The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) is one of the Motor City’s most prized possessions. Celebrating 25 years as NAIAS, formerly known for 81 years as the Detroit Auto Show, the spectacle is deemed one of the most prestigious automobile displays in the world, and rightfully so.
If you’re a newcomer to NAIAS, you may not know what to expect. Not to fret — here's a list of 10 frequently asked questions to help you stroll around Cobo Center at ease. Who knows, maybe you’ll even feel confident enough to pick up some car jargon. If you’re a long-time attendee of NAIAS, just waiting to goggle at the sleek, newly rolled-out designs of the Big Three and other automobile manufacturers, we’ll help clarify some of the details so you can make your visit as memorable as the last.
1. When are the Auto Show’s public days?
The Auto Show is open to the public on:
Saturday, Jan. 19-Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013 (9 a.m.-10 p.m., with no admittance after 9 p.m.)
Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013 (9 a.m.-7 p.m., with no admittance after 6 p.m.)
2. How much are tickets, and where can I purchase them?
Tickets run $12 for adults, $6 for seniors and $6 for children ages 7-12 (children ages 6 and under get in for free with a parent or guardian).
Tickets may be purchased online ahead of time, or in person the day of the show from a ticket booth located in the Cobo Center concourse (cash-only option). Several ticket kiosks will be set up in the concourse for attendees looking to pay with a credit card.
3. How much is parking, and where can I find convenient spots?
Some cities make it a hassle to park downtown for a big event or festival, but downtown Detroit tries to make it easy on you. There are 1,700 parking spaces attached to Cobo Center: 1,200 at the roof deck and 500 in the Cobo Center Congress St. garage. Within four blocks of Cobo Center are 7,000 parking spaces. Parking costs vary for each location, but bringing $20 cash to cover the cost and then some wouldn’t hurt. For questions regarding parking near Cobo Center, call (313) 259-3540.
4. When is the Charity Preview, and where can I purchase tickets?
The Auto Show’s Charity Preview, a high-profile, black-tie event that directly benefits several children’s charities, is on Friday, Jan. 18 from 6-9 p.m. Tickets are $300 per person ($290 of which is tax-deductible) and are available online.
Charity Preview tickets may be mailed to the address specified on the online order form or picked up from either the NAIAS Troy office or Cobo Center. PLEASE NOTE: The Troy office pickup option is only available until 11:30 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 18. Tickets may only be picked up from Cobo Center on Friday, Jan. 18 after 1 p.m. Orders must be picked up in their entirety, and attendees’ names and IDs are required during pickup.
NAIAS Troy office address and hours: 1900 West Big Beaver, Suite 100 (between Crooks & Coolidge roads, east entrance, first floor) Monday-Tuesday: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursday-Friday: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
The Cobo Center ticket office is located outside the Oakland Hall entrance of Cobo Center.
For more information about Charity Preview or picking up tickets, call (888) 838-7500 or visit the NAIAS website.
5. Is Cobo Center handicap accessible, and can I rent a wheelchair or scooter?
Yes, Cobo Center is handicap accessible and provides motorized scooters on a first-come, first-served basis for people with disabilities. Advance reservations are accepted by Cobo Hospitality at (313) 877-8290. Each scooter can be rented for $25 plus tax per day.
Complimentary non-motorized wheelchairs are also available for use on a first-come, first-served basis and can be picked up from the information desk located in the main concourse of Cobo Center.
Several handicap parking options are available, including the Cobo Center garage, the Cobo roof deck and the Millennium Garage. If all lots are full, or if you require special assistance, feel free to call (248) 643-2450 or (313) 259-3540.
6. Are there shuttles available to go from my hotel or the airport to Cobo Center?
Getting around downtown should not be an issue with the variety of rental cars and shuttles available. Ground transportation is available to and from the airport, and reservations can be made for any of these companies. If that’s not enough, any of these professional, reliable transportation companies can help you scoot your way around The D.
7. Is the Auto Show appropriate for all age groups and groups of all sizes?
Absolutely! The Auto Show is a family-friendly spectacle, as well as an exciting outing for a large group of friends. A discounted ticket rate of $8 is available for groups of 30 or more people. For more information on group rates, visit the NAIAS website.
8. Is Detroit safe?
Yes. Like any other major city, Detroit has its good and bad areas. However, downtown is and has been a hub for major events recognized worldwide — such as the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, the Detroit Jazz Festival, the Target Fireworks and many others — and is a safe place visit. Downtown Detroit has several initiatives to reinforce safety, including the Downtown Detroit Project, which focuses on providing safety, lighting and code enforcement; and Project Lighthouse, a private collaboration of business and public safety departments, which provides:
- Courtesy patrols in downtown Detroit
- Crime mapping and analysis
- A superior camera and video network
- 23 lighthouse facilities established to help people in an emergency
9. Which hotels are closest to Cobo Center?
If you’re traveling from out of town or state for the Auto Show, of if you just want to extend your Detroit visit, you have a variety of hotels to choose from. Downtown Detroit has a total of 4,200 hotel rooms. With three world-class casino hotels and six new hotels within walking distance of Cobo Center, you’ve got your work cut out for you when making a decision. Let visitdetroit.com’s hotel search make your job a little easier. And Cobo Center’s accommodations page also provides a handy map showing hotels close to Cobo.
10. What companies are displaying at the show?
You can hardly wait to see what’s on wheels at one of the largest media events in North America, so to help you plan your stops, here’s the 2013 NAIAS floor map, to show you who’s showing and where. Come as a spectator, and leave as an inspired auto enthusiast. For more information, call (248) 643-0250 or visit www.naias.com.
For a more detailed sneak preview of who's showing what at NAIAS, click here.