Where to eat and hang out downtown after the auto show this year

The North American International Auto Show is back in Detroit for its final time in the winter months. 

If you're up for one last wintry venture to see the cars, we've got recommendations for you from everything from the transportation to the evening's activities. 

First off, fortunately you don't need to do too much planning ahead of time to go to the auto show. If you've been before, you know the drill. But if not: the show is open to the public from Jan. 19-27. You can get tickets online beforehand or right at the door. Tickets are $14 for adults, $7 for seniors and $7 for children. Kids 6 and under are free. 

Next step: getting there. Driving yourself, Uber, Q-Line: there's probably more choices now than you realize. Not sure how you want to get downtown? You can check out those recommendations here. 

Lastly, planning is definitely recommended when deciding where you want to eat or what you want to do downtown afterwards. Detroit is thriving with new bars and restaurants, many even new and different than what you probably saw last year. Places will likely be packed, so having a gameplan is ideal (as is a reservation, if you can still snag one).

We checked in with Candice Simons, founder of J'adore Detroit, for her recommendations on where to hang out downtown. You can hear more from her in the video player above. 

All of these are very much within walking distance of Cobo Center (as in, less than a mile) but if it's cold and you're not up for the walk, the People Mover, the QLINE - or even e-scooters! - can come in handy with that.


Right around the corner from Cobo is Fort Street Gallery, which has four different restaurants and a centralized bar. It's great for groups because everyone can eat something different. 

Central and Townhouse are also super close, and are also great for groups (or picky eaters even) because their dishes build on the basics. 

San Morello is at the new Shinola Hotel. Candice describes it as "brand new, Italian and amazing." It's open for lunch as well. 

Maru is recommended if you want sushi. They also have a great happy hour. 


Bad Luck Bar is one of the most buzzed about new bars. It's very small but they make incredibly inventive, unique drinks.

Another recommendation is Candy Bar, which is nationally acclaimed at this point. That's at The Siren Hotel (if you're looking for a place to stay as well). 

The Detroit Foundation Hotel is also literally right across the street from Cobo. It used to be an old fire station and is very well preserved. You'll find food, drinks and entertainment there. Candice recommends this as a great landing pad, too, if you need a place to squeeze in a little bit of work, or a place to do some planning for your night out. It'd be a convenient place to stay the night as well.


The convenient Detroit Foundation Hotel will have a variety of live entertainment.

You've probably seen the bright, neon pictures from Deluxx Fluxx all over Instagram. That's a live music venue and bar that has an old arcade feel to it, complete with games. 

Other recommendations from Candice for live music are Willis Show Bar, Cliff Bell's, Baker's Keyboard Lounge and Bert's in Eastern Market. 


If it's warm enough to walk around, you'll find several art installations throughout the city. Detroit boasts several good museums as well, if you're looking for a daytime activity.

You could also venture out to Corktown, where several bars and restaurants line Michigan Avenue. Ford is also hosting a winter festival outside Michigan Central Station every evening during the auto show with food, shopping and other activities. 

Back in the downtown area is Punch Bowl Social, or the Rainbow City Roller Rink. This free skating experience is open to the public through Jan. 27. (You need a reservation ahead of time.)

And, right across the street from the Rainbow Rink is the ice skating rink at Campus Martius Park. There. of course, you'll always find great restaurants, pop up shops and more. Winter Blast Weekends are also happening both weekends of the auto show, and into February as well. 

You can hear more from Candice in the video player above, and check out more at J'adore Detroit here