The Best Summer Car Shows & Cruises

 A 1970 Plymouth Cuda at the Woodward Dream Cruise, Detroit, MI. A 1970 Plymouth Cuda at the Woodward Dream Cruise, Detroit, MI. image credit @ Cee Lippens

Warm weather and long summer nights have arrived and it’s time to rev up your engines and head out to some of the best car cruises and car shows happening in the United States in 2023  

We’ve listed a few of our faves. 

Woodward Dream Cruise - Detroit, MI

The world’s largest one-day automotive event, Detroit’s Woodward Dream Cruise, draws in a cool 1.5 million attendees to view some 40,000 classic cars.

The cruise began in August 1995, with a group of volunteers wanting to fundraise for a soccer field in Ferndale, Michigan. The group looked to recreate the heydays of the '50s and '60s, when Motor City steel cruised the hot summer nights on Woodward Avenue, America’s first highway. The organizers expected a crowd of around 20,000, but 250,00 showed up! and the dream (cruise) was born. Cruisers from all across North America, including Canada and Mexico, caravan to Metro Detroit to participate in what has become, for many, an annual rite of summer. 

The official 2023 Woodward Dream Cruise takes place Saturday, August 19, from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm.

Back to the 50's Weekend - St. Paul, MN

The Minnesota State Fairgrounds in St. Paul hosts Back to the '50s each summer, showing off classics, muscle cars, hotrods and customs with nearly 12,000 registered vehicles. The show, started back in 1974 with about 150 cars, was voted “Best Car Show” by USA Today in 2016. This show sports all the sights, cars, celebrity appearances, concerts, seminars and lots of people! Crowd estimates go as high as 150,000.

The 49th annual back to the 50’s weekend takes place JUNE 23-25, 2023. 

Iola Old Car Show- Iola, WI

This year's theme is "The Unforgettable Fifties." The 1950s were key for the automobile industry with a wide range of technology, designs and mass production milestones. The '50s also started the muscle car era. This powerhouse show sports 2,500 show cars, 4,000 swap spaces, 1,600 campsites and 120,000+ attendees.

Iola 2023 July 6th - 8th. 

RADwood - Multiple locations

An event for cars, trucks, and bikes manufactured during 1980-1999 that captures the essence of the era, through cars, clothes and food. This fun and colorful event offers an excellent opportunity to see nostalgic vehicles like the Lamborghini Jalpa or the DeLorean. 

Hagerty took stewardship of RADwood in March of 2022 to build on the company’s purpose to save driving and car culture while expanding and supporting inspiring experiences for automotive enthusiasts.

.June 10th, 2023, Radwood Philly, PA. at subaru park

July 22nd, 2023, San Francisco, CA, at the iconic pier 30/32

Cars & Coffee-Multiple Locations 

The weekly to monthly Cars & Coffee events for auto enthusiasts occur in more than 200 cities around the United States. Cars & Coffee Palm Beach is billed as “one of the world’s largest and most prestigious monthly auto events.” It’s held one Sunday each month at Palm Beach Outlets and promises a variety of custom, classic, and exotic vehicles for attendees. Cars & Coffee  at M1 Concourse  in Pontiac, Michigan is one of the largest ongoing car meets in the country.

Classic Cars, Customs and Lowriders in Albuquerque, N.M. 

Albuquerque N.M has been dubbed the capital of Classic customs and Lowrider cars and trucks in the U.S. The city lives up to its rep too, with classic cars, customs, hotrods, Lowriders and trucks dotting the landscape at all times of day and night around town. On any given Friday, Saturday or Sunday summer night you’re never more than a half-hour away from a custom car show or a local weekly cruise being held somewhere in the city!


A 1950s Pontiac Eight crusing route 66 in Albuquerque N.M.             ( image credit @ Cee Lippens) 


The vehicles of choice in Albuquerque tend to be classic Americana, Chevys, Fords, and Mopars are the preferred models, decked out with some of the most amazing modifications and customs trims you’ll ever see.  Anywhere.  With one of the most vibrant classic car scenes in the world, the city has a large number of small custom shops, unusually gifted weekend mechanics and an easy availability of customizable old cars and trucks. 

Lowriders take center stage on old Route 66 (Central Ave.) on Sunday nights in downtown Albuquerque cruising ‘low and slow’ before an appreciative audience. They start to gather at 5 pm near the Firestone Tire store on 7th & Central.

Old Town in Albuquerque has been the home to an impromptu car show, on Sunday afternoons, that features a dozen or more classic cars parking around the plaza in Old Town. 

Whether your preference is for classics, hotrods, or lowriders, you will find it in Albuquerque!

Dream Car Classic -Hollywood Fl 

One of the many monthly South Florida car shows you won’t want to miss is the Dream Car Classic. The first Sunday of each month finds dozens of classic hot rods, custom cars, modern cars, and trucks lining Hollywood Boulevard in downtown Hollywood. Admission is free.

June 3rd/July 1st/August 5th/September 2nd-Hollywood, FL

Syracuse Nationals – Syracuse NY

For about 18 years, Syracuse has been home to the state's biggest outdoor car show. The Syracuse Nationals are held every summer at the New York State Fairgrounds. Currently boasting a classic car inventory for the show at about 8,000, with around 86,000 people attending the 3-day event. The swap meet section is smaller than most with only 400 vendor spaces. If you’re lucky enough to get one, it can be profitable.

Syracuse Nationals: July 14-16. 

Somernites Cruise-Somerset, KY

The Somernites cruise is held in historic Somerset, Kentucky, on the 4th Saturday of the month, from 12pm-6pm every April through October. Events are held on Thursday night and Friday of cruise weekends, too! 


Can’t make it to one of these shows? Check the full list of car shows across the U.S this summer, here


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Last modified on Tuesday, 27 June 2023 13:48