When it comes to planes, trains, and (mainly) automobiles, Michigan doesn’t mess around.
Michigan’s storied history with cars dates back to the 1890s, when the country’s first independent dealership opened up in the state. Later, Henry Ford conjured up the assembly line for mass car production and General Motors opened its doors in Flint.
By 1940, more than half of the world’s automobiles were assembled right here in Michigan. Detroit, which is aptly called Motor City, quickly became a national hub for all things automobile.
Fast forward, and today Michigan honors this rich history with fascinating museums, massive events, and some of the nation’s best auto shows. Here are 14 of those auto shows that we recommend checking out over the next 12 months.
When: July 13-18, 2023
Where: Hickory Corners
The famed Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners hosts multiple car shows throughout the year, but Celebration of Brass is certainly among the most interesting.
Put on by the Museum of the Horseless Carriage, it’s an opportunity for brass-era vehicle enthusiasts to come together and participate in several days of entertainment, culminating in the Bob Ladd Memorial Car Tour.
Tickets cost $20 for adults and $12 for children aged 11-17 (10 and under are free).
When: July 14-15, 2023
Where: Mackinaw City
While many Michiganders might think of Mackinaw City as “The Gateway to the Upper Peninsula” that’s known for its shopping district, historic lighthouse, and ferries to Mackinac Island, car enthusiasts know it as the home of the Mustang Stampede.
This annual event celebrating the iconic Ford Mustang features family-friendly activities, food, and a parade of Mustangs across Mackinac Bridge. Head on down to Straits Harbor for the fun-filled and free weekend.
When: July 15, 2023
Attending car shows is always a good time, but the experience is made even better when you can contribute to a good cause at the same time. Enter: Stahl’s Auto for Autism. All proceeds from this July event benefit the Ted Lindsay Foundation, which supports autism research and educational programs.
This year, VIP ticket holders are really in for a treat, as they’ll experience a panel and meet-and-greet with Chasing Classic Cars star Wayne Carini, NASCAR veteran Ray Evernham, and Bob Pauley, production designer for Pixar’s Cars.
Outside, attendees can witness the Cruise In, live music, bounce houses, raffles, and more. Tickets run from $20 to $40.
When: July 29, 2023
Every summer, the R. E. Olds Transportation Museum—named after Ransom Eli Olds, the American auto inventor and founder of the Oldsmobile and REO brands—puts on a fantastic car show.
Limited to 225 entrants, the show has multiple classes and concours awards in addition to door prizes, food trucks, live music, and two free museum tickets per entrant. There’s even a raffle for your chance to win a swanky new car!
Pre-registration is $30, while day-of registration is $35.
When: Every Sunday, now through September 24
Every Sunday, the Bakers of Milford restaurant welcomes car clubs and visitors to enjoy classic cars, free raffles, dining discounts, and live outdoor entertainment.
There are several featured events throughout the summer, including Bakers Bash on July 23, where attendees will receive dash plaques and driver goodie bags. Who doesn’t love some SWAG, after all?
When: The first Saturday of each month
Cars & Coffee was named one of the top 10 automotive shows in the country by USA Today in April, and it’s no mystery why. Hosting more than 1,000 visitors each month, this free and family-friendly auto show is the largest car-and-coffee event in the state.
Some of the upcoming themes include “Customs, Hot Rods, and Pro Touring” on Aug. 5, “Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury” on Sept. 2, and “Japanese Domestic Manufacturing and Asian Brands” on Oct. 7.
The venue also hosts other fun, car-themed events like Motor-in Movie Night and the American Speed Festival; check the show schedule to see them all.
When: August 12, 2023
If you’re a fan of the Chevrolet Corvette, you won’t want to miss out on Michigan’s largest show dedicated to the legendary sports car. Entrance costs $10 for spectators and $30 for competing cars. There will be 30 awards up for grabs as well as a silent auction, Corvette products, and more!
When: August 14-19, 2023
The country’s very first sports car was born in Flint, and the city celebrates the achievement by putting on the annual Back to the Bricks cruise and car show.
Attracting half a million people each year, the five-day event kicks off with a party at a drive-in movie theater and leads into rolling cruises and parades, car shows, live concerts, delicious food, and more. Suffice it to say, downtown Flint gets transformed into a car enthusiast’s dream come August!
When: August 19, 2023
Where: Woodward Avenue
Woodward Dream Cruise is another event that made USA Today’s 10 best car shows list. Considered the world’s biggest car cruise, the all-day event draws crowds in the hundreds of thousands. The upcoming 2023 show is set to feature a whopping 40,000 special-interest cars from around the globe. For the 27th year in a row, the drivers will all make the famous journey across Detroit on Woodward Avenue.
The route passes through six different cities (Berkeley, Birmingham, Ferndale, Royal Oak, Pleasant RIdge, and Pontiac), each of which puts on their own fun-filled events in honor of the occasion.
When: September 8-10, 2023
The Northern division of the National Street Rod Association’s Nationals will take place at the Kalamazoo County Expo Center and Fairground. The three-day event includes commercial exhibitions, Nick Donovan’s Rockin Road Show, kids games and coloring content, live entertainment, and so much more.
Spectator admission costs $19 for ages 13 and older and $6 for ages 6 through 12, while vehicle registration is $50 for NRSA members and $85 for non-members.
When: September 13-24, 2023
No list of Michigan auto shows would be complete without this world-famous event in the Motor City itself.
Taking place at the massive Huntington Place convention center, the 11-day Detroit Auto Show includes more than 20 different attractions, including the brand-new EV Experience and the Mobility Global Forum. If you want to learn about the latest and greatest automotive technology, this is the place to be come September.
Tickets range from $10 (kids) to $20 (adults).
When: September 22-23, 2023
Last year, the New York Times penned an article all about this event, aptly titling it “Classic Car Show Right at Home in ‘City That Put the World on Wheels.’”
If you’re unfamiliar with the Concours d’Elegance, let us enlighten you. The French term, meaning “competition of elegance,” refers to an event featuring luxurious automobiles. Such events date back to the 17th century and are now held at venues all across the world.
Detroit’s second-ever event of this kind will be held at the Detroit Institute of Arts and will include Friday night’s Cars & Community event followed by the main attraction on Saturday, with activities for all ages planned throughout the weekend. Tickets start at $15.
When: February 1-4, 2024
Where: Grand Rapids
The Michigan International Auto Show, put on by the Grand Rapids New Car Dealers Association, will be one of the state’s first car shows of 2024. It will feature brand-new models in addition to some that haven’t even been released yet, making this event the biggest sneak peek of the season.
Attractions include a stunning display of vehicles, a Subaru Loves Pets adoption booth, kid rides on mini luxury models, an impaired driving simulator, and more! Admission costs $5 for children and $12 for adults.
When: June 23-27, 2024
Where: St. Ignace
For the past 46 years, cars of all shapes and sizes have taken over downtown St. Ignace on the last weekend of June for the annual car show. It’s much more than just a car show, though, as the week-long event includes a cruise night, a parade, special guests, live music, fireworks, and more. Stay tuned for details!
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