We were there for the first Woodward Dream Cruise in 1995, and have been back for plenty more since. When you attend an event that has been the largest single-day car event in the world for more than 15 years, you better have a plan. It’s easy to get lost in the more than 40,000 cars that participate and the 1.5 million people strolling up and down Woodward Avenue, the side streets and checking out the same cars that you’re there to enjoy. And this compilation of insider’s tips will help you avoid waiting in line for an hour for a really bad hot dog and take home memories of a great time rather than a hospital bill for heat stroke.
The best place to start is to understand what the Woodward Dream Cruise is all about. The event takes place just north of Detroit every year on the third Saturday of August, and it extends over 16 miles of Woodward Avenue. While most of the cruising and street racing during the muscle car heydays of the ‘60s was centered around 13 Mile and 14 Mile Road in Royal Oak, Michigan, this event now stretches from 8 Mile Road in Ferndale to the northern part of what localscall the Wide Track Loop around to city of Pontiac. There isn’t a fee or process to participate; just show up and cruise! Or you can park and walk. In addition to cruising, there are more than a dozen parks and parking lots full of cars worth checking out. Each one of these would be a decent car show by themselves. Chevrolet, Chrysler and Ford nearly always have corporate displays, as do many aftermarket companies, scattered up and down the cruise.