Plan a Weekend Trip to One of These Unique Vehicle-themed Events

For the mechanically-minded hobbyist, engineer, or car enthusiast (of any age!), these festivals below are a great excuse to plan a quick trip to a new city. From classic cars in Detroit and motorcycles in Milwaukee, to trains in Los Angeles and beachside racing in Florida, these events combine education and fun and offer tons of family-friendly activities and great entertainment to round out a long weekend getaway.

The Woodward Dream Cruise will bring car culture down Detroit’s famous boulevard this weekend on August 19th, but the event will offer more than just cool cars to look at. There are dozens of supplementary events to make the Dream Cruise a perfect family outing in Metro Detroit.

Visit Detroit has created a calendar of events to keep you on track during Dream Cruise, featuring events from Pontiac to Ferndale. Events kick off Friday, August 18, with events centered in Berkley and Ferndale. These include races, emergency vehicle shows and live music for the whole family. These events mostly begin at noon, and many run into the late evening.

The day of the Dream Cruise features a wider variety of pop-ups up and down Woodward, including classic car shows, including model-specific get-togethers like Ferndale’s Mustang Alley or Pleasant Ridge’s Bronco Show. Live music will accompany the festivities in certain locations until 9:30 pm.

A rider sits on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle by almani – Unsplash

Since opening its doors back in the summer of 2008, the Harley-Davidson Museum has welcomed guests from all over the globe to the crossroads of 6th & Canal. With its unrivaled collection of Harley-Davidson motorcycles and memorabilia, a 20-acre, park-like campus, and a calendar full of activities, the H-D Museum has grown to become one of Milwaukee’s top tourist attractions. To commemorate the 15th anniversary of the H-D Museum, guests can get a four-pack of general-admission tickets online for use on the 15th day of each month in 2023 for only $15.

This year, the museum also hosts an inaugural H-D® Q: End-of-Summer Sale & Picnic over Labor Day weekend. Beginning with Bike Night on August 31st, the holiday weekend will feature free live music, stunt shows, boonie bike races and a pig roast.

Throughout the year, the guests can attend the Bike Night Concert Series on Thursdays evenings with free live music, plus outdoor food and beverage specials. On Saturdays, guests can participate in a demo ride. Visitors with their motorcycle endorsement/license will be able to choose from a dozen of the latest and greatest models from Harley-Davidson. A pre-determined scenic route through the Menomonee Valley will give riders the chance to explore the H-D Museum’s surrounding neighborhoods. Sign-up is on a first-come, first-serve basis. Riders and passengers must be at least 18 years of age. All riders (and passengers) must wear a helmet, eye protection, shirt, long pants and closed-toe shoes with heel strap. All riders and passengers must bring their own riding gear.

Information desk at Union Station in Los Angeles by Philip Strong – Unsplash

Los Angeles Union Station, with presenting partners Metro, Amtrak and Metrolink, will welcome train enthusiasts, history aficionados, industry professionals and commuters of all ages to learn, experience and celebrate all things rail at the much-anticipated Train Festival 2023: A Celebration of Past, Present & Future. Train Festival 2023, set to take place on Saturday, September 9 and Sunday, September 10 from 10 am to 6 pm daily, will treat visitors to railroad equipment tours and displays, model train displays, architecture, arts and culture tours, information booths, music, giveaways, eateries, amenities, and more.

“Los Angeles Union Station is thrilled to welcome new interactive and engaging activations to Train Festival 2023. We’re excited to provide train fans, rail experts and the local community with an experience that truly encapsulates the timeless wonders and legacy of train travel,” said George Meyer, VP and General Manager at Los Angeles Union Station.

Guests will have the opportunity to take exclusive tours and view displays of railroad equipment on tracks 13, 14, and 15. From the world-renowned Steam Locomotive Santa Fe 3751 of the San Bernardino Railroad Historical Society (SBRHS), which pulled the first named passenger train into Los Angeles Union Station in 1939, to modern day passenger and freight equipment, attendees will be able to walk through rail history and witness the technological advances spanning more than 100 years. Featured displays will include Amtrak passenger equipment, a BNSF Railway freight locomotive and the Southern California Railway Museum’s Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe (ATSF) 5704 diesel, which was one of five locomotives painted in a patriotic red, white, and blue scheme to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the United States. Attendees can also admire an vintage private car, the Tioga Pass, which was built in 1959 by the Canadian National Shops designed for railroad executives and the Pacific Railroad Society’s National Forum, a 1956 Pullman sleeping car. Metrolink’s F125 Locomotive will also be on display while the company’s Talgo-Rehabilitated Bombardier Train Car and Rotem Cars will be available for attendees to tour inside.

In Union Station’s Ticket Concourse, guests can immerse themselves in five masterfully constructed and uniquely designed model train displays created by some of the premiere model train clubs in Southern California. Attendees will also be invited to celebrate architecture, arts and culture through group and self-guided tours of the station facilitated by partners from California Preservation Foundation (CPF), Los Angeles Conservancy (LAC) and Metro Art. A key highlight of the two-day event will include Train Festival 2023 commemorative TAP Cards with a day’s worth of free Metro fare loaded onto each card given as a surprise and delight to attendees at designated times each day (subject to availability).

NASCAR returns to Daytona International Speedway on August 25 and 26 for their second visit of 2023 with one of the most anticipated events of the season – the Coke Zero 400 Weekend. The Coke Zero Sugar 400 is a premier event on the NASCAR schedule and this summer classic showcases drivers vying to secure their spot in the final 10-race battle for the NASCAR Cup Series championship on Saturday night, August 26.

Kicking off the summer racing doubleheader on Friday night, August 25, will be the Wawa 250 Powered by Coca-Cola for the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Pair your trip to this renowned Florida race track with a beach day, and you’ve got a perfect end-of-summer getaway.

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