Rev Your Engines: Must-Visit Automotive Attractions in Metro Detroit

By: Katie Goncalves | May 26, 2023
1964 Chevy Impala Designed by '93 AHF inductee William Mitchell

Just about everyone knows Detroit is the Motor City for a reason. With a rich history of car manufacturing, the big three headquartered here, and so many amazing vehicle-related firsts pouring out of Detroit, it’s the place to be for any automotive enthusiast. Most people have a fun fact or two to share connecting Detroit to cars and driving, but what if you’re hoping to dive a little deeper? These must-see automotive attractions in Metro Detroit will set any gearhead’s heart on fire. 

Automotive Hall of Fame

The Automotive Hall of Fame was founded in 1939 to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions to the automotive industry. Through their programs and events, they pay tribute to outstanding global motor vehicle industry achievers, and they aim to inspire people to reach new heights of success. The Hall features exhibits that showcase the history of the automotive industry, including vintage cars, memorabilia, and interactive exhibits. The Automotive Hall of Fame is open to the public and welcomes visitors from around the world. Sarah Cook, the president of The Automotive Hall of Fame says, “We invite you to discover the heart and soul of the automotive industry at the Automotive Hall of Fame. To be inspired by the human drive to rise to the occasion throughout history and change the world for the better. To reach out and connect with the world around us. To raise the bar and challenge yourself to reach out and connect in new and different ways. The Hall is open to the public Thursdays-Sundays 10am-4pm.”  

The GM RenCen

The GM RenCen is the global headquarters of General Motors and is the tallest building in Michigan, standing at 73 stories tall. The headquarters is also home to the GM World exhibit, which showcases the latest vehicles and technologies from General Motors. Visitors can get an up-close view of the vehicles and have their questions answered by product specialists. Throughout the year, GM brings in rotating exhibits showcasing the past, present, and future of General Motors with vintage and new vehicles highlighting technology, innovation, and design.

View from the base of the RenCen in downtown Detroit
View from the base of the RenCen

Stahl’s Automotive Collection

Stahl’s Automotive Collection features continually changing exhibitions or historically significant cars from the Depression and Art Deco eras, along with automobile memorabilia, including vintage gas pumps and signs. The mission behind Stahl’s is to, “educate, motivate, and inspire young people with a passion and appreciation for vintage vehicles and help them to understand their contribution to the development of the car industry as well as their impact on society, history and everyday life.” They have tons of vehicles ranging in all time periods and with different historical significance. They are open on Tuesdays from 1-4pm and the first Saturday of the month from 11-4pm. Admission is always free to enter the collection. 

Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum 

The Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum highlights the history of the auto industry specific to Ypsilanti. Displays include Motor State which held patents on power convertible tops, the Ford Motor Company Generator Plant, and local car dealerships. The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 1-4pm. Admission is $5.00 per person and kids under 12 are free.