Hotels: Northville, I-275 & 8 Mile Rd

8 Mile Road.  Eminem made it famous.  But the famous part is ~16 miles east of here.  Around these parts its Robostangs country.


Hampton Inn Detroit/Northville, 20600 Haggerty Rd.

Holiday Inn Express & Suites – Detroit/Farmington Hills, 21100 Haggerty Rd.

Sheraton Detroit Novi, 21111 Haggerty Rd.  (this hotel is actually on the border of Novi)

Country Inn & Suites by Carlson – Novi, 21625 Haggerty Rd, Novi, MI, 48375  (this hotel is actually on the border of Novi)


Just off of Exit #167 on I-275.  Lots of shopping and restaurants around 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.


Hotels: Livonia, I-275 & 7 Mile Rd

Hyatt Place Detroit/Livonia, 19300 Haggerty Rd.

Embassy Suites Detroit Livonia Novi, 19525 Victor Pkwy.


Near Exits 169A and 169B on Interstate 275.  Lots of shopping and restaurants nearby (although not as many lower-priced restaurants as at the 6 Mile or 8 Mile exits).  Very close to Dave & Busters, which is a place that the students will enjoy.


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.



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.  Reader Milton M. informs us that there is a Slows-To-Go at 4107 Cass Ave, Detroit, MI, 48201, which is much faster than the sit down location, and about 2 miles from Cobo Center (dont walk there, take a car or the Q-line to the Canfield Station).  They are open until 10pm on Friday and Saturday, and 9pm all other nights.  (877)569-7246.

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.

Coming in Fall 2018 (so in time for the 2019 Championship), The Shinola Hotel, a boutique hotel at 1400 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI, 48226.  NOT OPEN during the 2018 Championship.  Will be a great spot near Ford Field for the 2019 Championship.

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).

The Detroit Riverwalk, with GM Renaissance Center and Ambassador Bridge in the background.  This is 5 blocks from the Ren Cen, and 10 blocks from Cobo Center.
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…