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5 Must-See Detroit Automotive Attractions

Learn More about Detroit’s Rich Automotive History

Auto Show

Photo credit: Ford Rouge Factory.

When traveling to most cities there are certain places that should be on your place to visit. Some of these places are suggested by locals, while others are reviewed by magazine or travel companies. Regardless of whether it is your first time in Detroit or you are a regular, there are certain places that everyone says you should see. In honor of the North American International Auto Show, here are some must-see attractions involving automotive history and production in Detroit.

Detroit Institute of Arts

The DIA is listed among the top 10 museums in the country and offers over 100 galleries of art from different periods. The DIA is also famous for its largest murals featured in the Rivera Court, painted by Diego Rivera were gifts of Edsel B. Ford. The murals showcase the theme of “Detroit Industry” and highlight the automotive industry and production of the assembly line.

Henry Ford Museum

The Henry Ford Museum aims to recognize the genius of everyday people and preserve the objects that they used. The museum is filled with fascinating exhibits and covers a total of 9 acres. Popular museum vehicles include several presidential limousines and the Rosa Parks Bus. The Henry Ford Museum is full of American history and Detroit’s automotive history. The museum also features an IMAX theater and is right next door to Greenfield Village, which features historic homes and is an 80-acre time machine into America’s past.

Automotive Hall of Fame

The Automotive Hall of Fame is located right next to the Henry Ford Museum. The founding creators were originally called “Automobile Old-Timers,” because they sought out to preserve the past history of automobiles, people and parts worldwide. These founders began their mission around 1939 and moved the base to Washington D.C., then up to Midland, Michigan in 1971 and then to its current home in 1997, so that it could be closer to Detroit. The Automotive Hall of Fame is dedicated to preserving the automotive and labor heritage of Michigan and Detroit.

Ford Rouge Factory

Known as Detroit’s #1 automotive attraction, the Ford Rouge Factory offers a historical tour highlighting the environmental innovation and industrial production of the factory. The factory was developed between 1917 and 1928 and originally consisted of 15,767,708 square feet and had 93 buildings. Initially producing submarine chasers, tractors and then the Model A was the first car produced at the factory in 1927. Learn more about the Rouge Factory’s significant history and the development of the assembly line by going on one of their popular factory tours.

General Motors Renaissance Center

The GM Renaissance Center tour is free to the public and showcases the history of General Motors in Detroit. The tour takes visitors throughout the Renaissance Center, including a stop at the “Borealis” glass sculpture, which is the world’s tallest vertical sculpture. A popular tour highlight is the GM Showroom, which is 44,000 square feet displaying vintage and new concept vehicles from each of General Motor’s vehicle brands. At the end of the tour visitors are treated to a breathtaking view of Detroit and the waterfront from the top of the Renaissance Center.

Whether you are in town for business or fun, these attractions are worth seeing and understanding the deep history of Detroit and the automotive industry that jump started today’s automotive world. If you are visiting Detroit for the North American International Auto Show, these attractions make a great day trip to bridge together the future and past vehicle histories.

Posted on January 7th, 2013 in Michigan Events & Destinations.