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Posted on Sat, Jan 19, 2013 : 10 a.m.

Four different itineraries for visiting Detroit and the 2013 Auto Show

By Kyle Mattson

You've been to the casinos, yelled "opa" in Greektown, and had your photo taken beside the massive concrete bengal in front of Comerica Park. It may be easy to rush in and out of Detroit when visiting for special events like seeing the Detroit Lions handed another frustrating loss, but the annual auto show provides the opportunity to check out some of the traditional and more unique destinations around town. To help you plan your trip to the 2013 North American International Auto Show we've prepared a few suggested itineraries to make the most of your 40-some mile drive.


A line of models stand by Maserati Cars at the North American International Auto Show on Tuesday, Jan. 15. Daniel Brenner I

For the Townie
Do you experience Tree Town withdrawal anytime you drive outside the freeway wall circling Ann Arbor? Not to worry, the Motor city has a number of destinations that will remind you of home. Before you begin fighting the crowds, get your caffeine fix at a destination bearing a similar cosmic name to Ann Arbor's Comet CoffeeAstro Coffee, located in the shadow of Michigan Central Station.


Pour over coffee being prepared at Astro Coffee. Marvin Shaouni | Model D

If you're from Ann Arbor there's a good chance you love a good read, and there is no destination for used books like the shelves of John King Books. Addicted to the smell of aged paper, dimly lit aisles, and creaking floors? Well, you may get so lost in here that you don't even make it to the auto show.

After the show refuel your stomach. Not to fear, a familiar friend is near at Seva's Detroit location. Your post-dinner entertainment destination awaits just a few blocks away in the form of Detroit's answer to the Michigan Theater, the Detroit Film Theater. If your film is out in-time, take a brisk walk around the corner to finish the evening with a sweet-treat at Good Girls Go To Paris Crepes.

For the Family
Although cars may be entertaining, the show can be more taxing to a child's attention span than shopping at the mall during the holiday season. Mix up your trip by splitting your day into two halves.


One of the homes incorporated into the Heidelberg Project. Photo By: Eva Blue

Start your day fresh at the show before the crowds arrive followed-up by introducing the young ones to their first bite of Detroit's iconic coney dogs at your choice of American or Lafayette Coney Island. After they've had their fill of chili-covered frankfurters, jump in the car and head over to Belle Isle to check out the recently reopened aquarium and examine the various species of plants housed in the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory.

Last, but not least, take a detour on the way back to I-94 at the Heidelberg Project. While it may not be a $750,000 fountain, a house covered in stuffed animals is guaranteed to spark the imagination.

Make it a Date
Taking a special someone along? Unless they are a true gear-head you probably don't want to spend your entire day wandering the floor of Cobo Hall. So, I'll give you two options to consider here, an early bird plan, and another if you are aiming for an afternoon visit.


The dining room at the London Chop House. AP

For those looking to takle the show early, start by parking in the Detroit Opera House parking garage followed by a stroll down to The Hudson Cafe for brunch to eat your fill of red velvet pancakes (order the half-stack — trust me). From here you have two options, burn off those calories by walking the remainder of the way down Woodward, or hop on the People Mover at the Cadillac Center station for a slightly warmer, but most likely longer trip to Cobo. If you're still looking for something to do after the show head over to the DIA or Le Petit Zinc for a light French lunch in a unsuspecting location.

For those of you heading down later, when you're done snapping of photos of each other in a convertible and debating what your dream car would be it's time to select a dinner destination. The London Chop House is a walkable destination, but don't let that limit your culinary exploration. Other options just off the People Mover route include: Vincente's (Cuban), Angelina Bistro (Italian), Roast (Steakhouse), Joe Muer Seafood in the RenCen, or Cliff Bell's for the music lover. After dinner, finish the date over a craft cocktails at The Sugar House.


Skaters circle the rink at Campus Martius. Jonathan Oosting |

With Friends
It's probably safe to say that someone has recommended you go to Slows BBQ, but despite their recent expansion, you still may end up waiting in line to fulfill your brisket craving. So, after the show order up a couple of pies to-go at the increasingly popular Supino's Pizzera and take them over to Atwater Brewery to dine while you sample craft brews from the middle of the brewing facility. If you're looking to keep the evening going either head back downtown to skate the rink at Campus Martius followed by drinks at Foran's or check out the hipster hangout, Cafe D'Mongos.


Dog Guy

Sat, Jan 19, 2013 : 4:21 p.m.

My Four safer and more fun local itineraries while not visiting Detroit and the 2013 Auto Show this weekend include paragliding from Ashley Terrace to Kellogg Eye Center, steam tunneling from Kellogg to the Law Quad, thence a gustatory tour of streetcorner fugu vendors to Dexter, and skating the Huron River from Dexter to Zug Island.

Wolf's Bane

Sat, Jan 19, 2013 : 7:11 p.m.

Dog Guy, I would actually wager that parts of Detroit experience less crime or disturbances than parts of Ann Arbor. Seriously, I actually feel safer in Detroit on a Saturday night then I do surrounded by drunken hords of college students on South University. Just a thought for you. You gone "loving" your dog, okay?


Sat, Jan 19, 2013 : 6:36 p.m.

Lame.....seriously quit hating on Detroit. Detroit is fun and safe you just need to be smart on where and where not go and have street smarts. Grow up