Frequently Asked Questions

At Cobo Center, we believe that an informed exhibitor is a successful exhibitor. Below is a list of commonly asked questions and their answers. We are confident you will find Cobo to be the most user-friendly convention center in the nation.

How do I get to the Convention Center?

Cobo Center is located in downtown Detroit at the Corner of Washington Blvd. and East Jefferson. Please click here for map/directions.

How does the City of Detroit bankruptcy filing effect Cobo Center?

The announcement by the Emergency Financial Manager (EFM) of the declaration of bankruptcy on 7/16/13, though inevitable, is the most important next step in the continued economic recovery of the City of Detroit. Steps have now been taken to insure that the city has operating funds. The EFM has stated as part of the restructuring he wants to spend $1.25 billion on improving city infrastructure and services including public safety.

It is important to point out that Cobo Center is not tied to the City’s finances. In 2009, the oversight of Cobo Center was transferred to the Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority (DRCFA), an agency of the State of Michigan. We are a completely separate entity.

The $279 million renovation of Cobo continues fully funded, on time and on budget. The project is nearly 50 per cent completed. On September 7th, we unveiled the stunning new 40,000 square-foot Grand Riverview Ballroom. Bookings have continued to increase an average of 10 per cent annually since SMG has assumed management responsibilities, and future bookings are even stronger.
 

Does Cobo Center have retail shopping?

Cobo Center proudly partners with the Detroit Shoppe, a non-profit agency that showcases the people, places and products that have shaped Detroit.  Every penny of every dollar earned from the sale of products in the Detroit Shoppe, located on the Cobo Center concourse, goes to support local charities and cultural institutions.  Visitors from all over the world enjoy the made-in-Detroit merchandise, and are encouraged to take it home and share with loved ones, to continue the ongoing legacy of Detroit.

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How far is the airport from the center?

The Metro Airport is located approximately 22 miles from the Center. You may use a taxi cab or use the link below to make a reservation for Airport Shuttle pick up, service provided by our transportation partner, SKOOTshuttle

Trinity Transportation has arranged for a special rate of $30.00 one way trip. Please mention the name of your convention during the reservation process for the special rate.

Is Detroit safe for my event and attendees?

The Downtown Detroit Project, with its ongoing efforts to provide safety, lighting and code enforcement,  and Project Lighthouse, a private public collaboration of business and public safety departments, has created a security force in downtown Detroit that is unique in the nation and equal to none.

The Downtown Detroit Project is a private/public partnership of corporate and civic leaders that supports, advocates and develops programs and initiatives that create a clean, vibrant, safe, beautiful, inviting and economically strong Downtown Detroit community.  The public partners are the City of Detroit and the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation. Their Safety, Lighting and Code Enforcement program supports an environment that provides residents, workers and visitors personal safety with:  a uniformed presence on downtown streets; an improved perception and realization of public order created by clean streets and sidewalks, well-maintained landscaping, public spaces and streetscape elements; good lighting; elimination of blight using tools such as stringent code enforcement.

Project Lighthouse is a collaboration of all security and law enforcement agencies in the downtown Detroit area including Homeland Security, the US Coast Guard, FBI, Customs and Border Patrol, state, county and city police departments and all private security companies.  By leveraging technology resources, information and personnel records, a cooperative survellience effort exists across the city 24/7/365.  This effort creates:

  • courtesy patrols in downtown Detroit
  • crime mapping and analysis
  • a superior camera and video network
  • 23 lighthouse facilities established to help people in an emergency

Cobo Center is an established lighthouse facility in downtown Detroit and fully collaborates with Project Lighthouse.

Is there parking available at the Center?

Yes, there are 2000 parking spaces attached to Cobo Center: 1200 at the Roof Deck, and 500 in the Cobo Center Congress St. Garage and 300 in the Washington Blvd. Garage. Hours of operation for Cobo Center parking garages may vary depending upon the event needs. Cobo Center is not responsible for items left in cars parked in the Cobo Center garages.

What hotels are close to Cobo Center?

Majority of rooms in downtown convention hotel block less than 5 years old – over 1,850 new, competitively priced rooms on line since 2007. A list of dowtown Detroit hotels is listed in the Discover Detroit hotel information page of this website.

Does the Convention Center have Wi -Fi?

