Hotels: Livonia, I-275 & 6 Mile Rd

Fairfield Inn & Suites Livonia, 17350 Fox Dr.

Towne Place Suites by Marriott – Detroit Livonia, 17450 Fox Dr.

Best Western, 16999 Laurel Park Dr S.

Courtyard – Detroit Livonia, 17200 N Laurel Park Dr.

Detroit Marriott Livonia, 17100 N Laurel Park Dr.


At Exit #170 on Interstate 275.  Near Laurel Park Place Mall.  Lots of restaurants near here.


We are not suggesting that these are the only choices.  Certainly there are more choices.  We are just trying to identify areas that we think will be complementary to the Detroit FIRST experience for teams.



Governor Rick Snyder Loves FIRST!

Today on the radio they had an interview with Michigan’s Governor.  He talked about how FIRST is a great program for connecting students with mentors, and with companies who need STEM professionals.

We think his support will help make the 2018 FIRST Championship in Detroit great!

[edit June 2]  You can find audio of his keynote speech at the 2017 Mackinac policy conference in a podcast at this link.  Scroll to Thursday June 1st 2017 and you will find it.  In this speech, starting at about the 6 minute mark, he weaves FIRST into a broader picture that will make you proud.



If you are gonna miss Pappy’s…

Now, we aren’t trying to compare this barbecue place to Pappy’s.  Heck, they aren’t even in the same state.  So who’s to say which one is better…

Slows Bar BQ is a great place for you to try.  It is located near where the old Tiger Stadium used to be, on Michigan Avenue.  Not a big place.  Reservations required for sure.  Open till midnight on Sat, 11PM on Thu-Fri, and 10PM the other nights.  Finding the front door is always a challenge.  Parking is sorta sketchy.

It is about 2 miles from Cobo.  Drive there.  Take Michigan Avenue.

Highly recommended!  Enjoy!

Slows Bar BQ  2138 Michigan Ave, Detroit, MI, 48216.  (313)962-9828.

It is our understanding there are now other satellite locations.  We have never tried them.  But they are probably pretty awesome too.

hotels · transportation

Downtown Detroit Hotels

Here is a list of downtown Detroit Hotels within walking distance to Cobo Center and Ford Field:

Detroit Foundation Hotel  – this is a brand new historical boutique hotel in the old fire station, so it will not be on a lot of people’s radar yet – but it should definitely be on your radar if proximity to Cobo is your top priority.  250 W Larned St, Detroit, MI, 48226.  (313)915-4422.

The Westin Book Cadillac Detroit  – this place is niiice, great location, fancy historical hotel.  If we had an Escalade, we would stay here.  If we were Simbotics, we would have no choice but to stay here.  1114 Washington Blvd, Detroit, MI, 48226.  (313)442-1600.

Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center  – high rise, down the street from Cobo, on the river, part of a huge complex called the RenCen which includes GM Headquarters, shops, restaurants, the GM Wintergarden, has a big food court (think lunchtime workers grabbing a bite), near the Riverwalk.  400 Renaissance Dr, GM Renaissance Center, 48243.  (313)568-8000.

Crowne Plaza Detroit  – right near Cobo.  2 Washington Blvd, Detroit, MI, 48226.  (313)965-0200.

Courtyard by Marriott Detroit Downtown  – good proximity to Cobo and Ford Field, across the street from the RenCen, Detroiters may call this Millender Center since that’s its old name.  333 E Jefferson Ave, Detroit, MI, 48226.

Holiday Inn Express and Suites Detroit Downtown  – nice location a bit closer to Ford Field (~~10 blocks), but still only two and a half blocks from Cobo.  Might be the best value there is if you are staying downtown.  1020 Washington Blvd, Detroit, MI, 48226.  (313)887-7000.

DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Hotel Detroit Downtown – Fort Shelby  – for sure the longest name, but still close to Cobo and maybe 15 blocks to Ford Field.  Are Swartdogs coming to Detroit or do they go to Houston?  525 W Lafayette Blvd, Detroit, MI, 48226.  (313)963-5600.

Aloft Detroit at the David Whitney  – very very good location between Cobo and Ford Field.  1 Park Ave, Detroit MI, 48226.  (313)237-1700.

Atheneum Suite Hotel  – in Greektown, so the walk to Cobo is maybe 12 blocks, but only 8 blocks from Ford Field.  Could take the People Mover to get to/from Cobo.  1000 Brush St, Detroit, MI, 48226.  (313)962-2323.

Hilton Garden Inn Detroit Downtown  – between Ford Field and Greektown, about 12 blocks from Cobo.  Could take the People Mover to get to/from Cobo.  351 Gratiot Ave, Detroit, MI, 48226.  (313)967-0900.

For all of these places, your team will need to understand the cost and logistics for parking, since they are right downtown.  There are a ton of private parking lots downtown, and we suggest that they will be the most cost-competitive – but perhaps not as convenient as the recommended hotel parking (which can run as high as $30 per night).


hotels · transportation

What are the Canadians going to do?

Kind of a general question, we know.  They’ll be polite, offer friendly and helpful advice, patiently wait for others to finish talking, tell a funny story aboot how 1114 and 2056 are so helpful but so good, …

No.  We mean what are the Canadian FIRST teams going to do to make their Detroit experience better?

If you did not know, Canada is right across the river from Detroit.  That’s right, Journey fans – South Detroit is actually Windsor, Ontario, Canada.  The Holiday Inn Windsor Downtown is only 4 km from Cobo Center!

Which brings us to an interesting idea….. would it make sense for teams to stay in Windsor while they are competing at the Detroit Championship?

Well, you do have to cross an international border.  Security checkpoints, passports, a tunnel under the river, tools and equipment on board, does everyone behave while crossing, tunnel traffic, etc, etc.  Not sure if this is doable or not.

But its something to think about…

[edit] What if FIRST Canada rented a ferry?  They could make one trip at 4am to get 610, 1114, and 2056 across the river, then another trip at 7am for the rest of the teams…




Send Us Your Ideas

Hey, people from Detroit and Michigan and Windsor, Canada!

We know you probably don’t need the info in this blog as much as the other people coming from outside of Michigan will, but we suspect that you might be able to help get out the word about good ideas for the visitors to Detroit in 2018 for the FIRST Championship.

So, if you have any ideas for transportation, hotels, restaurants, team activities, etc. that you want to pass on, please drop us a line at unoffDC (at) gmail (dot) com.

If you have any corrections or additions that you think we should make to this site, please let us know!


Some specific questions we would love for you to answer:

What bus companies do you use?

What favorite restaurants in the Detroit area does your team go to as a team?

What activities in the Detroit area have you done as a team that you can recommend for next April?

Thank you!


activities · must do · restaurants

Must Do – Supernatural Brewing & Spirits

Can you do the mental experiment where there was an area where the FIRST connections were so deep, that there was even a restaurant/bar run by FIRSTers?  Do you think that’s possible?  Well, it’s about to be reality.

Coming soon to Livonia is a place where we are almost certain that there will be some cool FIRST memorabilia on the walls….. Supernatural Brewing & Spirits.  We will post more about this place as soon as we know more, and we hear that their Facebook followers will likely be the first to know whats going on.