Cobo Center – Things To Do With Your Team

Whenever a big event takes place in Detroit, the Cobo Center is probably where it’ll be happening. Located on the banks of the Detroit River, the Cobo Center is a centerpiece of the Motor City’s booming downtown area. 723,000 square feet of exhibit space throughout its five exhibit halls rank the Cobo Center as the 17th largest convention center in the county. While it may be an impressive facility, you and your team probably won’t want to spend your entire trip wandering around its grounds.

Luckily for all of you, the Cobo Center is situated at the heart of the Motor City. In the area surrounding the Cobo Center you’ll find anything and everything from scenic parks and walkways, iconic Detroit landmarks, great restaurants, and so much more. No matter how much downtime your team has, you’ll be able to fit in a visit to at least one of these fantastic Detroit attractions and eateries during your time at the Cobo Center.


Things to Do

Detroit RiverWalk

Cobo Center - Travel - Hotels4TeamsHave everyone stretch their legs while taking in the sights and sounds of the Motor City at the Detroit RiverWalk. Along its approximately three mile route, the RiverWalk offers breathtaking views of the adjacent Detroit River and city skyline. There are recreational opportunities abound for you and your team to enjoy since the trail links Milliken State Park in addition to numerous plazas and pocket parks.

Your team’s journey on the RiverWalk will begin on its western end, near the Cobo Center and the neighboring GM Renaissance Center. The Renaissance Center, sometimes referred to as RenCen, is a cluster of seven interconnected skyscrapers that offers various amenities like shopping, dining, and entertainment. A block from the Renaissance Center, in Rivard Plaza, a beautiful, custom-made carousel invites kids and kids at heart to climb aboard one of its many animals, all of which are native to the area except for two: a sea serpent and a mermaid. Roughly halfway along the RiverWalk, about 20 minutes from the Cobo Center, you can make an easy connection to the Dequindre Cut Greenway, a two-mile paved path that leads to Detroit’s historic Eastern Market, a commercial district that has been in operation since 1891. 1340 Atwater St, Detroit, MI 48207


Hart Plaza

Hart Plaza, located just a short five minute walk from the Cobo Center, is an unassuming landmark with a surprising amount of historical significance. It is situated approximately on the site where French explorer Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac landed in 1701 and founded the settlement that would later become the city of Detroit. Today the 14-acre Hart Plaza is a popular riverfront entertainment destination and venue for festivals, concerts, and other special events, and has been for generations since it first opened in 1975. It’s also home to several pieces of artwork, perhaps the most notable of which being the famed Horace E. Dodge and Son Memorial Fountain, designed by Japanese American artist and landscape architect Isamu Noguchi in 1978. 1 Hart Plz, Detroit, MI 48226


GM Renaissance Center

The GM Renaissance Center is the place to be in downtown Detroit. There, you and your team can enjoy convenient shopping, a 1,100-seat food court, first-run movies, complimentary guided tours, special events, and more. The GM Showroom, a 44,000-square-foot interactive showroom features a wide variety of Buick, Chevrolet, Cadillac, and GMC vehicles. The professionally-guided, free one-hour tour will take your group throughout the landmark Renaissance Center and outlines the storied history that General Motors shares with the Motor City. Advance reservations for the tour are required for groups of 10 or more. Jefferson Ave, Detroit, MI 48243


William G. Milliken State Park and Harbor

If the weather’s nice while you’re in Detroit, consider taking the team on a scenic 30-minute walk along the Detroit River to William G. Milliken State Park and Harbor. As the first urban park in Michigan, William G. Milliken State Park provides a 31-acre, lush green oasis in the midst of downtown Detroit. The first phase of the park opened in 2004 and features covered picnic areas, shoreline fishing, as well as a 52-slip harbor. A 63-foot light tower that is a scaled-down replica of the historic Tawas Point Lighthouse that sits on the banks of Tawas Bay in Lake Huron marks the entrance to this area of the park.

The second phase of the park opened five years later in 2009 and includes a wetlands demonstration area where your team can learn how wetlands serve as nature’s water filtration system. The RiverWalk passes through the park in the area closest to the Detroit River and a bike path laces through the other side of the park’s wetland area, linking William G. Milliken State Park to Atwater Street and Rivard Plaza. 1900 Atwater St, Detroit, MI 48207


The Monument to Joe Louis and the Spirit of Detroit

There’s no better way to get to know a city than to see its most famous landmarks. Fortunately, two of Detroit’s most iconic landmarks, the Monument to Joe Lewis and the Spirit of Detroit, are located just a short walk from the Cobo Center. The Monument to Joe Louis is a memorial honoring the former world heavyweight champion boxer Joe Louis that was created by Mexican-American sculptor Robert Graham in 1986 on commission from Sports Illustrated magazine.

