Top Car Shows in the U.S.

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A fascination with high tech toys has become as American as apple pie. So it’s little wonder then that each year millions of hardcore car fans, of all ages, head to their favorite auto shows. Across the country, from mid-town Manhattan to balmy Honolulu, there are scores of shows to choose from. But the big three iconic annual exhibits of great American cars are the New York Auto Show, the Detroit Car Show and the LA Car Show. Each of these glitz-coated limo love-fests are fun in their own ways, and each of these three automotive spectacles are must-see events if you’re a motoring maven.

New York International Auto Show

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Held for 115 years, the New York International Auto Show, which takes place in mid-town Manhattan, is the grand-daddy of all auto shows. For the last 25 years the exhibition has been held in the vast Jacob Javits Convention Center; next year’s show runs from April 3rd to the 12th.

It is here that manufacturers offer first sneak-peeks at cool new concept cars, and fans can sometimes even test drive the latest models. The New York show also includes an historic vintage car collection, from the 1930s antiques to the ‘muscle cars’ of the 1970s, as well as an assortment of hot new motorcycles, from Harleys to Hondas. Aside from the new cars and trucks at this massive exhibition, the New York International Auto Show also hosts an array of public conferences on cars and live auto awards ceremonies; there are also dozens of press conferences where manufacturers announce the coming year’s new production-line vehicles offered for the first time to consumers. Though you won’t be able to buy a car at the show itself, sales people will give you directions to the nearest dealerships.

And this event is not just for grown-ups; kids will find lots of fun things to do, too, from video games, and race-car simulators, to funky trivia contests. They’ll even get a chance to sit in the drivers’ seats of famous movie cars. And did we mention the marching bands? The Javits Center is open 10am-10pm, from Monday to Saturday, and Sundays from 10am till 7pm. Everybody is invited; wheelchairs can be rented, and strollers are welcome. Camera-carrying car-lovers are appreciated, too. Aside from stacks of snack bars, there’s a full scale food court, as well. Located near the New York Port Authority, with its links all across the East Coast by train and bus, this mega annual event needs to be on every car-buff’s bucket list! Tickets are $15 for adults, $5 for kids – are sold online, or you can get them at the door.

Detroit Car Show

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Renowned for decades as America’s much-loved Motor City, Detroit has gone through tough times in recent years. But the country’s esteemed auto industry is steadily making its comeback, and the Detroit Auto Show is still the city’s premier event and proudly so!

Held every January, the “North American International Auto Show” - to use its official title, may not be as outsized as New York’s auto exhibition, but Detroit puts on a terrific week-long show, which also has great historical significance. After all, it was here that our beloved auto industry was born. Just 20 minutes from the city-center, Henry Ford’s first factory (now a museum open to the public) pioneered the idea of an industrial assembly line to build the world’s first mass-produced cars. It was this technique which made owning a car possible for virtually every American family.

And even today Detroit is home auto-giants Ford, Chrysler and General Motors, not to mention research plants for Asia’s mega car-makers, Nissan, Toyota and Hyundai. And as such, the Detroit’s exhibition not only draws tens of thousands of car lovers each year, but also some of the top automotive designers, from across the country and around the world. They all come here to stake their claim to a profitable piece of the action in the world mecca of motor cars.

Over the last 25 years, more than 200 exhibitors have introduced 1,330 vehicles to 18 million car lovers, including more than 120,000 motoring writers. It’s estimated that each year the show pumps $500 million into the local economy. The coming Detroit show takes place from Saturday, January 17 through Sunday, January 25, 2015, at the Cobo Center in downtown Detroit. Tickets are $13 for adults, $7 for seniors and children.

L.A. Car Show

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As America’s un-official car-lover capital, it’s little wonder that the annual Los Angeles Auto Show, which is second oldest in the US after the New York Car Show attracts more than 900,000 automotive buffs, including 4,000 motoring journalists from across America and around the world.

Taking place for a full 10 days in late November or early December, this exhibit held at the Los Angeles Convention Center, showcases the latest motoring marvels, including many foreign brands having their world premier here. The gala LA event also promotes the particular industry’s leading designers and their latest automotive wonders, not only from across the country, but also from more than 50 nations around the world. So this show is viewed as being more internationally-focused. But, this still being Los Angeles, visitors can also have the chance to test drive nearly 100 new US-designed vehicles, and meet some of our most famous race car drivers. Each year, the LA show is also especially noted for introducing new alternative fuel and electric cars that are clean and green.

And with uber food-fussy Los Angelinos in attendance, you can be certain the car-side cafes at the exhibition will serve everything from authentic Italian pizza, to all-American favorites, plus famous Asian dishes and lots of Latino specialties. And, this being Tinsel Town, you can count on seeing some of Hollywood’s top stars treading the red car carpet, sponsored by the big brands to add gear-shift glamor to the proceedings!

Tickets can be bought online, or at the Convention Center; $12 adults, $8 for seniors 65 or older; kids aged 6 till 12 cost $6. Wheelchairs, or electric scooters can be rented by the day.

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