Midwest Living Review
The Woodward Dream Cruise is easily the world's largest car event, drawing more than 1.5 million people and 50,000 vehicles to the Motor City each August. For 12 hours on the third Saturday of the month, drivers cruise up and down historic Woodward Avenue, through eight cities from Ferndale to Pontiac. The Dream Cruise attracts every kind of car imaginable from Stanley Steamers to concept cars. Souped-up kit cars, lovingly restored vintage models, and limited edition sports cars are all packed into this 16-mile stretch of America's original strip. And if that seems like a car lover's dream, it is. But you don't have to love cars, or even really like them, to love the Woodward Dream Cruise.This free, family-friendly event is big on personality and even bigger on nostalgia. There are plenty of gearheads and car geeks in this crowd, but there are also tons of people who are simply excited to celebrate. Even the youngest of viewers will delight in seeing every kind of car imaginable -- just try to picture Fred Flintstone's sedan next to a classic Corvette. Older spectators will delight in seeing cars that trigger memories. And viewers of a certain age will happily recall their own cruising days.The Dream Cruise has been a summer tradition since 1995 and it's growing every year. Many locals love the attention and appreciation it brings to the area, but others grumble about the congestion and traffic that come with millions of visitors. If you do decide to go to the Dream Cruise, here's some pointers:The Dream Cruise doesn't actually take place within Detroit's city limits, instead it takes place on Oakland County portions of Woodward Avenue from Ferndale to Pontiac. There is no official start or finish to the route, and you can watch anywhere along Woodward. You'll even find plenty of cars on nearby side streets and in the retail parking lots lining Woodward. The intersections of 13 Mile and Woodward in Royal Oak and 9 Mile and Woodward in Ferndale tend to be the busiest. Pontiac has a reputation for being more of a party-atmosphere (similar to Big 10 tailgating) while Royal Oak is more family-friendly. The Dream Cruise is always held the third Saturday of August. It officially runs from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. However, there is tons of activity the Friday night before the cruise (especially in Pontiac) and more cruising and parties on Saturday night. You're guaranteed to catch quite a few cruisers out and about during the week before the Dream Cruise. To get the best spots, arrive early. Plan on 7:30 a.m. for a spot on the busiest corners. If you're willing to wander along the sidewalks up and down Woodward, you don't need to hurry. The Cruise is free. However, you might have to pay to park. There is very little official information about parking, but we saw signs ranging from $10 to $50 for parking spots. Keep in mind, parking revenue is a major fund-raising vehicle for the cities and local nonprofits that volunteer for and benefit from the cruise. If you don't want to pay to park, try the side streets but follow the signs; ticketing is said to be high during the cruise. Attendees also should plan to spend cash on extras like bottled water and snacks and official cruise merchandise. Dress for hot weather and lots of walking; lawn chairs are highly recommended. If you're looking to get a taste of those cruising days, try Duggan's Irish Pub in Royal Oak. Duggan's makes its burgers with the recipe from an original cruising stop, the Totem Pole Drive-In in Ferndale.