Auto shows represent the safest place for kids to practice pretend engine noises without attracting feral lawnmowers. Cruise through life-sized Hot Wheels with today's Groupon: for $6, you get a ticket (an $11 value) to the 2011 Chicago Auto Show at McCormick Place. The Auto Show is running a lot of promotions, but this Groupon is a dollar cheaper than the best of them, and it is one that can be used on a weekend. You can use it for any day of the show (February 11-20).
A mainstay Chicago event since 1901, the Auto Show provides 1 million square feet of vehicles on display and an entire day for the whole family to gaze upon the most cutting-edge cars. Be one of the first to check out the next generation of alternative-fuel vehicles, hybrids, and concept cars, as well as the 100-percent electric Nissan Leaf and Italian-imported Fiat 500. Or skip ahead to the more va-va-vroom vehicles: sports cars such as the sleek 2011 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible. For household honchos, the Auto Show also features a wide range of family sedans, pick-ups, SUVs, and mini-vans.
When the urge to go vroom overwhelms, take a test drive in Chevrolet's highly anticipated hybrid, the Volt, on an indoor track on the show floor. Or stick to internal combustion by taking a ride over the Jeep hill or around the Toyota-sponsored construction site. Rides are also available in a Ford Explorer made on Chicago's South Side.
The Chicago Auto Show gives you a chance to see big cars, little cars, fast cars, rugged cars, stylish cars—even cars that park themselves, keep you awake when you're drowsy, and shout their own obscenities when they get cut off. You can't see everything in one day, but you can buy multiple Groupons so that you don't miss out on anything.
The annual event certainly earns a lot of media coverage, with last year's program garnering features from such outlets as the Sun-Times, NBC 5, InsideLine, Motor Trend, and AutoGuide. Groupon purchasers responded to a survey about last year's Chicago Auto Show:
- I am planning on buying a car this summer, so the Auto Show was a great way for me to see all of the cars and do a little research. It was well organized and I had a great time.
- The Auto Show was a nice time with lots of great cars to admire and sit in. I had an enjoyable time with my friends who also bought tickets.
Chicago Auto Show
As they step through the doors at McCormick Place, what do Chicago Auto Show visitors notice before anything else? Perhaps it’s the sheer size of the event, a sprawling one million square feet that makes it the nation’s largest auto show. Or, perhaps, it’s the show’s stars: hundreds of vehicles sparkling beneath the more than five miles of truss lighting that snakes along the ceiling.
In 1901, a similar scene unfolded during the first iteration of the Chicago Auto Show, albeit on a far smaller scale. There, a wooden indoor track looped around the exhibition hall, demonstrating for onlookers just how safe the new machines were to operate and pet adoringly. Today, though, at the show’s 109th installment, attendees can do a whole lot more than stand on the sidelines. They climb into simulators, cruise around indoor and outdoor tracks, and even bump along an indoor off-roading course, infusing the show’s once static displays with constant movement and an endless buzz.
Amid all the pedal pressing, button pushing, and, of course, shopping, this year’s show takes attendees into the future with special exhibits. Guests can also explore how today’s rides connect with technology and personal devices, such as tablets and phones. Throughout the show, appearances from celebrities and star athletes keep cameras flashing at a steady pace, and prizes and giveaways provide show-goers and smart phone users with chances to go home with more than just autographs from their favorite cars.