The monument features a 24-foot-long arm and fist held in balanced suspension from a pyramidal support of poles cast from bronze. Weighing approximately 8,000 pounds, the Monument to Joe Louis rises 24 feet above a major downtown intersection next to Hart Plaza. Have each member of your team stand across the street and pretend to “fist bump” the giant monument to create a hilarious souvenir photo they’ll never forget! Just a stone’s throw from the Monument to Joe Lewis and Hart Plaza is the Spirit of Detroit, an iconic bronze statue that has become synonymous with the city of Detroit and its residents.

The Spirit of Detroit consists of a 26-foot-tall statue of a large kneeling figure atop a 60-ton marble base. At the time of its completion in 1958 it was the largest cast bronze statue since the Renaissance. If you’re visiting Detroit while one of the city’s professional teams is in the playoffs you might just catch the Spirit of Detroit showing its team spirit as it dons a monument-sized replica of that particular team’s jersey. Jefferson W Ave, Detroit, MI 48226; Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48226


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Places to Eat

Lafayette Coney Island

Cobo Center - Travel - Hotels4TeamsA Detroit institution since 1917, Lafayette Coney Island is where you and your team have to go for a true taste of Detroit. It’s one of the most well-known Coney Islands, which are a unique type of Greek American restaurant serving up food inspired by the New York City neighborhood they are named after.

The menu of all Coney Island restaurants is centered on the hot dog and Lafayette Coney Island is no exception. Their hot dogs, like all other classic Coney Island hot dogs, features a natural casing hot dog in a steamed bun dressed with beefy chili, diced Spanish onion, and yellow mustard. Another popular item on Lafayette Coney Island’s menu is the “loose burger,” which consists of crumbled ground beef in a hot dog bun, covered in the same condiments as a Coney Island hot dog. Pair either of these Detroit staples with a side of chili fries for the complete Lafayette Coney Island culinary experience. 118 W Lafayette Blvd, Detroit, MI 48226



While Lafayette Coney Island offers diners a true taste of Detroit, PizzaPapalis specializes in serving up a Chicago staple: the deep dish pizza. While there are now nine PizzaPapalis restaurants located throughout Michigan, the original PizzaPapalis, opened in 1986, can be found in the heart of Detroit just a 20-minute walk from the Cobo Center. Their menu features both deep dish and thin crust pizza; each made with premium ingredients like dough made fresh every morning, premium Wisconsin cheese, tomatoes from Italy’s Agro Nocerine Sarnese region, and only the finest meats and vegetables; as well as a variety of appetizers, soups, salads, calzones, strombolis, pasta dishes, and more, all prepared with the same care and passion. 553 Monroe St, Detroit, MI 48226


Rice Bowl Fresh Asian Kitchen

Located in the Renaissance Center, the Rice Bowl Fresh Asian Kitchen serves Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Korean, Vietnamese, and Indonesian cuisine all made fresh to order and all prepared using only the finest ingredients, including vegetables purchased straight from the renowned Eastern Market just a couple of miles away. Kick your meal off right with savory appetizers like their crispy vegetarian spring rolls, which are served with house made mustard and plum sauces on the side. For the main course, you and your team can choose from a wide selection of Asian dishes, including General Tso’s chicken and their signature rice bowls. Rice Bowl Fresh Asian Kitchen also offers take-out service as well. 333 E Jefferson Ave, Detroit, MI 48226


Tommy’s Detroit Bar & Grill

Housed in a building nearly two centuries old, Tommy’s Detroit Bar & Grill is a restaurant with a lot of character, a lot of history, and of course, a lot of good food. Their menu includes crowd-pleasing favorites like burgers made daily from freshly ground chuck; hand dipped chicken wings tossed in an award-winning sauce that is guaranteed to make your mouth water; and some of the best corned beef you’ll find anywhere.

If you’ve got half an hour to spare before or after your meal at Tommy’s Detroit Bar & Grill, consider scheduling a tour of the building for a chance to see amazing historical features like a tunnel entrance that was used to smuggle liquor from the Detroit River during prohibition. It is even believed that this tunnel may have been part of the Underground Railroad in early Detroit. Tommy’s Detroit Bar & Grill also features outdoor patio seating, indoor seating with adequate space for large parties, and complimentary Wi-Fi service. 624 3rd St, Detroit, MI 48226


When you’re at the Cobo Center, you’re in the heart of Detroit. Simply walk outside, head in any direction with your team, and you’re bound to find something amazing. Head in one direction and you’ll soon arrive at the beautiful Detroit River and the accompanying RiverWalk. Head the other way and you’ll find iconic Detroit landmarks like the Monument to Joe Louis, the Spirit of Detroit, and the renowned Lafayette Coney Island eatery. No matter where you go while in downtown Detroit, adventure awaits.