, fold-up passenger seat for backseat reclining, and sleek features won me over.

It can be tempting to spend your entire auto show trip hunting down your favorite brands. While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this, make sure to expand your horizons and check out some cars you’re not as familiar with, too! I’ve found that every year, some of the most interesting concepts, useful features, and gorgeous designs belong to cars I didn’t know much about before seeing them up-close at the NAIAS. Remember to ask the product specialists plenty of questions (that’s why they’re there!) and get creative. Sometimes, a simple “what’s your favorite thing about this vehicle?” will yield a more unique, personalized response than you might typically hear after asking a more common question.

8.  Try To Be Patient With Others

Okayyyy . . . I’ll be the first to admit that I can quickly get frustrated with crowds (“That guy just bumped into me!” “Didn’t she see me there?” “Why does everyone know the exact moment to get in the way of my pictures?!”). It can be so easy to think that everything is about me and my personal experience, when in fact, we’re all there for the same reason. Take a deep breath, wait your turn in line, and if someone happens to photobomb every. single. photo you take, try not to take it personally. Chances are, you’ve already done the same to someone else and didn’t even realize it.

9.  Take Your Time. Take It All In.

9 Tips For A Stress-Free Detroit Auto Show Experience // Thinking of visiting the Detroit Auto Show (North American International Auto Show/NAIAS) but aren't sure where to start? Check out these 9 tips that will help you plan an amazing visit! (via Wading in Big Shoes)
Hey, you. Yeah, you. You’re at the North American International Auto Show. Eyes from all over the world are focusing in on this very place, and you’ve got a front-row seat. So, carve out a free day, head downtown, and enjoy the show. Who knows? It may just become your new favorite annual tradition.

Have you visited the North American International Auto Show in Detroit? Leave your tips for visiting in the comments below and check out #DetroitLovesAutos on Twitter and Instagram for more behind-the-scenes looks at the 2017 NAIAS!



9 Tips For A Stress-Free Detroit Auto Show Experience // Thinking of visiting the Detroit Auto Show (North American International Auto Show/NAIAS) but aren't sure where to start? Check out these 9 tips that will help you plan an amazing visit! (via Wading in Big Shoes)

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