DETROIT (WXYZ) - Before you can even walk into Cobo Center for the 2012 North American International Auto Show there is one question that every visitor asks: "Where do I park?" Knowing a few secrets can make your auto show parking experience a breeze.
Check out our top 7 auto show parking secrets and then let us know yours in the comments below.
Secret #1: Click and Park
Reserving a parking spot is only one click away. A new feature on the NAIAS website allows you to pre-purchase your parking space before ever leaving the comfort of your couch. The feature offers several options, parking locations and prices. Choosing to click and park allows you the convenience of knowing your parking spot is awaiting your arrival. Your purchase also comes with a set of customized directions to for a smooth commute from your home to your parking space.
Secret #2: Skip the roof unless it's early or late
Unless you plan to visit the auto show at an odd time, you probably won't find easy parking on the Cobo Roof Deck (located at 625 West Congress). While that structure offers the convenience of an elevator down to the Cobo Center lobby, it also leaves your car uncovered if there's snow. If you plan to arrive very early or late in the day, try the Cobo Roof lot, if not, skip it.
Secret #3: Use the Detroit People Mover & eat at a new restaurant
Let's be honest: This is Detroit and thinking about public transportation is not something we all do on a regular basis. Don't forget about the People Mover. For a mere 75 cents each ride, you can park far from Cobo (maybe near that restaurant you've been wanting to try) and rely on the city's monorail to take you right inside the hall. The station is just an escalator ride away from the lobby in Cobo.
People Mover stops are well-located, clean, brightly lit and heated. You can't go wrong.
Secret #4: Park on the street
This may sound crazy, but street parking can sometimes be your best bet. Most meters are free on Sunday and every day after 6:00 p.m. The newest city meters even take Visa and Mastercard. Consider an auto show trip that involves parking at a meter around 5:00 p.m. and you may only need to pay for one hour of parking. Some street parking near the northernmost people mover spots can even be found for free!
Secret #5: Greektown
You know you have an urge for some flaming cheese. Why not combine that with some casino gambling and a visit to the auto show? You can park for free at the Greektown Casino parking structure, test your luck at the casino, then head for the cars. Greektown has its own People Mover station located right down the street. It's then just a 75 cents ride to Cobo.
Secret #6: Park at the Joe
The Joe Louis Arena parking structure is open for Auto Show Parking and it is located immediately west of Cobo Center. The official address is 900 W. Jefferson, but you'll be less confused if you just follow the signs. A series of covered walkways takes you from the structure to a People Mover stop. If it's nice out, you can skip the monorail and walk east along the Detroit River Walk on your way to Cobo. Cost is $10 a day except for Saturdays when the Joe's parking structure will run you $15. Remember parking at the Joe is only available on non-game days or after the game.
Secret #7: The structure below Jefferson Ave.
Some people don't even realize that there is a parking structure under East Jefferson, just east of Cobo. It's the underground lot that was meant to serve the Ford Auditorium and it will cost only $10 to park there for an entire day. This lot can fill up during the week but may be a good weekend bet. You enter via a ramp in the median on E. Jefferson. Just look for the yellow sign with blue lettering.