Back To Minneapolis: The 50th Twin Cities Auto Show

Photos by Randy Stern
Photos by Randy Stern

Three years ago, the crowds were buzzing at the Minneapolis Convention Center for the 47th Twin Cities Auto Show. They were enjoying all of the new models for 2020, riding along at Camp Jeep, ogling over the finery at the luxury car exhibit. The crowds were setting records all week long.

Then suddenly, it all screeched to a haul. The order came through to shut everything down on the final Friday of the Auto Show due to a jump in cases in Minnesota of a virus known as COVID-19.

The Greater Metropolitan Auto Dealers Association would put on two years of its most popular show at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds in the month of May. It was a different atmosphere. More defiant than anything. Bring the show that had over four decades of history outside – a novel idea that has been replicated by a few other auto shows across North America.

This year marks the 50th Twin Cities Auto Show. More significant than its golden anniversary is its return to the Minneapolis Convention Center, staring March 31.

Not only will the one of the biggest consumer exhibitions in Minnesota return to its home and its normal timeframe, it will be truly a sign of normality returning back to our state.

While celebrating 50 years, GMADA and the Auto Show is also celebrating the present and future.

Some attractions will return inside the Minneapolis Convention Center. For example, the popular Camp Jeep to take visitors along an obstacle course showcasing the capabilities of these off-road warriors. Subaru is bringing back pets that are ready for adoption as oar if their Subaru Loves Pets campaign.

Plus, the Ride & Drive is back with a few manufacturers giving you a chance the take the wheel for a brief test drive on the latest vehicles available in Minnesota. Vehicles you can drive will come from Stellantis (Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep, and Ram), Toyota and Volkswagen. There will also be an EV Ride & Drive, featuring the Hyundai IONIQ 5, Kia EV6, Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, and Polestar 2.

As the presence of electric vehicles grow in Minnesota, the Twin Cities Auto Show is bringing in local television personality Paul Douglas to host an “EV Talk” to help engage with visitors about these vehicles. You can also fund out more about home EV charging at the Electric Neighborhood, sponsored by Xcel Energy.

If you do come for the cars, trucks, SUVs, and such, you might as well make more than just a day trip. That’s where Meet Minneapolis comes in. They, along with the Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District, have been campaigning for the last year or so to bring back visitors to its downtown core. With hotels and restaurants either connected via the Skyway or within walking distance of the Convention Center, you can maximize your time at the Auto Show with a staycation or a destination trip. That includes those of you who travel hours away from across the Upper Midwest to see the latest and greatest from the automotive industry.

With the return of the Auto Show back to the Convention Center, Minneapolis is signaling that it is “back in business.”

Tickets are available through the Twin Cities Auto Show website in advance for $12.00. Half Price Wednesday is back for $7.50 for admission. There are coupons available at select locations, including Kwik Trip locations in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

As for parking, there’s plenty of ramps within walking distance or accessible via the skyway system of the Convention Center. Expect to pay from $9.00 or more at city-operated nearby ramps. If you also need mobility assistance, you can use your device when accessing the Auto Show. Otherwise, you can rent a wheelchair or scooter from the Minneapolis Visitors Information Center desk at the Convention Center’s lobby.

The show runs through April 8.

Everything old is new again. The Auto Show’s return inside in March is cause for celebration in downtown Minneapolis. That jingle still remains true that, now more than ever, it’s time that you “gotta go to the Auto Show.”

The 50th Twin Cities Auto Show
Minneapolis Convention Center, Minneapolis
March 31 – April 8
Tickets: Adults $12.00 in advance, $15.00 onsite, and Half-Price Wednesday at $7.50

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