Yes, Cobo Center has free, ultra high speed (802.11g 54M) Wi-Fi available throughout the Center for limited use. WiFi saturation is a problem for all big events and can make WiFi connectivity unreliable.  If portions of your event are relying upon Internet, we highly recommend you order a hard wire connection for uninterrupted connectivity. 

Does Cobo Center require that I carry insurance for my event?

Yes.  A $1 million bodily injury and property damage combined insurance policy must be in effect and proof submitted 10 days before the start of any operations in Cobo Center.  All policies shall contain an endorsement providing for furnishing Cobo 10 days written notice of termination of insurance for any cause.

The Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority and SMG shall be named as additional insured on the policy and insurance certificate.

Cobo Center reserves the right to require that events provide additional insurance if deemed advisable due to special circumstances.

For non-exhibit hall events, if you are unable to obtain insurance, it may be purchased through Cobo Center at the rate of $.48 per attendee (minimum policy is $100.)  For more information call Woodrina Reid at 313-877-8216 or email: wreid@cobocenter.com  

Certain events may require additional insurance rates.

Do you rent Wheel Chairs?

Complimentary non-motorized wheel chairs are available for use on first come first serve basis. Please visit our Information desk located in the main concourse/lobby.

How do I arrange for Food Service at the Center?

All food and beverage services at Cobo Center are provided by our exclusive food service partner – CENTERPLATE. You may contact them at 313-567-3880.

How do I arrange for electrical services in my booth/ meeting rooms?

Electrical Services in booths is provided exclusively by Cobo Center. You may reach us at 313-877-8777. You may access the order form online at www.cobocenter.com. In meeting rooms you may plug into limited power available through the wall outlets at no additional cost. Additional power may be requested.

How do I arrange for Vacuum Services in my booth?

Vacuum services are available through our exclusive service partner, ABM Janitorial Services . You may reach ABM at 313-259-6535. Order form may be available to you in the exhibitors kit provided by your Show Management. If you bring your own vacuum cleaner, you may vacuum your own booth.

Can I bring in my exhibit material myself without using union services?

Yes. You may transport your own materials from the front exhibit hall doors, or from the designated POV (privately owned vehicle) loading dock, using a two-wheel cart.

Where can I park my car to load/unload my exhibit materials?

You may park your car at the Cobo Roof deck or Cobo Center Congress Street Garage and bring your materials in using the front door of the exhibit halls. Parking is not available in front of the center for such activities.

Tell me about the trade unions that work at Cobo Center.

Cobo Center has a well-qualified, trained union staff available.
Teamsters/Iron Workers: Perform material handling of freight, rental furniture etc.
Electricians: handle electrical work which includes supplying power to the booth, making connections when hard wiring and/or harnesses are required and installing static lighting that is not built-in, integral part of the exhibit booth.
Stagehands shall do stage and lighting set up , but not limited to, press events, shows and theatrical style events. This shall include theatrical rigging, cued lighting, theatrical lighting, video lighting, projection, audio, electronic show equipment (i.e. audio, cameras, switches etc.) and props and scenery. 

What can I do in my booth without using union workers?

As an exhibitor you have a great latitude to perform your own work in a booth up to 400 square feet (except island booths) using a 3 step ladder and cordless hand tools. See the Event Planning Guide for more details.

Can I ship my booth and materials directly to the Convention Center?

Yes, you may ship directly to the convention center provided prior arrangements have been made with your Show Appointed Contractor. Please check the exhibitor manual provided to you by your show/event management for more details. When shipping your materials, the shipment must be scheduled to arrive during the dates specified in your exhibitor kit and address must include the name of the show, name of your company and the booth number.

Do you have a Business Center located in the Center?

Yes. Our business center is located in the main concourse/lobby near the front entrance to the center. These services can be ordered for events through your event manager. Some the services provided include: copy, fax, access to computer, small freight shipment, visitor information etc. Hours of operation may vary depending upon event needs.

Do you have policy on advertising within the building?

Event banners can be displayed on the outside of Cobo Center for a fee and with Center approval. Advertising is limited within the rented exhibit space or meeting rooms. For details on the rules concerning signs and banner placement consult the Cobo Center Event Planning Guide and your event manager.

Who provides security to my rented space?

In most of the meeting rooms the key system can be changed to a limited access keys at a per room nominal fee. In exhibit halls and concourse, if used for registration etc., please use the services of a private security firm. Please consult your Event Coordinator for a list of security providers.