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5 Can’t-Miss Classic Car Shows

These shows put yesteryear’s timeless beauties on display

spinner image a row of ford thunderbirds on display at the woodward dream cruise car show in birmingham michigan
Car lovers can see a variety of vintage vehicles around Metro Detroit during the Woodward Dream Cruise.
Vehicles / Alamy Stock Photo

Although automobiles have evolved over the decades to be lighter and less loud, there’s still something to be said for the massive Oldsmobiles, Chevys, Buicks and Chryslers of yesteryear. 

While cruisers from the golden age of car manufacturing won’t win any best miles per gallon competitions anytime soon, these five classic car shows will take you for a drive down memory lane.

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spinner image classic trucks and cars lit up by the sunset in the parking lot of myrtle square mall in myrtle beach south carolina
The Run to the Sun Car and Truck Show takes place at old Myrtle Square Mall in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Robbie Bischoff Photography

1. Run to the Sun Car and Truck Show, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

When: March 14–16

For three days, the southeastern coast roars to life with the running of American muscle cars. The Run to the Sun event (runtothesuncarshow.com), which features more than 3,500 pre-1989 cars and trucks, 150 vendors and sponsors, and 10,000 spectators, will be held in the centrally located old Myrtle Square Mall off Kings Highway.

This year car fans can enjoy the Blues Brothers with Stan and Bob Hammond as Jake and Elwood Blues.

Stay: The Inlet Sports Lodge is about 25 minutes from the Run to the Sun event and near the Murrells Inlet MarshWalk. Many of the participants take their classic beauties for drives along the marsh, so you can see them twice.

2. Syracuse Nationals, Syracuse, New York

When: July 19–21

The largest vintage car show (syracusenationals.com) in the Northeast descends on the New York State Fairgrounds for three days in July, and it brings straight-pipe, chromed-out engines with it. The details for the 2024 show are still in the works, but there is usually an antique bicycle display for those averse to engine roaring.

Stay: The Craftsman Inn & Suites provides a quiet reprieve from the roar of the fairgrounds close to historic Fayetteville and Green Lakes State Park. 

spinner image two rolls royce cars on display at the woodward dream cruise car show in birmingham michigan
Classic cars are on full display along Woodward Avenue during the Woodward Dream Cruise.
Vehicles / Alamy Stock Photo

3. Woodward Dream Cruise, Metro Detroit

When: Aug. 17

Billed as the world’s largest one-day car event (more than 1 million people and 40,000 cars are expected), the Woodward Dream Cruise (woodwarddreamcruise.com) is a 16-mile slow ride through nine Detroit-area municipalities that straddle Woodward Avenue.

Since the first run in August 1995, participants and visitors from around the world have traveled to the greater Detroit area for the cruise. There are pit stops at iconic metro Detroit landmarks, including Wigwam, Susie-Q’s and Big Boy, which were standing when these kings of the road were international ambassadors of Motor City steel.

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Stay: You can’t do metro Detroit and not give a nod to Motown. Hotel Indigo Detroit Downtown features Motown-themed rooms and mid-century modern furniture.

spinner image vintage cars at the concours d elegance car show in pebble beach california
The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance is held at the Pebble Beach Golf Links in California.
ZUMA Press, Inc. / Alamy Stock Photo

4. Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, Pebble Beach, California

When: Aug. 18

Marking the 73rd year of this annual display of classic cars, the similarly classic 18th fairway of the Pebble Beach Golf Links hosts this high-end anchor of Pebble Beach Automotive Week (pebblebeachconcours.net). Classic sports cars from around the world display the coveted green ribbon — proof that the car competed in the Tour d’Elegance on the bluffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

Stay: The Inn at Spanish Bay offers views of the azure Pacific and the Pebble Beach Golf Links, but on Aug. 18, visitors will also get a great view of the classic roadsters as they compete for best of show. 

5. Tucson Classics Car Show, Tucson, Arizona

When: Oct. 19

This car show, intimate by classic car standards (tucsonclassicscarshow.com), features more than 400 vintage roadsters in the Sonoran Desert. The event, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Tucson, has granted more than $2.4 million for local charities.

Car lovers should consider buying a raffle ticket: Past prizes include a 2016 C7 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible Z51 3LT.

Stay: The Hotel Congress in downtown Tucson opened its doors in 1919 and has watched the city grow around it. Catch live jazz in the Century Room.

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